This has not started out as the typical Jennifer Christmas holiday decorating time. I have (in the past) had it down to an art...
- get the tubs down from the attic (all labels according to the rooms and/or contents)
- bring them in one at a time
- unpack the contents
- pack away everyday items that are being replaced with Christmas decorations
- take the empty tubs or re-filled tubs back to the garage
- neaty stack to be taken back to the attic until the day after New Years
Now...that is just the inside decorations...this is the outside ones. These containers are also brought down when the indoor items are and placed in a different area of the garage to keep everything separate.
- I begin with the icicle lights that hang around 3 sides of our home (don't do the back...even though, we are on a corner and you can see it...too tired and too many lights)
- I have to run 2 extension cords up by the gutter down spout so you can't see it
- attach it to the downspout with wire ties
- each year when I take the lights down...I have them on "spool"s labeled...right or left...now what that means is...I don't take the gutter clips off the lights and because I have to run them off of 2 different extension cords....one set goes to the left around the house and the other goes to the right around the other side of the house...otherwise, they blow fuses :-(
- get the ladder out and get busy
- usually, I have to trim the crape myrtles back to get the lights hung...but this is all part of it
- set up my reindeer, trees and Christmas presents in the yard
- hang Santa off the gutter by the porch
- hang the ladder with Santa, Frosty, Rudolph and an Elf climbing it from another gutter
- set up my countdown to Christmas "clock"
- get it all hooked up to extension cords and on timers (everything is on timers...hate to turn on and off)
This is normally a 2 to 2 1/2 day project...from beginning to end. There have been many years when I have been up on the ladder in the freezing cold until well after dark. Last year, it was unseasonably warm and it was so nice to get it all finished with out turning into an icicle myself.
Well...this year...it has not been a easy task. Roger and Tyler got everything down from the attic on Thanksgiving evening so that I could begin on Friday.
Friday was a beautiful day and I debated over and over whether to do the inside or the outside first. Well, I had been Christmas shopping on Wednesday, found a ton of great sales on all Christmas decorations...plus, I was so excited to get the inside finished...I started there first.
Friday went very smoothly and things were taking shape as the day went along. But, by 11:30 PM...I was dead on my feet. Everything on my body and in my body hurt by that time....and...I wasn't finished yet. My plans were to get up early Saturday morning to complete the inside before heading outside.
Saturday morning arrives and I get up, shower and get ready because I had to meet the lady who makes curtains for me to give her my material to make 3 panels for my living room. (I will post some pictures later when I get them back and hung...before Christmas...she promised.) I met with her and then ran to the bank...somewhere along the way...I got another wild hair to run to M****** to get more of those fabulous decoration sales.
I have been so excited about Christmas this year and I have always loved to decorate but this year...I've gone beyond anything that I've ever done. I have even decorated my bathroom and bought garland to go around my tub! Ok...I know you all think that I am totally off my rocker now, but I love to have Christmas in every room of the house...including the bathrooms. When everything is completed...I will post pictures. Shhhh...don't tell anyone but my house is mostly decorated, well, 99% with Santa Clauses (I've collected them for 28 years)...not very spiritual, I guess but I know the reason for the season and we teach our children it as well.
I didn't get home until after 7 PM last night and decided to start on the lights outside while it was dark. It makes it easier to see what I'm doing when the icicle lights are on and it is dark outside. Yes, my husband thinks that I am nuts too. Well, no sooner than I got the extension cords put up and ready to go...got 1/2 of the string hung and it started raining. I stayed out there as long as I could and finally called it a night. I left the other half of the lights hanging in a bush till I returned today to finish them.
Fast forward to today...we get home from church, change clothes and I head outside to get the lights hung. Roger doesn't get into doing all the decorations but he loves what I do when it is all finished. I love doing it and I would rather do it myself than it be crooked, sagging or look terrible...I'm very anal when it comes to things being straight! So, he stayed inside to cook lunch for our family and I gladly went outside.
I got up on the ladder to complete what I started last night and realized that I wanted to wash down the porch, siding and columns before I hung the lights. We bought one of those "fancy gutter washer outers" a couple of weeks ago to clean them out when I hung the lights. I forgot until today that I was planning on doing it.
Yesterday it was in the upper 50's and today...it is in the lower 40's with winds 20 mph...making it feel like it is 36 degrees. What was I thinking about "playing" in the water! I got the porch and siding washed down and it looks great...then I headed for the gutters with my new gadget.
I didn't realize that it also telescopes so when I turned the water on...full force...I had the hooked part already inside the gutter...I'm standing on the ladder...it (gadget) shoots up...telescoping itself....spraying me right smack dab in the face. Well, now I am drenched! I look like a wet dog in a coat and gloves. What a sight to see! I didn't let it deter me, I kept washing and digging the leaves out with my hands. Needless to say, they were froze and I was soaking wet...my hair, jacket, pants and tennis shoes.
Thank goodness, lunch was ready. I came inside, threw my clothes in the dryer and had a wonderful dinner.
Back outside, up on the ladder and now 1/3 of the 2nd string doesn't work. I've learned from many years of experience that usually means a missing or broken bulb...but there wasn't one. Sometimes, if too many bulbs are blown...then they won't work. No such luck either. Down the ladder, come inside to get my "bulb tester gadget" but I couldn't find it anywhere. I stopped and told my hubby that I was running to the store to buy another one rather than spend an hour looking for it and still not find it....I had work to do. He fully agreed!
Back home with new bulb tester gadget and up on the ladder again. Finally, I got them to work and I still have no clue what was wrong with them. I had to stop and cut the crape myrtle to round the corner of the house...back down the ladder, in the garage, get clippers, back around the house, up the ladder and cut the limb. Wheeeee....I'm getting my exercise today.
Then guess what???? It starts raining again! I was determined to finish that 1/2 the house or die trying. My hubby had to go to the police department to work and when I said that I was doing to finish or die trying...he said...well, you got all the elements in line to do that...please, no injuries today. But the time, I finished that 1/2 the house....I was soaking wet again and freezing. I couldn't feel my fingers, toes or legs at that point.
What you don't realize is that the old me...2 years ago...would have been throwing a "stinking" fit because everything was going wrong today. I would have been throwing things, stomping and saying things that wouldn't be very nice (not real bad, but not happy words) and the pity party would have been on....for the rest of the day.
Today, when I was fighting to get those lights to work...I stopped and prayed...Lord, please help me to figure out what is wrong with these lights and get them to work. I don't want to let this put me in a bad mood, stress me out or cause me to lose the holiday spirit that is flowing so strongly through me. There were several times that I had to pray a similar prayer to keep from losing it but I didn't lose it...not one single time. Now, that is a major victory! Whooo Hoooo!
Since it is raining outside, I just pray that I can finish the inside or at least, 80% before I have to go back to work tomorrow. Even if I don't get all the things accomplished that I want to today...I still have an amazing victory over my mouth, emotions and reactions to things not cooperating with me today.
Don't give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble. (GN)
If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day.(GN)
Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. (Message)
A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.