Written by Jennifer Haler
December 9, 2013
This previous weekend we finally got a chance to put up our Christmas lights. The week before I had purchased some new ones. I had even called my husband to double check on how many feet we would need to string across the front to make sure I bought enough strands. I was trying to plan ahead and prevent any difficulties from arising. One can always try.
So I purchased the lights and a week goes by. We geared up in our snow clothes and headed outside. We began hanging the lights and want to guess what we discovered? Yep, we were a strand short. So I made a dash back to the store, but of course, a week has now gone by and they are out of the lights we had bought. What do I do next?
Check with clerk; none in back.
Call husband; not answering the phone.
I then called the only other store of the same chain in the area. They had some left. I asked them to hold it for me.
Drive to Sprague in Spokane.
Buy two strands just to be on the safe side.
We got back into our gear and then went to finish the lights. By this time it is getting dark and even colder.
Now before I continue, you should know about the lights I bought. They are LED and have various settings. You can have them white, colored, or a variety in-between. I did have the forethought to set all of the strand settings to the same thing before handing them to my husband to install. Score one for me.
While hanging them one of the light covers fell off. So now I am searching on the ground for a clear plastic light cover in the snow; in the dark. Steve finally found it in an area that I figured was out of bounds for bounce range. Score one for Steve.
Remember those controls that I had preset? While they were getting installed the settings got changed on some of them. So, once the lights were all up an on we discovered we had some white strands, some colored strands, some flashing strands, and some rotating back and forth. Soooooo, we did the big sigh and started working the ladder back across the house to the various controls (wouldn’t it be nice if they could have it so that a main strand could control them all).
We decided to set it on just white. We got the first two to white. The third one was a faded white and we realized that the fuse needed to be changed. Decided that it could wait until the next day because it was dark outside, freezing cold, and the one that needed to be changed is on the highest part of the house and difficult to get to. We continued down the line. Number four strand went off without a hitch. Then we hit strand five. My husband is rotating the knob around and it won’t go to the just white setting. He struggles for several minutes. Then I decide to give it a try. I am standing at the very top of the ladder and reaching above my head, gloves off for better grip, holding a flashlight to see the controller and trying to turn the knob at the same time. As it turns out, this controller has some kind of a glitch or sweet spot. No matter what we did we could not get the lights to stay on just white. Several times it had us fooled. It would stay white just long enough for one of us to excitedly say “That’s it!” and then it would change. I tried until I couldn’t move my fingers, Steve tried again and then we said “Forget it!”
We decided to put all the lights to colored and fix them when we take them down later this year.
So, we change strands five and six, and then proceed back down the house to strands four through one changing them AGAIN. This time things went off without a hitch. We got it done with very little grumbling surprisingly and now the house looks festive.
No matter how much I tried to prevent difficulties they just kept happening.
While I was out in the cold I remembered a time from when I was a kid helping with the lights. We were all outside. My dad was up on the roof and I was near the base of the ladder. The lights going up were those old colored bulb lights. The ones that are actually glass that is painted.
My dad put a bulb he had replaced in his back pocket. Can you see where this is going? Sure enough, Dad slipped on the roof in some ice and sat to prevent himself from going over the edge. I found myself in one of those situations where I felt bad for him because I know it had to hurt and he was going to have to climb down the ladder with crushed glass in his back pocket, but I also found it hilariously funny and difficult not to laugh.
Thankfully my dad managed to gingerly climb down and he eventually got all of the glass out.
Often holiday decorating takes way longer than planned on and unforeseen events happen, making it more difficult than it should be, but I still love making the house festive for the holidays. The kids love it too and hopefully we are giving them hilarious anecdotes to hold on to and retell as adults.
I love spending time with my family doing all the wonderful activities in the Inland Northwest.