Its March 9 and Christmas is finally over.
Ive always been a slow-starter when it comes to Christmas. When
the Christmas jingles start in October, I just turn my brain off to them.
As a consequence, I usually find myself suddenly realizing that Christmas
is coming sometime around December 23rd. Then its a mad dash to
get all the presents ready thank goodness Rebeccas been buying the
perfect presents since last April and put the tree up.
One of my new duties this past year, in celebration of my son Skylars
arrival, was to put lights up on the house. The local hardware store
had five-foot strands of icicle lights for $4 each. It was like
buying candy when youre hungry. The lights arrived, and as I
unloaded them off the pallet, I surveyed my house. What a view.
Everyone on the road would be able to see my house. Especially, I
laughed under my breath, once I got all these great lights up. I was going
to use nails to hold the lights up, but Rebecca found these nifty plastic
holders to use on the gutter rail. I examined the holders with
respect for their clever design; there was no way these were going to fall
off, come rain, snow, tornado, or even earthquake.
The first month we both really enjoyed the lights. I hooked them up
to our porch light so every night when we went out, our house blazed.
Each time I drove up, I was so proud I was bursting. It took every
restraint on my part not to stand out on the sidewalk and point my house
out to passersby.
The second month the lights became to feel like they were part of the
house. I would see them shining four blocks away and smile, knowing
that I was nearing home. Rebecca liked them because she discovered
she could garden at night, they gave off so much light. Some of my
friends suggested that I was lazy since I left them up into late January.
I just wanted to make it have been worth the effort.
The third month the lights became like an itch I couldnt reach.
My house seemed to stick out, like it was the only one on the block with
any character. As I would pull up to the house, I would look for
notes or graffiti, like the dirty car that someone writes Wash me in
the grime. But who has time to wash a car, let alone take down
The fourth month things had gone too far. Instinctively, I knew they
already had but this was made painfully clear when I went to vote.
As I walked into my polling place, everyone stopped talking and looked at
me. I heard a small child whisper to her mother, Is that the man
who wont take down his Christmas lights?
Sufficiently driven by social guilt, I attacked the lights the very next
day. As I looked at the myriad of lights I had hanging on my house,
I suddenly realized why the electric bill had been so high the last few
months. As I removed the lines of lights off the handrail, I
wondered what I had been so worried about. This was quick and easy.
Then I pulled a line going up to the gutters. I watched as the
little plastic holders hung on like I had used super glue to permanently
attach them. Another tug and the whole gutter threatened to come
down. Being far too clever for myself and too lazy to drag the
ladder out I got a shovel out of the garage, one just the right length
to reach the gutters. Holding the long tool over my head, I
delicately directed the shovel under each clip, working it up the gutter.
The first one came off without wearing me out too much. It was all
the other clips, spaced three inches apart so that there would be
absolutely no chance the lights would fall down, that promised to almost
It was cold outside. I felt the shovel had frozen to my hands.
Eventually I worked my way to where the lights hooked up to the porch
light in the bushes. (So thats where the 100 extension cord
has been hiding.) I looked over the house. Somehow it looked
plain, almost naked. With a touch of sadness, I collected up all of
the lights in a tangled bunch and decided it was simply too cold to
carefully wrap each strand and twist tie them.
I stuffed them into a couple of boxes, feeling sorry for the poor guy who
would have to unravel them next year.