The joys (and ploys) of decorating

Janice Wells
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Some of you wanted to know the name of the store where I lucked into my outdoor decorating bargain last week.

Being somewhat unable to believe my good fortune, it was almost one of those “If I tell you I’ll have to kill you” situations, but to tell the truth, while I was writing last week’s column, I decided to go back to the store myself and see if there was one more box left. I must emphasize that I was fully prepared to buy it at the ticketed sale price, which was still a great bargain.

There were two left and I did get another one at the low, low, below sale price, went crowing to Janine about it, who promptly dragged me back there again to see if she could get the last one. I don’t know what she needed me for — backup, I suppose. Anyway, she triumphantly carried off the last set, well before last week’s column came out, so I couldn’t have shared with you anyway because there was nothing left to share.

(I have decided to revive Janine, a pseudonym friend from Definitely Not Martha Stewart days, who could be any of my friends or family who might prefer not to be identified in some of my escapades and tales. Ha ha, protecting the guilty)

As it turned out, it was a good job I did arm myself with new outdoor decorations for both front and back because when Newman went looking for our old ones he couldn’t even find them in that maw of storage space we call “over-under” (instead of  “the basement in the building across the parking lot.”) But I must confess, my idea of these pre-lit trees, garland and wreath making the outdoor decorating a breeze was somewhat naïve.

First, I had to decide where it all could go without having cords lying in wait to trip people up, then figure out what cords we needed because they too were on the missing list over-under. Then the trees had to be lashed on to keep them from ending up down the street somewhere. Then I had to keep my mouth shut and not think about how the just-painted-this-fall door frame is going to look when the garland nailed to it comes down.

I should know by now that when I think I’m being so clever, there’s always a payback. It was my fault; I know how particular (ha ha) Newman is, and I should have either thought about exactly where I wanted him to put the nails or just had him put the garland on the railing like we used to. I’ll blame it on Linda Ryan’s picture of her festooned door getting me going. Why didn’t I ask her for tips on how to attach the darn stuff?

Too late, I had the brainwave of putting fairy lights in the cedar, the potentilla and the weeping lilac front and the cedar, the climbing honeysuckle and the Korean lilac in the back and just leaving them up all year. They’d look quite nice on a warm summer evening and then I could just add a few bows or something for Christmas and simply flick the switch.

Of course, having invested such a pittance on this year’s new stuff, I will feel no guilt if I pass them on next year, especially if I can score some bargain outdoor lights in the after-Christmas sales. If I’m going to do this, Newman asks that I go for LED lights because someone told him they last forever. Really?

The other great thing about this long-term decorating plan is that we could put the lights up in the warm weather. It goes without saying that Newman and I look forward to this December bonding, togetherness experience every year, but I’m sure we could find something else just as enjoyable, like shopping together for presents or pulling each other’s nails out.

Aw, I don’t mean that; I’m just goofin’ around, that’s all.

Today is the first real snowfall and now I feel more Christmasy. The gingerbread flavoured eggnog in my morning coffee helps, too. Who knew?

Janice Wells lives in St. John’s. Her latest book, “Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Musts,” was published in October 2010 by MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc. You can reach her at Note to readers: please do not send thumbnail-size photographs, as they are too small to publish.

Organizations: MacIntyre Purcell Publishing

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