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Samsung follow-up

This is just a follow-up to my last post about our Samsung FP-T5084 plasma TV.  After our TV failed to power up the other day (for the second time within a year) and Samsung rejected our warranty claim because the warranty had expired, I found out from the Samsung service rep that the power supply unit had been replaced last year (under warranty, of course).  When I priced the power supply online, it was available for about $130 at most electronics specialty shops, but eBay also had it for about $90 plus shipping. 

It was then that I stumbled upon a YouTube video of a guy who had the same problem I did with the Samsung FP-T5084 TV.  In the video he shows how to remove the back panel and replace one of three small fuses found on the power supply board.  Problem is, no one seems to carry the fuse in brick & mortar stores.  Places like Radio Shack, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowes didn't carry it.  Since I work in Philadelphia, I thought for sure I'd be able to pick up the fuse…

Samsung Sucks

First, let me reiterate: Samsung SUCKS! My wife and I purchased a 50" Samsung plasma TV in March of 2008 for about $2300. In December of 2009, the TV refused to power up. When I Googled the problem, I found that it seemed to be a common thing related to capacitors blowing out in the power supply or something. Fortunately, the TV came with a 2 year warranty, so I called Samsung and they had a repairman out within about 3-4 days. Angie said the repair guy was in and out of here in about 20 minutes. Of course, this meant that we had to take the TV down from the wall mount for the repair and then put it back up
afterward.

   Today, Angie told me she had trouble getting a picture on the screen. When I got home from work, I found that the TV wouldn't power up!! I can't even describe my frustration with Samsung on this one. If the authorized repair person doesn't ACTUALLY fix the problem, then how can I be expected to pay for the SAME repair less than a year later? Samsu…

Things I Said Today

Category: Parenting

1. "STOP taking your brother's Mighty Beanz®!!"
2. "Watch out for the sticker bushes!"
3. "Stay on the hiking path, please."
4. "Don't throw the rubber junk at each other!" (on the ground at the playground)
5. "WHO keeps farting??"
6. "Stop crashing your cars into the walls and furniture, please!"
7. "Stop crashing your cars into each other, please!"
8. "Don't throw/roll your cars down the basement steps!"
9. "Doesn't anyone want to play with the new train tracks I put together?"
10. To Adrian: "This is a 'No Whining' zone!"
11. "Three chesseburger Kids Meals, please.  All plain, with chocolate milks."
12. Dillon: "Jason won't listen to me."
      Me: "What do you mean?"
      Dillon: "I mean he won't do what I say. He won't play with me."
      Me: "Lately, Jason only wants to play wit…

"Professional" Photography

So... Angie had a photographer come to the house about a month ago and take some photos of the baby.  It was a free "sitting" fee and you get one free 5x7 picture.  Of course, you have to eventually sit through the full court press sales pitch before you'll get the free pic (if you ever actually get it), but that's the deal.

Anyway, the photographer was very nice (according to Angie), and she told Angie that she'd be willing to sell us the CD full of the digital images for like $40.  She said that the business "doesn't really take care of the photographers" and she'd be more than willing to sell us all the images for cheap.  Unfortunately, Angie never exchanged contact info with the lady, so a few weeks later we were contacted by the main office to schedule an "in home visit" so we could peruse the photos.

After much debate with herself and many unanswered phone calls (I swear the guy at the office called us about 8-10 times), Angie an…

Halloween 2010

Halloween 2010 was a lot of fun.  We all went to a pre-Trick or Treat party at a neighbor's house for some music and food.  Around 5PM, I took Dillon, Jason and Adrian around the neighborhood for trick-or-treating while Angie took Cameron back to the house for feeding and diaper changing.  (Already sounds like a hoot, don't it?)

The boys and I hit quite a few houses while we made our way back home.  They had only been out for about 30-40 minutes before I started hearing complaints about their feet hurting, or "I want a drink of water."  So when we got home I asked them if they just wanted to stay in and help give out candy or go back out.  They said they would help with the candy.

