Sunday, December 7, 2008

Light it Up

No, that's not my house. But if my kids had a vote, ours would look very much like that.

I just came across a picture from our first Christmas in this house. There are about 3 tastefully arranged strings of white lights. That's it.

Four years later - we have multi-colored lights on a tree, multi-colored lights going up the pillars in the entry, the hook from our windchimes is wrapped with red and white lights to look like a big candy cane, there are some additional white lights in between, and then there is the new (somewhat dangerous) lighted reindeer.

Most years - putting the lights up has been a one-hour ordeal. I use the little 3M sticky hooks and my fingers go numb trying to peel the itty bitty papers off of them (impossible to do with gloves). But that is about as much trauma as there has been.

This time it has taken me a full week to get them all up and functioning.

The first round of lights on the tree and the bushes went reasonably OK. Then I got the candy cane lights all wrapped up and plugged them in to find that none of the reds were lighting.

So back to the store for more reds. Unwrap, rewrap.

Back to the store for the lights for the pillars (the old (white) ones half-died). Got them all hooked up and turned on. Then about an hour later - half of the lights outside were out. One of the strings of lights from the new set had died.

Back to the store - new set. Take down, put up, plug in. Pretty.

Then an hour later - half the lights outside were out. The replacement string had died.

I finally put it all together and figured out that I had too many things all plugged in to one extension cord. Oops.

That whole thing about only plug 4 strings together...they meant that?

Rejig the cords...replace the blown string... Whew. And everything stayed lit. Score!

Then I saw the deer at the store. A cheap-ish deer allowing me to satisfy the pleas from the kids for some novelty item without a) breaking the bank and b) ending up with an enormous inflatable thing in my yard.

Brought the deer home...set him up...nearly killed myself while attempting to stake him into the ground (forgot about the sharp sharp antlers). And then only half of him lit up.

At this point two things kept running through my mind - the line in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" where he says "There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side." and the version of the 12 Days of Christmas where the guy keeps whining about putting up the !@#$%^&* Lights.

So the deer goes back in the box. And a new one comes home. And he is set up and staked in and lit up. And I am officially done.

I know - I am tired just writing it and I am sure you are all "Enough already!" reading it!

One of my favorite Christmas season pastimes is driving around on the way home at the end of the day and taking detours to see all of the Christmas lights. There is a shopping area/park with a ton of white twinkle-light covered trees and the kids beg to go past the "Sparkly Trees". There is a neighborhood next to ours with enormous mansions with very pretty Christmas displays.

But a couple of years ago, we happened to turn down this out of the way road. And the houses are neat little duplex-types. And we come around the corner and see - WOW - the house in the picture up above there. My camera-phone picture doesn't begin to capture the amount of STUFF these people have in their yard. It is utterly AMAZING.

And today when we drove by, both kids said - "We should do our house like THAT!"

I don't think we should. I am not strong enough for that...I think we have maxed out my capacity to rig up outdoor Christmas lights (although I have barely started on the back!)

But I am so glad someone out there does!

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