Holiday calm short-circuited by uncooperative lights
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