A couple of days earlier I had decked out the garage with a ton of bright-colored posters and cutouts, old Halloween costumes, pumpkins, skeletons, etc.  I went to Home Depot and bought about 4 or 5 black light bulbs to hang in the garage.  It turned out pretty cool (see photo).  Dillon enj…

Cameron - One Month Update

Cameron is enjoying his new home.  He is such a good baby.  I mean, we don't really hear from him unless he's hungry or has a bad case of gas (which is more often than we'd like).  We really haven't had any bouts of uncontrollable, inconsolable crying (knock wood).  He's on a regular feeding/sleeping schedule of every three hours, but he still seems more like a night owl because he sleeps more soundly during the daytime hours.  Occasionally, we'll get him to sleep about 4 hours at night, so if we feed him at 11pm, he might last until about 3am (but it's rare).  Typically, he gets up around 2am for a feeding and then again around 5am or so.  Angie is the trooper that has been handling all the late night duties and then managing the rest of the clan during the day.  Fortunately, Dillon and Jason are in 1st grade this year so they get the bus at 8am and return home around 3:15pm, which lightens Angie's load a little bit.

Cameron officially turned one mont…

Adrian enjoying a cupcake

First Day of 1st Grade!

Dillon and Jason

Adrian vs. Potty: The Saga Continues

Yesterday, Adrian woke up dry, which he does most of the time. He had
an OK day as far as going #1. Number Two, though, is a different
story. In the afternoon, he told Angie he had to go so she put him on
the little potty in the downstairs bathroom. He asked to be alone,
but then started saying he didn't have to go. Angie thought for sure
he had to go number two, so I went in and gave him a little pep talk
and convinced him to sit back down on the potty. I left the bathroom
and went out into the backyard to get ready to mow the grass, and
within 60 seconds Angie yelled out to me that he had pooped. On the
bathroom floor (which she had just cleaned earlier that day)!Later on we went out to dinner for my mom's birthday (which was
Friday). After dinner we decided to go play a round of miniature golf.
So before we left I took Adrian to the restroom (I had also brought
along our toilet seat 'adapter' for him). Angie hasn't had luck
getting him on there at home, but he went on the…

All Aboard the Potty Train 2

Adrian officially began potty training last Saturday morning (July 31st).  In the past, Angie had placed him on the potty a couple of times just to get familiar with it (and he even peed on it a couple of times).  But pre-school starts September 17th and he needs to be trained before then, so it was "All Hands on Deck" with no turning back now. 

It's been slow going for Adrian.  I remember the twins "getting it" within a couple of days.  That's not to say they didn't have accidents occasionally or that Jason didn't lapse back into having trouble going #2 on the potty (ended up wearing pull-ups for like 5 months more), but within a couple of days they each knew to go on the toilet or potty when they had to go #1.  Getting them to do #2 took a few days of practice, but it eventually happened.  Adrian hasn't yet told me that he has to go.  I just nag him constantly (which must get to be annoying for him) or I force him to sit on the potty if it'…

Adrian and I ready to race

This was taken in Nag's Head at a go-cart track. Adrian had a blast cruising around.

What we did on our summer vacation

Well, we spent the last 8 days in North Carolina.  The Outer Banks; Nag's Head, to be exact.  We left on Sunday morning, July 18th and came back on Sunday evening, July 25th.  Some high- and low-lights of the trip:

- I got a speeding ticket in North Carolina (70 MPH in a 55 MPH zone) on our way to the house the first day. We were only about 25 miles from the house.  Very unfriendly female cop.  I called my insurance company today and they said that they do not surcharge for points, so all I should do is pay the fine ($166).  Even though this would be a 4-point ticket in NJ, it only ends up adding 2 points to my license because I got it out of state.  Weird NJ law, but I'm glad for it.  For each year I go without a ticket I'll lose three points, so I'll be back to zero by the end of next July as long as I'm ticket-free.

- Not quite out of NJ yet, Angie asked me where the video camera was.  Of course, it was sitting on the kitchen counter where I had plugged it in th…

John Deere

The latest addition to the Hampton family.

At Phillies game

Leaving Las Vegas

Who would have thought that we'd be sitting in the airport an hour and
a half after our scheduled departure time? I guess we should have
booked that earlier flight after all. Oh well. I knew things were
going too smoothly.They (US Airways) keep making announcements like "we'll be boarding in
15 minutes" and "boarding will begin in 5-10 minutes" but they've been
saying that for over an hour now. We can see the plane sitting there.
I guess they know best. Hopefully we'll be in Philly by 9pm! We'd
like to see the kids, and we know they're excited that we're coming
home tonight.--
Sent from my mobile device

Caesar's Palace

Walked all the way through the darn casino to the back (felt like 2 miles) and then found this sign stating that the Atlantis show was out of service! They could have told us that with a sign at the *#*!?/@+ entrance!!!!This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/picture.Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

Mandalay Bay hotel

Where we're staying...

