Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bah, Humblog!

So, the thing about Christmas is that it's so much darn WORK! It took me a full week to get all of my outside lights up (mainly because I'm apparently related to the Griswold's). For s0me reason, many of the working lights that we pack up each January seem to have failed by the following December. Consequently, I spend hours plugging in strands of lights and separating them into 3 piles: working, not working, some working. Then I sort through the some working and see if I can get them working. This pile is then divided accordingly between the working pile and the not working pile with the vast majority being tossed into the latter. The not working pile I don't even mess with, it goes directly into the trash (well, okay, it actually sits in the yard for a day or two, then goes into the trash, but you get the idea) after I have scavenged it for bulbs and shingle clips (but only if they are the kind of shingle clips that I like...more on that later). These items fill my pockets and then I begin. This year I attacked the bushes first. Haven played outside in the 70 degree weather as I piled as many lights on our front landscaping as our feeble breakers will support. It's sometimes a challenge to get the cordage figured out and keep from stringing so many together that they blow a fuse. Also, I really need a cherry picker to get the job done properly because a) I cannot reach the top of our tree and b) our roof has an extremely sharp pitch. After two days of wrestling with bushes, digging rocks and dirt out of Haven's mouth, and grumbling about the strings of lights that decided to quit working only when they were carefully put into place, I was done! Since the following day was extremely windy, I decided to set up the tree inside and avoid the wind.
Our artificial tree was a gift from a family friend. It is a huge, 7 foot tree with a gigantic circumference. Since, as you may have picked up on, I am a lighting freak, it takes ten strings of lights to adequately light our magnificent tree. I light as I go, stringing the lights through the branches as I add each level to the base. This way I can light all the way from back to front whilst minimizing my scratches. Eventually I have to get out the step ladder to finish the tree (since I'm only 5'4"). I was on the step ladder adding the last string of lights when I felt something touch my leg. I looked down to find Haven standing on the rung below me, thus blocking my retreat down the ladder and simultaneously making it impossible for me to rescue her. I called for help and my wonderful husband came running in, then dashed back out and returned momentarily with the camera. He rescued Haven and I after snapping a picture. A few moments later I plucked Haven from the top step of the ladder where she stood dancing and waving her little hands in the face of severe injury or death. Next we let the kids decorate the tree. Everyone hangs their own ornaments, then we fill in with the one's that just belong to the whole family. Haven loved hanging her snow globe that she chose at WalMart. We had a wonderful time and the tree looked beautiful, dripping with ornaments and lights...until we added the tree top angel. At that point, quite suddenly, the entire tree went dark. I knew just what had happened, I had too many lights strung together and had blown a fuse. That's an easy fix, except that after replacing the fuse I'd have to separate the lights between two plug ins or the same thing would happen again. No problem, right? If all the lights are plugged in end to end then one should be able to unplug anywhere on the tree and simply move that male end to the outlet. Right? WRONG! For some reason, we could not get the top half of the tree to light and it was already loaded with ornaments. After throwing a temper-tantrum that would've impressed a two year old, I retraced each string of lights until I found the start of the dark ones made some adjustments and voila....a few more lights came on, but still not the whole tree. And there it sits today!
Last night I finally got on the roof to finish my outside lighting. With my pockets loaded to the brim with supplies, I outlined the lower level of our roof (as you recall, part of our roof is too steep to climb on, so it remains unlit every year, severely taxing my Christmas spirit). Finally, it was time to plug in! The same phenomenon occurs every year, but it never fails to irritate me...about a third of the bulbs that were working when they were tested on good old terra firma have magically pooped out now that they are attached to the roof. Maybe they are afraid of heights? I spend more time systematically replacing each bulb with a replacement of the proper color from the stash in my pockets than I do getting the lights up in the first place. But, I love it when it's done (except that I REALLY want to outline the dormer windows that can't be reached). For the remainder of the season I will climb on the roof a couple of times a week to replace the dead bulbs.
I realize that this post only covers the decorating of the season. I can't even begin to complain about the gift shopping, Christmas card sending, and most of all...the post office. No wonder it's so hard to remember that Christmas isn't about the gifts and parties and lights and trees. It isn't even about giving instead of receiving as so many made-for-television movies would like us to believe. No, Christmas is about God coming to earth in the form of a tiny baby to live a sinless life, die on a cross, rise again, and be the Savior of the world.

1 comment:

peggy said...

I'd love to see your house all "lit" up!! Wish I could see it in person:(