Well, I messed with the camera all morning, trying to take it apart (kinda chickened out on that halfway through), reading various forums on the web dealing with what happens when your lens gets stuck, etc. Repairs would cost almost as much as a new one. (Why does the world operate like that? Why do vendors encourage us to throw stuff away instead of repairing it by charging so damned much to fix things? Another rant for another day.)
It's no good. My wonderful beautiful birthday camera is no more. And it's all my fault.
After several hours of messing and googling and being upset and everything else, I just couldn't sit here and look at the camera any longer. I went outside and picked raspberries, a whole bowlful. They looked absolutely beautiful in the autumn sun. I wanted to take a picture, but--well, you know.
There was only one thing to be done. I girded my loins, screwed up my courage, held my breath, and told Kat. After staring at me for about 15 seconds, she said, "Well, we'd better get you a new one. You can't go to Cape May without one." So I told her what I had been thinking about as I tried desperately to fix the camera: Should I still go to Cape May, or just take that money and buy a new camera? Do I really deserve another camera after so recklessly breaking this one? Should I just give up this whole photography thing?
After listening to my ranting, do you know what she said? "Honey, you put up with a partner who works 12- to 15-hour days and is never around. Taking pictures and watching birds is what keeps you happy when I'm working. For that you deserve another camera."
Insert the sound of my weeping here.
I really thought she'd lose it. See, you've only read a few of my tales of DIY woe (the homemade scope being probably the biggest one before this). She LIVES with me and my unfinished projects, my half-rebuilt broken stuff, my "yeah, I'm gonna fix that!" collection of junk. Now, I don't want to make it sound like I never get anything right. I mean, I built the Taj Majal of bookcases for Kat:
and several other pieces of furniture, and I've fixed lots of other things. However, I believe it's safe to say that some things are simply beyond my abilities. Working with electronic equipment is one of them.
Anyway, she took time--one of her most precious things right now, as she's working like a dog to finish her comps paper (imagine writing a master's thesis in three weeks--yeah)--to look online with me at some cameras. We determined a budget, and now I'm online to do some research. I have narrowed it down to the following:
1. Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS 7.1MP 12X optical zoom with Image Stabilization
2. Fuji Finepix 3700 7.1MP 10X optical zoom
3. Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ8K 7.2MP 12X Optical zoom with image stabilization
All are comparable in price, but 1. and 3. feature image stabilization. Wow.
Perhaps I should go the camera store and look at these babies live. I'll keep you posted.