Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter
ozma914

Next Week's Column: Decoration Day

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK





Christmas decorating this year went … well. I can’t account for it.

I mean, people expect stories. They want to know about burning extension cords, falling trees, entire rooms full of brand new lights that won’t light. This is December – I can’t be expected to come up with something funny without help.

But no, all went well, if not exceptionally so. My daughter even gave me a little ceramic Christmas firehouse, which I suppose is meant to guard over the rest of the decorations. It’s so cute – a word that shouldn’t be used to describe firehouses. Already the little ceramic fire truck has responded to a smoke investigation in the hamster cage … I don’t know what caused it, but I smell a rat.

We even got the outside stuff up during weather so nice and warm that I’m still convinced I dreamed the whole thing. A week later, when it turned December, the weather was more like, well, Indiana weather.

We got our decorations up before the neighbors did, which means we get to admire the big inflatable Santa for awhile before they put up their snow globe, which is much cooler than Santa and not nearly as scary.

Actually, my daughters wanted to put up a lot more decorations than what I allowed. Neither of them has to pay the electric bill. The last time I allowed them to string lights up on the porch railing, bushes and gutter, that little spinning thing on my electric meter was found embedded in the side of a house two blocks away. I paid so much for lighting last year that this year the electric company sent me a Thanksgiving turkey with a note, thanking me for keeping them in the black.

So instead, we put up Santa – apparently everyone likes him except my youngest, who maintains Santa is a pervert. He knows when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake; he knows when you’ve been bad or good … obviously, Santa is a window peeper. This is her theory.

But this isn’t the real Santa, although he does have rather beady little eyes. So we pulled the jolly old elf out of his box, anchored him in, turned him on (um, turned his power on), and watched as he slowly, menacingly, rose to his seven foot red and white glory. I thought elves were short?

I looked at my oldest and said, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

“He’s not facing forward,” she immediately replied.

Yep, we’re fast. He was, in fact, waving and staring at the neighbor’s house, pretty much right at their front porch. I can imagine how I’d feel if I walked out my front door, glanced to my right, and saw a giant hairy guy waving madly at me. At the very least, I’d throw a load of buckshot that way. At the very most, I’d go down, clutching my chest.

So we unplugged Santa, unanchored him, but left him turned on – that is, with wind blowing up his skirt – while giving the old guy a quarter turn to the right. Yes, we were taking a chance that he’d go floating off, but the extension cord is only so long.

So now Santa is waving at the bank, as if saying “Hi, bank! My owner will be over to apply for a paying-the-electric-bill loan, soon! It’s fun to hear him sob when he gets his mail!”

No wonder he’s so cheerful. It made me mad, so I didn’t clean him off when he got covered
with mud while deflated the next day, and it froze to him before I realized it. Besides, according to my youngest, he was already dirty anyway.

Meanwhile, my oldest put up this really neat white fence, wound with lights, on either side of my front walkway. We plugged it in and were surprised to discover it not only worked, but looked great. That made me suspicious.

“Say, where did you get that fence?”

She shrugged. “Oh, we used it for decoration at my wedding.” Apparently she wasn’t planning to save it for her next wedding.

I nodded. Then I got to thinking. “Um … so this fence … it’s indoor/outdoor, right?”

She gave me a blank stare.

“I mean,” I continued, with an edge of hysteria in my voice, “Did you check the instructions to make sure it could be used outside?”

“Instructions?” she repeated.

Three days later, it rained. Hard. I still don’t know if the fence is supposed to be out there, stuck into the mud, but there has thus far been no melting, sparking, or turning of the nearby plastic Santa into a towering inferno. It’s almost … dull.

For which I’m very thankful.




Tags: albion, new era, slightly off the mark, weekly column
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