Wednesday, December 15, 2004

No, My VCR Does Not Flash 12:00PM

You would think that hanging Christmas lights wouldn't be such a hard thing. Obviously experience is helpful as well as having some lighting design ideas. But when it comes down to it, all we are talking about is plugging a male socket into a female recepticle. Anyone who has ever plugged in a lamp or an extension cord should be able to manage this simple task. I build servers at work all the time that require electricity so I think I am up for this challenge.


Sunday, ambition and guilt got the better of me. I decided that with company coming over after Debby's Christmas concert it was time to get the outside of the house looking festive. Not being able to find our lights (Debby remembers telling me where they were, but I didn't remember hearing her) I decided to buy new ones. A quick scan of the Sunday coupons and voila, Rite Aid has 33% off on all lights and holiday decorations. After much internal debating and visual plannning at Rite Aid, I returned with 5 boxes of multicolor lights, 300 per box in two 150 count strands. I figured I'd outline the front of the house and the windows as well as the porch and front door. No problem. As I pulled each strand of lights out I plugged them in to test them and they were all fine. Things were going well and after an hour of stringing, nailing, untangling and snapping at the girls, I was done. 8 out of the 10 strands were ready to light up the season. 1200 lights with another 300 on stand-by if I needed them. Now it was time to see my beautiful creation. I had the lights finish right where my extension cord came out from the garage and I plugged them in.........wait for it....


The extension cord end is female. The end of the lights is also female. OH FUCK! What in the hell have I done? Apparently, at some point, I plugged the wrong end in when I was daisy-chaining all 8 strands together. Desperate and distraught, I assessed the situation looking for the misconfigured connection. Nowhere to be found. As quickly as I think about redoing the lights (HA!) the thought is gone from my brain. No chance in hell am I undoing this. Fuck this, being Jewish, I realize that this happened because I grew up celebrating Hannukah ( I prefer spelling it without the C, in case you were wondering). I have no life experience hanging lights nor a mentor to have shown me the way over the years. Damn it. All we have to do is count to 8, one night at a time. Not too fucking hard for this schmuck! Being prideful and stubborn I resign myself to finding the mistake and coming up with a work around. Sure enough, in the worst place possible, I had connected the lights backwards. The spot? Underneath the eave of the roofline above the motion detector lights. As high and as hard to get to even with the ladder. OY!

I trudge the arduos 10 feet to the garage and return with my longest extension cord. The extension cord with the rotting wire jacket running throughout it. The extension cord I expect the fire department to show the insurance investigators when my house burns to the ground because of Christmas. The extension cord my conscience is saying don't use, throw it away. Another voice chimes in....maybe I should just rehang the lights. Hell no. That's why God invented electrical tape. 10 yards and 10 minutes later I am good to go. I hike up the ladder and plug the extension cord in and then proceed to thread it under the eave, down the bushes, under the step and up the other side. I use black duct tape to keep the cord down, lest my guests later that evening get an early holiday gift of a broken neck and a lawsuit against me and the missus. I plug it in and it works. I must be a genius. Fucking rocket scientist I think. Who's the BIG DOG? Me, because I can plug in Christmas lights. Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!

I now understand why people don't take down their lights. EVER!