15 November 2011

You (Used To) Light Up My Life

Homes and houses are funny things sometimes, and often have the most ironic sense of timing.  It's a truism for sure that disaster can strike at any time, but have you ever noticed that time is most often the most inconvenient time possible?  Like, say, when you've got three out of four family members down with the flu (your washer breaks down) or you've just purchased some new and beautiful carpet or piece of furniture (your pipes burst) or you finally begin a much-delayed renovation (and you discover insect infestation AND asbestos)?  So leaving the country for a week is really just an invitation to the universe to mess with you (and your house) and to no one's surprise, the universe takes you up on the challenge every time.

In our case, it was very small things (thank goodness) but very weird small things.  Here's one:

Aside from the whited-out house number and the ugly mailbox and the screen door that desperately needs re-screening ... notice anything unusual?  Notice anything missing?  That's right: no outside light!  A cap, a chain and a lid, yes.  But no actual lantern!

(On a side note,
gawd that's really ugly; I never really noticed until now.  Funny how sometimes you need a photo to see things that are right in front of your face ...)

Our outside light - which as been hanging there for too many years to count (it's older than me, and I'm mid-thirties) decided that while we were away, and in the middle of the night no less, would be the perfect time for a pin to give way and to crash to the concrete porch, smashing the glass into a million pieces.  To say the in-laws were startled is perhaps an understatement.  Imagine sleeping in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar house, looking after someone else's kids, and suddenly there's a noise outside like a gunshot.  I felt terrible when they related the story to us, though that's silly too.  I didn't break the pin; I didn't throw the lantern on the ground and smash it to smithereens, and I really, honestly couldn't have anticipated it would do so on its own, right?  Right.  Moving past the guilt.

So here's where is stands now: NO. LIGHT.  We removed the bulb which was hanging there all alone and looking a little forlorn; since it was a low-energy bulb (which we recently read contains mercury and are extremely dangerous if broken) it was actually on our to-do list to purge the house of all of them.  We just got to this one first due to circumstances, but now we're coming and going at night in the dark-dark, with no little light to guide our way (how will the pizza guy find us??!)

It has also brought to our attention the fact that we need to give some love to the front entrance.  We've 2been actively ignoring the exterior for a while now for a number of reasons, chief among them our decision to allocate our home improvement funds to interior projects instead.  While I wouldn't say we are overly thrilled with the shabby status quo (we hate it), at least it all matched in vintage, theme and condition (old, ugly and quickly deteriorating).  The universe - or the house itself - clearly has other ideas, however.  It kicked off its own makeover process by tossing its light on the ground, and here's what's probably going to get me into trouble:

To my way of thinking, it doesn't make any sense to replace an old battered lantern with something new and pretty, only to hang it above an ugly rusty mailbox, a ripped screen door and house numbers on a backboard that's cracked and peeling with age.  It's all or nothing, I say!  So now I've got to make some magic with the budget and squeeze out some extra nickels for a new light, a new mailbox, some replacement screen and some attractive house numbers ... think I can do it?

Here's what I'm thinking:

A streamlined and simple extra large mailbox in black
C$39.98 through the Home Depot
Fancy new numbers for the house (near the driveway & easily seen from the street) and mailbox (by the door)
US$25 per house number + US$4 per mailbox number via Modern House Numbers
Minimalist single-light lantern with a slight Asian influence
C$75.49 online through the Home Depot

I'm not 100 per cent convinced on the lantern but after several hours of searching online (no exaggeration) it would appear that exterior lighting is not really my bag, baby.  Aside from a thousand dollar option (also, no exaggeration), this was the only fixture I found that I didn't hate.  It's simple, it's streamlined and if you overlook the pagoda-looking cap, it's fairly modern.  It'll do.

The house numbers, mailbox numbers and the mailbox itself I'm
totally sold on.  Now it's just a matter of convincing my better half, and then warming up the credit card ... !