Monday, December 3, 2012

'Tis the Season (dammit)

If there is one thing I'm betting all single moms can agree on, it's this:

Putting up Christmas lights is one of the most heinous activities of the entire year, let alone Christmas.  Listen, I realize in most dual-parent families that it's the husband/father to whom this task is relegated.  Let me tell you, I feel your pain.  Every year, since 2007, I have been single-handedly decorating my house for Christmas.  And every year I swear my neighbors close their windows, lock their doors and turn the televisions up a little louder.  Because really, who wants to hear the poor, crazy, single mom across the street cussing her brains out as she attempts to hang a few hundred strands off lights?

Mind you, I don't even attempt to hang lights on the house.  God knows, that would be a task straight from hell.  It's bad enough to adorn bushes.  Every year it's the same thing.  I've learned to test the lights, which is good, but inevitably there are a few strands that don't work.  And every year I promise myself I'll do a better job next year: more lights, more merriment, faster, easier, smarter.

So this year, I bought an extra 400 feet of lights.  I have no idea how many I already had.  Oh, and last year I got the bright idea to buy "those easy net lights you just throw over a bush."  Not.  Unless you have midget bushes, they only cover the top third of the damn thing, which makes me look like an incompetent ass.  I may have a bit of a complex, but I refuse to not give my kids a decorated house for Christmas.  And just because I am a chick, doesn't mean that I can't do this.  And do it well.  I'm doing it up right this year if it kills me.

I come home from the store and lay out all the lights.  And remember the cute plastic candy canes that lined the walkway last year.  That was a last-minute desperate purchase to make the half-ass bushes look a little better.  I pull them out of the box to find half of them broken, the stakes torn from the plastic.  Now I remember: last year, on December 26th, I was so ready to get those damn things down, that I gave the first one a yank and they all came flying, leaving mud-caked stakes in the ground.

I spend ten minutes trying to fix the lights and then with a great big four-letter crash, I dump them in the trash.  Enough of that.

I plug in the first outdoor extension cord and begin stringing the lights over the bushes on the front of the house.  I make it around 2 medium-sized bushes by the walkway, then turn the corner to the front of the house and start on the first evergreen tree (okay, bush, but it's very tall).  I run out of lights, grab the next 200 foot strand, plug the male into the female and start on the first of four smaller bushes that run across the landscaping before making it to the matching tall evergreen tree (bush) on the other side.  I get one fourth of the way up that bush... and run out of lights.

This is where I take a very deep breath.  Throw up my hands and stomp away. Funny that on the day I decide to take on this Godforsaken project, it's a balmy 72 degrees.  I am sweating.  Profusely.  I am pissed.  Granted, usually it's 45 degrees and my four-letter words fly out of my chapped laps in a puffy white cloud.  I should be glad.  I'm not.  I need a break.

I move my car and begin sweeping out the garage.  This feels good.  I can do this.  I organize, throw away, sweep and straighten until my garage is fairly clean.

Back to the lights. This time I start on the other side of the garage.  I've got two small bushes and another tree.  There are two "crappy ass net lights" and two 100 foot strands of lights.  Easy-peasy.  I'll connect them to the other extension cord and run that wire over the garage door later (Oh, yeah, that's some foreshadowing...).

I head back to the BS other side of my house and unwrap most of those f'ing lights.  Since I don't have any additional lights, and I'll be Damned if I'm going back to the store, I decide to wrap the lights just around the front of the bushes.  Hell, you can't see the back anyway!  This is what I call "poor decorating."  But hey, don't knock it 'till you've tried it (or you're desperate).  Finally, I'm finished.
Except that now I can't find the other f*ing extension cord.  Luckily, I have a very kind elf who brings me several of these so that I don't have to spend more money.

I get home after work tonight, run my kids to physical therapy, stop to pick up a "lost" phone charger, and make a run to the bank, then stop for carry-out pizza (mom of the year award, here I come!) before finally getting home at 6:45pm.  I eat, announce that it's homework time and head back outside.  All I have to do is plug those lights in on the "easy" side of the garage, and then run that extension cord over the door so that it doesn't catch on the opener, and plug the sucker in.

Twenty minutes later, I've hit my head on a light fixture and taught the neighbor kids a few new "sailor" words before I say, quite loudly, "Screw This," and run the damn cord along the floor of the garage and plug the f*ing thing in.

Done.  Merry &*%^ Christmas!

Author's note:  
I LOVE Christmas, it's just this one task that I despise.  So, what about you?  Is there one thing you hate doing, despite your love of the season?  Go on, share it, it'll make me feel better...