Friday, December 12

It's Beginning To Look ...

I put up my Christmas lights the other weekend. Just lights on the shrubs and an animated snowman figure but that took me long enough. Had a heck of a time figuring out the power cords, getting the right tab a into the proper slot b, so to speak. At one point the snowman was animating away, but not lighting up. You would think the animation would have been the hard part, but no.

In case you've never done this before, let me explain how it works. A string of lights comes with a female end and a male end. They do, well, what you'd expect. Except not with each other. It's not a moral issue, dear reader. The male does the manly job of connecting to the household current, while the female end has the all important maternal job of keeping the current running for the rest of the family and giving all the baby cords something to feel connected with.

The trick is to make sure you have all the strings running in the right directions or you end up with boys next to boys and girls next to girls. Electrical cords work much the way biology does: you need one of each in order to make a ba - uh, in order to make a complete circuit. So I had the string of lights plugged into the extension cord and the extension cord running into the outlet, with the intention of hooking the business end of the snowman (it's a snowman people, get your minds out of the gutter) up to the lights. There's a whole 'nother set of lights on shrubs to the right side of the door, but that part was fairly simple.

My problem was, there are 3 variations the average householder will encounter in North America:

1. Two prongs

(a) Both prongs of equal size,
(b) One prong wider than the other; and

2. Three prongs.*

And wouldn't you just know it, Frosty had a 1(b) connector while the lights had a 1(a) receptacle and they don't fit together, no way, no how. You can't even cheat on that one if you wanted to. To make matters more complicated, I discovered that Frosty came with a plethora (okay, 3) of plugs/receptacles and the instructions were, um, vague. *sigh*

One of the new found connectors did fit into the light string and I was quite excited for a whole 10 seconds when Frosty started tipping his hat at me. Then I realized that while he had range and motion, he wasn't exactly glowing. Finally got it all squared away and the figure anchored down which I must have done a pretty fair job of because we had some big winds the next day and it held just fine. What do you think?

In other years there have been those pretty icicle lights hanging from the gutters, but that involves much time on a ladder and even then, for me, it's a reach. And you know, the snowman took long enough.

*If you find yourself with a 3 prong connector but only a 2 prong receptacle on an extension cord, you might be tempted to cheat and jam it in there anyway. DON'T. Just don't. I won't bore you with the technical reasons for the variations, but I will say that they are practical and even safety related. Do it right.


Merry said...

The process may have been painful, but certainly the results look very festive.

canympi - scampi that comes out of a can, clearly inferior to the regular sort.

rssasrb said...

It looks lovely. Great juggling with the plugs and cords.

I decided not to do lights on the shrubs this year, just the house. Next year, I vow to start earlier.