Friday, December 09, 2005

 

I had to give Y her xmas present early, or go nuts


She has mentioned it DAILY for months. Even though she thought we couldn't begin to afford it. It became an obsession to her - apparently she's even been dreaming about it, etc. I had decided to buy her the newest high-tech computerized embroidery/sewing machine ($8K) over a month ago. I was going to spring it on her on xmas morning.

Almost five years ago I did surprise her with the older version of the latest/greatest sewing machine for her birthday, and I actually was able to wait until the actual birthday. This time, though I thought I'd go crazy if I had to listen to another round of plotting/ planning/ scheming/ dreaming aloud about how she could get enough $ to buy one - she was going to sell everything else she'd ever owned, even including some nice antique furniture she'd inherited from her mother.

This morning, I couldn't take it anymore. Today, she announced she was going to take out a loan and get a part-time job to pay it back. Although I was impressed at her drive and initiative, I realized that waiting another two weeks to drop it on her was not worth the headaches. Besides, as we enter the darkest days of winter, life is depressing enough, this will give her something to focus on. She'll probably disappear into her sewing room for the next several weeks.

The software for this unit cost $1.5 K!!! She'd really mastered the (similar) software for her older unit, and has become an expert. She gets lots of calls and emails from her friends asking how to get their machines to do this or that. Turns out that most of them really have a more basic problem with understanding how to use their PCs, and file management, etc. I told her she should charge people for the consulting.

So I took her to the dealer, and spilled the beans. She really flipped out! Then we picked it up and brought it home, and she said she'd go ahead and wait till xmas to open the boxes. Yeah, right, as if! I told her to pull it out now. She's been walking on a cloud ever since.

The best part (for me, at least) is that the dealer included a $500 BestBuy gift certificate with the deal. Now I can get a new monitor. I've been wanting a 20" LCD, but Z does a lot of game playing on the computer, and supposedly LCDs aren't the best for game playing - the computer has a hot 256MB video card (now, just six months later the hottest cards are 512MB, but I'm happy). I read somewhere that if you can get a good enough refresh rate < 16 cps (whatever that means), it would be OK for games. They also say LCDs aren't that good with video. But with a PVR on my DISH system, I don't use the computer with video, and really don't see that I would in the future. I'll keep the old 17" CRT around (great, more storage!), in case a special need arises that calls for CRTs. My existing CRT is old, though, and lately I've noticed it's a bit fuzzy. I can't seem to sharpen it enough - for a while I thought it was my eyes, but I don't have any problems with Y's laptop screen...

Have you noticed how many people misuse apostrophes? Bad enough that some would have put one before the "s" in "apostrophes", or in the word "its" when it's used as a possessive, but worse is how people put apostrophes on plural acronyms. Such as "CRTs" - they'll write it as "CRT's" or "LCD's". I can't figure out why they think it's necessary there. I'll admit that when you have a plural acronym that ends in an S, an apostrophe seems to fit - for example "MSDS's", instead of MSDSs. Nevertheless, apostrophes don't belong on plural acronyms, unless the acronym is intended as a possessive, or a contraction.

Today, I couldn't get my A or D strings tuned satisfactorily. At first they sounded OK, but then I'd begin to feel that they were off. I really need a tuner. Our local music store has several electronic tuners, but they're for guitars, and operate at A / 44o Hz. Supposedly there are cello tuners available. Still, I'm getting a little better each day with the fingering and bowing.

This all comes on a day when we found out that we can draw a full livable income out of our IRA for the next five years (penalty free), and we can reasonably expect to see the total value still grow! I'm not fond of the idea of leaving a lot inheritance behind for the kids, but unless the economy really tanks for the next ten years, it looks like we're going to be OK.

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