Everybody's missin' the sun


The other night, I was talking to J. & B., and the subject of my cold house came up. By Thursday evening, my house is extremely freakin’ cold (efc), because no one has been around and heat’s been off, and the insulation here consists of, oh, probably mouse feces and wilted old pink scratchy mouse nesting materials. (I prefer to say mouse, rather than the other rodent possibility.) At any rate, J. suggested I go get a thermostat with a timer, and have it heat the house up before I get home. Duh. I know, everyone else got one of these in the eighties. A tiny voice in my head was all, “leave well enough alone,” but I did not listen.

I went home: “You know, thermostat, we need to break up. There’s a coldness that just doesn’t belong in a healthy relationship. Thermostat was all silent, grrr, I hate that. But I knew what T. was thinking: “Um, it’s always all about you, isn’t it. You want me to be totally at your beck and call, even when you aren’t home.” But whatever, I was just at that point.

The next day, I went to The Home Depot, which, well, I don’t exactly have ADD, but lets just say I don’t do very well in big confusing stores with fluorescent lights and lots of shiny things. Alert readers are all thinking, sheesh, I got a bad feeling about this. But anyway, I was walking down the Christmas light aisle, which I think is all of the aisles right now, and um, did you see something colorful? Me too. Even though I’m not really a big celebrant of Christmas, and I think the lights represent everything that’s wrong with our society, like, buying unnecessary crap made in China with a very short life, and lots of environmental cost, and outdoor lighting in the rural area is just wrong, and everything else. I know all that. But still, it’s been especially dark here lately. Stan died unexpectedly last week, and so many of us are sad about that. And about 40 people got laid off from my workplace a few days ago, which is a lot, like maybe ¼ of us. Not to mention the literal darkness and rain.

So lights seemed like a good idea. AND, they now have solar LED lights, which made me feel less guilty. I pawed through them all, looking for something cheery but tasteful, like tiny blue lights. They didn’t have that, so I selected all these other lights. A string for by the door so it would be cheery, and a timer for that, because I am all about having my house do stuff for me. I know. And for some odd reason, I bought these suction cup hooks that were displayed right by the lights, making me think, and I don’t think it’s just me being dense, that they would actually have something to do with hanging Christmas lights. Um, in case you are tempted by this, let me just tell you that they would be useful if you were hanging lights in the shower or something. The suction cups, which I own 24 of, well, they don’t suck to just anything. After all of this, I went to the thermostat part, and studied them, and picked the cheapest one that looked like it would work. Because obviously, I’m all about saving money.

I got home, (house temperature = to outdoor temperature by now), turned off the power, and took apart the thermostat. In the dark. Went to my Home Depot bag, and couldn’t find the new thermostat that I just bought, because, turns out I didn’t just buy it, I was too distracted by the lights and stuff. I acted all cool, like, whatever, I was gonna put the lights up first anyway. (I know, who cares, I was home alone anyway, but just so you know, no curse words left my lips.)
So I drag the ladder out to the little tree that I had in mind for the lights, which, the beauty of this whole solar LED thing is, you don’t need an outlet, or a tiny wind mill or anything. Just sun. Oh, right. So anyway, 21 feet of lights does not go very far on even the smallest hemlock tree, just so you know. But I felt clever for about 3 minutes, because I had thought to purchase two strands. I know! But shoot, I go back to the house to get strand number two, and discover that the second strand is a whole ‘nother color than strand one, my second shopping mistake. Strand 1 is muli-color, strand 2 is white. Nothing wrong with white, it’s all tasteful and stuff, but BORING. We see so many white lights all the time (or is it just me?). But I thought, okay, so now there’s basically just a shallow “s” shaped thing formed in lights on this small-for-a-hemlock-but still healthy little tree. And I decide that since I have to go back to The Home Depot anyway, I can get more colored lights. Since I already have this sting of white lights, I might as well use them to decorate a small rhododendron. Let’s just say, 21 feet doesn’t even go very far, even on a tiny rhody.

Let’s review: the lights and power are off inside, and the thermostat is unhooked, leaving wires hanging from a hole in the wall where the animals live. The ladder is out by the hemlock tree, because I’ll surely get back to that soon. The chair is by the rhody, because I’ll probably have to get more lights on that too.

At this point, I remember that what I should really be doing is writing something for Stan’s memorial the next day. I was asked to speak, and first just said no, are you freakin’ crazy? I mean, there’s nothing I want to do less than write something and then read it in front of a hundred weeping people, about someone we all wish hadn’t just died. That is exactly at the end of the list of things I want to do. And then I realized that I should have said yes, because sometimes when friends ask you to do something, you have to just do it anyway, because if they think you can do it, well, maybe you should just trust them, so I had to call back sheepishly and say, um, okay, I’ll do it.

Okay, I’m in the middle of writing this long and hassley story, full of trips to Home Depot and things not working out, when I just suddenly got bored: first I have to live it, and then, sheesh, write about it. I can hardly finish. I tell this to R., who says, “but Mom, you live all your stories, and then write them. Why is this any more boring than anything else you do?” Which is a good point, but sheesh, I think I'll take a little break. Come back soon!

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