Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Once, When I Was A Younger Man- The Christmas Lights Story..
As I alluded to in an earlier post, electricity and I are not on the best of terms. A number of years (and electrical shocks!) ago, I was a proud, young homeowner. I cared about the appearance of my yard, and the exterior of my house- more than I do today! That meant after Thanksgiving, I would begin to plot what I could add to my growing collection of outdoor Christmas decorations and lights, making my house stand out like a beacon for Santa flying over at 20,000 ft... I had decorated the Living Christmas Tree(still quite small back then), done all the bushes along the walkway leading up to the front door and in front of my house in small,white twinkle lights. I had the garage door frame, service door, and front door outlined by the old fashioned, multi-colored juice suckers that screwed into sockets. I had a 3ft. lit "Merry Christmas" sign hung on the front of the house that went from the front door to the windows that could blink or just glow, depending how you set it. I needed more! If I was going to have more illuminations of holiday cheer than anyone else on our street, I needed more... Got it! I will outline the bottom edge of the garage and house roof with more of the big bulb lights! This was before I had the house vinyl sided, aluminum trimmed, and all outside doors and windows replaced(That's another post in itself, believe me!). I got the bright idea to STAPLE the light cords up-to the bottom of the board below the rain gutters! This was going really well, light cord was fitting through the staples' opening perfectly, not stapling through the electrical cords, making good progress quickly. Until I got to the side of the house... I have a "walkout" ranch style house, and the hill on the side slopes downward sharply, making a secure ladder difficult-no level ground! Dug holes, blocked wood, as the ladder extension kept having to be lengthened. This is probably a good time to confide in you guys- I don't like heights so hot... I am at the last bit of light cord, and at the highest point from Terra Firma on a not-so-stable ladder, when it occurs to me I'll have to run an extension cord UP to the lights. My wife at this time has come out and is watching me climb back up the ladder and plug in the lights. Viola! Everything comes on, just like in the script! However, the wind was blowing the hanging cord around, and I thought "In a real winter storm, this won't work for long".... I grabbed my trusty staple gun and was going to give the cord (now plugged in, remember!) one last staple to secure it... To my wifes' credit, she yells up to me "Do you want me to unplug the extension cord first?" What an insult! 40 staples and not one through the light cord- have you no faith, woman?!! The ensuing shock that coursed through my body as my metal staple met live current was to say the least, unpleasant... I would have fallen off the top of the ladder, if I only could have let go of it! Aluminum ladders apparently conduct electricity quite well also. I'm yelling down to her "Tuuurrrnnn offfff the powwwwer!!!!!" as I vibrate quite convincingly. She is looking at me with the look I have come to know well after many years of marriage- The "He's-screwing-around-trying-to-be-funny again" look... "Noooooreallly turrrn ittt offfff!!! I don't know if I was smoking yet, but something told her " The as*hole's not kidding this time".. She unplugs the cord, releasing me to involunarily throw my staple gun halfway across the yard, and ooze down the ladder to a sitting position. "Are you okay?" "Oh yeah, great, how about you?" She then says "I asked you if..." Twenty seconds after near death, and she's getting in the first of many "I- told-you-so's"....
The picture is of what I do nowdays for decorations. Sign goes on two nails, plugged in- 5 minutes tops! I've got boxes of old lights you can have for your next garage sale!