Monday, December 16, 2013

May Your Days Be Merry and... FFFTZZZT!

I love outside Christmas lights.

I have always loved outside Christmas lights.

When we were kids, the inside of the house was never decorated before Christmas itself; our tradition was that Santa brought everything! Tree. Trains. Gee-gaws and trinkets. And presents.

So when we went to bed Christmas Eve, the only signs of the season inside the house were our stockings, hung on the railing going upstairs.

But outside!!

Outside were colored lights on the bushes; they were the big, fat bulbs that heated up in your hand, much to the chagrin of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. And a large spotlight on the front lawn that illuminated a handmade DellaRobbia wreath on the front door. And orange-bulbed candles in every window.

So when it came time for our own holiday traditions, I made a big deal out of outside Christmas lights. We have a series of bushes at the far end of our property. They are just a few feet from a main thoroughfare that goes northward through our community, and for years, I've stretched an extension cord from the house to these bushes and strung lights on them.

As well as draping lights on the flora on the front lawn. And the porch. And on the garage overhang.

But this year...

Well, suffice to say that 2013 is the year of Epic Fail Christmas Lights.

First, the string that goes on a lamppost at the end of the driveway must have some sort of plug issue because its performance this December has been very spotty. For reasons unknown to me, I'll arrive home in the dark and find them brightly and colorfully lit. And on other nights... Nada.

And the lights out back have had a seemingly endless variety of plug/timer/cord issues. One of my favorite sights this time of year is to round the bend after a hard day's work and find those trees gleaming. This year? Mostly a home run, but they've needed constant care and re-configuration along the way.

I cannot seem to settle on a once-and-done solution.

And then there's Santa. On north side of our property, out front, is a blow-up Santa. He frankly needs replacing, as he's got a rather nasty rip in his shoes that has been duct taped. Between his leak and the heavy weather we've had, most evenings he's been face-planted in the snow, looking like a frat boy the day after a killer party. I'm going to go shopping either just before or just after the holiday for a new blow-up, in hopes of catching something appealing on sale.

And as of right now, we're dark. I lost one timer/plug combo and jury-rigged a solution using my one remaining workable one. And just last night, that one now seems to also have given up the ghost.

In an act of possible defiance, though, the lamppost lights decided last night to take up the slack and light themselves.

About the only party to all this who is consistently satisfied is the electric company.

Burn on, lights. Burn on.

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