Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bah Freakin' Humbug

(If it wasn't entirely clear from the last post.)

Well, today was the day -- the day I go out and buy my holiday lights.  I'd investigated; I'd discussed with my neighbors; I grabbed an experienced holiday decorating friend to go with me; I had a plan -- dude, I was ready.

The plan:  pick up friend; go to Home Depot.  Buy:  (1)  White and Blue LED icicle lights; (2)  long extension pole thingy and clips for hanging them; (3)  spotlight for "fiddle-playing reindeer" (everyone on my street has part of the reindeer band -- we're supposed to put them out on the parkway and light them with spotlights); (4) really long extension cord to run from my one outdoor outlet out to the parkway for said spotlight; (5) some heavy-duty tape so nobody trips on said cord; (6) an outdoor timer I can put on the outlet so the icicle lights and the spotlight are only on during viewing hours and do not screw up my electric bill.

The plan failed right after "go to Home Depot."  We found their extension cords, but they were plum out of lights to hang on your house.  The Home Depot dude said their stock had been "decimated," which was a massive understatement.  Their stock was gone.

New plan -- go to my neighborhood OSH.  OSH had a huge stock when I last went -- then again, the OSH is the closest hardware store to my neighborhood, and since we've all got to get our fiddle-playing reindeer (or whatever) out by this Saturday, the place was full of desperate holiday light shoppers.  Myself included.

They did not have LED icicle lights left.  They had non-LED icicle lights.  New plan:  Just plain white LED string lights.  They're out of them, too.  Newer plan:  Screw the lights around my roofline.  I could just buy some small blue LED strings to go around the windows and ... this here LED snowflake or something.

The window strings were not quite long enough for my windows.  

(I did my very best Charlie Brown "AAAAAAARRRRGHHHHH!")

OK, third plan (or was it fourth?  I forgot) -- OK, the blue LED string lights aren't big enough for my windows, but if I get about 6 boxes of them, I can do the roof line.  It isn't the blue/white icicles I was hoping for, but, hey, any port in a storm.  I grab some white LED net lights to throw over some bushes to complete the picture.  Now, find me a spotlight, extension cord, and timer.

At least they had the extension cord.

They only had indoor timers.

They only had spotlights that you have to attach to electrical cable -- they didn't have one with a plug.

OK, new plan -- we'll get this here solar spotlight.  I'd avoided it before because the light output kinda sucks, but sucky light output is better than no light output at all.  This way, I won't need the extension cord. 

The timer thing is still a problem, though.  There's only an indoor timer and I've got 6 strings of blue lights and two LED nets that would like to be on for about four hours a night.

Hey!  They have those little "turn a light outlet into a plug" adapter thingies.  My garage carriage lights take 100 Watt bulbs ... and these little LED jobs are less than 5 Watts a string.  And (bonus) I had the electrician put those lights on a timer.  So I can outline the roof line on the garage and house, plug 'em in to the carriage lights, change the garage light timer to evening hours, and I'm set.  Throw back the net lights, and leave the store ... about two hours after I started, with $100 worth of Christmas in the car, and no more daylight left to hang this stuff.

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