I frightened my neighbors as I hung up our Christmas lights…I always do.
My family knows better. They flee the house at the first sulphur whiff of the bulbs.
But, lured by an unseasonably warm afternoon and a sweet innocence I’ve yet to destroy, my neighbors strolled happily past our house Sunday afternoon.
They waved cheerily and called out greetings. I growled as I sorted through half-lit nets and dead strings of bulbs.
Our very handy friend Gary called out from the open window of his truck as he drove past. “Good luck with the lights!”
“I hate this job,” I replied.
“Mine are all done,” he said, from the safe distance of his idling vehicle.
“I bet they look fantastic,” I said.
And then I Kanye-d him.
I grabbed a fist full of lights and raised them in a menacing fashion.
“Why are these blinking?” I yelled. “They’re not supposed to be blinking!”
“I’ve got to go,” Gary said and he gunned his truck through the intersection.
“Call me, brah. You still ain’t call me!!” I yelled after the car.
Eventually, I got the lights hung and I stepped back for a moment to admire my work. I kind of liked it.
But, like Icarus, I flew a little too close to the sun. I set the timer for dawn to dusk, an unprecedented challenge for our 85-year old house.
The lights sparkled festively when I turned in that night. They looked sharp again when I checked them at midnight, and again at 3:30 the following morning. Sometime between 4 a.m. and 5, though, they died.
I stood out in the rain the next evening assessing the situation, my mood as dark as my Christmas lights. I hauled an ugly yellow extension cord up from the basement and attached it through our open front door to the light display.
They sprang to life beautifully. I left it like that, the big yellow extension cord snaking through the open front door, while I Scarlett Ohara-ed the problem of the blown outdoor outlet. “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
“I think I could string that cord through the mailbox,” I told Vince.
“We’re not stringing extension cords through our mailbox,” he said.
So, there is a line we won’t cross then. Good to know.
I had a quick, Griswoldy vision of us spending the holiday season with our front door wedged open and a big yellow extension cord stretching across our front hallway and down our porch.
Yesterday, I tried again to reset our outside outlet. Mercifully, it sprang to life.
Tonight, we’re getting our Christmas tree.
Anyone want to help me string the lights?