If it was up to me, outside Christmas decorations would consist of a couple strands of bulbs thrown onto the bush nearest our front door, and that's assuming that the lights strung the year before still worked. It's not that I'm a 'bah humbug,' it's more that I'm a klutz when it comes to things made in China with a half-life of two days, namely cheap strands of Christmas lights.
My son, however, has become quite the overachiever in Christmas lights. We may not have the best display in the block, but we're probably in the top 10. Come to think of it, there's only about a dozen houses on our block and at least two of them don't put up Christmas lights.
He expands every year. We've had a plastic Santa on the roof, until he somehow untied himself and fell off. Now he just sits by the front door. We've had the metal reindeer with tiny lights that look like a menagerie of metal and cord and tiny bulbs until it gets dark and the sun goes down. And we've had our cycle of inflatables that use a pump to become Santa going down the chimney or a snowman. A storm, freezing rain and wind did one in - the dogs got another. One just quit working, and my son said to heck with the last one.
This year he's going to spell out Merry Christmas on the fence, or at least he's going to try. One thing I've learned about Christmas lights is that you estimate how long you think it will take and the hardness factor, and multiply both by five. You'll be pretty close.
And you can never get all the lights up without a couple of trips to town for a certain plug, or a certain switch, or some sort of adapter that you know you have half a dozen of- you just don't know where they're out. Besides, it's freezing cold and you're in no mood to look for them. On the nice Sunday two weeks ago, you thought it more prudent to watch the Colts, so now you're doing this on a wintry late fall day. And they lost to boot!
Oh, and the extension cords. We have enough to start a department store. At last count, I own 15 extension cords, plus a couple of adapters and a couple plug-ins of some sort. One thing about it, we don't have to hunt for extension cords during the rest of the year- we've always got plenty.
Now for the real reason I'm in here writing about putting up Christmas decorations while my son is outside doing it. Last year when he was away being a state FFA officer I got the idea a couple of 4-H pigs in light at a pig feeder would be cool. After all, people pull old tractors in the yard and string lights on them. One thing led to another. I finally cut two wooden pigs out that were decent size. Then I had to have a barn for them to be in. I used metal poles for the corners and stung lights, but it drooped more than the saggiest old roof on some barn in Brown County.
The capper was I decided I needed a real hog feeder to put lights around. The pigs needed to be eating. So I brought a small two-hole metal feeder up from the barn OK, so it was somewhat beat up and dirty- it's a used feeder. I string lights on it. I turned on the lights and sure enough, it all worked. It sort of looked like two pigs at a feeder in a rickety old barn- sort of.
The next day my wife shrieked. She didn't realize I'd used a real feeder - one of our junkier ones. "In the daylight that makes it look like Kentucky around here," she exclaimed.
Well, I simply told her not to look at it until dark.
Needless to say, the two wooden pig cutouts stayed in the storage shed, and I don't even know where the feeder is - that part of the decorations got cut from the outdoor lighting list this year!