Hol­i­day calm short-cir­cuited by un­co­op­er­a­tive lights

North Penn Life - - Accent -

While stand­ing around mind­ing my own busi­ness re­cently, it seems that I had un­wit­tingly fallen vic­tim to the Curse of the Christ­mas Lights (Stan­dard Out­door and In­door Cat­e­gories).

I am mostly am­biva­lent about hang­ing the out­door lights this time of year and put just enough ef­fort into it to stay out of The Blonde Ac­coun­tant’s dog­house (not an en­tirely easy ac­com­plish­ment for a mope like me).

Our strat­egy — and by that I mean her pref­er­ence — is for me to toss a cou­ple of lighted nets across the front shrubs and then add a few strands of those hangy-down ici­cle lights across the front porch. I’ve been OK with all of that in past years be­cause it is not an elab­o­rate dis­play, I sel­dom break a sweat dur­ing the process and the only real chal­lenge for me is get­ting the ex­ten­sion cords cor­rectly plugged into the timer that ac­ti­vates the lights at dusk.

This year, we (and by that I mean she) de­cided to re­place one of the lighted shrub nets and add an ad­di­tional strand of hangy-down ici­cle lights across the top of the garage, the lat­ter of which ac­tu­ally re­quired me to climb up a step stool to reach above the garage door.

Hon­est to Pete it wouldn’t even oc­cur to me to change the lights. If they work, then they’re good to go.

Once again though, it didn’t take much ex­tra ef­fort on my part but did tax the step stool quite a bit. The end re­sult: I did not fall off the stool and I thought the whole shootin’ match looked swell when il­lu­mi­nated.

Well, that was wrong. The Blonde Ac­coun­tant fa­vors all white lights that don’t blink, while I, on the other hand, pre­fer col­ored blinky lights. It is one of the few as­pects of life in which we dis­agree, if you don’t count con­sid­er­ing pro­fes­sional rasslin’ as qual­ity tele­vi­sion. But Christ­mas light­ing is not an area in which my opin­ion is needed, so we al­ways have white lights that don’t blink.

The prob­lem this year was that when we (and by that I mean she) chose the re­place­ment net­ted light strand and the ad­di­tional abovethe- garage- door hangy-down ici­cle light strand, the “bright white” bulbs did not match the ex­ist­ing and some­what weath­ered “golden white” lights.

Cer­tainly it was no­tice­able from the street, but not enough for me to want to go through the whole process of do­ing the work of re­plac­ing and hang­ing the lights again.

Well, that was wrong. We (and by that I mean me) had to take down the of­fen­sive lights, re-pack them in the orig­i­nal boxes and schOHS EaFN WR WKH sWRrH WR finG lights that bet­ter matched.

Ap­par­ently there are dif­fer­ent shades of white lights. Who knew?

Once all the out­door light­ing was cor­rected — be­cause I really give a rat’s hind end whether my neigh­bors point at my house and laugh at my Christ­mas lights be­cause I don’t know the dif­fer­ence be­tween “white” and “off white” — I thought that the Curse of the Christ­mas Lights was over for this sea­son.

Well, that was wrong. TKLs Ls WKH firsW yHar RI a new Christ­mas tree for us, com­plete with — no sur­prise here folks — white lights that don’t blink. We are a Fake Tree Fam­ily, and this year’s newer, sleeker model came in three pieces with the non-blink­ing white lights al­ready at­tached to the tree.

Sim­ple enough to put to- gether — bada boom, bada bing — even for me. Ex­cept … the lights in the top third of the tree were dark. Ah­hhh, phooey.

I didn’t see this as a huge prob­lem. Be­sides, who cares if the top por­tion of the tree isn’t lit? We’ll just throw some ex­tra or­na­ments up there and no­body will no­tice.

And once again … I was wrong. Nat­u­rally, I couldn’t just go back to the store and re­place the top third of the tree with a new one on which the lights worked. That would be way too easy, cer­tainly eas­ier than tear­ing down the tree, repack­ing it in the orig­i­nal box and haul­ing the whole thing back to the store for a com­plete re­place­ment tree. That didn’t in­ter­est me in the least.

So I tore down the whole tree, repacked it in the orig­i­nal box and hauled it back to the store. For good mea­sure, we (and by that I mean me) de­cided to do the re­turn dur- ing a pour­ing rain. Never let it be said that the Gods of the Curse of the Christ­mas Lights don’t have a sense of hu­mor.

Of course, the store clos­est to us did not have any more of those same trees and I had to drive to what seemed like ,Rwa WR finG WKH rHSOaFHPHnW tree, which ended up be­ing a dis­play model. But it had wRrNLng OLgKWs, sR , was finH with that.

This should be the end of the Christ­mas light­ing prob­lem for this year. But as we’ve all seen, if it’s one thing that’s for cer­tain when it comes to Christ­mas lights, it’s that … I could be wrong.

Mike Morsch is ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor of Mont­gomery Me­dia and au­thor of the book, “Danc­ing in My Un­der­wear: The Sound­track of My Life.” He can be reached by call­ing 215-542-0200, ext. 415 or by email at msquared35@ ya­hoo.com. This col­umn can also be found at www.mont­gomerynews.com.

Outta Left­field Mike Morsch

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