The Coast News Group
Small Talk

Santa’s little helpers light up my night

I hope I haven’t horrified my neighbors.
When I finally got around to putting up my Christmas lights this year, I arrived in the front yard decked out rather like a member of a hazmat team.
Because my husband keeps an ecologically balanced, pesticide-free yard, we are host to very ambitious spiders all year round. Their webs, old and new, regularly fill the eaves under our roof and generally I leave them in peace. However, those eaves are the same spot where the lights hang, so this time of year, I have to get up close and personal with all of them.
As a result, the first thing I donned was my shower cap. Then I put on my grubbiest jeans and sweatshirt and a pair of gardening gloves. The only thing missing was an oxygen tank and mask over my shoulder.           
In any case, dressed like someone who might wear her clothes into the shower, I set about untangling and hanging the holiday lights. It took me far too long to untangle them, in spite of efforts to pack them so they wouldn’t. It seemed to make it worse and I ended up taking the scissors to some of it in a fit of pique. At that point, the prospect of just running down to the drugstore for more seemed far preferable to wrestling with the knotted strands.
It was very much like a scene from a Chevy Chase movie, as I dragged the ladder from place to place along the roof. Of course, I couldn’t find the just-right ladder, and had to use the a-little-too-heavy, a-little-too-tall ladder. I did not plug the lights in before I hung them, proving only that I have gained nothing from hindsight and rely way too much on good luck.
Predictably, they all lit up except for one stretch right on the front of the garage. I then pondered whether to head for the drugstore in weak hope of finding a matching set or use the slightly smaller but similar strings I already had. The existing strings won out, but to minimize the obvious difference in size, I had to unhang and rehang the entire string, connecting the new lights to replace the unlit portion.
This is where my luck began to change. I guess the Christmas gremlins decided I had been hassled enough. Up walked two of the adorable fifth-grade girls from the school where I work, two of the cutest and most amenable. They offered to help and did not even laugh out loud at my weird get-up. They actually thought the shower cap looked kind of cute.
Between the three of us, we got the lights down, rearranged and rehung in no time. They made the tedious seem fun and I was ready to give them just about anything their little hearts desired in gratitude.
They settled for a popsicle. Aren’t kids great?
I already had my tree up or I would have drafted them for that as well. I’m trying to figure out a way to coax them over to wrap my presents.
Too much? Hey, I’ll pay them handsomely in cookies.