The Venetian

Hoover Dam site

Mandalay Bay 'Beach/Wave Pool' area

Four Seasons fountain

Vegas

Arrived in Vegas around 10:30 AM PDT. Grabbed a shuttle to the hotel after dropping $5 on a slot machine at the airport (there goes our snack money). Ate lunch at the hotel cafe (a couple of chicken caesar salads) and then explored the hotel a bit (it's huge). Took the monorail to Luxor and Excalibur, but didn't really do much exploring at those resorts. Paid $14 to take a cab about 2 miles to the Mirage hotel so we could pick up our ticket for the Beatles Love show (tonight!). Decided to walk the new strip a bit instead of paying another $14 to go back to Mandalay Bay. Watched the volcano eruption at 9 PM in front of the Mirage (pretty cool), and then walked to the Bellagio and checked out the botanical gardens there. Made our way to the Excalibur and then hopped the monorail tram back to Mandalay. We were pretty hungry by then, so I just grabbed some McD's from across the street and then ate in the hotel room.

We thought we'd "sleep in" but jet lag woke me…

House 2

FHA says w have to remove the chipping paint from the chimney and have it repainted. Getting estimates this week and hoping it doesn't cost more than $100.

Don gave us a little scare when he called on the weekend to say that the dishwasher was acting flaky.  I bumped into him today over at Hahnemann Hospital and he said it worked OK last night.  We only have 16 days until settlement, so I'm hoping we don't have to spend any more money on stupid stuff.

We had to track down a document that stated that our original mortgage was "paid in full" because the title company told our realtor that it looked like it was never paid off.  We bought the house in 2002, and then refinanced in 2003 so it was paid off.  Luckily, I found the paperwork tonight so we should be covered.

Still need to grab a bunch of stuff from the storage sheds and from the basement over the next couple of weeks.  Also, the township has to come out on the 20th to award the certificate of occupancy, as …

House

We found out that even though the buyers specifically wrote "Washer and dryer excluded" into our contract a month ago, they've decided to keep them.  Now I don't have to worry about selling them or moving them out of the house!  I'm not sure if we need to change the contract language or not... It would seem like maybe we should, but I haven't heard anything. 

I guess I should put the wall and door back up since there is no need to leave it the way it is now.

I'm also waiting for the termite guy to call me to schedule a day this week to do the (unnecessary) treatment (which will cost us about $500).  He made it seem like he'd be able to do this one day this week, so I'm hopeful.  Once we cross that off the list and put the laundry area back to "normal" with the wall and door, I think we just wait for the Certificate of Occupancy to be granted, and then... Settlement April 30th!

Of course, I still have to cut the lawn there at least once, …

Nighthawk KN-COSM-B Detector

Just wanted to vent a little bit.  Since we're selling our house in Maple Shade on April 30th, we have to have a "Certificate of Occupancy" issued to us by the township prior to settlement.  Part of this process involves someone coming out to inspect your fire extinguisher(s) and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.  So I went to the house last weekend to make sure all of the batteries are new and that the detectors were all working properly.  Well, one of them was beeping every 30 seconds, even with brand new Energizer batteries! It's a KIDDE / NightHawk KN-COSM-B combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector (these ain't cheap either). 

After doing some research online, I've come to find out that these detectors "self expire" after 7 years, regardless of whether or not they are still actually functional.  So this one detector is basically trash even though it would probably work fine if not for this "feature."  We'll have to see what th…

Bad Day

I guess this guy is having a bad Thursday... I saw a large dead goose near the car, so I'm wondering if it caused the accident somehow. When it was alive, of course.

Garmin Nuvi 265W

Used my portable Garmin Nuvi 265W last Wednesday to get from my house to an address in Rockville, MD (for work).  It was fine the whole way there (about 3 hours), and I even used the bluetooth feature to take a phone call from work while driving.  After we were finished, I got in my car and tried to switch the Nuvi on, but it wouldn't power up (despite having been plugged in for the entire journey).  Since I've only had it since Christmas, it was still under warranty and Garmin offered to replace it for free (I had to pay return shipping - $5).  They were unable to explain why it failed to start up.  All I know is that this was the ONLY time I'd ever left the Nuvi mounted on the windshield after leaving the vehicle.  I'm wondering if the direct sunlight caused it to fail.  It wasn't melted or anything, but I just can't figure out what happened.

