On the Spectrum

A week! Some things got done! Others, not so much!

I’d signed up with Blink Fitness, which is the only gym with a local branch not far away, at the beginning of the year, to continue my PT exercises. That’s been working out OK – that branch is always busy, but if I go early in the morning, I can at least get on the machines I want (mostly).

Then, a week or so ago, my company offered a new corporate partnership with Blink! So I upgraded my membership, not that that means a lot. I can go to any of the branches now – but can’t think of a reason I would, unless I find myself in Manhattan needing a shower or something. (one of the things I like about going to the local branch is I don’t have to change or shower there, I can just go home) But my organization has always had a $25-a-month benefit for gym membership, so even with the upgrade, it’s essentially free.

I’ve gone to gyms before, had those ‘introductory free sessions’ with trainers, but this time I had more of a plan – get the trainer to review the PT exercises I was already doing to correct my form, or even give me better exercises. Then develop a more overall plan rather than just legs, which is what I’m doing now. (I figure this will take more than one session, and I’ll probably actually work with a trainer every couple of weeks.) So scheduled an appointment for Tuesday, showed up and the trainer did not. Well, not good. But I rescheduled for yesterday (different trainer), and had a really good first session with a really nice young Asian guy. Didn’t go exactly in the direction I wanted to steer it, but what we did was fine and in the general direction I want to go, so that was good. He taught me a different way to squat which is far better and less miserable, so that will be helpful, even at home when I drop stuff, which I do all the time.

I also signed up for a weight loss program through my company/health insurance called Real Appeal. It’s like Weight Watchers, basically, but it’s free and the meetings are online. So I had the first meeting of that this week, and will dutifully keep up the work, even though (argh) it’s going to involve calorie and food tracking and that’s tedious. But it’s also tedious being the size of a house, so… tradeoffs.

I figure with the leg work and gym, plus the weight loss program, I might be more confident about getting back on the ice in a couple of months. I miss it.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’d gone to the close-to-my-office Manhattan branch of Charles Schwab to switch over our joint account and C’s retirement accounts there. The joint account, not a big deal, the retirement accounts more so. They had me fill out a lengthy application, and told me their estate team would be in touch.

Then this week I got a call from their Forest Hills office, following up on a conversation I’d had with them last year. My contact there wanted to get on a call with me and one of their estate people so I could ‘fill out the applications’, one for each account. And I’m like, “I already did some of this in Manhattan, are you not talking to each other?” I suspect they are not. But there will be movement forward on this on Tuesday, one way or another.

I also tried to close out our joint household account at Capital One. I’d opened an identical just-me account, moved most of the money over, and reviewed the utilities, etc. that draw from those accounts. Some of them had to be ‘repointed’, others just use the debit card, so if the debit card is pointing to the right account, we’re already good to go. But I tried on Friday to close the joint account and there was a pending transaction on it and the guy on the phone said ‘you can’t switch the card over until Wednesday’ and my fear now is I’ll get in a loop where they can’t move the card to point to the new account because charges keep popping up on the old account. Oh, well, it will work out, one way or another.

I’m having friends over to watch figure skating this weekend and one of them asked, reasonably, if I had a way to record the skating, because she couldn’t make it when it was actually broadcast. And the answer was ‘no’, unless I wanted to reinstall the VCR (I didn’t), but a little research showed that although I didn’t already have DVR service with my full Spectrum suite (cable, internet, landline), I could if I asked for it.

My Spectrum bill is pretty high and I’d already started to think about ways to reduce it – I don’t actually watch live TV that much, and the only thing I’d lose by cutting the cord would be NY1, our local news channel (which I would miss). So I went to the local Spectrum store on Tuesday to ask about the DVR and maybe adding mobile (they’ve been bombarding with ads, and the mobile price would be half of what I’ve been paying AT&T) and maybe dropping cable.

So first of all, I went over lunchtime and showed up in the store and signed in on their kiosk, but then looked on the display and realized I was like 12th in line and the line didn’t seem to be moving at all. So I rolled my eyes and decided to just walk out and try again another day, scheduling an appointment ahead of time. But I went to lunch, and when I walked out of the diner, thought, ‘let’s go back to the Spectrum store and see if I’m still in line’ and it turned out I was literally next and got called about 30 seconds after I walked back through the door. So that worked out well.

Long story short: when I asked about dropping cable, the Spectrum guy looked at my current package and told me it was an old package and he could offer me a new one plus mobile for cheaper! So, I could keep what I already had (including cable), add DVR and mobile service, and my bill would drop (plus no more AT&T bill). So that sounded great. But I had to make sure my phone was ‘unlocked’ and I also had to swap out one of my cable boxes for the DVR box – so I went back on Thursday with the old box and the unlocked phone and we did that whole transfer. (Yes, I had to call AT&T in the middle of that and fight through the ‘please don’t leave us’ script to get needed info, but we got it.)

So, good, but a side effect was that he looked at my equipment records and realized my modem was pretty old and it was time to give me a new modem and router – which he did – but this also disabled my existing equipment. So, I’d been expecting to go home and finish my work day, but I had no internet or phone. Actually, I’m lucky I even had cell phone, because that had just been switched over as well. So my end-of-day Thursday was about swapping out the modem and router and getting the new ones set up, and also installing the new DVR box. (I ran a test, the recording works beautifully. Why didn’t I do this years ago?)

Also found out quite by accident during setup that my new TV, which I just bought after Thanksgiving, allows you to set up ‘hotkeys’ on your remote to quickly jump to the things you usually select, like ‘cable box’ or ‘Hulu’ or whatever. I figured there probably was something like that, but I stumbled across how to do it by accident, and it’s really easy, so good for me there too.

So that’s fun and exciting, especially dropping like $100 a month in utility bills.

Another thing I did was order, through Framebridge, a large framed print of one of our wedding photos to put above the fireplace. I hadn’t measured it when I ordered it, just ordered the biggest one, and got it this week. Holy crap, it’s huge, and I thought it might actually be too much, but I removed it from the packaging and put it on the mantel and actually, no, I think it looks great. I’ll ask my buddies for their opinions this weekend, but I think it’s a keeper. Once I actually hang it properly, I’ll pose a picture.

Enjoy the long weekend, all of you who have it with me!

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