Whew! Laurel and I got out of Salem's Video Only store with our relationship intact.
But it was touch and go for a while, as choosing a new television has become an exercise that highlights male-female differences.
It used to be that you looked at a bunch of TVs lined up at a store and picked one that had a pleasing picture and was within your price range.
On the afternoon of New Year's Eve, though, Laurel and I found ourselves taking a crash course in HDTV technology as we tried to decide on a 42 inch LCD set to buy.
The impetus to dump our ancient Phillips 32 inch tube monstrosity came mostly from me. I've been irritated over DISH network's dropping of the local ABC station, but don't want to shift to DirecTV, a competing satellite service.
So I figured I'd drown my ABC-lacking (no Rose Bowl! maybe no Lost!) sorrow by being able to watch our remaining programming in high definition on a large screen.
Tuesday I'd gone into Video Only on my own to scope out the HDTV possibilities. One glance at the crystal clear football game displayed on a couple of dozen flat panels arrayed along a Video Only wall convinced me that it was time to get out of the television stone age.
But this had to be a shared marital decision. Hence, the next day I escorted Laurel over to the 42 inch LCD section and pointed out my preferred model.
Which soon turned out to be my unpreferred model, as I hadn't realized that the LG50 lacked some desirable features that the LG70 had.
Of course, I didn't really understand much about those features.
Such as four HDMI connectors rather than three, and TruMotion 120Hz instead of 60Hz. I simply felt deeply in my male bones that the more technological bells and whistles a TV had, the better.
Laurel, though, was fixated on comparing how the LG70 picture compared to the LG50. Her intuitional female self was, literally, looking at the big picture -- not analyzing the techie details of the sets like I was.
I began to feel sorry for Teresa, the Video Only salesperson who was helping us. She did her best to remain neutral as Laurel and I aired our differences.
L: The LG 50 picture looks brighter than the LG70.
B: That's because the set is adjusted differently. We can make the LG70 picture look however we want once we get home.
L: Well, the LG50 picture still looks better to me.
B: (more exasperated now) OK, I understand that. But like I said, there's lots of adjustments that can be made, and the LG70 has more of them.
L: Another thing... the LG70 has red trim on the sides. I don't like it.
B: Jeez! Trim doesn't affect how a TV works! Just don't look at the side of the set!
And so it went, until Teresa told us that she was going to do something else and we should let her know when we'd made a decision.
I felt like sending out for a marriage counselor. But then I remembered that I was married to a retired one.
I'm not sure what led to our HDTV impasse being broken.
Probably Laurel realized that I was so attached to getting the LG70s higher-tech features, we'd be arguing in the Video Only aisle until closing time if she didn't say "Fine, go ahead and get it."
When I heard those words I rocketed off to find Teresa. She was standing by the check-out counter.
"Teresa, hurry! Write up a LG70 order before my wife changes her mind!"
As she was typing into the computer terminal I asked her if it was common for couples to have so much difficulty agreeing on a TV. "Oh, yes," Teresa told me, "It happens all the time."
I can believe it.
I suspect a large part of the problem is that men can visualize themselves playing around with a bigger and badder remote control that now not only can change channels and volume, but also manipulate intricate details of how the high-definition picture looks.
Women, on the other hand, seem to believe that watching television is the point of having a television.
No, not at all, says my remote-control obsessed mind, which has had an outrageous amount of fun the past few days playing around with the multitudinous combinations of picture-altering options offered by the LG70.
I tune in a football game. Try out "Sport," "Vivid," "Standard," and other pre-set viewing options. I also turn TruMotion to high, low, and off, observing how this changes the look of the action.
Haven't even begun to delve into the "Expert" options, which I'm assuming allow for more customized fine-tuning of the picture. Then, next week DISH will be delivering a HD DVR receiver upgrade and turning on an expanded range of HD channels.
Who needs to watch TV? I'm having a great time fiddling with the remote control. Actually watching televison is going to be kind of a let-down.