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Unclassified info: Decorating has its share of challenges

December 12, 2011|By Gary Huerta

My daughter and I put up our Christmas lights this past weekend. Or am I supposed to refer to them as “holiday lights” in order to avoid offending people?

Either way, I'm sure the thousands of little bulbs illuminating my front yard — and those of my fellow Glendalians — are a miraculous sight for Glendale Water & Power to behold. I can only imagine how they must love seeing rows of homes decorated with lights, inflatable snow globes and mechanical reindeer. Those little smart meters must be transmitting quite the happy tune for those in charge of doling out power between December and January.

Regardless of the ransom I'll pay sometime in January for my ritualistic desire to make my trees and shrubs twinkle for a few hours every night, I really do love the whole process. C'mon. What's not to enjoy?

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I get to lug gargantuan plastic containers out of storage, untangle miles of light strands and then curse at the light strands because only half of them work, even though they all worked fine when they were put in storage.

What is it with Christmas lights? Uh, I mean holiday lights? Why do they always go into storage working perfectly, but come out of hibernation as damaged goods?

I run plugs and extension cords in an outdoor schematic so complicated even rocket scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory would admire it. I risk life and limb climbing ladders precariously leaned against tree trunks in order to get our lights a foot higher than my neighbor.

And four hours later, after everything is working, I get to hobble back into my house feeling as sore as I did 30 years ago during football hell week. My bliss lasts only until the first rain, when everything shorts out and I have to figure out where the water has turned all my hard work into a small-scale blackout.

It really is a magical time of year.

Yes. I have prevailed over the lights once again. And just in time to go get the Christmas tree — or holiday shrubbery? Either way, I'm committed to finding the biggest tree my meager credit rating can afford to proudly display in the front window for all to behold.

And just like the lights, I'm going to enjoy the process. And why not? We get to drive around with a part of the forest strapped to my car. When I get home, I'm pleased to shove it through the front door. I spend a few precarious moments trying to make sure it's in the plastic tree stand without falling over and crushing one of the dogs.

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