Today's my sister Lucy's birthday. She must be having a good one, because she has not replied to anyone's email birthday greeting. The previous weekend was our nephew Daniel's 2nd birthday party in Smyrna. That kid partied until it was almost dark!

In other birthday news, we drove all the way to Smyrna again (10 miles away) to get a free birthday dinner for Tara at a new-ish Mexican restaurant called Mi Tierra. [Now Chago's] It was Tara's birthday on the tenth and they give you a week's grace period. Dinner still ended up costing $26 after tax and tip. Tara had to study the receipt to make sure we really did get her portion free. The food has been good there both times we've gone, but the service has never been that great. But then, in at least half of all restaurants we've ever patronized the service is almost never very good.

You tell me if this is unreasonable: I like a waiter who attends to us promptly after being seated, then leaves us COMPLETELY alone after the food arrives unless we specifically flag them down. We don't like them “checking in” every five minutes, usually when I've just put something in my mouth. The food needs to arrive reasonably soon after ordering. They then need to bring us the check when we've finished eating and COME BACK so we can pay it and leave. So often, when we're ready to leave, we can't find them.

In happier news, we finally got rid of that mouse that had, thanks to our worthless cat, been living with us the past few weeks. Tara had suggested putting the trap behind the refrigerator, because that's where we kept hearing him. It was a “live catch” type because I hate to kill things unnecessarily. Besides, I don't want dead things in the house. The trap wouldn't fit between the wall and fridge, so I put it next to it back there. Sure enough, it finally worked. There had been so many false alarms with that trap (it would close by itself), that it was almost a fluke that I bothered to step outside this time before opening it. As soon as I did, the mouse startled me when it leaped out, landed on the grass five feet below and scurried off into the taller grass next to the fence.

It's been a couple weeks now since we cancelled our Dish Network subscription. No cable or satellite TV. I surprised us both by being the one who missed it the most. As soon as it was gone, I've been fairly obsessed in getting television on our screen again, first via the Internet, then over the airwaves thanks to an antenna. Remember those? This one looks like a spaceship with rabbit ears. Anyway, I apparently wanted what I couldn't have. Typical guy behavior, I think. I learned something about myself, I guess: I'm a typical guy … sometimes.

Today, after a lot of research I finally ordered an outside antenna that will purportedly receive HDTV, UHF and VHF signals. I was prepared to buy the $60 one at Radio Shack, but this one online (through Amazon) only cost $35 or so. I used the “super saver” (super slow) shipping to avoid paying for shipping. Hopefully, once installed we'll finally get channels 5 and 17 (CBS and Fox, respectively). Turns out, most of our favorite shows are on CBS or Fox. If we were getting 5 and 17 already instead of 2 and 4 like we are now, I would not have bothered with an outside antenna. We get Telemundo now, too, so I'm hoping to catch the occasional soccer game that I never got through pay TV except during the World Cup. Maybe I'll learn Spanish in the process. 🙂

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