Saturday, June 22, 2013

Desperately seeking a floor lamp.

(Bouclair home, $99.99 on sale)

We needed a floor lamp. The upstairs' lamps were going downstairs
-- where all our better furniture and accoutrements end up -- for the use of our tenants. Who knew it would be such a chore to find a lamp that was (emotionally) stable, not too hard on the wallet, and ungrotesque?

Three weeks ago I went on a lamp-shopping rampage that left me with less oomph than a Raggedy Ann who's been through the wash. I patronized some 30 different retail outlets (and I fiercely dislike shopping, so you can imagine) from high-end lighting boutiques and decorating stores to Canadian Tire and Rona. I did much online browsing, and even checked out Kijiji.


It was part I-can't-make-a-decision, part there's-nothing-decent to buy, and part you-have-got-to-be-kidding! When I finally found a rather elegant lamp I could live with -- the twisty sculptural detail added a certain je ne sais quoi -- at Sears, I was told it was back-ordered and wouldn't be available for weeks.

Patience is not one of my virtues.   

(Gen-Lite Sublime Floor Lamp, Sears, $152)
So I found myself in the south end of Edmonton after one my of radio copywriting shifts. I zigged and zagged between stores, truly despising the traffic and all the time the task was taking. (Over 4 hours on a hot and humid day ... and this was my second lamp-looking excursion).
Eventually I found myself at the new Target store in Millwoods. Ah, there was a lamp I liked. A large, contemporary, swooping thing with a white shade; I could see it fitting in nicely with our decor.
Here's the sequence of events that followed:
     1. There was no price on it.
     2. I had to track down a sales attendant to check the price.
     3. Sales attendant had to find a manager.
     4. The manager said there were no more in stock.
     5. I said I would buy the floor model (approximately $150, but no
          one knew for sure).
     6. Manager tells sales girl who tells me that they cannot sell the
          floor model.
     7. I tell sales girl that this is ridiculous. If it's displayed in the
         store, it should be for sale. That's false advertising. Or
     8. Sales girl shrugs, and commences chatting with another sales
         girl about the weekend. Or something.
     9. I say you'd better get that off the shelf, and leave.
Guess who won't be returning to Target?
All I wanted was a floor lamp that would look reasonably good, throw a circle of light, and not break the bank account. Was that too much to ask?
There were lamps that didn't know if they wanted to be a coffee table, a lamp, or some kind of uncomfortable chair.
(Target, $84.99)
Lamps that begged to know: am I a magazine stand, a table, or a lamp?
(Lowe's $89.98)
Lamps that had scoliosis.
(Lowe's, $349.20)
Lamps that were too minimalist.
($74.00, Lowes)
 ($97.99, Rona)
 ($99.99 Target)

And lamps that were too much like pods (a la "Invasion of the Body Snatchers").

 ($34.99 IKEA)

This lamp made me think of a weighlifter. Or a weird syncronized swim move.

 (Ashely Furniture, don't know the price)

This one was too gothic:
 ($10,917.85, Park Lighting)

There were giant eyeball lamps,
 ($34.20, Target)

and let's-make-a-movie, Baby lamps:

 ($349.80, Park Lighting).

There were futuristic deals that left me speechless ....

($1029.42, Park Lighting)

and landed UFOs:

($89.99 IKEA).

Feel like a little 1950s Hollywood frilliness?
($129.00 IKEA)
Or perhaps this "Victorian nightgown thingy" is more to your taste.

(I have erased all details from my mind).
There were furry floor lamps ....

($69.99 IKEA)

And lamps that needed to go to the bathroom:

($387.00 Lighting Universe) 

Apparently the "Tiffany" never gets old.

($210.70, Lighting Universe)
There were pretty lamps with pretty names -- the Leonina Chrome Fire (below) and I could not afford them.
($246.36 Ethan Allen)

The two-lamp lamp seemed all-the-rage:

 ($64.98, Lowes)

But then again, why stop at two?
 ($134.99, Target)

Once in a while I found a lamp I believed I could live peaceably with, but alas, it was never available.

$129.60, Lighting Direct Dot Com
Is it just me, or is there something slightly Jewish about this one?
($645.00 Lowes)

There were all kinds of takes on nature, from trees ...

 ($214.20 Lighting Direct Dot Com)

to elk adornments.
($92.65 Lighting Direct Dot Com)

There were two prong "what-the-hell's?"

($449.99, doesn't matter where it's from)

and Three s Company for this white light:


($308.51 Lowes)
I could have selected a lamp with Mickey Mouse ears, or pom poms, or lamps that played music.
I almost bought something at Lowe's, but thought it might quickly "date".
I was in the queue at IKEA with a floor and table lamp combo, but chickened out before the cashier got to me.
I returned to Home Depot. Changed my mind.
I found nothing at Pier1, Urban Barn, Structube, The Brick, Leon's, or the 25 other retailers I darkened the doors of.
Finally, on the verge of hysteria, I returned to WalMart. I was done. I stood before the lamps, shifting from foot to foot, palms sweaty, knees a-shake. I selected a floor lamp. I chose a table lamp, too, and spent a good 30 minutes deliebrating which shade to buy for it.
All those wasted hours. All that mania. And here's what it came down to:
Total cost? I don't freaking care.
But hmm ... that lamp shade on the glass-globed lamp. Don't you think it's a little too small?

To enter one's garden ....


On rain-sodden days, my lover

finds me transfixed

at the window, arms crossed on the sill,

chin cupped. He understands

it’s about the garden,

but he knows nothing of seedlings

and I don’t try to explain

how the neighbouring lupines—bleeding crimsons

into one another—prove

a higher power exists. Volunteer pansies—

they do this, too. A kind of tie-dyed

coalescence, each slightly different

and ever beyond mortal artistry.

To be civilized, truly, is to enter one’s garden

of a morning and take time

to cut and arrange flowers

for the dining room, the unremarkable sill

above the sink, the piano-top.

Perhaps to sit a while on a bench or step—

                      still damp with dew—

and be present

with the heralding birds.

                         —Do I make too much of this?

Gardens don’t prevent wars

or heal shattered relationships, but sometimes

on a rain-sodden morning

this modest patch of inner-city gumbo—

        immune to the hovering police helicopter,

        the perpetual siren-screams—

fills the heart of a watching woman

like a glass vase

                            left on the patio table

through the hours of a nine-day rain.

-Shelley A. Leedahl