Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"Now Why the Hell Are They BLINKING?"

Ah...'tis the season to do what all SuperDads must do for their families. Yes, it's time to put up the Christmas lights!

This weekend, I decided to start with putting the lights on the house. I was thinking I would put up another dazzling display like last year....lights on the porch, lights on the roof, lights on the bushes, and our two, lovely little, wicker, light-up deer. Nothing says winter like a 60-degree day and two deer in the yard...

I started by taking the old buck n' doe out of the box. I set the buck in the ground and lit him up. Success. I set the doe in the ground and...she was half burnt out. No problem, maybe only one deer this year, I thought.

Then, it was on to the railing along the porch. I decided to use the garland lights from last year for this. I strung up one set and then realized I hadn't tested it first.


I plugged it in was half burnt out. No problem, I have three more I might just have to buy one new set. I tested the second set was half burnt out. I tested the third set was half burnt out. I tested the fourth set and...nothing.

I've decided that, in order to become rich, I need to go work for a Christmas light company. Apparently, these products are built so well that you must go out and buy all new lights every year.

I decided to try the first set of "net lights" from last year. I plugged it in and got an incredible shock. The lights flashed, the porch light flickered and...the net lights went out. At this point, I went into a Christmas Vacation-like tirade and, instead of kicking plastic Santa's head in, ala Clark Griswald, I picked up the burnt out doe, bent her in half, threw her and her box in the trash, whipped all 7 sets of burnt out lights over my shoulder and kicked them in to the trash can. I didn't accomplish much but I felt better.

Until my wife poked her head out the front door and said, "No offense, but it doesn't look like you've gotten very far."

"A-ha-ha-ha," I said. "Here, try plugging in these net lights."

I decided to head to Wal-Mart to look for some lights. I was going to go to Target but, in their infinite wisdom, they decided to ban the Salvation Army from standing in front of their stores. Why don't you kick Santa in the head too, while you're at it? Steal all the presents from Who-ville, perhaps?

Wal-Mart was sold out of clear lights. I did, however, buy a bigger, 48" light-up buck WITH a moving head. With a moving head, it MUST look like a real deer, right? I also slipped a couple of bucks (that's dollars, not deer) to the Salvation Army guy ringing his bell. Call me crazy but that's one of the things I look forward to every year.

I headed to Lowes. Lowes was sold out of clear lights. Although, they did have these new, clear LED lights that "save energy". I tried them out. I can see why they save energy. "Hey, everyone, my front porch looks like the shuttle bay of the U.S.S. Enterprise!"

I had to resort to Target. There, I made an amazing discovery. There is a new brand of lights called Noma StayLit lights. These lights have a circuit for EVERY BULB! They are guaranteed for life! If they burn out, you send them back to the company and they send you a new set!


I can't figure out how this company makes money if you don't have to buy new sets of lights every year.

While I was there, I also bought some "energy saving" floodlights for our kitchen. These things are supposed to last SEVEN YEARS! I'll be 42 before I need to change these bulbs again! We have a light-switch in the kitchen that controls four floodlights. I figure I'll put all four of these bulbs in at once and see if they all burn out at the same time in 2013.

So five hours later (and seven sets of lights...and a deer...and three stores...and over $100), we have lights on the porch, lights on all of the bushes, and two light-up deer in the yard.

I couldn't wait to show the kids. We pulled up to the house Monday night. My ten-year-old daughter looked at the house, turned to me, and said,

"Where are the rest of the lights?"

"Here, try plugging in these net lights," I said.