I don’t know if I should have titled this as Parenting Fail instead of Christmas Fail, but fail is definitely the right choice of words. I happily admit that I am one of “those” people that enjoys the Christmas season. I’m not really into the day itself, more so the weeks leading up to it. I like picking out presents for people, dragging the tree out and decorating it, looking at the various seasonal displays I see at homes and businesses as I drive around, that kind of thing. I am also a person that works way too much and often fails (there’s that fail word again) to find, create, take, manufacture – pick your word here – the time to enjoy things outside of work. As much as I love my job there’s more to life than the endless work around the farm.
Combine the above with the fact that I have been nostalgic about my dad lately, the man who loved to buy Christmas lights, and I decided we were going to decorate for Christmas this year. I envisioned Jason and I having our very own Clark Griswold moment where we plugged in the lights and lit up the county with our magnificent display. My first thought was that we could put garland (with lights of course) and bows on both sides of the small section of our driveway that leads to our house. Doing the whole driveway, at almost a mile, wasn’t even something I was willing to consider.
I asked Jason how many feet of fence I was contemplating wrapping in garland and lights and he said a little over six hundred. This didn’t sound too bad to me. Then he rightfully pointed out that I would need much more than 600 feet of garland to have enough to allow it to drape. So I’m thinking maybe 1,000 feet of garland with lights. When I began counting fence posts to see how many red bows I would need in addition to the garland my enthusiasm for this project began to wane. I decided I didn’t want to spend a couple of days doing nothing but putting up garland and bows.
I moved on to putting lights on the house. I convinced Jason this would be a much less time consuming project. Jason didn’t buy into my vision of lights on the first and second story of the house. We finally compromised on lights on the front, following the edge of the roof lines, first floor only. We purchased the lights, the clips to hang said lights, got out the ladder and proceeded to decorate.
It didn’t go well.
As we were unraveling strands of icicle lights out of the boxes we were already getting frustrated. After the fun of untangling the lights when we plugged the very first strand in it had a section in the middle that didn’t light up. We couldn’t figure out why. We finally tossed this strand of lights to the side and kept going.
At last it was time to commence hanging the lights. We decided to start with the porch roof since it was the lowest point. We broke 4 of the stupid clips right off the bat before we got one clipped to the roof and the strand of lights. It didn’t help that our ladder apparently was not in the Christmas spirit and didn’t want to decorate. Jason was hanging on to our unstable ladder with one hand and the lights and clips with the other hand.
We finally got a couple of the clips up and had about a foot of the first light strand affixed to the house. Then simultaneously the ladder decided to slide again, a clip broke and one part of the light strand we were working with went dark. Jason, in a totally justified moment as he hung precariously on the ladder, shouted out “god damn cheap ass lights!“
Unfortunately Carter had been paying attention at that moment in time and thought it was funny when dad was swinging on the ladder and shouting. He began skipping up and down the porch, yelling in time with his footfalls, “god damn cheap ass lights! god damn cheap ass lights!”
I wanted to die.
I had visions of little three year old Carter skipping around at his pre-school while yelling “god damn cheap ass lights!” and having no clue why his teachers were looking horrified.
Jason was totally oblivious to Carter skipping and cursing as he clung to our ever-shifting ladder and wrestled with the lights. I finally snapped out of my nightmares and said “hey Carter, can you count the lights for mommy?” Thankfully Carter stopped skipping and cursing and turned his attention to counting lights. He’s been solid on counting to ten for well over a year but 11 to 20 is still iffy. So that took all of his concentration and he forgot about his skipping and yelling.
Jason managed to hang on to our recalcitrant ladder and get the lights clipped up on both sides of the porch. That left us with a drooping strand in the middle over the porch steps. Our ladder definitely wasn’t going to work on the steps. Jason stomped off and re-appeared a few minutes later driving one of the tractors. I was instructed to get on the tractor and lift him up to the porch roof in the bucket. In ultimate redneck fashion Jason proceeded to finish hanging the lights from the front end loader of the tractor.
We were both happy to finally have this one small section of lights up on the porch roof. We stood back to look at them and soak in our mini Clark Griswold moment. We realized that the plug to connect the two strands we had used left us with a dark spot right in the middle of the porch. We decided we didn’t care.
We also realized one of the strands of our icicle lights was determined to point up instead of down. I told Jason it looked like our Christmas lights were giving us the finger. We decided we didn’t care about that either, it was kind of appropriate at this point.
We also decided we weren’t putting up anymore lights on the house. Not on the first story, not on the second story, not anywhere. The porch was it and we were done.
To summarize our attempts at exterior Christmas decorations we accomplished:
1. One skipping, cursing child
2. Jason hanging precariously from a ladder that was an unwilling participant
3. One dark spot in the middle of our one small strip of icicle lights
4. One strand of icicle lights pointing up and giving us the finger
5. Two wannabe rednecks seriously considering leaving the lights on the porch roof year round so we never have to do this again.
I think that ‘s enough for this year. Merry Christmas.