Other Traditions – Inherit the Pain, Pass the Motrin

accm_badgeOther traditions?  Well, that would depend on what you call a tradition really.

Watching your father almost electrocute himself as he plugs in the Christmas tree lights could of been a tradition.  The first year it was funny (and the two years after that); but, the odd thing was:  anyone else in the family could plug, unplug and re-plug the tree in without a problem.  It was just Daddy, who had troubles.

Well, that isn’t quite true … as Handsome, Sweetie and I got older, we got taller — to the point where we had to lie prone on the floor and crawl under the tree to plug it in, and then carefully maneuver to creep back out without toppling the tree or any of its edible decorations.  The real trick was getting out from under the tree, without any of the tinsel sticking to you.

One year, somebody had a bright idea (wasn’t me):  put an extension cord in the tree from the angel down to the floor. Plug the lights into the end, hidden under the angel and run the plug under the tree skirt to the wall (or to another extension cord) in the corner.

Of course, the size of the tree and the gifts beneath it took up a lot of floor space when company came to visit, so the home decorator (Mom) would decree the tree had to go in the far corner by the window.

Yep, the same corner where the power outlet was!  Now, our beautifully decorated tree with the plethora of presents beneath it BLOCKS the only unused outlet in the room where  the powercord was to be plugged in and unplugged.

When electrical powerbars finally came around, one sat near the tree skirt, and saved a lot of back-pain and crawling on the floor — this was my idea.  🙂

When Dad passed away in 2003, our first Christmas without him got us all wondering why he hated Christmas lights so much.  Handsome and I knew the answer:

  • to hang these cheerful little bits of celebratory colour, you must twist in positions only a contortionist could do comfortably
  • whenever a burnt out light needed changing, the bulb was always in the most-inaccessible location
  • to change these microscopic glass bits of colour while wearing layered leather gloves is impossible, so the gloves have to come off;
  • (if you live in Canada) to change these microscopic, brittle glass bulbs in your now freezing red hands in -22C weather is impossible
  • (if you live in the U.S.) to change these microscopic, brittle (who-bought-these-stupid) glass bulbs in your now freezing and bleeding hands in -7F weather is impossible
  • try climbing down your metal ladder without using your hands, because you have a coloured menagerie of glass fragments in both palms and three of your fingers from the bulbs that BROKE as you tried changing them

Thankfully, two years ago, technology did away with glass bulbs, replacing them with plastic “bulbs” containing L.E.D.s (light-emitting diodes); but there is still a lot of posturing to hang the cords up.  I’m willing to wait a few more years, technology will figure this one out too, but in the mean time …

I inherited your pain, Dad.

Somebody, please pass the Motrin.



    1. Thank you, Dearie🌹
      A tribute to my father, but then my sons (all 3) think of me dragging them out in knee deep leaves at Thanksgiving (Canadian, early October) putting lights up.
      “It’s too soon, Dad!”
      They don’t say that anymore 😊


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