Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Public Apology

Have you ever judged someone without really knowing them?  Maybe you laughed at their expense and ridiculed their actions.  Maybe you called them an idiot.  Maybe you just thought you would never stoop to their level.

I am guilty of this and I owe someone a big apology.

Clark Griswold, please forgive me.  I have laughed at you many times over the years.  I have laughed at your adolescent need to decorate your house with a million lights.  I have laughed at your over-reaction when things go awry.  I did not understand your frustration.  So what if you put up a bunch of silly Christmas lights and they don't work?  Big deal.  How childish.

I have just spent two full days playing the female version of Clark Griswold - only with 10% of the lights and 1000% of the frustration.  I don't know if I can ever watch that movie again without curling up in the fetal position and crying.

Here is the short version.

I decide last week that I need to go a little bigger with Christmas decor this year.  You know, it makes perfect sense because we have three two-year-olds and they have been asking for it non stop.  How do I know?  Because they say "light!" "light!"  7,587 times a day pointing at the ceiling.  They may get Santa and Noah confused but they are very clear on this topic, obviously.  So I hop over to Amazon Prime (where everything is free with just one click!) and purchase all the white wire white Christmas lights I can find.

Nap time comes around on Saturday and I'm ready for my big project.   Coincidentally, my sister had just sent me a picture of her fabulous front porch and I was all inspired.  I figure it will take me about 2 hours. I get my lights and my step ladder and head to the front porch.  My plan is to wrap my four columns in lights and line the roof line above the columns with lights.  About 10 minutes in, I realize I need a few more things - a real ladder, about 3x more lights, and plastic hooks to help things stay.  No big deal.  I send a begrudging Jack to the Dollar General and make a new game plan.

I do every thing right.  I test every strand of lights before they go up. I put sticky hooks all over the front of the house to help the lights in place.  I overcome all sorts of obstacles such as carefully arranging the strands so that they connected in the perfect spot.  Columns can be quite a challenge.  Two hours turned into six hours, but I finally finish the job.

So there I was, ready for the grand reveal.

Ta-da!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Ha-lle-lu-jah!  

Okay that's not my house.  This is.  Almost the same.

And then something happens.  The lights go out.  All of them.  Surely it is just that the plug is not all the way in or something minor like that?  I check everything and finally I figure out that the last strand of lights is bum.  Easy fix.  I take it down and I replace it.  Wonderful!  They all work again!  And then they go out.  Again.  It was the last strand of lights, again.  What a coincidence.  Repeat that sequence one more time.  Then I change my plan and instead of replacing the last strand I remove it and just plug into the next one.  And that works!  And then they go out.  Again.

Jack, full of that look that says "I told you so" as well as that look that says "I am going to go run-away if you don't come inside and help me with these kids", finally convinces me to give up until the next day.  I silently wonder if I should just accept defeat and take them all down.

Sunday morning at church we listen to a great lesson about the real meaning of Christmas.  I take in every word....and then find the strength to try my lights again.  As we drive back to the house, I ask Jack to go past the front so I can at least see how the light arrangement looks on the columns.  Suffice it to say that my hooks did not hold.  It looks like I decorated for Halloween with an attempt to create cobwebs out of lights.

Once again it is naptime and I'm back on the ladder.  This time with a hammer and nails, not hooks.  And instead of all four columns I settle for just the middle two.  Despite the fact that I have to stand on the top rung of the ladder and hammer with my lefthand backwards while balancing on one foot, the lights are hanging again.  Now I just need them to work.

There is one last setback (and perhaps a clear sign from God that I should throw in the towel) as I am moving the ladder to my last location to plug in the lights.  I forget that I left the hammer up on the top of the ladder and it falls straight on my head.  Luckily it is my just my mallet and so the damage is minimal.

I plug them in.  They work.  The damn lights work.  God help those around me when they either a) go out, b) fall down, or c) both.  24 days.  Maybe I'll incorporate that theme to our Advent calendar.

At this point, although I am not happy with the final product (the spacing is all off!), I decide to let them be. Besides, I need to go inside and hang some new pictures using those 3m adhesive things.  Those have only fallen a few times so far and as of now they are up, so I'll call that a win.