Let There Be Light

If you spent any time outside on Saturday, you may have noticed a low grade grumbling sound moving across the front-range in intermittent waves.

No need to panic.  That was just the sound of men everywhere responding to the following observation from their wives:  “Supposed to be pretty warm this weekend, honey.  You might wanna go ahead and put the Christmas lights up on the house before the weather changes.”

Yeah….that’s exactly what I might want to do.

Who wants to sit around watching football and eating nachos when you could spend the better part of 15 hours standing on a ladder trying to turn your house into the miniature version of Rockefeller Center?

But like dutiful husbands and Christmas Elves everywhere, I obliged.

Here are a few quick observations from my Christmas-light-a-palooza this weekend:

  1. As I stand over several plastic bins jammed packed with a rats nest of tangulated light strands, I am reminded of staring into a bowl of multi colored ramen noodles…. and am forced to ask myself yet again, why it is that I don’t do a better job of putting the Christmas lights AWAY in a neat and orderly fashion at the end of every season.  I do not have an answer but I suspect it has something to do with general laziness and lack of foresight
  2. If Kris Kringle is the patron saint of the holiday season, it’s Chevy Chase as Clark W. Griswold who is the patron saint of holiday lights.  Do yourself a favor and watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation a half dozen times before you climb up the ladder.
  3. While your wife may have ZERO interest in climbing up the ladder to hang the lights herself, this does not prevent her from micro-directing your activities from ground level.  Statistics indicate that approximately 3 to 400 men injure themselves falling off of ladders while hanging Christmas lights every season.  What I’m here to tell you is that 94% of them didn’t fall.  They jumped.
  4. When it comes to hanging Christmas lights, do not be swayed by the fancy displays at your local hardware store.  In my experience, there are only two absolute necessities: duct tape and bloody mary’s.  All the other stuff is just a waste of your money.
  5. Part of the joy of hanging Christmas lights on your house is having your kids come by about every 2 minutes and say “Are you done yet, Daddy?  Are you done yet, Daddy?  Boy…that sure is taking a long time…”  If your kids are all grown up and you no longer get to experience this, just let me know.  I’ll be happy to send my kids over to your house.
  6. I don’t care how nice the weather is, the only reason a grown man should be on his roof for any length of time is if the Swedish Bikini Team has moved in next door and decided that group sunbathing in the nude would be good for neighborhood property values.  Minus that option, roof tops are for super heroes and chimney sweeps, like Dick Van Dyke’s character in Mary Poppins.
  7. Speaking of weather is it just me, or whenever you get out your trusty extension ladder and embark on the journey of hanging your Christmas lights, do you notice that the wind picks up ever so slightly?  Not enough to get you out of the job, but just enough to put a little buckle in your knees when you’re 30 feet up in the air?  I LOVE that part.
  8. $10 bucks says that no matter where you live, when you start the process of hanging Christmas lights on your house at least one of your neighbors will stop by to say,  “Boy, you’re early this year!  When you’re done with your house can you do mine?”  Yuckety-yuck-yuck.  Move along, funny boy.  If it were up to me I wouldn’t even be hanging lights on MY house.  It’ll be a hot day in the North Pole before I hang ‘em on YOUR house.
  9. When it comes to those little plastic clips you use to hang lights on your gutter, on your roof, or in your trees, do not ask yourself why man kind has invented 64,000 different styles of plastic clips that all do basically the same thingand do not think you can outsmart the Christmas decoration mafia by purchasing a package of so called “Universal!” light clips.  All this means is that you will have spent your money on something that is universally inadequate for any and all light hanging applications.
  10. In case no one ever spelled it out for you, the unwritten law of Christmas lights is this: even if you go buy brand news lights every year and even if you follow the manufacturers instructions to a T and even if you test every single strand before you climb up the ladder, it’s a guarantee that once you get them all hung and flip the power switch, one half of one of the strands will fail to light.  That strand will almost certainly be at the exact center of your lighting display and the single highest point on your roof line.  No matter how many times you climb back up that ladder, no matter how many times you test and re-test the connections, and no matter how many of those little teeny tiny bulbs you replace that strand will never, ever, EVER light.  Once you acknowledge this fact, things will go a lot more smoothly.

Happy Holidays.

And, “let there be light”.

Please.  Let there be light.

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