Neverending Saga: My first 2009 Holiday Bloopers

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Nov 30, 2002
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My very first official Holiday Bloopers of 2009 has begun. I spent Saturday and Sunday taking down the Fall/Harvest/Halloween stuff and tucking them away for another year.

The Holiday bloopers started quickly afterward on Sunday afternoon with the demise of my now very deformed Pilgrim candles.

Over my barn we have a full loft where I do not store hay. We store everything else that needs a place to live and my Christmas decorations take up about half the space. For those that may not know me, this gives you an idea of what Christmas holidays around here mean to me, but I think you guessed that already.

Keeping with family tradition, we do not skip or rush over Thanksgiving for Christmas so I brought out my Thanksgiving Rubbermaid boxes of decorations to adorn the living room. There’s lots of little turkey figurenes, cornucopias, Indians, Pilgrims and of course the boy’s art work from pre-school and kindergarten that I always put up on the fridge just like I did when they first brought them home way back when. Some of my favorite little decorations are little Pilgrim candles that I never light and are about 5 inches tall. They look like figurines but they are actually made of wax and have a wick. My mother bought them for me a million years ago so they are cherished. There are three sets of those but low and behold, when I unpacked the box, I couldn’t find one of the sets; my little Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim candles were not among the decorations. They weren’t in the box and I don’t know why. I went back up to the loft and searched and searched and there they were in a plastic Walmart bag sitting on top of the Easter decoration box. I opened up the bag and to my horror, my Pilgrim figurines were melted. I have these big vents up in the loft and we close for fall and winter and re-open them in spring and if you don’t open the vents up, it gets very hot up there in the summer, enough to melt a Pilgrim candle I guess. So sure enough, I checked and all the vents were closed tight apparently all summer long. Somebody forgot about it and that somebody was me. I screwed up big time.

It was too late now and my little Mr.and Mrs. Pilgrim looked like a couple of sticks of brown, orange and black mushy stuff. Their bodies are ok, if you can appreciate elongated Pilgrim bodies that might wear really long boots, but even worse were their heads. You know those little pilgrim hats they wear? Well, they looked like unicorn horns or bugles or something. So I went to work to save them. I cut them off, and part of their boots, and decided to re-melt them with my blow dryer, mash them around and try to shape them back like playing with Play-Dough and now they look like little blobs of multi-colored celery. Trying not to feel defeated and determined to salvage something of them, I tipped them sideways and rolled them around and re-shaped Mrs. Pilgrim. Out of her former body, I made my version of a canoe like the one Pocahontas rode in as she paddled down the river with lover-boy Captain John Smith under that blue corn moon of theirs. It is unfortunate that Mrs. Pilgrim’s little bee-dee eyeballs are in the bottom of the canoe however, so I’ll say those are holes in the bottom where it sank. I’m thinking I can make Mr. Pilgrim into paddles for it. Genius? Not genius. Sadly, I threw them out. I still have two more sets intact.

Next thing was the candy cane flop. I have 8 candy canes that light up about 3 feet tall that were also left out of the Rubbermaid box and they melted too. The cane part of them doesn’t bend and hook around anymore. Instead it sticks out straight and looks like an upside down “L” which I found hurtful and offensive. So I got this great idea to melt it again with my blow dryer and curve it into place around my little soup pot. Hus comes in:

H: What are you doing?

Me: Fixing these messed up candy canes. Somebody left them out of the Rubbermaid box and they melted in the loft.

H: You can’t fix that. It’s a mold.

Me: Yes I can. I’m re-molding.

H: Won’t work

Me: Yes it will

H: You are wasting your time

Stubborn or determined, take your pick, I proceed to try to bend and melt these candy canes for the better part of an hour or so and my hands were turning pink from them.

H: It’s not going to work

Me: Yes it is. It just takes time.

H: It’s not going to work

Me: Maybe I should stick the ends in the oven?

H: You want to start another kitchen fire? I am not remodeling in there again!

