I hate Christmas lights!
Don't get me wrong. I love looking at them, especially the multi-colored displays that twinkle or scroll. I just hate putting them up and trying to figure out why half the strand won't light. I hate dealing with the tangled wires and multiple extension cords, and trying to figure out why lights that fit perfectly last year, somehow won't stretch as far this year.
I also hate trying to find replacement bulbs because, invariably, the only replacements available are just slightly different from the burned out ones, so they won't work. I truly believe that the manufacturers do this intentionally, because they really don't want us to replace bulbs.
Oh, they provide a few replacements in each package of lights. But they know that by the next Christmas, when we get out the lights we packed away, the replacements will either be lost or broken and the ones in the stores will never match. It's all an insidious plot to force us to replace the whole string, or even the whole display.
They also plot to invent "improved" lighting systems each year - another enticement to replace rather than repair the lights we have. Just in the last few years they've come up with lights that play music, lights that look like icicles, lights shaped like snowflakes, lights that burn cooler and supposedly use less energy, even battery-powered lights to eliminate the tangled cords.
Well, I refuse to fall for it. After all, we're supposed to be recycling things to save the planet. So doesn't it make sense that we should try to reuse our Christmas lights for as many seasons as we can?
Consequently, I spent hours untangling light strands and rigging extension cords. I even repainted the front door and bought tiny white hooks to match the woodwork around the door. I was so proud of myself when I got out the ladder, found a hammer, a nail to make pilot holes, and the pliers to remove the nail so I could screw in the hooks all by myself.
The first two holes and hooks worked fine. I was thinking, "What's so hard about this? Nothing to it. By the fourth hole I was feeling like a real pro. Till I discovered that this time I could not get the nail out. No matter how securely I gripped it with the pliers, nor how hard I pulled and wiggled it, that stupid nail would not budge.
Finally, in desperation, I gave it one last hard jerk and smacked the nail head directly into my upper lip. It hurt so bad I nearly fell off the ladder, but I was determined to finish the job. That is, until I felt blood trickling down my chin and dripping on my shirt.
I'm brave, determined and self reliant... until I see blood.
I rushed into the house, looked in the mirror, and nearly fainted. Blood was literally gushing down my face and already a large lump was forming under my nose. I grabbed a wet washcloth and sopped up the blood, then stumbled to the kitchen for an ice bag. I settled for a bag of frozen peas and flopped on the couch just in time to keep from fainting.
When the bleeding finally stopped and I was able to stand up without staggering, I looked in the mirror again. The wound was actually a very small hole, but it hurt like a sucker punch.
I considered waiting till John got home and coaxing him to finish the job, but I really wanted to be able to say I had done it myself, so I returned to the ladder and, adopting a new stance with my head away from the "line of fire," I completed the job.
Now, the lights are all hung and they really look beautiful, except for the one strand that simply refuses to light no matter what I do. I have tinkered and tinkered, replaced bulbs and reversed extension cords till I'm ready to scream...
I really do hate Christmas lights!