I like to decorate. I like to put up blinking lights and cheesy window decorations and other tacky wonderful things for virtually any holiday. My late husband, Ray, was just as bad as I was about that, and we amplified the tendency in each other. Since our birthdays were in late September, we would usually start decorating for Halloween right after our birthdays. And then shortly after Halloween we would take down most of the Halloween decorations and put up the Thanksgiving decorations. Then the weekend after Thanksgiving we would take all of those down and start in on Christmas. Then on New Year’s Day we’d take down the Christmas decorations and put those away, but it would be only a few weeks later that we’d get out the Valentine’s Day decorations. And then we’d pull out the St. Patrick’s Day decorations and finally the Easter decorations…
And once we put the Easter decorations away things would look mundane on the outside of our place until it was time for the Halloween decorations to come out.
The process fell apart the year Ray died. He passed just a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. I wasn’t going to decorate for Christmas at all, until I woke up one night with this overwhelming certainty that Ray would be very unhappy with me for not decorating, and I figured out how to put up a few things without pulling out the many, many, many large storage containers full of Christmas decorations (I was quite certain if I started looking at them I’d break down crying and might not be able to stop). I didn’t decorate for Valentines Day or the others afterwards.
Michael and I were dating by the following Halloween, and I put some of the Halloween decorations up. He helped me decorate for Christmas that year, and I think I only cried about two dozen times while getting decorations out and putting them up.
It took a couple more years before I pulled out any boxes of decorations other than Halloween, Thanksgiving/Harvest, and Christmas. And I usually didn’t go all out for the others, only pulling a few decorations out of the boxes for the others. Since Michael was less invested in everything but Halloween and Solstice, I had less motivation to dig boxes out of the basement and hang things up.
When we got the notice that we would have to move out of the place I’d lived in for nearly 22 years (we got the notice barely a week before Christmas, but it was a five-month notice, so it wasn’t undoable), one of the first things we did was go through a bunch of the decorations and get rid of anything that was questionable. The silly string of light up Easter Eggs was about 24 years old and had spent at least a month each time the were put up hanging in sunlight, so it wasn’t really a surprise when we examined the wires that the were obvious stress signs on the insulation.
We started moving into the new place Easter weekend and got mostly unpacked by July of that year. When October came around, I had no Halloween decorations at all. We also have significantly less storage for such things at the new place, and after reducing 34 boxes/tubs of Christmas decorations to 8 smaller boxes, I didn’t relish going overboard on the other holidays.
I picked up some cute window clings to put in the front windows (though since we’re not on the ground floor I’m not sure anyone but me can tell what they are), a jack-o-lantern thing to hang on the front door, but I couldn’t find any LED pumpkin lights or the like for the windows. If I had lights in the windows, they would be visible to folks on the ground. But I couldn’t find any.
I happened to mention it on Twitter. And for unrelated reasons a few days later I was dropping some things off at the home of my dear friend Kehf (I don’t remember what the things were–since her housemates include two other equally long term friends and my goddaughter, it could have been almost anything). The important part is that Kehf surprised me by handing me a string of pumpkin lights that were exactly what I had been looking for. “I noticed these in the store after seeing your tweet and picked them up for you.”
So I had lights in the windows for the next three Halloweens and it was great.
About mid-September I had the foresight to look check the decorations to see if any ought to be retired (the window gels lose color as they are exposed to sunlight)… and I couldn’t find the pumpkin lights. As mentioned above, we don’t have a big storage unit, so it shouldn’t be that hard to find them, but there you go.
Some of the window gels definitely need to be retired, so when I found some new ones I liked while I was out shopping, I bought them. And I bought some silly Bat lights for the veranda (they are on stakes that can go in the planters and use a battery pack and timer chip)… and I noticed some LED pumpkin lights that were quite inexpensive and grabbed them.
That weekend (still back in mid-September) I put up some of the Harvest-themed gels, intending to not put out the Halloween decorations until after my birthday at the end of September. Which turned into last weekend…
…and I couldn’t find the new pumpkin lights. Nor the old ones. So the bat lights went up, and the new gels and the older gels that were still okay… but no pumpkin lights.
Tonight, while I was putting away some of my birthday presents that I’ve left out where I can look at them fondly, I found the new pumpkin lights. So I’ll be putting them up this week.
Who wants to take a bet that I’ll find the old ones when I take down the Halloween stuff and put up the rest of the harvest decorations?