Lamps and Hearts
I have put away more trinkets in my life than you can imagine. I just woke up one day and decided I was really tired of dusting things. Among other doodads scattered around my house, I boxed up a collection of different configurations of owls. There were glass ones, ceramic ones, pottery ones, stuffed ones and some that I have no idea what they were made of. I was really appreciative of all the gifts of owls I was given. Towards the end of the collecting I thought it was more about me giving the giver something to shop for on their trips rather than giving me the owl. That sounds so rude I know, but truth sometimes is ugly. I still have them all and occasionally paw through them and smile. Receiving these treasures from my family and friends taught me one thing; if you’re going to buy a gift for someone while you are on a vacation, buy food or a t-shirt. For goodness sakes get a size that will fit. Nothing is as infuriating to me as having something that doesn’t fit. But as I have said before, that is another story.
I learned from the loving gifts I received not to try to add to someone’s collection. It’s their collection, not mine. The cool thing about having a collection, to me, is the hunt to find the newest addition. But to add to a collection requires shopping. And I don’t like to shop much anymore. Now we are getting to the meat of this column. Shopping—the good, the bad and the insanity of it.
I used to shop. Not a lot, just the regular amount. You know, for groceries, clothes when needed, décor for the house and gifts. Don’t get me wrong. I still shop, when I have to. But the bloom is off the rose for me to take in all that is offered with the shopping experience. I think I began to sour when I was in a Costco one July and Christmas items were beginning to appear. We’ve all seen the July/Christmas display. By the end of September the stuff looks so sad in some stores that you feel you are looking at garage sale items. That is really putting down garage sales. At least at a garage sale you know the stuff is used and at bargain prices. OK, off my soap box and on with the show.
There is one item I find I cannot shop for. I have tried a few times but the outcome was unsuccessful. For some unknown reason I have no feel for lamps. We really need lamps in our house. We always have needed them, especially in our living room. It’s dark in our house. But I have looked at lamps. Big ole ones that would sit on a table, i.e. table lamps. Little ones for accent lighting and cute new wave things that looked futuristic. Rustic and nautical that might fit in with our other furniture. But I have not been turned on, so to speak, to buy lamps. Isn’t that silly? Luckily our house has ceiling lighting. Not much in the living room but the light from the dining area lights up the living room enough. Well, somewhat anyway.
We did finally buy a floor lamp. It was a dedicated effort to buy this lamp. We actually sat down and decided to go lamp shopping. It was a scary thing. As I have said I don’t do lamps. But out we went while we were on a quick trip out of town to get parts for some project. In one store we looked at lamps that started at about $500. “Next!” I said. Next was the store that had a saleswoman who tried to sell us a lamp that hung from the ceiling and dripped oil along some strings for a “raining” look. Sure I thought, that would work. I live in a dust bowl for goodness sakes. This thing was not only ugly, but I’m pretty sure it only had a 40 watt bulb for light. Finally after a few more tries we spotted our lamp. Both of us saw it at the same time. What are the chances? It is a shorter floor lamp. Fake wrought iron and holds a three way bulb. Perfect. It came home with us. It wasn’t in use for a month before it started leaning one way and loosening up enough so that it might fall over if the cat hit it just right. We have talked about how to fix it. Maybe weld a few pieces on the bottom to stabilize it. But we just keep screwing it back together and checking the cord so as not to start a fire.
It’s a lost cause; me and lamps. Like trying to get me to walk by a display of candy Valentine’s Day hearts, in November, when the February items are beginning to be displayed, and not buy any. I’ll buy the hearts, but not another lamp. What do you have trouble buying? There is something, I’d bet on it…
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS is available on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.