Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Stepmother of Invention

The garage is about a hundred feet from the house and all I have to do to get there is cross my own backyard which is not an issue. The most terrifying thing out there is a washing machine left over from the previous owner that I am keeping as an homage to West Virginia. Oh, and a bunny. A real one that made short work of the rest of the summer garden, not that I cared.

It was all good until standard time hit with its clockery re-setting and darkness at three p.m. Now I'm coming home in the dark, no matter how early I inflate Safety Man in my office chair and put on the continuous playing tape of me saying "come right in, my door is always open" and "we have a dynamic synergy moving forward here."

Amazing what passes for work these days.

So now it's a dark dash from the garage to the house and, as I said, it's not a bad thing until you consider there's a sun dial at about mid-riff, ok, crotch height, midway up the path and a couple of alabaster flower pots that I'm never sure where I put last. Clearly, something like lighting needed to be installed since the ground will soon freeze and tripping and falling over the flower pots will become a higher stakes proposition than it was in summer. And as for that crotch height sun dial, well its not something I need to worry about immediately...

So I'm back at the home despot for the first time in over a month and you know what? Not much has changed. Still entire aisles blocked off so that they can randomly re-arrange stock for no reason whatsoever when what you absolutely have to have to keep the house from collapsing is in that aisle but you're going to have to wait the 12 to 18 hours while we figure out how a forklift works. Still have hordes of orange aproned goons greeting you when you have an armful of merchandise and are on your way out but if you have a puzzled look and an empty cart in electrical you stand a better chance of getting a taxi in New York City on a rainy Friday. At rush hour. Before a long holiday weekend. And a Yankees-Red Sox home opener.

Blissfully alone, I pick up an outdoor light fixture for about thirty bucks and then see what I can find for motion sensor switches. Lots. For about twice the price of the lamp and so hair trigger that a dropping pine needle will set the things off like Stalag 17 on breakout night.

Got to be a better way. There are light sensors that turn on at dusk and off at dawn. That reminds me too much of an ex-neighbor who installed industrial strength barn lights on the outside of his house and turned a nice little patch of country where you could once sit on your deck and see the stars into a freaking football stadium at halftime.

If you're afraid of the dark, I've got a phrase for you: City Living.

I finally hit on a solution. I only need light for about five minutes at a time, walking groceries, gym bags, briefcases and random blog ideas up to the house so I flash back to family trips when we'd all stay in cheap chain hotels as the answer to my problem.

You remember the places: Roadside, orange roofed, neon lights with luxuries like beds you didn't have to make in the morning, diesel powered ice machines right outside your room, pools so chlorinated a ten minute swim had you coming out looking a lot like the Joker. And, luxury of all luxuries; a heat lamp in the bathroom that you could put on with a timer and pretend it actually warmed something up after you spent two hours in the pool as a kid.

There it was. A timer. Wire it up, park the car, turn it on and, after an appropriate interval, it turns the no longer needed outside light off and the bunny in the backyard is hidden once again in darkness and can flip you off with impunity.

Now if I can only explain the heat lamp on the outside of the garage to the neighbors...

Bunny on.

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