Be forewarned: The following is long. I should have broken it down into parts I,II and III. Hope it gives you a chuckle or two! :)
***As of 1:34 A.M. this morning, (Wednesday - November 29, 2006) the outside Christmas lights are are officially up !!!
The Heavens opening up over our house, revealing a multitude of angels singing the Halleluiah Chorus was spectacular!!!
Too bad all the neighbors were sleeping - it was a sight to behold - all of our Christmas lights on and WORKING...SIMULTANEOUSLY.... uh, I mean the angels, the angels were a sight to behold!
After my extremely busy day and given the hour this job was completed, I was totally exhausted, yet I felt that I had just given birth to something wonderful. Too bad there was no one awake to share my bliss - well, yes... I did have the angels with me in the moment, but they were too high up in the heavens to share hugs and help dab the tears of joy from my face. Sigh... I know,they were with me in spirit. :) That is how yesterday ended (well there was the big black bear) or how today began. Now let me take you back to the beginning.
No matter what, ( drizzle,snow, freezing cold weather or late hour) I always get the Christmas lights up the nite after Thanksgiving. As I said in a previous post that between the hospital or Lifeline job schedules, I really only had this little window of time to get the lites up as I always had to work Thanksgiving weekend and black friday. It, along with putting up the fresh wreaths is the first thing I do. I prefer to do it at night as I like to see what it looks like as I go along. I don't want one of those Chevy Chase moments like in his "American Christmas" movie, where after ALL his hard work the Lights don't work. (I loved that movie!)
Ah...best laid plans....were not to be this year AND I am not even working! Chris (younger son) spent 2 days days ( we let him come down for meals ;) ) up in our BERMUDA TRIANGLE of an attic looking for the outdoor Christmas lites. (My joke has always been if it goes in the attic we will never see it again - except it's not funny - we never see it again! So, we tied a long rope to him - just in case! ;-) ) Finally, both triumphant and jubiliant, Saturday nite, he emerges with "a" tub of Christmas lites! I told him THEY weren't "the" lights. He insisted that they were and proceeded to point out all the reasons why they HAD to be the lights. I understand why he NEEDED to believe this - but, these were NOT the lights. (I think at this point he would rather have been getting a tooth filled or take an exam - but he was a good guy about it. Needless to say I OWE him, BIG TIME!) So, back up he went and brought other decorations down as well. Still, no lights! So, I decorated inside, all the while privately stewing about the missing outside lites. Several sets with hundreds of little white lites - M.I.A. !(Missing in Action) Later, Chris tells me that they are out in the shed. I said "No - they can't be - they DON'T go there." He said he remembered them being there and that he thought HE put them there. Well, perish the thought! Because then they would be burried under all the summer stuff, which is now stored for winter! He even suggested that they may have been thrown out! No, that scenario did not compute in my brain. I asked my husband if they were in the shed and he mercifully (or for self preservation) said that he thought they were in the attic. Ha! 2 to 1 - democracy rules - the lites ARE in the attic. I NEEDED to believe that!
However, it was late so I gave him a reprieve from the attic for the nite. I continued decorating inside but then the seed of doubt had been planted and I wondered if Chris would be using passive aggressive tactics to get back at me knowing that I would be obsessing about the lights in the shed. "Nah! He's my son and he's not that kind of guy and besides it could've backfired and I could've at that point insisted he start looking in the shed. Still....desperate people have been known to do desperate things.....where are those LIGHTS???? " I think it is a fair assumption to think that I lost my focus Saturday nite on the REAL meaning of Christmas. Yes, I went to bed obsessing about those darn lites.
Now, Sunday morning, I again mulled over the where abouts of the M.I.A Christmas lites ad nauseam in my mind. In reality, it was only a half of a BERMUDA TRIANGLE attic as in Novemebr 2005, I spent 4 days up there cleaning out one entire side of the attic. I set up a kitchen section, clothing section and CHRISTMAS SECTION. In my perfect world, the lights would've been in the Christmas section, which stands out because of all the RED and GREEN storage tubs.
You know how you want something to be true even when you know it's not? Well, I started to reason that maybe...just maybe, Chris was right... that he DID find the tub of Chrismas lites. Yes.. that's it ..sure that's the tub. After all, they were the same type of heavy duty lights, there were outdoor power cords in there and the plugs had my usual M.O. of zip lock bags, electrical and duct tape. So,I looked at it again, wanting it to be so.... longingly.... looking, as if wishing could make it true. NO! No! Wrong lites. Not enough in the tub. Evidently from a time when I didn't use as many lites. Sigh!
