June 16, 2004

The Littlest Things

Sometimes the littlest things make all the difference. While enduring a particularly slow lunch period, I walked up to the window where the foods we served were painted on

  • Coffee
  • Espresso
  • Cappuccino
  • Sandwiches
  • Desserts
and with a razor blade I scraped the "S" and the "wiches" from "Sandwiches" as well as the bullet next to it. And just like that, we no longer served sandwiches in the cafe.

Recently, I made a decision the same way. Out front of our house there was a black reproduction four-sided carriage lamp. It was undeniably ugly. Moreover, its placement atop a six-foot pole placed it in every view from the porch and the living room. It was hard to say whether it was worse when it was on or off. On, its flame-shaped bulb sort of resembled the gaslight the lamp was supposed to have evoked. This effect was attenuated by the light-sensor base, whose rubber seal crept halfway up the bulb.

We were tempted to remove the whole thing, but I argued that it was convenient to have the outlet there, and that the light did after all throw some lumens on our otherwise dangerously dark front stairs. So we looked for replacements.

ext4.jpgWhen we bought it, the house had many ugly parts that required our attention. Some of the major uglinesses (e.g. the aluminum covering up the eave brackets) are being addressed. Perhaps this is what drove me to finally decapitate the lamp. We had looked in vain online for a post lamp to replace the Ugly One. Reproductions had once been available at Arroyo Craftsman, but they appear to have been discontinued. A further insult was that Rejuvenation had also discontinued the few post lights they once carried. The Rejuvenation people told me that the Arroyo Craftsman website was notoriously incomplete and gave me the number of a rep who could give me the number of a dealer in our area.

We knew the place, Creative Lighting. It is right around the corner from our house, though its dead-end frontage road location and my stubborn refusal to look at a map beforehand required us to drive several miles to get to it. We walked up to the front desk and inquired of the location of the Arroyo Craftsman stuff. We were so directed to the outdoor lighting department. The best they had was the Kichler 9529 AGZ, and we paid too much to bring it home.

newlamp.jpgThe next hour was spent decapitating the old lamp. The bulb, light sensor, and fixture came off easily enough, but I made a messy cut with the hacksaw that required some filing. Just for fun I dragged out the compressor and an air grinder to smooth things out. The new lamp installed quickly and easily and is a great improvement over the old one. The very moment the screws were being tightened, the skies opened up. I rolled the compressor back into the garage's safety as clouds burst overhead.

If we had it to do over again, we would save a bunch of money by ordering it online. This brings up the same dilemma we have with motorcycle accessories: You want to see them in person and so you go to a store to check them out. Then you see the price tag and you KNOW you can find it cheaper on-line. Of course, if everyone does this, as they appear to do lately, then the stores will sooner or later go out of business. So enjoy the roof over your head, well-paid employees of Creative Lighting, while your secure employment lasts.

What became of the eagle-adorned carriage-style lamp and the upper four feet of its pole? It was destined for not so great things, deposited alongside the garbage cans next to the alley. While I was working on Bitty, a pair of junkers in a pickup truck asked if they could take it. I offered them the glass, which was still on the porch. The glass, swaddled in protective cardboard, appeared to momentarily challenge them. Doubtless it would some little value to the little value of the lamp, and yet it demanded that they accommodate its fragility. Thanks for taking it, fellows, and may it make someone happy!

Posted by webs0080 at June 16, 2004 8:51 PM