Dad Hardware Upgrades Camera And Grill

If you asked my spouse, she would probably tell you that I have exactly two bankable skills that partially offset the difficulties of having me around, and I got hardware updates to both last week. I run the camera and the grill, and therefore get the bid for the available dad slot in my wife’s house.

The Camera

For the last five years, I have pocketed my trusty canon PowerShot SD450 Digital Elph and headed to the beach, or the game, or just the yard. I’m guessing in that time that I pulled the trigger on that puppy 7000 times, yielding over 3500 keepers in the grand archive of my parenthood. I’ve gotten some great shots over the years, and have always appreciated the image quality, color and crispness that tiny package produced.

I noticed this summer that the camera was taking longer to get a focus, and that even the pics that the camera gave me the green light for were coming out on the fuzzy side. I bumped up the resolution and size and still got the same result. This was seriously slowing me down in the production of “wicked-ahhhty” photos as my SIL calls my endless pics of the Chappaquiddick landscape.

As I mentioned, this is a primary fatherhood function for me, so I should have attended to this problem well ahead of our summer travels. Better late than never, I guess. With soccer season cranking up, and a few overheated gasps of summer still to capture, I sprung for a new camera. My lust for a really fancy DSLR is still unslaked, however. Things are looking a little better here at the DL, but not DSLR better.

So I stuck close to the tried and true with a Canon PowerShot SD 890 Digital Elph. I’m really looking forward to playing with the 5x optical zoom (really good for a compact), and seeing what exactly 10MP will do for me, other than fill up my hard drive faster. Image stabilization, yes! A must for a camera this small with that much zoom. I’ll update when I actually get it (a tad under $300 from Costco.com).

The Deciding Factor: a rec from David Pogue — it’s the camera he would upgrade his wife to.

The Grill

My grill emeritus is of an even older vintage than the camera. I cashed out the portable grill with the screw-in propane cylinder and tinfoil grates for a Weber Genesis Silver about seven years back. Since then, the grill has been through several grate replacements (from cast iron to ceramic) and even had a total guts replacement, thanks to the visiting FIL tired of listening to me complain about it.

But the aging Weber has gotten as temperamental as Gordon Ramsay in an Applebee’s. The slightest breeze comes up, and the northwest corner is glowing volcanic red while the southeast is a good place to keep my beer cold. Plus it had developed a bad case of menacing, black, scaly stalactites in the lid.

We grill a lot. Maybe too much. Anyway, this led my wife and I to give each other for our twelfth anniversary (Already? Thanks, honey!) a new grill. I was tempted by an Amana that I saw on sale at Target, but in the end, Bubba and I hauled out to Home depot to scoop up a Blue Ember grill. Lots of stainless. Pretty. Loving the increased real estate, even heat and higher grill.

Maybe I’m a sucker, but I got nearly a benjamin knocked off the sticker by opening a Home Depot credit account (side note: this required several extra security steps since I had my identity stolen — glad to see the system working). This brought the cost down to just over $300.

One hitch, they didn’t have any units still in the box, so I had to take a pre-assembled one (no additional cost). Other than costing me a chance to display my mad toolbox skillz to the progeny, this was all good with me. But somehow, I wound up without a manual, so I’m still figuring out how to use the rotisserie element and side-burner. No biggie. I was planning on never using those anyway.

The Deciding Factor: a Consumer Reports Best Buy