Christmas lights will break your heart…and maybe burn your husband’s retinas.
At least, that’s been my experience, and I have had about a billion frustrating Christmas light experiences, so I ought to know.
Hubris and the really bad juju of a dead squirrel got me this year.
Here is my story:
Last Friday, noting the sunny forecast like the really organized person I am not, I hauled out my bins of lights and got to work on the setup.
As I recall, I even whistled a little as I made my merry way around our little yard. It’s so much easier, I said to myself, when you’ve been setting up the lights in the same house for so many years. This will be a bree…
A dead squirrel stared at me in an unfairly accusatory way. I briefly panicked. What does one do when a dead rodent lands in her yard?
I grabbed a shovel and, just as I scooped up the varmint, a cute little girl rode her pink bike right past us.
She screeched to a halt and screamed.
“I’m so sorry you had to see this,” I said.
“It’s so cuuuute!” she wailed.
“I’m sure it lived a good, long life,” I said.
She peddled away.
I quickly disposed of the squirrel and went back to work, still shockingly confident but, as always, a little wary of karma.
That’s when I discovered I had rolled all of the lights up backwards last year, which meant I had to place them on the bushes before I plugged them in. I do not advise this technique.
But, I knew I had kept all those lights in our nice warm basement all year and I had faith that they would return the favor by lighting up when I plugged them in.
Seven of those blasted strings did not light. Seven is a Biblical number. I know this. Still, I said a bad word as I yanked those strings off the bushes and threw them in the trash.
As daylight waned, I gave up for the day.
Later that week, I trudged through Fleet Farm, Menards, Home Depot and back to Fleet Farm where I wearily purchased seven boxes of easy-to-hang net lights. I tossed them on the bushes with little finesse. They lit, which was great, but I tried two different bulbs in the spotlight I had pounded into the frozen ground, and both were burnt out (much like their sweating operator).
So, another day passed until I bought a new lightbulb for the spotlight.
Saturday night, I finally flipped the timer switch on and everything worked.
As I walked back into the house my husband stumbled out of our living room, rubbing his eyes like Cool Hand Luke emerging from “the Box”.
“I guess the Swat Team arrived?” he said.
“Too bright?” I asked, blinking hard so I wouldn’t squint.
He looked at me carefully and assessed my mood, like the veteran husband he is.
“I mean, it’s up to you,” he said. “It…ummm…looks nice. It’s a little bright but it looks good.”
I went outside to take a second look. It is possible I bought the wrong wattage for the spotlight. I do not recall it lighting the inside of our house quite so dramatically in other years.
My husband, still complimenting me on the fine job I’d done with the lights again this year, mentioned the Seinfeld “Kenny Rodgers Roaster” episode.
I laughed but I’m not changing that lightbulb.
Having tested the wit waters and found them somewhat serene (if stubborn), he laid another one on me.
“Hey, I was just talking to the neighbors,” he said last night. “Sharon wanted to know if I’ve been going to a tanning salon. I told her, ‘No, it’s just our new Christmas lights.”
I thought about tweaking the display, but I think I’m done with lights for 2022.
Just think how easy it will be for Santa to find us this year! Maybe, he’ll bring us some sunglasses…and some foolproof Christmas lights.