Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas Lights

Putting up lights on the house is SO much fun. I fall for the “this year it will be easy and smooth” trick every year. How could I be so gullible? Every year I think, ok, this is the process…just go out there and do it and you’ll be done.


I get out there only to realize that since I am in a different house from last year, the same rules do not apply. Rather than stapling the string of lights right to the house and ruining the wood and paint like I traditionally do, this house has gutters that I don’t need to drop from an airplane to reach safely.

But those little clips on each light on the strand…what the hell are these for?

First, I found that the gutters don’t have a side that is straight up to be able to fit that clip and that the gutter edge is too thick and all those clips do is snap off. I’m obviously missing some key outside lighting knowledge that my neighbors have…

After a two year associates degree in neighborhood lighting technology I’ve now discovered that there are these little cheap plastic universal clips that you use with gutters and things like that.

Be sure to put the clips on each light first and be sure they are facing the right way. Otherwise you’ll be like me….standing on a ladder in rain that is 3 degrees from freezing and resetting all of your plastic clips.

All right then, the clips go on, the lights go up and I’m done, right?


I turn them on what to my wondering eyes should appear?
But 14 bulbs have gone out from just sitting in a box when they worked last year!

Again, back to the store for replacement lights. Sheez! We’re not talking about the neighbors display; we’re talking about two strands of lights here. 50 bulbs in all! Enough to keep from getting black listed by the neighbors for lack of Christmas spirit. Why in the hell do I have to replace 28% of the lights EVERY SINGLE YEAR?!?!?!

So by the time I finish this, not only is it raining nearly frozen water but it’s increased and it’s starting to get dark because where I live it practically gets dark before you even wake up for the day. Brush your teeth and you’ll miss it. But I digress…

Finally, the only effort left to do to be truly lazy is to slap the lights on to an outdoor timer. There was already one left on the outside of the house. But it looks like this:

I’m not dumb, but I cannot tell if I’m suppose to use this as a tricorder and find dilythium crystals in some sort of Star Trek episode or if this generates lottery ticket numbers for me. It’s just not intuitive. Like all consumer electrical or electronic gadgets, it needs a redesign. Here’s VE’s model:
Now…isn’t that so much better?

Anyway, like all lazy men, I just plugged the lights in and keep them running 24/7. Besides, it’s only two strands of lights. It’s not like my neighbors:

Next year, I’m going with these lights…because they’re a crack up

And don’t even get me started on the tree (or wait…let’s just round the week off with a Christmas theme…how fun is that!!!)


Kurt said...

I hate those sets of lights where the whole string goes out when one bulb dies. Lame.

Ed said...

Kurt - I think they should start selling those lights in the entertainment section next to the "Where's Waldo" books; they're sort of the same idea...

Tammie Jean said...

Hi VE! I got the tree all lit up today, but I just can't bring myself to do the outside lights - it's waaaaaaay too cold! When I do finally venture outside though, thanks for the tip on the clips - I never knew these existed!

Serena said...

I'm glad I don't do outdoor lights. Of course, I don't have to when the neighbors have so many lights they can be seen from Venus.:)

Carla said...

And why is it that all the lights work when you put them away at the end of the season, but when you take them out for the next season half of them don't work? I'll never get that. Are they programed to self-destruct or what?

Ed said...

tj - Just say No to the outside lighting and save yourself a load of frustration! Glad to hear from you's been awhile

sj - Yes, I believe your neighbor has enough for all of us

carla - It's a conspiracy. Never before have I seen such bad technology (well, ok, I have but I choose to ignore the rest for now) than those bulbs.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

I like your proposed timer design, but what have you got against lighting up Tuesday?

I mounted my lights (C9s) on 1x2 furring strips and now every year I only have to lay them on my gutter and cable-tie them down. It literally takes me 15 minutes to put my lights up. Of course then it takes me an hour to replace all the bulbs that don't work each year.

Ed said...

jeff - I'm having a 6 foot bulb built for next year. I'll just drag that one bulb to the front lawn and I'll be done...until I have to replace that damn bulb that is.

Mother Theresa said...

Maybe you should try velcro. Good for you for not lighting up on Tuesday, maybe that'll solve the global warming problem. ;)

Ed said...

theresa - You know, that velcro idea is not a bad idea.

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