Last year, around this time, I was traveling to Belize and excited to spend Christmas in a tropical place with my Matt.
A year before that I was puttering around my garden after dark, mumbling incoherently, and in a full on war with the Christmas lights. You see I was single, living alone and wanting to make sure my home was extra special to come home to in the evening after work. Nothing is more depressing than driving up to your dark, empty house – with dirty dishes in the sink and nothing but old laundry to keep you company (ok, I had my dogs, but you get the point). After watching He’s Just Not That Into You about seven times and having Kraft mac & cheese four nights in a row, I snapped out of my carb-induced coma and decided to get in the holiday spirit and dress-up the house a bit.
Cause I was alone.
“Christmas lights!”, I said aloud to no one. My
double Bourbon swilled in the coffee mug as I rushed down the hallway and grabbed a pad of paper to make a list of Christmas decor to buy the following day.
“Christmas lights will make me happy.”
My mac & cheese got cold that night, but my heart warmed with the thought of hundreds of tiny twinkle lights that were about to adorn my house.
I’ve had a love/hate LTR with Christmas lights. I love the effort of anything bright and cheery and holiday-y, but I hate the look of lights during the day. Dragged over and half-attached onto a gutter or windowpane; sloppily draped over some poor, pathetic tree or shrub. A Hebe or Ceanothus dripping with lights, reminds me of a cheap hooker trying to catch the next customer. (I’ve been known to shout out the car window while passing such adorned shrubs, “You’re a hooker, shrub! A hooker!”)
After paying for the stupidly expensive Christmas lights at Restoration Hardware, I went home and happily spent an afternoon carefully winding them in and out of my picket fence, my arbor, mail box and door way. I meticulously intertwined each strand so that the street got optimum bulb exposure and the black cords were tucked out of sight. I made sure to get the appropriate lengths so none of the connections showed and even put them on a timer so that the instant it struck 5pm – the lights turned on.
I staple-gunned until my knuckles were sore and my finger tips frozen.
Once complete, the front yard looked pretty darn good and I was proud of my work.
The whole event turned south when I realized I didn’t make appropriate plans for the extension cords. I bought extension cords – even sprung for the green-coated ones. But no matter how I laid them out, you could still see bulky cords from the street. And even in the dark – it looked like shit. I ran them behind the Roses, dodging thorns to get in the right spot. I tried again behind the Gunnera, the Salvias, the fence base board – but every where I tried they always had to come out in the same, unsightly spot.
I gave up after 4 nights of trying to rearrange the cords.
I never did get those light turned on. But the living room looked good; beautifully decorated
within an inch of its life with glittery ornaments, cedar and bay garland and A Christmas Story on repeat, on the TV.
All was right with the world.