You light up my life

When Mr. Wonderful came home and lit a candle before we sat down to eat, I was noticeably touched. Such a romantic!

Scratch that. False alarm. He was looking for a breeze again.

Off

Being married to the man who considers it his life’s work to hold on to every last bit of energy our home has ever generated is hard work.

He is further dedicated to having all the lights in the house off all at the same time. Mr. Wonderful has never met a light he didn’t immediately want to turn off. This is a man who can calculate how much “waste” is generated from even the most innocent of nightlights.

An honest to goodness birthday present for him would be to fill the house with all our family and friends, turn out all the lights and … that’s it. No gifts required. He’d just be so tickled that we weren’t wasting a single kilowatt of lighting energy that no further presents would be needed.

He recently discovered timers and our lives — and lights — will never be the same. Do you know they now manufacture an affordable motion sensor switch that can be installed in your home and, if it doesn’t sense movement within said room, will shut the lights off?

Prison break

These sensors, once installed, have had the effect of creating “deer in the headlights” moments multiple times per evening. One of us will walk, unawares, into a room where the lights have previously shut off. The moment a toe has so much as crossed the threshold the entire room blazes to light like we have been caught mid prison break.

He is currently checking electric lines, which means that lights randomly flash on and off among all three floors. We’ve grown used to this. It’s like living in a low rent disco. Family members shout “off!” from whatever room has been plunged into darkness.

The other day he hit a switch and plunged the entire upstairs, including the shower, occupied by Girlwonder, into darkness. She appeared at the top of the stairs, bundled in her robe, with soapy hair, sputtering indignantly “Dad!” Did I mention he tends to shut the water off too?

This renovation stuff will keep you on your toes.

Load

We’ve been living like this for two weeks now. We lost use of the washer for a good portion of that time, and when laundry capability was momentarily restored, we rushed to wash everything we owned in the 24 hour period of reprieve. I was tossing things into the machine load after load. At one point I was down to sofa pillows — and the dog.

We soldier on because once all the boring stuff (basically anything that provides comfort, function or makes stuff work) is complete I like to say we have reached “the fun part.” Mr. Wonderful, usually from a spot where he is contorted into a tiny space best suited for plumbing or tiny electrical wires, will pipe up “what fun?”

To me “fun” is the decorative elements. The finish carpentry, pretty fixtures, maybe a faucet where actual water will come out.

During this project my pursuit for decorating perfection and his love of poking at all things electrical came to a head in a former wall light.

In moving the sink and toilet around in the downstairs bathroom we ended up with a beautifully mounted set of over the mirror lights that would, if left in place, shine down upon the toilet.

Being a man he thought this was a fine idea.

Being a female — with taste — I voted “no.”

Generally he cares little for the design aspect of a project. He is all about the infrastructure — he does not know from paint.

Suddenly, without warning, he decided to have an actual opinion on the existence of those wall lights. Worse yet, he had decided that it was, in fact, a hill he was willing to die on. He was insistent that the lights had to stay.

Making sense

I then spent the next two days, countless Internet search hours (Pinterest is my muse) and no less than three panicked consultations with my long-suffering decorator friend to come up with ways we could make a light mounted spotlight-style over the toilet make sense.

That, by the way, will never happen.

I briefly considered cutting it out myself but then remembered I have absolutely no skill in that area. If I start messing with electricity the next light I see might be a bright white one.

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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