Lesson: always stash your GPS in your glove box or center console when leaving your car.

Please Touch Museum

Dillon on the carousel at Please Touch Museum in Philly.

Dillon's marble eggs

Here's a couple of Dillon's marble Easter Eggs. In the background are the horrible "egg tattoos."

Jason's Monster Eggs

Easter Egg Decorating

Angie bought the boys some Easter Egg decorating kits, so we decided to use the dyes last night.  Each pack also came with "extra" decorations: Jason picked the "monster pack" which came with pipe cleaners (for arms), "hair", and stickers for eyes, noses and mouths; Dillon picked the Star Wars pack, which came with Star Wars "tattoos" for the eggs; and Adrian picked a regular dye pack with no "extras."  Angie started the process before I joined in.  Each of the kids had one container in front of them, so Angie let them each pick a dye color.  They all chose blue.  So instead of starting off with three different color options, we had blue across the board.


Angie had placed large pieces of tissue paper on the table (three layers), but that turned out to be insufficient.  The table ended up getting dyed more than the eggs.  At one point, I knocked one of the blue containers over!  So in order to start getting more color options out for th…

Home repairs

Took care of a lot of the requested home repairs on the Maple Shade house yesterday.  The hole in the dormer soffit was repaired by a contractor that recently did work on my parents' house.  He was nice enough to do it for free, but this may present a problem since I need some kind of work order to present to the buyers.  We'll see how that goes over.  While I was there I also changed out the whole-house water filter, which was pretty much overdue by a few months at least.

The list of small electrical issues was also addressed.  A licensed-electrician friend of mine came over and spent the better part of the afternoon swapping out old outlets for GFCI-protected outlets in the kitchen, back yard, and basement.  I duct-taped the loose duct work to the vent in the bathroom myself, which the buyers agreed to.  I need to pick up an outlet & switch cover plate for one kitchen outlet and we need to get a second opinion on the termite thing, and then that's it.  April 30th can…

Omen V: Adrian

We went to a baptism service today for little Emma Bachowski (congrats, Emma!). Our kids wanted to draw with the pencils and little tablets that were placed in the pews. Since it kept them (mostly) occupied we were happy to let them do it.  At one point, though, I looked down at Adrian's tablet and saw that someone before us must have drawn in it and placed it back in the rack. I looked closer and saw an upside down cross with the words "Hail Satan" written across the page. I nudged Angie & said, "Look."  She looked over, frowned and said "Did you do that?!" "No," I said. "He did!"

Jason and Dillon at Funplex 3/14/10

Cyndi and Angie

Team Pic at Dunkin Donuts

Basketball Pics

Jason and Dillon's basketball pictures came in the other day:


Today is "Skills Day", which is the last event of the season.  After that, the coach is taking all the kids to Dunkin' Donuts and giving out their trophies.

Slayer Burrito

Has anyone tried Taco Bell's new Slayer Burrito??? Must be hot as Hell!

Random 'Hampton' sighting

I was driving behind this on the Ben Franklin Bridge this morning.

Dillon and Jason basketball practice

Dillon at basketball practice

Jason at Basketball practice

All in a day's work

Today we did a bunch of snow activities...
We dug a tunnel along side the driveway beneath our mountains of snow... Here's Dillon peaking through the tunnel.





We went sledding at Laurel Acres Park...
Here's Dillon on the left and Jason on the right, getting ready for their first run...

Then we built a snowman (Jason on left, Dillon on right).











Then we finished shoveling and threw some snowballs around...
Here's Adrian, getting ready to go down the hill with mommy...

Mom

Dillon and I walked a special path through the snow in the backyard this afternoon...

Snowblind

How strange that my last post was during the blizzard of '09, and this one is during the blizzard of '10... A matter of only a few weeks later.
This is always a good time to do stuff around the house since we're stuck inside (when we're not shoveling, that is - and by "we're" I mean "I'm").  So while the kids watch some "Jetsons" episodes (via Comcast OnDemand), I'm setting up a TV in the basement with the old PlayStation 2 and a VCR so they can watch movies down there from time to time.  We've got another VCR that I'll hook up to the 17" TV upstairs (at least until the "upstairs playroom" becomes the "basement playroom").

I also decided to upgrade my main home computer to Windows 7, and I must say it totally rocks.  I don't want to say it was my idea or anything, but it's really cool.  And the computer itself seems to run so much better on it than it did when Windows XP was installed.  …