Sunday afternoon Chris goes back up to the attic, only this time armed with a plan,the 10 o'clock - 2'oclock method! (I love using this. Whenever a task seems daunting, implementing this method facilitates organization in short order. For example, if the entire kitchen needs to be cleaned - start at 10 o'clock,then 11 o'clock and continue around the clock until everything is clean. This is better than randomly doing something here and there because even tho working hard over all it still looks like nothing is done. With 10-2 , it is methodically being cleaned a section at a time and this method gives a good visual to the progress achieved.) He wasn't up there 5 minutes and he found them! Someone had moved them and left them in the kitchen section and covered them with a big heavy box! I KNEW they were up there! :) I spent Sunday nite testing and replacing bulbs.
Monday was a day filled with tasks, and by evening I started setting up the lites on the front bushes and my son helped me with the little pine tree. My husband was hungry for dinner (he's funny that way - wanting dinner at dinner time) and I had been simmering the turkey for home made turkey soup. At first I told him in a little while but quickly realized I would have to abort the mission and do the lites later. The turkey with dumplings soup was excellent (says me) but after that meal, I felt like a dumpling and lost MY ambission to finish the Christmas lites.
Tuesday - another busy day plus picked up my films at the hospital, went to the grocery store,picked up the fresh wreaths and got my granddaughter from her after school program. Then, I admittedly had a couple of hours to work on the lites but started reading the medical blogs and then it was time to pick up my younger son from his job at the local news paper. (He works in the sports dept. and is a senior in High School.) I didn't get back home until 10:30 and then I procrastinated. But then, after starting some wash etc., I decided I WILL put the remaining lites up after all!
All I wanted to do was go to sleep BUT rain was in the forecast and at the very least I needed to put electrical tape over ALL the open plugs/receptacles that were already out there. I am usually very methodical about this and do this when setting the lights up but didn't have any electrical tape the previous evening. By now it was 11:30 at nite. The bushes have gotten larger so I needed more lites. I got the first tub of lites that he originally found and pulled out 3 more strands of 100. They all worked! Then... I had a Chevy Chase moment! I started thinking of ALL the other places I could put the extra lites. We live on a corner property. I could go around to the side bushes! Heck! I could go to the back yard too! Or... maybe the fence? Now it is midnite. I am wearing a blue (color irelevelant - just like blue) ski jacket, I had a roll of duct tape shoved in one pocket and a roll of electrical tape along with 3 different sizes of ziploc bags in the other pocket,4 sets of lights in my arms (extra one for back up) and grabbed my hot tea on my way out into the black nite.
My family was nestled in their beds as was the rest of the neighborhood.
When I brought everything over to the front patio area I looked up and saw a moth. A moth! A moth in NJ in November! It's not right. November is supposed to be cold and my hair is supposed to be silky and shiny NOT frizzing from the humidity. And there were other little bugs flying by the porch lite. The only good thing is that my feet and fingers didn't feel like they were going to freeze off as in years past.
I put my tea down and walked over to the side of the house where I had left an extension cord ready to plug the lites in to. As I was rounding the corner I was starting to feel uneasy because it was so dark on that side of the house. It is the only side of our house that doesn't have outside lights. We live on a country road so there are no street lights either. There were no stars or moon out and everything was pitch black around me except for the Christmas lites and the porch lite. Also, my neighbor on the opposite corner had her porch lite on and that at least helped me to see where the power cord was to hook up the rest of the lights on that side. I felt a little better once the 1st set of lites got plugged in but I was going to be out there for a while and I couldn't shake this uneasy feeling. I am not afraid of going out in the dark. I do errands at night and I don't hesitate to be out in my yard at night or even in the neighborhood. Here I am, putting up HAPPY Christmas lights and I am feeling scared. You know the feeling you get when you become hypervigilent and you hear EVERY sound and it all seems magnified? (I remembered someone telling me that when you have that uneasy feeling that you should pay attention to your instincts because sometimes we sense things before we are fully cognizant of a situation.) I also realized that if I saw a moth fluttering about then the bears probably aren't hibernating either. Hmm... looking around.. don't see anything. Could sure use some Christmas music right about now...Fa la la lalala...
