Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oh...What a Tangled Web We Weave

I’m sure I’m not the first to say…if you’re not Einstein, then you have not, nor will you ever master the science of Christmas light untangling. I have never in my entire life come across an art form such as the free form ball of lights. Most people plan to take a day to hang their lights with time for other activities they may want to do. I plan an entire day just to untangle those f**kin' strings of stress. The next day I save for hanging them, with time to spare for other things.
I usually take Thanksgiving weekend as the holiday lighting ritual. Thursday is turkey day. That’s just a day exclusively for eating and being with family. Friday is just for recovering from being with that family you only wanted to see once a year but over the holidays have to see them more often then you wanted. Oh, wait, oops…I mean Friday is for recovering from over-eating on Thursday; working out and resting from the meteoric caloric intake. Then Saturday is for the untangling ceremony. Come one, come all…let’s decipher the expert level Sudoku puzzle of Christmas lights. And Sunday is for hanging…[The lights, I mean.] I have decided I will never move from my house because I have masterfully hammered in thousands of nails to expertly place each strand of lights. Every nail has been strategically positioned so that the lights form a certain pattern to make anyone gasp in awe when they see them.
Unfortunately, Saturday has arrived…I drink my eight cups of coffee, gearing up for the very unpleasant task of the detangle. Then I take a valium to try to keep myself calm so the neighbors don’t hear me screaming and swearing eight hours into the task at hand, pulling and tugging and contorting, with lights hanging from my head. I take a deep breath and open up the enormous, chock full box of Christmas crap: lights, dancing Santa, wreaths, giant lighted Santa sleigh, mini lighted Christmas tree, and so on and so on. Nope…no sign of the Jew in this box…[My grandparents are turning in their graves.]
I pull out one string of lights and out come the entire contents of the box in one gigunda ball...everything included. The ornaments are hanging from the Santa, which is hanging from the sleigh, which is hanging from the extra large, lighted lollipops, which are attached to 10 strings of more lights. OY! I'm so happy it's 83 degrees and sunny on November 26th so that I can tan on the front lawn while I'm untangling Christmas paraphernalia. A little sunshine to an otherwise dreary undertaking. [Christmas in California just isn't the same as it is back east.]

OK, deep breath. And the untangling begins...the race is on to see if I can beat my time from last year. It's a little game I play with myself to help the time and frustration pass a little more smoothly. Doesn't really work. I've gotten some of the bigger pieces removed from the bundle of joy. I've set them in the garage so there is no chance of them getting caught back in the web of madness. I still have about 10 strings of Christmas lights yet to untangle...but finally it happens. Do you know what an accomplishment that is? I'm sure you do. It's like striving for the impossible and actually achieving it. It's like when you get a knot in your thinnest necklace while it's all tangled up with your other necklaces...and actually get them apart. Then with your stubby, little fingers, you get that microscopic knot out of the teeny, tiny links. I’m not sure why we have to get the knot out. Unless you have Superman vision, you would never notice it anyway, but you still have to remove that itsy bitsy teensy weensy miniscule knot. Welllllll...I did it! Night has fallen, meals have been eaten...[by others]...but by golly...I did it.
I placed all the strings in rows trying to remember which string goes on which part of the house and which strands go on the tree. Yep, that's right...not only does the good little Jew that I am put lights on the house...we also have a tree. What's Chanukah without Christmas lights and a Christmas tree? It's Chanukah...duh. Do you think my kids were a little confused growing up? We won't go there. That would be fodder for a whole other blog. (Note to on "How I f**ked up my kids.")
Hanging the lights is a feat. That fear of heights I've discussed in other blogs comes into play quite often on this holiday. The lights outlining the garage aren't too bad...I only need to go on the 2nd step of the step ladder, but even that makes me sick to my stomach. Fortunately, the girls didn't inherit that fear and have no problem standing next to me while I go up on that step trembling. They are there for support. The princesses don't do the actual work. They keep watch hoping they don't have to catch me if I get dizzy and fall. No...Just kidding...they do help with the lights. Sometimes. OK...rarely.
I finally attach one string to the nails around the door of the garage, get the extension cord all set up after trying to remember what cord goes into which outlet, plug in the lights and NADA. Nothing. Not one light goes on. Oh...that's right...I stupidly forgot to check each strand to see if they still work. Luckily I have so many extra ones that I can just switch it out. But still...nothing like making extra work for myself...because I'm not frustrated enough and not panicked enough about going back up on the ladder. Another OY.
Eventually it all gets done. Lights all working, flickering sequences adjusted to where I like them...looking unbelievably fantastic. I'm so excited it's done to the perfection I want. And now for the unveiling of this incredible undertaking that I call my masterpiece. I step back into the street so I can take it all in and........Check it out.......

                                   Pretty frickin' impressive...dontcha think?


  1. Very funny! Next time put up a Chanukah bush! Or--- put up both so all religions can enjoy. Or, a Menorah---just lights, no strings. You'll figure it out. Happy Holdays to a great writer.

  2. A Jewish chick at a country bar and the same chick hanging Christmas lights. Line dancing untangling lights.....I see a pattern....

  3. @rt...maybe i was adopted!

  4. Thanks for the mid day laugh.