It’s that time of the year again. Time for me to ask my husband to leave his football game and hang our Christmas lights outside.
"Oh, honey bunches?" I ask sweetly as the crisp winter wind blows leaves outside the window.
Silence. "Good grief Coach Smith, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?" My husband turns to look at me and says in disgust, "He just put in Todd Jones. The game is over."
"Well, since you said that …" I interjected as I dragged 14 green Rubbermaid boxes in front of the television. "How about if we hang the lights outside this afternoon?"
"Are you kidding?" he sighed. "You’re kidding, right? Pleeeeeeease tell me you’re kidding."
"I’m not kidding," I said with my most serious face.
"But the game!" he argued.
"You just said the game is over," I replied. "Besides, it won’t take that long."
Have you ever heard of the line "Famous Last Words?"
Three hours later, I hung from the ladder with one hand and tried to rig the 15th string of lights on a tiny nail on the gutter with a broom handle. My husband, who happened to be holding the ladder for me, said, "I’ll be right back. I just want to see the score of the Seahawks/Vikings game."
"Wait? Where are you …?" The front door slammed behind him. I swear I heard it lock.
The cold wind whipped around me like a tornado. I swayed back and forth as I finally hooked the last string on to the last tiny nail.
"There!" I said as I stepped off the ladder. Icicle lights hung from our gutters like … well … beautiful icicles. Our bushes were enveloped in colorful strands of lights. Our tree trunks were wrapped so tightly with lights that they’d surely stay warm all through the holidays.
I grabbed the extension cord on the porch and plugged it in the socket. My icicles didn’t shimmer. My bushes were still brown. The trees shivered in the wind. None of the lights worked.
I tested the front doorknob. Locked. I rang the doorbell. No answer. "I KNOW YOU’RE IN THERE!" I yelled, "AND NONE OF THESE **#*&&$&$&&$&&&$ LIGHTS WORK OUT HERE!"
Two hours later, I could barely move my fingers, but I had tested over 1,000 tiny bulbs to make sure they were pushed into their tiny little sockets. I thought the instructions on the box had said, "Even if one bulb burns out, the rest stay lit." I think they meant to say, "Even if one bulb burns out, you’ll have to find it (which will be an impossible task) and replace it for the rest to stay lit." Those writers are always trying to condense wording to keep costs down.
I plugged in the extension cord. For one brilliant moment, the lights came on and all was right with the world. The icicles sparkled. The bushes twinkled. The tree trunks glimmered. I think I heard angels singing, "Hallelujah!" Then the lights flickered on the tree trunks. I heard a sizzling sound in the outlet. The angels stopped singing and said they were leaving to have dinner at Applebee’s. My world went dark.
I’m learning to love football much more these days. It’s a lot more fun than hanging those dumb lights anyway.