Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don't worry, we'll suffer through

Accepting help from your wife is always a dicey proposition. In general, your wife is a woman, so that means that the quality of help you get will drop off precipitously with the difficulty of the task. And so it was with great trepidation that I accepted my wife's offer to help me put up the Christmas lights outside today.

It went a little something like this:

Me, CherkyB: "I'm going outside to put up the lights."

The Mrs.: "OK."


Me, CherkyB: "Why are you following me?"

The Mrs.: "Well, I was going to help."

Me, CherkyB: "How?"

The Mrs.: "You know, putting up the lights."

Me, CherkyB: "Are you going to help-help or make-things-harder-help?"

The Mrs.: "Fine. If you don't want help, maybe I'll just stay inside."

Me, CherkyB: "Great. You know what you can do? You can go into the storage room in the basement and get out the boxes that have the outside lights and timers in them."

The Mrs.: "But you're the one who packed those boxes. I mean, I know where the boxes are, but I didn't pack them, so you're the one who knows what's in the boxes."

Me, CherkyB: "They're labeled."

The Mrs.: "Yeah, but there are a lot of boxes labeled 'outside lights,' and anyways I can't be lifting boxes what with my bad back and all."

Me, CherkyB: "Fine. I know what kind of help I'm going to get now. I'm going to get the, 'I'll do all the really easy, fun tasks, and then you do everything that is hard or frustrating or time consuming,' help. Why don't you just not help?"

The Mrs.: "No. I'm going to help."

Down to the storage room I go. Right in the front in the Christmas box area, I find two boxes: one says, "Xmas - Outdoor lights," and the other says, "Xmas - Outdoor light timers and extension cords." I point this out to The Mrs., and she says, "How am I supposed to know what's in those boxes?" and then mutters something about her back. Then, she stands in the way to block my path as I try to remove the boxes from the shelves.

Yup. That kind of help.

Outside, I grab the big spool of LED lights we picked up from Ace yesterday to light the blue spruce by the pond and head to the back yard with a cigar that I'm having a devil of a time lighting because there is 30mph wind, and despite Zippo claiming to be "windproof," it isn't. The Mrs. is all, "I'm not going to help you if you're smoking a cigar," like this is some kind of revelation. That is precisely why I am smoking the cigar.

So I walk her to the front of the garage, where I place the box of outdoor lights, and I say,

Me, CherkyB: "Why don't you plug these in and see if they work?"

The Mrs.: "Which ones?"

Me, CherkyB: "The lights in this box. Plug them in to see if they work."

The Mrs.: "Where should I plug them in?"

Me, CherkyB: "In the outlet."

The Mrs.: "Which one?"

Me, CherkyB: "I don't care! There's one here [points], there's one around there [points]. Just plug them in and see if they work."

The Mrs.: "In which plug?"

Me, CherkyB: "Fine. Don't help."
I go off around back and start to string up the lights. About two minutes later, The Mrs. is standing on the back deck.
The Mrs.: "Some of them don't work."

Me, CherkyB: "OK."

The Mrs.: "Can you fix them?"

Me, CherkyB: "I'm hanging up these lights right now."

The Mrs.: "But some of the lights don't work."
Then she stands around looking lost.

Yup. That kind of help.

I ran out of lights about halfway up the tree, which is par for the course. This string was $40 [LEDs are cheaper than they used to be, but not cheap], so I decided to get just one spool to start. I headed out to the front.

There were 12 strings of lights in the box. The Mrs. had found that half of the third string she tried didn't light, so she had stopped. Just stopped. Didn't try any of the next nine strings. Nope. Ground to a halt on the very first string that has any issue.

Yup. That kind of help.

We worked our way through all the remaining light strings, and strung them all up largely without incident. We ended up retiring 3 strings because there were too many bulbs burned out to be worth the effort. I'm trying not to replace incandescents anymore, but instead upgrade to LEDs as stuff burns out, but I did break that rule with one string of lights on a front tree. That tree is about 30' tall, and I had such a devil of a time putting the lights on there when we first moved in that I just left them. But one of them got the wires severed, and I didn't want to replace just one string of about 8 with LEDs cuz it'd look funny.

After getting everything wired up, I ran off to Ace to get a second spool of LEDs for the blue spruce. Upon my return, The Mrs. was sitting on the back porch glider. I began installing the lights, but it got high enough on the tree that I needed the extension pole with a hook (fashioned from a bent coathanger and attached with duct tape to a paint roller extension pole). The pole is a two-handed thing, so it helps to have someone to hold the light spool while you're using the hook.

The Mrs., sensing work, had disappeared. I had to go chase her down.

We got the lights up, despite it all, and now one of MaxieC's friends is over, and they're tearing the house apart.



Anonymous said...

Funny as all hell......

Unknown said...

Laughing WITH you...
you two are a team!
this could be the script from the latest Christmas movie!

blogauthor said...

Unfortunately, *I* am that kind of help and I am the *only* help around here. Sigh. I can only hope Offspring ages quickly and becomes useful someday.