Me: Maybe I should go to the garage and get the heat gun

H: Leave my heat gun alone before you burn yourself or break it

So I went to the garage and got the heat gun.

About 20 minutes later:

Me: It’s just not working very well

H: Nothing is going to save those candy canes just give it up

Me: Will you give it a try for me?

H: (Growls)…..Give it here.

H: See, it won’t work

Me: You must be doing it wrong

H: Gives me that “look”

Me: Will you buy us more candy canes then? Five bucks at the Dollar Store

H: We agreed once any of the decorations tore up, we would not replace them; no more buying decorations.

Me: (HYSTERICALLY) I never agreed to that!!!

I then hatched a new plan: I taped one melted candy cane to another candy cane that doesn’t light up and was not melted to try to shape it accordingly since my soup pot idea didn’t work. Let’s just say that I did not master the task. Finally, I conceded that maybe the Hus is right and I can’t fix them. Call me obstinate, call me economical, call me a Christmas decoration hoarder but I didn’t want to let them go. I came up with yet another plan: Since I am not a wasteful person and refused to throw them out, I decided to re-purpose them. I removed the lights from inside the candy cane, cut off the cane part, so now I have a peppermint stick that I can use inside and add to a Christmas floral arrangement, or apply to other inside decorations. Sigh, it looks stupid.

Next the Christmas fence lights:

I’m pretty fussy about what lights go where. The 18 sets of lights designated to go around the front of the white vinyl fence of Sonny’s pasture must have white wire because green wire on a white fence is distasteful to me. I think outside decorations should look nice during the day and when you put a green wire of lights against a white vinyl fence that’s just plain unpleasant. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree because one year Dan put lights with green wire up on our white barn and he couldn’t stand it and took them all down. He made me go back to the store all the way to Walmart in Chattanooga for white wire lights so I guess this obsession runs in the family. I keep all the lights labeled so we know which ones go where. What did people do in the olden days when there was only green wire?

You don’t want to get me started on the color of extension cords but here’s a hint: a can of spray paint can do wonders to an ugly orange extension cord.

Now I would like to know how the bulbs on these Christmas lights manage to go out so easily. This same thing happens every year: I put them up brand spanking new and they all are working perfectly as expected. Then about a week into it, I notice some of the lights are out here and there. Is this the Grinch or a terrorist thing or what? Can’t be Sonny, he doesn’t touch the fence. So I would waddle out late at night in my Carhart over my sleeper pants with my OJ knit cap in the ice cold and wind, examine them, push, pull and twist, hoping for a restoration, then shaking the whole strand out of desperation, “come on light up, please light up” before I croak out here and freeze to death. How the heck does Nanook of the North manage? Alas, I end up replacing the ones that refuse to rise to the occasion, then a few days later, kaboom, a few more lights are out and I have to go fix them too. This is all in the dark of course because that’s when I notice it, and trust me, I can spot one bulb out among a thousand that are working in a New York minute if its dark. Subsequently, at the end of the season when everyone takes the lights down and puts them back in storage, more light bulbs break in the process, bringing me to where I am right now.

It is usually not in my Christmas job description to fix the lighting outages but Hus came home so late and tired, he was dozing on and off in his chair. I thought I’d give it a go. He didn’t think I’d have the patience for it, but sure I do, so I thought. I decided instead of folding our baskets of laundry while watching TV, I’ll start checking the fence lights in the living room instead which would be a whole lot more fun. Well I’ll be a son of a gun because there were at least 4-6 lights out on every strand. After about one hour into it I realized this holly jolly holiday fun activity is killing my eyes and making my pupils pulsate at a rapid rate wanting to bounce right out of my head. I decided fixing Christmas lights is generally annoying and time consuming. I had to attack this undertaking with my father’s old bi-focals, a magnifying glass, tweezers, and everything short of a microscope and getting my eyes dilated by my local optometrist, who is a creep that we refer to as “Eyeball Bob”.

