Signs of the Season

People are putting Christmas lights up on their houses, Christmas tree farms are in business, and heck, we even went out and bought an artificial Christmas tree yesterday. It must be the holiday season.

You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find an artificial Christmas tree that doesn’t have its own lights built-in, and that doesn’t have little artificial pine cones, or berries, or snow-tipped branches. I.e., things the cats could chew off and eat. As for the lights, we don’t need them because we already have plenty of our own. But we found one after hitting several stores, at Lowe’s, which actually had the best selection of anywhere we went. We decided to get an artificial tree because the price of real trees has been going through the roof the last few years. I don’t mind paying $20 or even $30 for a tree, but $40 and up is getting ridiculous for something we’re only going to have up for 3 or 4 weeks. So we’ll give this a try.

The holiday season of course starts with Thanksgiving. (Well, it does unless you’re a retailer who’s had Christmas decorations up since before Halloween, but if you did, then there’s something wrong with you.) We had a low-key Thanksgiving in which we cooked a turkey and all the sides. Debbi actually did most of the cooking, for which I was thankful. 🙂 But she was very pleased that she managed to time everything to come out at nearly the same time. I took a walk down to the supermarket in the middle of it all to pick up a few things we’d forgotten, and it was a gorgeous day.

Unfortunately, another sign of the season is the sight of stores closing due to the poor economy. The chain Mervyn’s (which competes in the clothing and housewares markets with Sears and Kohl’s) is going out of business after several years of struggling. The nearby Circuit City is closing, too, as part of the electronics retailer’s efforts to stay afloat. (This particular site used to be a Good Guys! store; I wonder what’ll follow it?) So we went around to see if there was anything we wanted to pick up. And we got a bunch of other shopping in, too.

We’re also looking for some stuff for home improvement projects. Well, one project isn’t ‘improvement’ so much as ‘replacement’, since the light on the upstairs porch went AWOL when we got our complex painted. I liked the old light – it gave off a lot of light, which is nice for sitting up there during warm summer evenings – and would like to get a similar one.

But we’d also like to replace the light fixtures downstairs. All three of them use halogen bulbs, which are low-profile, but the three bulbs total something like 700 watts (or more), so I’d like to get lights that we can use compact fluorescent bulbs in, which will cut our energy use by hundreds of watts. Which would be good because we sometimes manage to overload the circuit and trip the breaker downstairs. I’m hoping that replacing light fixtures will be pretty easy, but first we have to find some we like. The typical home improvement stores tend to stock only “traditional” style fixtures, and I want something more modern, so we’ll probably have to hit the lighting stores to find what we want.

So that’s been our weekend. Well, that and Debbi went to the Harvest Festival on Friday with her friends. Today we’re just going to stay home and watch football, I think.

Which ain’t a bad idea because another sign of the season is that it’s starting to get chilly outside.