Tuesday, December 9, 2008
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."