Then I find out that replacement bulbs are not created equal. Why am I not surprised? The kinds of lights I have are from Walmart, Holiday Time brand. I have a whole container of every kind of replacement bulb known to man that come on these little cards but I ran out of the Holiday Time bulbs that came with these particular sets in my little container. I tried to cheat the system and took replacement bulbs off a different card from probably the Dollar Store or Walgreens and they refused to fit. I pulled and pushed and twisted and jammed, busted the nail off of my thumb and finally, when I got one in it, the darn thing went POOF and blew. So I did what every self respecting Christmas person would do, I tried it again. And it went POOF again. I was in light bulb denial. This went on four times and I finally sucked it up, lugged my cold and jiggly rear up the steep stairs to the storage loft at 10:30 pm. I awakened the horses causing them to stomp around down there while I rifled through at least 8 more Rubbermaids of lights. I was glad to have found another box of replacement bulbs quickly that said Holiday Time. I wasn’t too worried. I always have tons of these things and about 15-25 new boxes of lights for back up. This is why I invented the day after Christmas sale.

I returned to the living room to continue my light bulb repair and Hus was fast asleep in the chair. I’m still not folding laundry again but instead, performing what appears to be my full time duty for the next three weeks of checking even more Christmas lights when I got this great idea: I wake up the Hus on the pretense of telling him he needs to go to bed and then I hit him up with this:

Me: Can we go to Home Depot?

H: No. Why?

Me: I was looking online and they have this really need Lamp Post that’s 6 feet tall that would be perfect out front in the entrance and this adorable little Rudolph and his nose lights up that I just have to have and then there is this big brown reindeer that matches perfectly with the one we have that’s falling apart, and then they have………

H: He gave me that “look” again followed by “No more buying decorations!”

Well I’ll just have to wait it out and see.

Finally I fixed all 18 sets for Sonny’s white vinyl fence and that is why I was up until 2:30 in the morning. Next I’ll tackle the icicle lights. I can hardly wait.

Just think, it’s only the first week of November.

Stay tuned!

Marty, Marty,

You are too funny i saw this post and couldn't wait to read. I think its like my highlight of the holiday, i don't really decorate i don't like the stress but i think you do enough for everyone. Can't wait for the next chapter. You are one awesome lady GOOD LUCK with the rest!!!

Marty, you are a legend!

Can't wait for the next installement.
Hey Marty....
when did you sneak into my storage shed and "borrow" my candy canes?? I have some that could be the perfect companion to yours. Gets awfully hot in the shed if I dont remember to crank open the window. I have the LR, dining rm,kitchen , and one of the bathroons with a good start for x-mas decor. The stuff just seems to keep appearing and I have this horrible urge to just put it out.. (of course the stuff that is appearing just happens to be following me home from the stores..
) I have all my tubs to bring in and go thru, sooooo THANKS a LOT for all the friendly "lights gone out" thoughts.
Maybe I will get my jiggly butt in gear this weekend. I spent the better part of this week back at the store..I still havent closed it up for the winter. BTY~~ if you seem to be in need of a certain bulb and cant find replacements just ask me, I probably have a card or two of them. You know...those after christmas sales come in so handy even for things I dont have, or need. I am still looking since last year...for my old feather tree, and havent found it.
so, I am hoping I just missed a tub last year.
Had to wait till I had no distractions to read your story.....I didnt want to miss one single word. You are hysterical...cant wait till the next chapter.....I know we still have the blow up Holiday decorations yet to come!!
Marty I am sitting here laughing out loud! You are a gem, you really are a great storyteller. I have it all here in my brain just from reading your words and it will be here awhile making me laugh again and again. My Christmas candy canes, by the way, never made it into storage, I found them when I was raking leaves, all brown and stained living under a bush all year. I can't decorate worth a darn even if I bought new every year.

Best wishes to you, can't wait until your next story.

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