The View From Here: Lamenting Lighting Limitations & Mulling Lava Lamps
By Ken DeLaat
It was Saturday afternoon at N3 World Headquarters and Christmas Village Construction Site and mutterings of consternation were trickling down from the impending village grounds that occupied the area upstairs from where I was reposing.
Not napping mind you. With rare exception my naps tend to only occur when our boat is anchored and I’m lying in the lounge seat having attempted in vain to read more than 3-4 pages before drifting off. All things being what they are, meteorologically speaking, it was looking to be some time before that was to happen again.
There was a football game on the tube with no interest attached to it save the wintry weather descending on the teams vying for the Division II Championship. I semi rooted for the team from Missouri because...
...the other team was from Alabama and, well, I guess I figured Missouri was closer to Michigan than Alabama and that state has won plenty of football championships and all.
I say semi-watched because I was also doing some last minute gift research for my Lifetime Spousal Companion (LSC) since no significant shopping had yet been undertaken and it being a week away from the Big Day and all…..
Gifting can be a challenge personally since there is a tendency to go with unfortunate instincts. A magic 8 ball, occasional Slinkys, a large roll of bubble wrap, kazoos and harmonicas, Lincoln Logs and other unusual items that seemed a good idea at the time of purchase have marked my presenting shortcomings over the years.
LSC Lil had spent much of the morning and now a good deal of the afternoon erecting the magical miniature municipality that began as a lone Dickensian building and has grown to include a multitude of shops and homes along with a variety of citizens, a seaport and I believe a train though I can’t be certain on the train.
Lil loves Christmas and, despite the time and energy expended in doing so, seems to enjoy putting up the village which is the Pièce De Résistance of the holiday scene that is created in our home each year.
There is only one problem with the whole decorating thing though.
We already went through the annual outdoor lighting operation. You know, that wonderful moment when stringing the little buggers along the garage and front doors as well as the archway and a select group of shrubbery resulted in the discovery that lights of this type often without warning and for no apparent reason can decide to retire from their elected duties.
There was also a light episode involving the tree as well as a bit of a battle successfully waged on our sunporch segment of seasonal illumination.
And now the sounds emanating from upstairs were unmistakably light-related.
Not possessed with an undue amount of bravery in these circumstances when it behooves one to not interfere with a driven soul in mid-project I hesitated to intervene but eventually the discomforting sounds from my favorite person on Earth led to an inquiry.
"Trouble with the lights?”
After one of those all too familiar glances indicating the level of absurdity associated with the question it was discovered 2/3 of the lights that seemed to be well functioning at the end of last year’s cycle were being substantially uncooperative.
“I’ll go get more,” I offered.
“You don’t have to.”
“I don’t mind.”
“Ok then.” She quickly responded. "I need them to be the net lighting type, no colors, and maybe a couple boxes just in case and if you can’t find them don’t worry about it.”
Having never once in my life worried about Christmas lights that part seemed simple. Though not as invested into the whole Christmas thing I am blissfully married to one who is and, being highly invested in her, I remained resolute about not returning home without them.
You’d think this an easy task, but the first two places I went (and indeed the closest ones) had none of the required type. I momentarily considered trying a different kind but quickly dismissed this having reminded myself of past attempts to substitute the desired product with another and the disappointment associated with the initiative.
I drove on.
Two stores later I found myself in Wal-Mart where after threading my way through the horde of Saturday afternoon seasonal shoppers I maneuvered my way to their Christmas section and eventually the lights.
After a somewhat lengthy search effort it looked like the trip would be in vain and my next option was to hit Meijer in Muskegon or wind up on Alpine or even further. If all else failed a trip to Bronner’s might even become necessary but then I saw them.
Perched on a top shelf were the very type of lights she was seeking.
Initially elated, my glee turned to dismay as they appeared to be the colored variety only.
My heart began to sink but being tall and all I reached up and sorted through to discover two boxes of the uncolored variety (one badly dented but hey, sometimes you just take a chance) hiding far behind the others.
There was a bit of a spring in my step as I hit the register, sauntered to my vehicle and made my way home.
I brought the boxes up ready to receive a bit of a hero’s welcome when it came to me that this effort could possibly solve my earlier dilemma.
“I know it’s still early and all but, hey, Merry Christmas,” I said when handing over the somewhat dented and obviously unwrapped boxes.
Yeah, it was That look.
I rapidly retreated from the room and returned to my research.
Hmmm…. I wonder how she’d feel about a lava lamp?
“The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.”-Charles Dudley Warner
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