[HOUSE AND HOLMES] Dave Saves Christmas

Rob Loos, Ledger Columnist

Is it just me, or are the holidays arriving sooner every year? The Hallmark Channel starts broadcasting Christmas movies the day after Halloween. When the world was not in such a hurry, we’d hang our Christmas lights on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The kids would help and we’d tune the Sony Watchman to the live broadcast of the Hollywood Christmas Parade.

Times have changed, and now the parade is tape delayed and outside lighting chores belong to our Cocker Spaniel and me. My wife says she doesn’t want to help because she loves the surprise of seeing what I am going to do with the lights.

My biggest challenge is converting the power from the electrical outlet in our front yard into a linking of strands of lights that drape over hedges, trees, and windows, culminating in powering up a three foot electric Rudolph. I headed towards the front yard, excitedly carrying my C9’s, C7’s, and mini-lights, when I made a rude discovery. When we rewired our sprinkler system last summer, our outside outlet was replaced with a metal junction box with a closed cover. Would we have a Christmas without outdoor lights this year?

Using the skills I learned through repeated viewings of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, I ran a bright orange industrial extension cord from a plug in our living room, over a coffee table, through the front window, and outside to the yard.

From there I divvied up the electricity through numerous cords, which overlapped and connected in a way that can only be described as akin to the almost merger of the northbound 101 and the eastbound 134 in the Valley. If you ever tried it, you’d realize that the freeways don’t ever actually merge; the signs just guide you down the side streets of a nameless Valley suburb. Suddenly, my dreams of seeing my plug-in Rudolph display light up our front lawn could be kaput. I needed to come up with a fast solution or the powers of darkness would win.

So I did what I always do in pressure situations like this; I called my super-contractor friend Dave. I reached him as he was helping his super-model girlfriend pick out the perfect sequined mini-dress for their Christmas party.

He quizzed me on the situation, and then he asked, “Have you tried solar lights?” I went to the hardware store and discovered that strings of Christmas lights come in strands with as many as 200 bulbs powered by a single solar panel that charges during the day and powers up at night. Each strand has a different power panel and can be spread over the entire front lawn.

Yes, Dave saved Christmas. Which once again goes to prove, if I can’t figure it out—and I know that I can’t—my friend Dave can.

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