Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ho Ho Ho

To my great surprise, it wasn't raining today.  Thought I'd take advantage of the lull in the weather to actually  put the holiday lights on my house.

It started off well enough, as the people who lived here before me conveniently left nails running all along the trim on the roof line of the garage.  (Yes, I know,  you're not supposed to wrap the lights around nails.  I'm new at this and hanging the lights alone.  Any port in a storm, 'k?)  So, I got on my ladder, used that little adapter plug thingy which turns a light socket into an electrical plug, and ran a string of lights across the top of my garage.  I thought it looked kinda nice, although I had two problems when I was done.

1.  Didn't know how to deal with that gap in the lights where I'd connected two strings


2.  Had quite a bit of lights leftover, and couldn't figure out where to put them.  (OK, sure, I could just ball it up and throw it on the roof, but that didn't quite seem right.)

But I did have enough lights to just continue the string across the roofline of my house.  

Did I mention that my house has a peaked roof?

I had bought me one of them extendy poles and "shingle clips."  According to the packaging, you could screw the shingle clip on the end of the pole, string a light through it, extend the pole up to your roof, do a little twisting action to get the clip to slide under your shingle, then untwist the pole from the clip, leaving the clip safely attached.  Says you could hang your lights, without a ladder, in 1/4 the time.

My ass.

Jamming the clip under the shingle required a bit of force, and the clip had to be opened a bit for the rest of it to slide around the width of the shingle.  Is this possible from the other end of a pole 11 feet away?  Oh hell no.  The angle made it completely impossible.

The previous owner left some nails along the roofline, though.  And the pole came with a "hang lights in trees" attachment.  With some luck and decent aim, I could forget about the clips, and use the tree attachment to drape the light-string over the nails.

Insert here the part where I stand in my rose bush, using a pole to drape lights over nails (and then smacking the string with the pole to make sure it was good and tight over the nails), end up exhausted, dirty, wet, slightly bleeding (thank you, thorns), and realizing there's no nail at the tippy top of the peak.  Decide to loosely drape the strand across to the next nearest nail (like frosting round a birthday cake) and realize that would look stupid unless all the rest of the lights are loosely draped, too, so I undo all of the work I'd done, aim for loose draping, and try it again.

The lights drape loosely, but they don't hang on well.  This time, every time I get the strand over a nail and aim for the next nail, the lights fall off the first nail.  This is no good.  The damn things will fall off my house in the next rain.  And/or breeze.

No, I need to go back to the shingle clips, but I can't reach the peak of the roof even if I could get the ladder in the rose bushes, which I don't think I can.  The only thing for it is to get on the roof.

I have a voice of reason.  The first time I heard it was when I was getting my SCUBA certification, and I was underwater and my dive instructor gave me the signal to take off my mask and swim, and my conscious brain said, "Oh hell no," and commenced to seriously freak.  And this little objective voice said, "Hey, this is what a panic attack looks like.  Isn't that interesting?"

And today my voice of reason said, "Do you really think climbing from the ladder to your roof, with no spotter, is a really good idea?"

I admitted defeat and called some friends.  They came over, unstrung all my lights, used the shingle clips, jumped up on the roof, and got the whole set up in about 20 minutes. 

It's not much -- it certainly isn't much compared to my neighbors -- but it is, for the firstest time in my life ... my house, with holiday lights:

Now, it is 8:36 p.m., and (after taking my friends out to dinner to thank them for climbing on my roof and not falling off it), I realize that, also, for the firstest time since I've owned it, I have not used the elliptical machine today.  So I'm off to exercise a good 12 hours after I usually do, because routine stops for no man.  And my neighbors just gave me holiday brownies.  :)

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