UPS AND DOWNS
Electric Shades From Hell
Don’t electric shades sound cool? Push a button, and up go the shades. Push another, close ’em down. So fricking cool! Twenty-first century, baby!
Yeah. Unless you buy the Electric Shades From Hell.
Which we did not buy. Not at first, anyway. First we bought seven manual pleated cellular shades and seven aluminum blinds to go behind them. This was not an insignificant expense, running just under a grand per window, but we have beaucoup money. We’re rolling in it.
We are rolling in it if we both die sometime in the next ten years. After that, well, it gets iffy. But life is meant for joy, and what says joy better than new blinds and shades?
So the order was placed, our money was paid, and they came and installed everything. I had to move the narrow table out from in front of the living room windows so the installers could do their thing, but it’s light, and I’m only old, not old and frail. When they left, I put the table back and, because the sun was shining brightly, I decided to close things down.
It was easy to reach the wand and pull-string for the blinds. I lowered them and turned the reflective sides of the slats toward the sun. So smooth! Such joy! I reached up and pulled down the left-hand shade. I knocked over the greeting cards my wife likes to decorate with, but so what? Easy to pick up. Watch out for my great-grandfather’s whiskey decanter, though. Wouldn’t want to break it!
Unlike the blinds, pleated cellular shades will not descend under their own weight. There are no pull strings to move those suckers. You tug ’em down and push ’em up. So, I pulled the left shade down to table height and realized I couldn’t go any lower without getting down on my knees to reach under the table, which is undignified and uncomfortable. And it’s two windows, so I would have to do this twice. And I’d need to be on my knees again to start them upward. With my neck pressed against the edge of the table.
Uh-uh. Too old for this. I called to ask if the shades could be retrofitted with a motor. No-o-o, of course not! I’d have to buy two new sets with motors, totaling around a thousand dollars or so. And no returns on the ones we already…