Like most boys, James loved his toys. In his case, it was gadgets. He kept his cell phone upgraded. He was always on the lookout for bigger and better when it came to his computer. He had surround sound. And every time I figured out which combination of remotes I needed to watch my soap, something was purchased or upgraded that required me to have to learn a whole new system of remotes. Prior to James, I had a computer, a cable box, a VCR and no cell phone. And I was good with that. (Surprisingly, we never upgraded past the original Playstation, but I think we would possibly have a Wii if he was still alive-mainly because I want one).
The one thing James did not have when we met that he really wanted was a big screen TV. Every now and then, we would drive over to Video Only so James could "visit his TV." We would be there for hours (or so it felt to me) while he discussed the latest technology with the sales staff and decided which TV he would purchase if we were in the position to buy one. Five years after we met, we found ourselves in a position where James could finally have the TV of his dreams (translation: Yes Honey, you ARE going to have to learn a new remote if you want to watch TV). We were in Arizona by this time so we bought the TV from Ultimate Electronics. I know he wished he could have bought it from Video Only as they devoted so much time to him (and sold him his surround sound before we met and sold us a VCR and later a DVD player).
Because the gadgets were his thing, I never really paid much attention to them. If my computer stopped working, he eradicated the virus. If it was time to upgrade the cell phone, he went with me and asked all the technical questions that I found tedious. Gadget maintenance was definitely a boy chore. So a couple of months ago when I noticed an orange light on the TV control panel, my first thought was "hmm. Has that light always been there?" I know there is a little green light when the TV is on, but I couldn't remember there being an orange light-not that that means much given I am one of the least observant people on the planet.
I got out the book for the TV (being that filing is a girl chore, I knew exactly where to find it). I found out the little orange light meant the lamp was going out and needed to be replaced. "There's a lamp? " I thought. "Good to know." Apparently, it is a projection TV and needs the lamp to blah blah blah. According to the book, it's really easy to change the lamp-you can even do it yourself. I was skeptical. I know me. I can't even get the VCR hooked up without tears of frustration and a lot of swearing, yet I am expected to take apart the TV?!
I ordered the part at the end of November. It arrived on December 8th. I put it on the island in the kitchen and just ignored it. The TV was still working fine so I figured it wasn't doing any harm. Yesterday, however, I decided it might eventually damage the TV to have a bad lamp so I better change it.
I debated whether or not I really needed to unplug the TV first and ultimately decided there was probably a really good reason for step #1 to be unplug the TV. I took off the little speaker grid. Talk about dusty! I added my own step: remove dust that has built up behind speaker grid. I unscrewed the lamp cartridge panel. I unscrewed the lamp cartridge. I gently pulled on the handle. Nothing happened. I pulled harder. Nothing happened. "I can't do this," I could feel tears threatening. The screws on the lamp cartridge don't come out all the way and I hadn't unscrewed them enough. I finally got the lamp cartridge out; changed the lamp and screwed everything back into place. I plugged in the TV. I turned on the TV. Nothing happened. The timer light was flashing so I looked up what that meant. It meant the TV had just been turned off (huh?) and was cooling down and I had to wait 1 minute before I could turn it back on.
Sixty incredibly long seconds later, it stopped flashing and I pressed the power button on the remote. And there was sound. And then there was picture. And a message asking if I changed the lamp. "Why, yes I did!" I pressed "enter" on the remote per the message instructions. The message didn't go away. I realized I probably needed to press "enter" on the TV remote and not the satellite dish remote. "Do I have a remote for the TV?" (Stupid question-what don't I have a remote for? Seriously-I have 5 of them just for the downstairs entertainment center and that doesn't count the remote for the CD player which is completely separate from everything else). I found the TV remote and pressed enter. The message went away and the TV didn't blow up. All my recorded shows and TIVO "To Do" list were still there. And I did a happy dance.
No matter how small, I just love these moments that show me I can do this on my own.