It's not about the house.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Let There Be

All righty. Now that the tree has sat for a few days and the branches have all fallen down to the places you envisioned they would be when you saw it waving to you from the corner of the lot...

Huh. It doesn't actually look any different than it did when we put it up, does it? Oh well. I went away Friday night and Johnny forgot to water it, so it will be dying and sagging soon enough. And anyway, how much longer can I wait? It's December 8th, for crying out loud -- and it's snowing -- it's time to put on the freaking lights!

I can't actually recommend you do this on the day after your very first Christmas Party and Drunken World-Problem Solving Festival of the season (somehow, after fifteen beers, my brother-in-law and I worked out how to avoid the coming Great Depression; unfortunately, we didn't write the answer down). But if you do, might I recommend Kahlua sombrero?


So the first step is to take the lights down from the attic and spread them out so you can see what you have. Lights, needless to say -- unless you are twenty-one and being ironic or something -- are small and white and constant. Twinkly lights are for bordellos and epileptics who feel like they haven't had a decent seizure in a while. You should probably plug them all in and make sure they work at this point, but it's much more fun to get halfway through and cry and scream and swear.

There are, oh, about 1300 lights there. You will need them all. In fact, you will probably have a temper tantrum because you will run out of lights with eight inches of naked tree left, and you will have to run to CVS and see if there's such thing as a 25-bulb strand. There isn't. But if you don't have to go through this, then you didn't buy a big enough tree, so you might as well go to the garden shop right now and start again. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Ready? Okay.

Now, My Lady asked me the other day if I started at the bottom with my lights and went up, or if I started at the tip-top and went down. I had to admit I'd never thought about it. I do go bottom-up, but only because the electrical outlet's on the floor. If you can plug yours in on your ceiling, then I don't see any reason why you couldn't go top down. I have no theory or opinion on the issue. Don't start in the middle, though. That's dumb.

I usually use the big strands on the bottom. This reduces the possibility of unsightly plug-parts winding up in the front where everyone can see (the very thought of which is to shudder. Brr.). Also, getting to the top -- having achieved the absolutely perfect tree-to-light ratio -- only to discover that you've got to find a place to cram 150 leftover dangling lights is to swear. Grrr. So trust me: use the long ones at the bottom. The treetop angel (who otherwise would have to take those 150 leftovers up the keister) thanks you.

If you plug in a strand and half of them don't come on, you have two options: 1. hide the dark part in the back and use it anyway, or 2. poke at it, sort of twist it around a little, and see if you can't get the dark part to come on. This usually works. It also, usually, goes dark again as soon as you have all your other ornaments on the tree and can't possibly fix it without taking the whole thing down and starting over, but that is some other, future person's problem. The important thing right now is not to have to get dressed or put your drink down.

I can't stress this enough: lights go all the way to the trunk. You should be able to lay on the living room floor and take a picture of your tree and it should look like this:

If your lights look like a garland -- all strung in rows with no imagination -- and/or if you can't read a book from across the room by its light, then I'm sorry, but: no myrrh for you!

And that's it. You're done. Ta da!

See how easy that was? Even with a hangover? Oh crap.

Tree's too small.

God dammit.


Ladyscot said...

Top down! Easier to hide the extras...and less time standing on a stepstool, swearing 'cause you can't reach the gd top of the tree.

Anonymous said...

You lost me at Kahlua Sombrero - I started drooling and couldn't read any further.

Charlie said...

Sigh...I believe we went through this last year...
LARGE lights!
Colored lights!
I am with ya on the twinkly...
Also, why are your lights all clumpy together? With bare spots? (See bottom right of picture and about two strands up from the cup).
LIGHTS MUST BE EVENLY DISTRIBUTED!!!! No, this does NOT mean "like garland", it means no clumpy spots and no bare spots - no wonder you have an extra string.

ege said...

They're NOT clumpy and bare. That's just the way the picture came out. Because if you distribute them EVENLY, sometimes some of them hide behind BRANCHES. Which you would know, Dr. One Friend, if you even HAD a tree.

So there!

su said...

You are so Grampy Ferg!

Chris said...

Ege I love the sombereo solution to cure all the worlds ills...

beardonaut said...

You have snow? We don't have snow, and we're in freakin' Sweden. Just rain and fog and grey clouds. I would blame global warming, but as we all know, that's just a myth that Gore Verbinski or whatever his name is dreamed up *grin*

Audrey said...

1300 lights? Amateur!

Top down definitely!