Here we are again. Yesterday I wrote about writer’s angst, and today I have angst about another thing: the new string lights we put up on the patio yesterday. I’ve wanted outside lights for the longest time. I have a wonderful back yard and patio, and at night when we have guests and we’re eating outside, once it gets dark it’s just dark out there. I’ve longed for nice lighting for evening soirees ever since we moved in. (No I don’t have soirees. I don’t even know what one is. It just sounds good. I rarely even have anyone over for dinner.) This spring, Costco got those heavy duty string lights in again, and I jumped on them. I bought two boxes, or 96 feet of lights. They’re expensive but so cool. They have a really thick cord, and the bulbs kind of hang down from their own little cords. I’ve been putting off hanging them for a while now while I gathered the materials I’d need.
I watched a You Tube video by Build.com about how to hang them. Their method was so professional looking, something my dad would have done. It involves eye bolts, quick click clamps and a homemade but professional looking cable, sort of like a bike cable that I’d have to make to order so it’d fit round the tree. Coated with rubber stuff so it won’t hurt the tree. I got all the stuff, and yesterday was the day. Alex worked on it with me – he was up and down the ladder a million times, drilling pilot holes, putting in the eye bolts, all that. We finally began to actually hang the lights and discovered the clamp things were too big. So back to Lowe’s for smaller ones. Once again we began hanging the lights. This necessitated decisions about how much to let them swag. Do we hang them tight and straight, or let them swoop down a little? I had in mind the look of the Italian family dinners in an orchard, where the lights gently swoop down, swinging from the trees. Never mind that I have no such big family, and no orchard either. I have a patio. It’s not the same as an orchard.
Never mind that. Our lights were hung with a swoop. They go all along the patio cover, but starting not at the corner, which is hard for me to accept, around the side of the house, across the garage wall, up to a cedar tree and back to the patio cover. Where there is a two foot overlap. Think electrical wires in Bangkok.
Okay , it’s not this bad, but in my mind it might as well be. It’s like this:
This is really hard for me to be okay with, as corner-centric as I am. But I swallow hard, and decide to accept it. We wait for it to be dark and finally I flip the switch, and the patio is flooded with light. I could read out there, no problem. It looks kind of stark, like now I need some exterior design like some potted trees or something. My daughter says it’s beautiful. Alex is thrilled. He just can’t get over it. I’m proud of how carefully we hung these things, how cleanly they are installed.I love the tree swoop. It’s graceful, and has that orchard ambience.
But I’m bugged by how big they are, the overlap at the end, the fact that they don’t start at the corner of the patio cover, and how (“overly?) bright they are. And it’s niggling at me. I wanted more perfection. No overlap, the whole patio cover strung. I’m not sure I like the swoop. I think maybe it looks hokey rather than just swoopy. I am conflicted. Are they too big? Too messy? Too noticeable for being there all the time? They might be okay at night, but they’re so noticeable in the daytime. I want to rehang them. I want to exchange them for smaller ones. I want to take out the swoop. I am conflicted.
I struggle so with change. I want a certain look and then am anxious when it turns out different than my image, and I judge myself. Not just the lights or whatever the project is, I judge myself. I feel inadequate. I can’t quite measure up to my ideal, the result isn’t quite what I expected so I must be inadequate. Does this sound familiar? Sheesh. Get a life, you’re probably saying! Or get a bunch of friends and invite them over a lot so you can attach some happy memories to those lights.
Yeah, yeah. I get it. In the meantime, while I’m figuring out who to invite over and when and what to cook and on and on and don’t actually do it, the lights are niggling at me. Tempting me to take them down, return them and start over with some smaller ones. Some more manageable ones. Trouble is, chances are that I wouldn’t like them either. Hm. I did have a good time in Bangkok, so there’s that.