Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On Leg Lamps and Fishnet Stockings

I never thought I'd see the day when any of my children would ever be involved in a pageant, and I never hoped to see the day that it might actually be one of my sons! Daniel has thrown his hat into the ring as a contender for Mr. Maple Mountain, and what a crazy thing this is turning into! It's been dragging on for what seems like weeks and weeks with him scrambling around and staying up late preparing talent numbers and turning himself into a leg lamp.  Yes, I said a "leg lamp."  You know, like the major award in the movie "The Christmas Story"?  I guess they are going to have all of the boys on a stage with only their decorated leg showing, and the student body is supposed to try to figure out whose leg they are looking at.  My son put immediate dibs on the leg lamp idea, so no one else could use it. Being that it seemed like the obvious, if not the only, choice, it has me wondering what the others are going to do, but since I don't have to care about them, I don't wonder about it for long. So last night, after playing in a city league basketball game (and doing so in a very masculine manner, might I add?), he and a few of his buddies go running around all over the place looking for a high-heeled shoe that would fit him (size 11 did, if you can believe it), and (worse!) fishnet stockings!  Can a mother be more mortified than to walk into a room to find her son cramming his long, hairy leg into a fishnet stocking? 

I nearly needed the smelling salts, I can tell  you. After recovering from the shock, and stifling back the many sarcastic comments that were just begging to be released, I came to my senses and realized that the lampshade that normally shades the lamp in the room, had been released from its post and was sitting innocently next to him on the couch.  Not being born yesterday, I astutely put two and two together and realized that he must be planning to use my lampshade for his leg lamp.  There was just one problem.  His leg was not going to fit through the quarter inch hole on the spider fitting (it took a lot of research to figure out that term), and the only way he was going to be able to use that shade, was to remove it (the fitting, not his leg--although, in hindsight, that might have been easier than what happened).  Here's a picture of a spider fitting, if you don't know what one is:  

Being the supportive mother that I am, I told him that he was absolutely not going to ruin my lampshade for this silly activity.  He said, "It will be okay, Mom.  I can weld it back."  "You know how to weld??" I asked, incredulously.  "Well, I have lots of friends who do," he answered confidently.  Riiiight, I'm thinking.  Probably due to the lateness of the hour (it was now past midnight), and in an effort to save my possession, I took total leave of my senses and decided to help him figure something out.  I figured we could just use coat hangers and butcher paper and make one ourselves.   We got out the supplies and I sat there a long time looking at that lampshade, trying to figure out how to cut the shape that we would need.  Without actually taking the thing apart, I was having a hard time visualizing what it would look like laid out flat.  (I probably never did very well on those spatial relationship tests at school, either, but they never showed us our results, so we never knew if we were good at those things or not.  Only the teachers knew, and they wouldn't tell us.)  Then it occurred to me that all we should need to do is take the circumference of the small circle (feeling pretty smug that I knew that word) and draw a line that long on the paper, and then take the circumference of the large circle and draw a line that long underneath top circle, and then connect the top lines to the bottom lines and cut out the pattern.  Piece of cake!  Next step: figure out how to find the circumference of a circle.  From a place buried deep in the recesses of my memory, I seemed to recall that they tried to teach us that in math class in high school.  I said, "Hey! Isn't that pi R squared?"  Then I squealed with delight, realizing that this was the first time in my life that I had ever needed to know that.  I did learn something useful in high school!  Woot!  "I am so brilliant that I scare myself sometimes," I had the audacity to say out loud. (Of course, then followed what pride cometh before. . .) When we plugged the numbers (or what we thought were the numbers) into that equation, the result was that our small circumference was about 10 feet long.  Not being born yesterday, as I mentioned before, I again astutely surmised that something had gone wrong. (As you no doubt already know, pi R squared is how you find the area of a circle, and pi times diameter is how you find the circumference.) Another way to find the circumference, which is actually easier than getting out the calculator, is to wrap a string around the top part of the lamp, and then measure the length of the string, then do the same for the bottom part.  Doing that, we managed to get the two lengths needed for the pattern to cut out of the white paper.  Here's what that looked like:

 The problem was that when I tried to form it around the lamp so we could tape it together, it looked more like a Robin Hood hat than a lamp shade.  A quick Google search revealed what the real shape should have looked more like a rainbow:

Pretty sure I never would have thought of that one. Okay, so I was way off again. (It's getting harder to maintain any level of self esteem here.)  I decided that there had to be something around the house that we could use, so I went on a hunt to see what I could find.  I finally found a little basket that had been sitting on a shelf downstairs, not getting any use, and I thought it would make the perfect shade for a leg lamp.  

I brought it upstairs and we cut out the bottom of it, then duct taped around the edge so the thing wouldn't unravel.  I think we could have just stopped there, but then the same person who had come up with all the other brilliant ideas decided to have a look online to see what the actual lamp looked like that we were trying to copy.  Unfortunately for all involved, the basket just didn't do it, and I finally gave in and said he could use the shade.  (I think the real reason was that I realized that this might be a way for me to get a fun new lampshade, now that I realized that one could buy shades not attached to lamps.)  We tried cutting the connecting wires on the spider fitting (now that I know the term, I must use it as much as possible), but my little needle nosed pliers hardly made a dent in the strong wire they had used. Upon looking further, we realized that the whole spider fitting was just held onto the shade with cloth tape, so we lifted that up and out came the spider fitting.  We made a circle out of a coat hanger (no math this time) and taped it back in place with some white duct tape, obtained by my sneaking into the bedroom where hubby was sleeping, and using the light of the leg lamp's cell phone to help me locate it. The hubs never even knew I was there. I may have to give up the lamp shade business and go into burglary.  I was awesome!  Finally, around 1:30, we had our finished project:

  I told him if he ever hears of a Mother of the Year Contest, he'd better be writing the essay to enter me into it.  I just wrote this up so he'd have something to refer to.  :)  

1 comment:

Amanda Black said...

That was amazing. I laughed all the way through picturing the two of you. Hope that he does well.