Lighting up the holidays can be a tough job

Oh, those Christmas lights ...

It’s the first Saturday in December again, time for Katie and her new husband, Dave, to decorate their small house for the holiday season. They’ve been married 18 months; this is the second year they have lived in a cute little rambler, two years in which they have worked hard to make this modest rambler their home.

Last December, they hung sparkly icicle lights all around the eves of their house, outlining the silhouette of their rooftop in the night sky. This year, these same strings of lights didn’t fit. Their house must have grown over the summer. Dave was on the roof in the wind and rain putting up the lights when he discovered he had roof left over after attaching the last of the lights to the eves. He decided to call it a day and went inside to find a beer and a warm shower; this job would have to wait a week.

The following weekend, Dave made the trek to Home Depot and soon returned with another package of lights.

“This should do it ...” he mused to his young wife. And he should know ... after all, he works in the construction business.

Without further comment, Dave went up the ladder and onto the roof, adding the new icicle lights to those already in place. But, he still didn’t have enough lights. He needed one more string.

He drove back to Home Depot to buy this last package of lights. In the 30-minute window of time that had passed between his trip for lights the first time and his trip for lights the second time, all the icicle lights had been sold. He drove to Walgreen’s, to Rite Aid, to Bartell Drug and to Target. On his fifth stop, Lowes, he finally found more icicle lights.

It’s a marketing ploy for sure. Last year’s icicle lights hang down 8 inches lower on each strand than those lights being sold this year. Dave did not discover this discrepancy in lengths until all the lights were mounted on the eves.

What to do now?

He wanted to call a halt. “Enough!” Dave pleaded.

But the solution, according to Katie, was simple. “Move the strands of lights around so that the shorter ones are placed together over the garage.“

Dave reluctantly went back up the ladder and onto the roof, rearranging the icicle lights.

And Katie went back inside their cute little rambler to make lunch. The lights had finally been mounted to her satisfaction.

After lunch, Dave began to work on the cords and the power supply to illuminate all these lights.

BANG! CRACKLE, CRACKLE, CRACKLE! A FLASH OF LIGHT and then all the twinkling little icicle lights outlining the cute little rambler went dark.

Katie flew out of the house, finding Dave picking himself up from the ground and shaking his hand from the prickling that was still coursing through his fingers. His attempts at re-wiring all four sets of lights to ignite from one electrical outlet had failed. Of course, Dave — who is not an electrician — had not turned off the power to the house before attempting this makeshift electrical connection. His foray into electricity had failed. All four strings of lights were broken. They all went into the trash can.

Katie brought him a cold beer to soothe his tingling hand and then quietly went into their small rambler and strung some lights around the inside window frames. The following week, they planned to put a lighted tree in the center front window and enjoy their Christmas lights from inside their home. If they want to view decorated homes, they will go for a ride around town. And they can always drive by Dave’s dad’s house and see his lovely lights. His lights work; he’s an electrician!

Jean Pinski is a Kenmore resident.

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