Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Outdoor Lights

Here's another Haven Beach picture I shot last week. It was cold the day I took this, just as it was this weekend when I decided to decorate the outside of my house.

Welcome to the second installment of Chesapeake Bay Woman’s Guide to Home Decorating. Today we learn how to handle holiday decorating for the exterior of your home in 19 super-easy steps.

1. Put up rope lights on your front porch. Take them down because you don’t like them. Come away bloodied because you had an altercation with the monstrous rose bush in both the putting up and taking down portion of this exercise in futility.
2. Actually, it isn’t so much that you don’t like the rope lights, but they look like a second grader put them up.
3. Next, gather all your outdoor lights together. To do this, wrestle with cords and lights and more cords and knots and more knots and chaos. Begin sweating. Even though it is 25 degrees outside.
4. Give up on the front porch because you decide you’d rather put lights on the fence at the end of the driveway.
5. The end of the driveway is so far away from the house--aka the source of electricity--that the cable TV folks won't even consider you as a customer (too much cable to lay). Don’t worry about how the extension cords will reach the house for now.
6. Gather all the rope lights that you put up and then took down on the front porch and pray there are enough to go over the entire length of the fence but whatever you do, don't do any measuring or estimating or planning. This takes all the surprise out of the end result.
7. Worry about #6 later because a bigger problem is how to attach the rope light to the fence.
8. Spend 30 minutes just contemplating how to get them attached and finally come up with a very creative solution involving a hammer, nails, some plastic widgets and three bloody fingers. Have flashbacks of 7th grade shop class with Mr. Riddick and begin to convulse.
9. Finish one section of fence and realize there is not enough for the fence on the other side of the driveway. Ignore this minor technicality for now. And for the remainder of the holiday season.
10 Go ahead and take a break from the fence lights because now you want to decorate the 12-foot cedar tree in the front yard.
13. Locate all the huge exterior lights and a few extension cords. Ignore the rule about stringing only 2 or 3 strands of lights together, and go ahead and string 14 on the same line.
14. You will need a ladder for this job. Be sure not to step off of it thinking the ground is only two steps away when it is really five steps away. Make sure your health insurance is up to date.
15. Toss the lights onto the cedar tree as best as possible without toppling off the ladder whilst your hands are bleeding from the previous hammering. The hammering actually felt good compared to what cedar tree splinters feel in your already-tender hands (reference the wreath-hanging/pine sap episode from yesterday).
16. Get bored with the cedar tree project and return to figuring out how to string enough extension cords to reach those lights you just spent the better part of the day adhering to the fence.
17. Realize you do not have enough extension cords. Consider making a Martha Stewart voodoo doll but realize even that project's level of difficulty far exceeds your qualifications. Picture lighting your entire place on fire but refrain from actually doing so. The 14 strands of outdoor lights attached to one cord dangling from a cedar tree will probably take care of that for you in a few days, very likely Christmas Eve.
18. Call it a day. Leave all extension cords in the yard. Leave the ladder next to the cedar tree. Leave some stray lights on the front porch, along with all the pine and cedar greenery, hedge clippers and other assorted paraphernalia from the wreath project yesterday.
19. Call a friend to come do all the exterior decorating for you. Pray that this friend can also cook and clean because clearly you do not possess the skills necessary to prepare for the upcoming Chesapeake Bay Neighbors Annual Christmas Party that you will be hosting in four short days, of which you have to work most of those days at the paying job.

Stay tuned. In future editions of the Chesapeake Bay Woman's Home and Garden series I will be sharing Do's and Don't's of holiday entertaining, which will be exceedingly heavy on the "don't's" and not so much on the "do's."


Unknown said...

Only you! I couldn't stop laughing, and of course, it wasn't funny...I mean all the blood and splinters, bruises, hammers and sweating in freezing weather.
We so need pictures of the fence...treee, and those poor hands. My own hands started hurting so I went and soaked them with my bath salts, then covered them with body butter, and put gloves on. Now, it's been an hour and my hands feel much better.

I can hardly wait for the entertainment part of the Chesapeake Bay Christmas Party.

Oh and can we bribe that cable guy to lay the cable? Does he know what a public service he'd be performing?

Anonymous said...

Too funny.
You've managed to run into a job that men are good at...but not without supervision & moral support.

Mental P Mama said...

First of all, what were you thinking? You are hosting The CB Christmas Party? And second, I need to speak with my mailman. Apparently he misplaced my invitation.

Meg McCormick said...

Laughing out loud in Maryland. Will be linking back to this one! Prepare for your stats to SOAR.

Anonymous said...

Are you CRAZY???? Um, don't answer that one just yet:)

Let me rephrase that - WHAT were you thinking??? That's a job for a nice, young (great looking - think "Desperate Housewives") gardner to handle. He will take care of your exterior illumination needs, while you sit back and have a glass of wine. No blood, no bruising, and a little eye candy to boot. Problem solved.

Call me when he gets there...I'll bring the wine.

Bear Naked said...

Check out

Now that is how to take care of hanging Christmas lights.

Bear((( )))

Cool Breeze said...

Martha got nothin' on you!

Angela said...

You impress me more every day! Not just with your homemaking skills, but with the way you can make hair-raising stories of them! Chapeau!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ - I will contemplate your request for pictures....it isn't a bad idea, but I will have to figure out which shot would be most representative of the fiasco that is my Christmas decorating.

Anonymous - I'll gladly, happily and most definitely supervise and morally support ANYONE who shows up to help me do this.

MPM - You have a standing invitation to visit here, but you might want to wait until after the holidays, that's just a fair warning I'd give anyone, including my neighbors who are going to show up on Friday.

Soup - Thank you for linking. I need a Curt!

BHE - I will assume that first question is rhetorical...Where does one order these beautiful gardeners? (Wait, I don't want to know...do I?)If you want to come see the best Christmas parade in town, you should come to Mathews this Saturday - starts at 5, all in lights. Then you can see the Chesapeake Bay Griswold house in all its gory. I mean glory.

BN - Going to check it out in a sec.

Cool breeze - I consider myself the Anti-Martha. Is there money to be had in that?

Angela - Thank you. Most days this sort of stuff happens to me. It is not confined to domestic skills either...unfortunately. (Or fortunately depending on your perspective...at least it gives me something to write about.)

Thank you all for commenting. I must now take a break from my exceedingly long day which started at 5:30 a.m. and is only now giving me a break at 8:25 p.m.

Curt McCormick said...

Absolutely Hilarious! Soupy Meg has already mastered Step 6. I can be rented out for parties, bar mitzvahs, and other important occasions such as this fine, fine CB neighborhood event. Contact my agent: you know the address.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Curt/Soupy Meg - I can pay in the form of free pine and cedar greenery - a lifetime, all-you-can cut supply! There's no charge for the splinters.

Meg McCormick said...

Can you fedex a bundle of that to us? I'll check the map, but I think it's kinda a long drive for the pick-up. Meet you in Fredericksburg maybe??

Anonymous said...

Had a horrible thought - that one person's version of 'moral support' may not equal another's version of 'moral support'.

Dressed in a high button collar, long black wool dress covering the ankles, while quoting scriptures direct from the bible, isn't quite the 'moral support' I was thinking of....though a 'little black dress' does have possibilities :))

Karen Deborah said...

You are tagged and awarded!