Something special happened at our house this week related to trash and Christmas lights.
When we moved into our home almost nine years ago we found the previous owners had placed the kitchen trash receptacles inside an under-counter cabinet hidden by two cabinet doors. Open the doors and a board slides out with the trash cans.
It may sound ingenious, but the genius who hatched this scheme placed four small trash cans on the sliding board which were small enough to hold a gallon milk jug, two paper towels and one day’s worth of coffee grounds. If you waited to put the grinds in last they would spill out of the top and make a mess.
Because the cans were so small they had to be removed frequently causing a showdown, staredown or meltdown over who would have to deal with it.
Did I mention this has gone on for nearly nine years?
The slides on the board stopped working at some point, and I took the project on myself to fix it about 2007.
Then I would have to give a speech about the ridiculousness of the design of this arrangement, and the moron who was responsible.
It was an arduous and painful process.
This week a gent came around who removed the four agents of misery, and the drawer above the cabinet doors and designed and installed a newer, better trash collection system. It involves two larger trash cans which can hold about as much as the four smaller cans they replaced.
The overall design allows the entire mechanism to glide almost effortlessly and return to anonymity when closed. A meeting of form and function.
How can trash give so much joy? It is a freedom almost of indescribable proportions. Even when there is no trash to deposit I sometimes just pull the whole thing out when no one else is around to reflect on its wonderfulness.
If that was not enough for a gift that keeps on giving, then came the annual Christmas light project. Each year the same problem presents itself. Either we can’t find all the timers; we can’t get them synchronized or once everything seems to be working correctly a breaker will blow.
Some years it will be cold and rainy, and I will wade into the flower beds to try to figure out the problem. You may as well hand me a Rubix cube and put me in a dark cold room.
If I could only have a conversation with the lights and point out the benefits to both of us for why they should work reliably. Maybe even offering them a better post-season position in the attic would be fine. But it took my old friend Toby from Simpson Electric to bring it all home.
He fixed the thing so all the outlets in the front yard work off of one switch. It is both ingenious and satisfying all at once.
The only problem in his design is there is a switch for two different times of the year.
With my luck the lights won’t work because one of the kids will have inadvertently flipped the switch, and I will spend a few hours trying to test all the outside lights and make sure everything is plugged in.
Then I’ll call Toby, and he’ll come out on a weekend rate to tell me the switch was in the wrong position. Seventy-five to a $100 later all will be right with the world again before a little tickle in my throat indicates Christmas is finally here.
By the way, the switch in the garage is labeled for Christmas in one position and Normal in the other.
I think that says it all.