let there be light

February 6, 2006

I am the dubious owner of a crystal chandelier. It came with the house. I can’t help it, and I can’t make it go away. The dining room is huge. We’ve just inherited a clawfoot antique table that could seat twelve. We’re doing, genteel poverty/faded grandeur without even breaking a sweat.

There is no way I can replace the damn thing with something practical. And my cleaning skills are challenged by anything more advanced than a single globe on a hundred watt bulb.

I look up at the thing every day and am reminded of Galayquest, when Sigourney Weaver looks at those whirling fan blades of death and says, “No, I mean we shouldn’t have to do this, it makes no logical sense, why is it here?”

My lighting fixture and I do not have an easy relationship.

It really looks best at Halloween, when I replace the flame bulbs with flicker bulbs, and cover it with fake cobwebs. With the lace curtains, all it takes is a bouquet of dead roses, and I’m done decorating.

But the rest of the year? Real cobwebs don’t look so hot. Neither do grimy crystals. And the last time it was really clean was when the kids were little. We went away to Vegas for the weekend, and left my MIL in charge for two days. When I came home, I was staring aimlessly off into space…

And noticed the chandelier sparkling.


I could see through the windows, too.

It was mortifying.

Now, I have to throw a casual dinner for 30-50 people on Friday, and it’s too late to call the MIL back from Florida and con her into washing the light fixtures. I’m on my own here.

I’ve always heard that you just throw a sheet over the table, spray the whole thing with glass cleaner and let it drip clean. But it’s also old, and I figure the odds of blowing all the breakers in the house by spraying water on it are about 50/50. So I’ve decided to take the crystals off, wash them and replace them. Any given day, I lean to far over the table and manage to bash my head into the thing, and those crystals fall like rain. How hard can it be to get them off now?

Very. The ones that don’t fall off appear to be rusted on.

And there are at least 80 of them.

Candle light is charming at dinner. Don’t you think?