Monday, February 14, 2011

The sounds of love for Valentine’s Day

Last year for Valentine’s day I went all out for my fiancee. I planned ahead in my gift giving and got very thorough. I will admit I was trying hard to impress. My plan was simple. I would buy my little lady a gift from each of the major categories of the love inspired holiday: Chocolates, Flowers, Jewelry, a card, a stuffed animal. I did each of those things a little special. I bought her a gold dipped rose… First off, I like it. It is a rose DIPPED IN GOLD! Secondly, it won’t rot and have to get tossed. I bought her two dozen chocolate dipped strawberries: One dozen milk chocolate and one dozen white chocolate. Strawberries happen to be her favorite fruit. I bought her another piece of jewelry:the Jane Seymour collection… well I double dipped and bought the earrings and another ring. The bear and the card were less special and specific but I picked out a very well written card and the bear was cute.
My plan this year was pretty simple. I intended to buy her another gold rose, and maybe a silver rose as well. I like silver better than gold myself. (although my wedding ring is titanium) I doubled up on my order of chocolate covered strawberries. I got her an extra special card. I bought her a couple things online that I know she will love (but that I can’t blog about now and ruin my own damned surprise). Then wifey threw a wrench in my plans.
For Valentine’s day this year she wanted a stereo for her car. I actually started to object and then I realized it was a pretty damned nice gift. First, it isn’t cheap, no one wants a cheap or thoughtless gift, or worse a cheap and thoughtless gift. Secondly, she will use it every day, unlike say the gold rose which is hanging out dusty in our curio cabinet. Finally, it quite simply is what she asked for. Everybody likes to get what they want.
So with my plan firmly in place I set about shopping for a car stereo for the wife. She had the factory system installed in her Elantra, and making an improvement was not exactly a difficult task. The only catch to that is I know the “do it yourself” brand of stereo installation that I prefer is never a seamless process.
I started out searching online trying to find the specs for what would fit in the Hyundai. I have never had a Hyundai. In fact, riding in Ashley’s Elantra has been my only interaction with the company. I think they a simply engineered, efficient and well running little cars. I actually like the boiled down to basics approach to the car. Though the idea of putting a stereo into a compact car isn’t fun for me at my size.
Within five minutes of searching I came across the Crutchfield website. (www.crutchfield.com) They have a cute little tool called Outfit my Car. The principal of which is simple : You input year, make, and model and it only outputs equipment that can work with your vehicle. I am nowhere near naive enough to believe that I could simply plug and play anything except original equipment, but now with everything “done” I have to say that the Crutchfield actually was a big help.
Once I had zeroed in on a few places to shop ( bestbuy, crutchfield, and walmart.com were all I searched) I decided I better talk to the wife a little more about what she wanted in her new system. I asked the question direct and she looked at me like I had lobsters crawling from my ears. So I got specific. “Baby what do you want your new stereo to do,” says I..
With a sceptical look from my beautiful bride she replies,” Play music.”
” Yes, baby, I figured that, but do you want it to play CDs, USB, have bluetooth, play an ipod…”
“I want it to be pink,” says Ashley in the tone and demeanor of a caring mother explaining something to a completely inane and stupid child.
And my heart sank…
No where that I have seen offers a search engine that gives an option for “pink face plate” or “lights up pink”. I shopped around on Crutchfield until I found a cute little Sony that seemed to have a pink lit set of buttons. The wife came home from work and I presented my find. She agreed with me. I picked out a receiver that was sold with a pair of 6 inch speakers. The price was very fair. The included install instructions were damned near priceless. If you can buy from the Crutchfield do so…. and if they suggest buying an extra install kit or anything else, listen to them and buy it. I didn’t and it was a little… creative getting everything installed.
Honestly, I am kind of proud of the way things turned out. After 4 trips to town: 1 for butt connectors, 1 for speaker wire and more butt connectors, 1 for a book on the Elantra, and 1 for new 6 x 9 speakers. my Dad and I managed to finish up the install. The wife seems pretty happy and as soon as I get this spell checked and posted I have every intention of making her a mix…. usb drive. Wow that is a neat new thing. No longer a mix tape or a mix CD but just a mix of files from me to her.

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. I hope you are all as happy in love as I am.

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