Christmas with the Griswalds

Yesterday, the temperatures were predicted to scream into the lower 40s. That was the highest temperature predicted for the week, so off I went to pull out Christmas decorations.

After dragging about 10 boxes from the attic, I sorted the 4 or so that held outside decorations.

Sorting those decorations, I started trimming the door and the stairs and finally moving to the icicle lights that we hang from our gutters.

It took about an hour standing on a ladder to hang all of the strings, about 10, before turning them on. I figured, that I tested them last year when they were hanging on the house. Well, as it turns out, 6 of the strings didn’t light completely. I spent the next hour with a light tester trying to fix the strings.

I fixed the first string fairly quickly. The second string, required, about 6 lights to be replaced before it lit. I had replaced 4 lights on the third string before I gave up. I went inside to search the ads, to see who had icicle lights on sale.

CVS, right around the corner had exactly what I was looking for and they were on sale. So, I jumped in the Landy and drove to the corner CVS and bought 4 strings. Once I got home, I climbed the ladder and started to remove the string that needed replaced. After 20 seconds or so of leaning at a precarious angle above my driveway trying to plug the new string into the last good string, I realized that it wouldn’t plug in because the new strings had polarized plugs and the old strings did not.

At this point, I was really happy, my only choice to hang the new strings was to start at the beginning. This meant taking down the 4 working strings that were already in place. The old strings would plug into the new strings, just not the other way around.

So, around the house I went, taking down the old strings. The first of the new strings went up without much problem. The only real problem was the compressed icicle portion. When you buy the icicle lights, they are always folded back and forth against themselves which leaves them looking like little accordians when you hang them up. If you hold the string on the main line and pull by the lowest bulb, you can encourage them to straighten out, but not by much.

I started hanging the second string and trying to straighten the icicles one at a time as I was hanging the string. I should point out that I am still standing on a ladder about 12 feet off of the ground. I hooked the string to the gutter and then continued my milking routine with the string, just about the time, that my pulling, pulled one of the wires out of the bottom of a light, and came to rest in my palm. Now, I know you are thinking, cute little lights. Yeah, right. 110 volts still hurts, especially when you can’t get it out of your hand because you don’t want to fall off of a ladder.

Calmly, I removed the broken string, cursing the Chinese and threw the string into the street. The street is only about 75 feet away, so at this point I am still in total control of my emotions.

I took another string from CVS and went back to the top of my ladder and tried to hang it. Sadly, I did the exact same thing. Another wire pulled out of the light and stung the tip of my finger this time. At this point, I want to go Clark Griswald crazy. I want to stomp all of the little reindeer in my front lawn, I want to punch Santa in the nose. You get the idea. Luckily, we have none of those, so I stood at the base of the ladder mumbling nonsense.

To close, I heartily recommend that you pass on purchasing cute little lights from CVS. The lights are the Merry Brite brand.