Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

December 7, 2011

How to avoid half-lit, tangled-up holidays

After four hours and 25 knot disentanglements, I stood like Clark Griswold on my front porch, took a deep breath, and plugged the string of light strands into the extension cord.

The resulting pop and metallic smell knocked me backwards.

Though thankful all three dogs emerged from the house unsinged, the darkness of daylight savings time engulfed my enthusiasm, and my patience felt fried.

Where did I go wrong?

Looking back, I suppose I knew deep down I tempted fate connecting half-lit strands to half-lit strands. At the time, I figured I could throw the non-working portions behind a bush and no one would ever know. Besides, we had plenty of lights from last year, and I didn’t feel like heading to the consumer-congested malls on Black Friday. So on and on I went, connecting strands and covering every bush and pillar with lights. (Later, my husband told me you’re only supposed to link — at most — three strands together.)

Nowadays, many outdoor lights are wired and circuited to avoid burnouts and blown fuses — if the user puts them up according to package directions. But who needs directions during the holidays? Tis’ the season to throw caution to the wind and cast my Scrooge-y self to the wayside.

For too long, my sons have lamented about our lack of moving, LED deer.

For too long, they’ve pressed their sweet cheeks to our cold car windows, coveting neighbors’ collections of inflatable candy cane carousels, bears and snowmen as we drove by. I decided this was the year to make it all up to them by going all-out with the lights.

Kapow.

And so goes it during the holidays. Best intentions backfire, and the season ends up hurting more than most folks let on. Knotted up and packed away in boxes all year long, family dysfunction emerges with half-lit feelings and busted fuses. The more such strands are re-used, the more explosive — or plain inoperative — they become. You can link broken strands, but you can’t hide them behind a bush. Sooner or later the whole display blows.

Text Only
Commentary
  • Travel track record remains 'perfect' I may have mentioned I have a track record for traveling to places at "interesting" times: hurricane, monsoon and rattlesnake seasons, for example. My track record continues to build. I was in Seattle for measles season. OK, it wasn't so much a season as an "exposure."

    April 16, 2014

  • Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards. That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation data were released last week. Of 50,000 public school teachers graded by their principals, less than one-half of 1 percent were deemed “ineffective.”

    April 16, 2014

  • Spring into warm-weather activities safely Of course. Mother Nature finally supplies a day of sunshine and warmth inspiring kiddos to run outside; moments later a bike wreck brings the fun to a screeching halt. Fortunately, a bandage and a kiss remedy the skinned knee. The incident also offers this mom an important reminder. After a winter fighting bitter cold and piles of snow we are all anxious to finally get outside. In the rush to enjoy days of sunshine, pausing to recap a few safety rules ensures the days go smoothly.

    April 16, 2014

  • Add 'ups' to your spring to prevent Injury Welcome back spring! We all missed you so much and can’t wait to be outside soaking up every wonderful thing you have to offer. Our bodies are ready for the activity, fresh air, and a healthy level of UV rays. I can’t wait to mulch, bike, plant, 5k, swing, dig ... well, maybe not mulch. As you fly recklessly into your spring favorites and to-do lists, use these tips to care for your body to maximize your efforts and keep you safe.

    April 16, 2014

  • No Internet for blind date checks in Dark Ages A friend posted on her Facebook last week that it was her 23rd anniversary. That number in itself was pretty noteworthy in this day and age, but what made it noteworthy for me was that she was married to a man she met on a blind date.

    April 16, 2014

  • Anything goes at Beef & Boards Eighty years ago native Hoosier Cole Porter wrote the music and lyrics for “Anything Goes.” Six days ago it opened at Beef & Boards dinner theater. The show, which is a fun, music-filled voyage aboard the SS American, proves yet again that there is more than corn in Indiana.

    April 9, 2014

  • House Ethics Committee faces first major probe since 1997 Steering lawmakers through a rewrite of the state’s criminal code won House Judiciary Chairman Greg Steuerwald bipartisan accolades this year.

    April 9, 2014

  • Frontier Airlines fouls, strikes out I've been fortunate to have traveled frequently — mostly in a past life, prior to returning to the newspaper business. I knew things had changed, but I'd flown since 9-11 and thought I was pretty much up to speed on policies when I traveled to Washington state at the end of March.

    April 9, 2014

  • To save or not to save ash trees? Since arriving in the United States around 15 years ago, the Emerald Ash Borer has proven to be a devastating pest of green and white ash. To date, it has killed millions of ash trees and, if left untreated, appears to result in 100 percent mortality of infested trees.

    April 9, 2014

  • Eating as if life depends on it Back in the spring of 2008, I was fortunate to have heard two nationally respected authors speak in Indy.

    April 9, 2014

Order Times Sentinel photos


Photos from April 2014

Facebook
Twitter Updates
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide