Let There Be Light

Back in November last year, as we were preparing to celebrate our first Christmas here in the Okanagan, John and I discussed how to decorate the house. We have much more space here than we had in Toronto and I’ve always been a ‘more is more’ kind of person when it comes to holiday decorations. I want all of it. Everywhere.

An expensive proposition for people in situations similar to ours. And so, John and I did what any resourceful, budget conscious person would do. We considered what we already had (both holiday related and otherwise) and tried use them for this festive season.

The first star of the day is…

Enter twinkle lights. John has always been a frugal kind of fellow and always on the look out for a good deal. So, it didn’t surprise me when months before he had proudly announced he had found strings of twinkle lights for 50% off. And bought 20 sets.

These lights aren’t what you’d normally think of when it comes to twinkle lights. They aren’t on thick, wound wires that you would usually find on your Christmas tree. No, these ones are described by the manufacturer as “fairy lights” and are strung along fine silver threads of wire.

This seemed like the perfect time to break out the as yet unopened boxes and boxes and boxes of lights and find a use for them. And so, we did.

After very little thought, the idea came to just have them lying along all of the windowsills on the main floor. With the big expanses of windows that we are lucky to have, we figured the impact would be pretty wonderful and it was.

Why, you may be asking, am I telling a story of Christmas lights in March? It’s coming, I promise.

Once we had all of these many strings of lights in place, we also realized it was going to be an epic pain to turn them on and off every day.

The second star of the day is…

Enter the invention of the year*, in my humble opinion. Smart Bluetooth plugs. All we needed to do was plug the twinkle lights into these plugs and then into the socket and bingo! On and off with a swipe on our iPhones. Then we took technology one step further… We programmed the on and off times!


Fast forward to present day. Our ‘Smart plugs’ have outsmarted us. Although we had somehow figured out how to program them for the holidays, we could not for the life of us figure out how to un-program them. All of the packaging (and instructions) had long ago been discarded. So daily, our lamp in the living room mocks us by turning on at 4:30 when the only thing brighter is the actual sun. Still high in the sky. And our other living room lamp doesn’t turn on at all because that Smart plug was added later.

I was beginning to think the Smart in ‘Smart plug’ was referencing the user, not the product. And if you don’t measure up its more of a ‘Joke’s on you plug’.

Yesterday, I was determined to change all that with the help of Mr. Google. First, I had to un-program the plugs from John’s phone (since he was the one who had figured it out originally). And then, being the crazy kid I am, I figured out how to program the on time to coincide with the sunset time.

Also, genius.

And voilà… let there be light

The whole endeavour took… well… it took way too long. But the point is, it was done. Last night was the test and I’m happy to report, the lights went on at an appropriate time and were off by the time we went to bed, just as programmed.

Monumental? Not really but I take any victory over technology as a big personal win so it was a good day.

Today, I’m going to figure out how to reset my car clock. Wish me luck!

*I recognize this probably wasn’t actually invented in the past year but that’s when I discovered it so, for me it qualifies.

3 responses to “Let There Be Light”

  1. Congratulations on your tech win! Our latest Volvo is the most current vehicle we’ve ever owned ( a 2015 ?). I was hoping that it would magically know to change the clock itself but, alas, it looks like I might have to figure it out.

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