Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Deck the Halls

I spent most of Sunday putting up the Christmas lights on the house.  Every year I practically kill myself in December trying to get ready for Christmas.  December is simply too short, so I've stretched the madness into November.  I'm not proud of it, but I've joined the retailers who start putting up their decorations right after Halloween.  It seems, however, that the Christmas spirits are not amused, and all I know is that no cooking got done.

Recipe for Take-out

1.  Wake up and remember that you stored the Christmas lights someplace other than the place that you have stored them for the last 10 years.  Smile smugly and silently congratulate yourself on your excellent memory.   Now wipe that grin off your face when you realize that you don't remember where that other place is.

2.  Two hours later discover the Christmas lights below the stairs where you have always stored them because you told yourself last year not to be an idiot and think that you would remember a new location next year.

3.  Dutifully take an inventory and plug in every single strand of lights to make sure they work.  Notice that one strand only lights up half way, and spend the next half hour looking for replacement bulbs.

4.  Spend another 30 minutes risking electrocution as you reinsert and rearrange bulbs on the recalcitrant strand to get it lit.  Give up and admit that you have to go to Walmart.

5.  Spend 30 minutes looking for your car keys.

6.  Enter Walmart committed to only buying replacement lights.  Walk out with several pointsettas, a couple of picture frames, peppermint candy canes, and a bag of Tostitos because you already sense some stress eating in your future.

7.  Get home and brag to your husband about your fiscal restraint because you passed on the 3-foot lighted candy canes that were only $2.97 each.

8.  Eat lunch-er, the bag of Tostitos--because by this time you have frittered away the entire morning.

The female/male connection
9.  Start arranging the basket lights on the bushes, and encourage your children to join you.   Realize how much they've grown when they start to snicker at your directions to properly line up the "male/female" connections.  Understand that they are still children when despite your directions they still wind up at the end with  female/female connections and have to flip the lights around--and then flip them yet again.

10.  Two hours later begin stringing the icicle lights from the porch.  Start cursing loudly when you discover that the plugs on the lights you just purchased don't connect with the lights you purchased 4 years ago.

11.  Take a deep breath.  Determine that if you move all of the new lights to right side of the porch, and all of the old lights to the left side, all the connections will marry up.  Spend 45 minutes rearranging the lights.  Laugh out loud when it all works, then bemoan the fact you got cocky when you discover that your extension cord is two inches too short.

12.  Spend 30 minutes looking for the right extension cord.  When you can't find it, give a fleeting thought to driving back to Walmart.  But because it ain't over until it's over, try one more time to rearrange the lights and the existing spaghetti bowl of extension cords.  Pump the air with your fist when you get it to work.

13.  Plug it all in to revel in the glow of the holidays.  But first look up with dismay to realize that one strand  of lights across the top of the porch is only half-way lit.  Repeat step 4 and shake your head in defeat on the drive back to Walmart.

14.  Walk out this time with enough electronic hardware to rebuild Apollo 13.  Run into an old colleague who doesn't recognize you at first either because you haven't showered or because you have a maniacal glint in your eye--probably both. 

15.  Get home and restring the last freaking strand of lights just as the sun is setting. 

16.  Plug it in.  The lights look absolutely, positively beautiful.  Start thinking that the whole day was oh-so-worth-it just as your husband asks you if you intend to leave the lights turned on because, hell, it isn't even Thanksgiving yet.--and by the way, "what's for dinner?"

17.  Shoot him a dirty look and let him know that oh yeah, he's buying take-out.  Fa la F'ing la.

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