Tuesday, June 25, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 16

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on December 1st, 2015, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 16, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 16, Issue 39

The Great Christmas Light Race

A rivalry escalates between Krider and a neighbor


I absolutely love the holidays. It’s truly a magical time of year. To do my part, I do my best to get my lights up as soon as practical to help turn the city into a winter wonderland. 

In my neighborhood there is a bit of a competition. All the guys race to see who can be the one to get his lights up first after Thanksgiving. Last year, the dude three houses down from me actually started putting up his lights on Thanksgiving. Cheater. I figured this year I would one-up him and get my lights up the weekend before Thanksgiving. I’d show him who clearly had the best Christmas spirit on the block.

The only problem with my plan was my own lack of organizational skills. Last year when I took the lights down (promptly on New Year’s Day, you’re welcome), I was in a big hurry, so instead of carefully putting the lights away neatly, I just bundled them into a ball of cord and then tossed them into the abyss that is my garage. During the last 11 months I probably moved the ball of cord and lights 100 times, stepped on the ball 10 times, and tripped on the cords twice. Eventually I became frustrated with myself and tossed the ball into a different portion of the abyss, and I haven’t seen it since.

This was a problem because even though I decided to one-up my neighbor, as I was unsuccessfully looking for my lights in my garage, I saw he had his garage door open too. That son of a gun was putting his lights up also! If I wanted to be first in the neighborhood, I was going to have to hang my lights up faster than him. 

Panicked, I searched around the maze of boxes and junk that is my mess of a garage and eventually found the massive ball of cord and lights. It didn’t look good. I think I may have unintentionally invented some new super locking knots with my tangled lights. I plugged a strand of the Christmas-light-knot-ball into a socket and only half of the lights were still working.

I had a very important decision to make. Try to repair and untangle my strand, or replace all of my household lights with new gear? Give me convenience, or give me death. I jumped into the car and drove like a madman to the store to pick up some new lights. We needed to update the house anyway; at least that’s what I told myself when I saw the total come up on the cash register. Ouch, the holidays are expensive. Especially when you’re an unorganized idiot who lets things unnecessarily get broken in the garage.

I made it home and started to set up my new lights. I bought the icicle lights that have the hanging strands. I laid them on the lawn and plugged them in but I wasn’t all that impressed with how they looked. Too many people have the same lights and I wanted our house to stand out. Part of the competition in my neighborhood is to get the lights up first, but also to be a little more extravagant than the other guy.

I realized right then what I needed to do: blue light bulbs on the tips of each icicle to make the lights really pop on the house. It would provide a custom look, be easy to do—essentially no big deal. All I needed to make that happen was to jam to the store, buy a bunch of blue bulbs, come home, and replace 300 individual light bulbs one at a time. I’d be done before dinner.

It seemed like a simple plan, but these things are never simple. The blue bulbs I initially purchased didn’t fit into my icicle lights. That meant trip No. 3 back to the store. Every time I went to the store I drove by my neighbor’s house and saw he was making solid progress on his lights. I saw him standing smugly on his lawn. He had these little individual plastic storage boxes where he stored each single strand of lights. He had his strands neatly laid out on his lawn and he was checking every bulb to ensure they lit up. He was super organized and thus super annoying. I needed to get my light bulb problem resolved quickly or I was going to lose the neighborhood Christmas light race. Full disclosure, I don’t lose races.

I flew into the driveway with what I hoped were the correct bulbs, and jumped out of my car to immediately ensure the new bulbs would fit. They did! I quickly started replacing all the icicle tip bulbs. My fingers were working feverishly. Once that was complete, I started operating the staple gun on my rafters like a real craftsman. I was up and down the ladder like an athlete. All said and done, my new custom lights went up in a flash. I looked down the street and saw my neighbor was still on his ladder. I was going to win!

The sun was setting and all of my light strands were up. All that was left to do was flip the switch and see the electric glow of Christmas adorn my home. I turned on my plug bank and—nothing. Something about my new custom blue bulbs was screwing up my light strands. I didn’t have Christmas lights, I had Christmas darkness. My heart was crushed. I began to try to figure out where I went wrong. What wasn’t plugged in? What bulb was shorting out the strands? Then, in the corner of my eye I saw a sparkle of light up the street. My neighbor turned his Christmas lights on. And they were magnificent.

At that same moment my wife, whom I love, walked out of our front door. She casually said, “Oh, look, our neighbor has his lights up already. They look really nice this year. When are you going to put our lights up?” 

Right now it’s pitch black outside and Rob is standing on a ladder checking his lights one bulb at a time. He should be done by Easter.

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What do you think of PG&E's "public safety power shut off" plan?

The outages will be annoying and dangerous for customers.
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