Today was another Friday off for Mike, and we had romantic plans: getting new exterior light fixtures for the house. (I know you are jealous of our wild escapades.) When we bought this house, the previous owner was battling the homeowners association and lost. That means we got stuck with having to replace two outside fixtures that were not in compliance. The previous owner was nice enough to give us the means to replace them. Our current ones are apparently too bright!
Unlike Chicago where we would get emails from the HOA admonishing everyone to turn on all available outside lights and in fact enforce change that they be brighter, here we had to diminish the glow. When we first moved in, we turned on every single outside light known to man. We could not believe how dark the neighborhood was and were grateful the one (very soft) street light was near us. How would we scare off armed robbers in this dark?! You may think I’m joking, but in our beloved Chicago, it was unfortunate reality.
On one hand, the boys commented on how they could actually see the stars. They were amazed at being able to look for real constellations as they truly appear instead of in a book or planetarium. On the other hand, we city folks felt like when the sun set we were in the middle of the godforsaken desert. (Well, yeah, we are!) We have since learned of “dark sky” endeavors to preserve the integrity of the desert (which is actually a glimpse of God and not a sign of His forsaking). Rather than having to worry about frequent crime like our old ‘hood, here the concern is more about maintaining the night sky, eliminating light pollution, conserving energy, and protecting wildlife. I suppose we are on the right side of that trade off. I soon noticed that hardly anyone turned on their outside lights and if they did they were definitely dim and barely noticeable. I started feeling like the loud, obnoxious neighbor and have now gotten to the point that I only turn them on when expecting Mike or a visitor.
Before that errand, Mike and I had our first Albuquerque Beckett Open on the tennis courts. Our nearby local park has a set of courts, and we finally got around to using them after Mike took the boys to school. I was so glad to have him take them for a change until 5 minutes later when I wondered what to do with myself. I actually missed calling out to Ethan at the drop-off driveway, “Bye! Have a good day! Don’t forget your lunchbox! Close the door! Love you!” I missed taking Connor in, exchanging library books and reading his newest selection before taking him to class. It’s nice to have a break from daily duties, but it is even nicer having to do them.
Back to the Beckett Open. It was not looking good at first. I was down 1 game to 3. Mike had a very annoying smirk on his face. Of course, I still engaged in flagrant victory dances whenever a point came my way. I even graciously did an instant replay when Mike turned his back and (purposefully) missed the show. The next thing you know, it is officially 5-4 in my favor, and I am chanting, “Who’s the master?!?! Sho-nuff!!” Then I found out that, unlike my brother, Mike did not watch The Last Dragon a zillion times in the 80’s and had no idea what I was taunting him with. Before I could say, “Kiss my Converse,” he won the next game to bring us to a tie. I then uttered another cultural reference lost to him, “Lucky dog, lucky dog, I’m a lucky dog.” Does anyone else remember that Lucky Dog Food commercial?
Lucky dog’s luck ran out. Afterwards I wished I had come up with a humiliating wager when Mike suggested it while I was down 1-3. But sweet victory was enough satisfaction for me. Really, he should get a prize for putting up with my trash-talking, competitive nature. Then again, he is equally competitive just not as creative or expressive in the taunts and dancing. While I’m quoting 80’s cult movies and dog commercials, he simply raises both arms and does his annoying smile-smirk. All in all, it was fun, we got some exercise and were able to enjoy the sunshine. I have to agree with him when he says that it seems nearly impossible for him to think of another job that could compete with the benefits he is enjoying here. Yes, there would be greater pay (we do miss that, I won’t lie), but biweekly opportunities to spank him on the tennis courts are hard to beat. 🙂