I didn't get to see my father, stepmother, or brother over Christmas, so I took Friday off and took the train to Washington, DC, for a quick weekend visit. My dad had warned me on Wednesday that they didn't have electricity at the house because of the bad weather, so he suggested I ask my brother if I could stay there should the power not be back on by the time I arrived. (Regular readers of my escapades may remember my ill-fated vacation to visit my family in September 2003, when I arrived just in time for a hurricane to knock out power for most of a week.) As of Friday afternoon the power was still off at his house. I went straight downtown and met a friend for lunch, then went over to my dad's office and met some of his co-workers who were my co-workers ten years ago when I worked at Georgetown. Then we went home. As we pulled up to the house, we could see that the floodlight in the backyard was on, as were lights in the neighboring houses. When we walked up to the front door, the power went out again. So we went out for dinner. Two hours later, we came back to a still-dark house. We sat in the kitchen with the TV running off a battery and the stovetop burners providing a bit of heat. When the power did come back on around 8:30 PM, we kept the lights off for a few more minutes, not wanting to tempt fate. But except for a few quick hiccups over the next 24 hours, the power was back on for good at that point. My brother didn't get a houseguest after all.
On Saturday I went back downtown to meet some other friends for lunch. When I got back home, my dad and my brother and I discussed home theater systems for the better part of two hours. I'm ready to start upgrading my home audio and video setup to HD and surround sound, so A/V was a big topic all weekend. After much debate and argument, Michael and I decided to go to one of the high-end electronics stores nearby just to look. Well, it was 5:55 PM, and they closed at 6. So we went to Best Buy instead. We left with a few of my questions answered, but added a few new ones to my list. And I knew this already, but it's refreshing to hear a Best Buy blue shirt tell a customer "I'm the only one here, and I don't know anything about this stuff."
I came back to New York on Sunday evening, just in time to get to a friend's apartment to watch "The Amazing Race" and "Grease! You're The One That I Want!" I hadn't intended to watch the second show, but my friends insisted, and I didn't have to work on Monday, so what the hell.
I spent Monday relaxing at home and at the movies, and then at Best Buy in Manhattan looking once more at home theater equipment. One guy shopping for his own system tried to sell me on a Bose system that cost $1000. I'm looking to spend about half that on the audio half of my new system. Besides, I'm not about to take advice from a guy who's spending the money he earned after he got hit by a car. I think I've found the audio system I want to buy, but I'm going to comparison shop at a few other stores first. I'd love to buy something this week and have everything in place before I host an Oscar party this Sunday evening, but that might be pushing it. And I want to do my tax forms first. If I'm getting a refund, I know what I'm spending it on this year.