Saturday, December 6, 2014

Decorating the House




















Can you believe that it's almost Christmas again? It seems like we just put all this stuff away in the attic, and now it's time to drag it out and go through the whole scenario of shuffling through it and decorating. I remember hearing older people talking about how fast the time goes as you age, and because I was young and days seemed to last forever, I thought they were mistaken, or at the very least pulling my leg. Now that I've entered my senior years, I realize they were so right. We're on a train through time that starts off slow as it leaves the station and continues to gather speed until it's hurtling faster and faster towards our end. Ah well, guess we need to make the most of the time we're given. In any event, back to the subject at hand. At the beginning of the week Jan rooted around in the attic and started digging out the  boxes of "Christmas Stuff." Holy Crow! It looks like the seasonal isle at a Walmart Store. How in heaven's name did we acquire all this stuff? Actually, I know how. I'll be in shopping sometime close to the holiday season and run across the shelves and pegboards stuffed to the gills with all manner of Trim a Tree goodies and I'll feel that old familiar lust for a box of shiny new ornaments. They almost glow as they reflect the fluorescent lights overhead. I'll run my fingers over the soft bristles of sparkling tinsel and feel my pulse quicken just a bit. I'm sure the stuff we have crammed away has flat spots and bare areas and  sections of Scotch Tape clinging to it where I attempted to get it to hang in a window or on a door, and so I buy it, forgetting that in the dark recesses of the crawl space there is enough tinsel to decorate the White House.  Good Lord in heaven, we have at least eight boxes of tinsel and ornaments, wreathes and magi scenes and tree skirts... and lights. Oh man, the lights. They are without a doubt the most irritating part of decorating. Don't get me wrong, I love the colored lights. I'm a real sucker for color. The brilliant sparkling bulbs that shine at night really dress up the drab greys and blacks and whites of a winter landscape, but thuderation, trying to get them strung is another story altogether. I like to string lights outside on the porch. When I was a kid I always wanted my dad to decorate the outside of our house like many of the other houses around town did. We used to go out for a drive at night during the holiday season and ogle the colorful displays. Some people spared no expense when decorating their homes. It was cheap entertainment. However it was always a bit of a disappointment to come home and have to settle for just a tree displayed in the window. Now I see the wisdom of letting someone else go to the trouble of stringing all those lights and bearing the expense. The other day I decided it was time to go ahead and string the outside lights. Regardless of how carefully I try to put away the stings of lights each year, by the time I get them out and attempt to hang them, I've got a bird's nest that would make an eagle proud. Fortunately I'm a fisherman and I'm used to untangling lines, but it's still a challenge. Somehow, in the process of unwinding the mess, there always seems to be a wire that breaks or a bulb that isn't making contact, so two thirds of the lights will come on, but that one third in the middle refuses to light. I shake the wires, I try to tighten the bulbs, I've even bought a cheap tester to find out which bulbs are working, but all to no avail. Shouting and cursing I make my way down to the seasonal isle of the local store and buy more. This year I had to purchase  two sets of green lights and one red. They may be UL approved, but they're all made in China, and if you get two years out of a set you count yourself lucky. I saw today on the news that China surpassed the U.S. in terms of GDP. No wonder. We're spending half of our holiday income replacing the Christmas lights every year. Merry Christmas from the folks who brought you gunpowder... and disposable Christmas lights. Anyway, the lights are strung, the tinsel is hung, the bells are rung and the tree is up. Christmas is in full swing, so go out and enjoy the fruits of your neighbor's labor, and if for some reason about a third of the lights on display aren't lit, don't be critical. Let's blame it on the Chinese.








5 comments:

  1. Bahaha, love the blog dad! Aaron got outside and hung up our lights today as well. We just go with plain white lights, but I just love seeing it all lit up. I'll have to be making an evening drive to see all the different houses, some people go all out. There's even one of those houses that's got it's light display set to music, it's pretty amazing! Love you.

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  2. Hi Autumn- I hope you appreciate the trouble he had to go to. It wouldn't be so bad if everything worked like it was supposed to- you know like it used to be when everything was made in the U.S. and it was guaranteed. Anyway, it is fun to go look at the decorations. Depending on the economy, some years are kind of sparce in the lighting department. It's not much of a brainer to decide between paying the rent or lighting your house up. Oh well- maybe we could start charging folks to look at the lights- maybe offset the cost of the power bill. For an extra two bucks they can come inside for five minutes for a cup of hot chocolate. Love you too gal.

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  3. Yep, Jim got out some lighted decorations, and sure enough, the blue and white-lit star is kaput. He's going to Menard's this week, and I shudder to think how many lighted ornaments/lights strands he'll come home with. Being energy conscious, he lusts after the LED strands, but they aren't a match for the vampire lights of yore. The man is like a magpie the way he likes to collect shiny objects...! Like your tree!

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  4. Meant to say: I like your tree. Not that your tree is a shiny object - grammar police may get me!

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  5. Hi Jill-
    I can relate to Jim. Unfortunately we don't have a Menard's or Wal-Mart or Kmart of any other mart that carries half way reasonably priced disposable Christmas bobbles.We have to pay the full inflated price for our crappy stuff. Oh the joy of Christmas!

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