It was eerily quiet. I usually stand out by the road to get the overall view of the lights to see where they need adjusting, (if you stand back and squint your eyes you can see the gaps you may want to rearrange or fill in with more lights) but I decided not to this time. Not only was I thinking of bears but because of this uneasy feeling, I was also thinking of the possibility of some unsavory character being in the neighborhood. "Ok, you are being rediculous!" I say to myself. "These lights are getting done TONIGHT!" I looked uneasily down to the far corner where the little pine tree was and dreaded going down there to tape the wires, etc. Ok - ALL lights up - we have touch down Houston - everything is operational, all 1500-1600 of them! Yay! But still - I can't go back in the house because I practically gift wrap the darn plugs and connections to ensure that they are protected from the elements. Thats where the ziploc bags and tape come in to play. Then, just as I was going to go out to the corner to gift wrap the electrical things on the little pine tree, my husband came outside for a smoke, so I had him stay there until I finished the little tree. However, he went back to bed (chivalry dead?) before I finished wrapping the other electrical plugs/connections, but at least they were on the bushes closer to the house. At this point, I was seriously tempted with not trying to find EVERY connection but then I heard Aunt Janet's voice in my head saying " Patricia, if you're not going to do the job right - then you might as well not do it at all - because no one will think you did it anyway." In this case I reasoned that if I miss "one" connection then the whole thing could blow. DARN! Take me to your leader - I hunted them ALL down. Done - a fait accompli! And now... the angels..... and I go inside.
So, what was all that uneasiness outside about anyway??
I rested on the sofa as I still had one more load in the dryer. I never leave the dryer unattended for safety reasons. (know of 2 house fires) I fell asleep briefly and then, just as I awoke, looking out the sliding door into the back yard, my eyes focused on something moving under the spotlight - a REALLY BIG BLACK BEAR was lumbering across the yard, towards the pond. I immediately jumped up to get a closer look as did our german shepherd (Bob), who stood at attention, his eyes totally fixated on the bear. We both watched him walk up the little dirt lane, into the black nite. (I should have brought Bob outside with me earlier!)
I wonder if that bear was lurking around the neighborhood and THAT is what I was sensing? Glad I didn't do any baking that night and smell of pastries! :)
I know that the REAL meaning of Christmas is the birth of our Savior and All that represents for mankind, but second to that - it's the Christmas lights. I KNOW people complain about the commercialism of Christmas and how we lose sight of the REAL meaning of the holiday (HOLYDAY ) but I like to think of it as one big birthday party for Jesus that is celebrated world wide. Some birthday bash! To me, the lights are symbolic of Christ being the LIGHT of the world - and....they SPARKLE!! :)
I enjoy everyone's lights - white lights, colored lights, flashing and not - they're all beautiful, especially cascading on the snow. We have non - flashing white lights on the bushes (3 seperate areas), a little pine tree towards a corner of the property and around the living room door so they shine thru the glass surrounding the door to the inside. They also light up the big wreaths w/red ribbons on the doors. We also have wreaths on every fence post of our split rail fence. Then, inside, there are the fresh pointsettias with white candles in the windows, except the kichen bow window has a small christmas tree with white lights along with a display of snowmen and other types of smaller pine trees and the living room has another small christmas tree/white lights displaying from a side window. Then there is the hanging garland with white lights and soon there will be a very large real Christmas tree with hundreds of white lights and hundreds of ornaments. Yes - I guess I DO like white lights! I also love the ambiance of using only the Christmas lighting in the home - so cozy! Then there is the Nativity scene to be displayed and other collections along with hanging all the Christmas cards and letters. I LOVE Christmas!!! I am SeaSpray - AKA Mrs. Christmas! :)
P.S. My neighbor jokes that she always knows when I am working at the hospital because the outside lights aren't on! My husband is NOT Mr Christmas and and just sees it as another day. He believes the Christmas story but just doesn't really get into all the festivities of the season. He doesn't dislike it - just not a priority for him. The rest of us love it tho! :) Also, if Chris is home, he always turns the lites on.
Also, If the electric meter on the side of the house were fixed on the roof with the glass cover removed and the spinning wheels reading the kilowats used were designed like chopper blades, then at the moment all the Christmas lites are turned on ... I do believe we would have lift off Houston! ;-)
And so, since I am not working this Christmas season - the lights will be on every nite. Please God - Let there be LIGHT!