I put up some holiday lights

A couple years ago, I decided to put some Christmas lights on the outside of the house. Nothing crazy, just some multi-colored big bulb string lights. I don’t remember why, exactly. I am not a holiday person in any other way. I think I just like being on the roof.

I didn’t grow up with holiday lights. At least not outside. We had a tiny cabin in the woods, which was usually covered in snow. Lights seemed impractical. But as a little kid, I didn’t get that. The kids in the suburbs had lights—I saw that much on TV—why couldn’t I? All we had was a tiny plastic tree that was so small it had to sit on a booster box to fit presents underneath.

So maybe it was that childhood yearning that took me to the store some random weekend to purchase lights. I don’t know. But in any case when I put them up this year, half the lights didn’t turn on. A whole string of lights, dead.

But I should back up.

When I first plugged them in, I learned the exterior outlet was totally dead. No power. The GFCI breaker didn’t even click. It just felt mushy, like an old toy. Stick a fork in there and you’d be fine. Turns out the outlet had fried and took the breaker with it. I called an electrician to fix it, even though it wasn’t a terribly difficult project. Better not to burn the house down to save $50, I figured.

But once that was fixed, the lights still didn’t turn on. They’re LEDs, and when I bought them, I thought they’d be more reliable than incandescents (alongside more energy efficient, of course). It turns out that while the entire string will work if a bulb or two or three goes out, that doesn’t mean a bulb can’t be a point of failure. After I went through every bulb on the string, I found one that had lost a piece of metal. The little bit of missing metal took the whole line down. What an engineering marvel.

In any case, they’re working now. They look nice. Just a single string of lights on a flat roof. I got a low-tech light sensor that flicks them on automatically between dusk and dawn. I almost never leave the house after dark to appreciate them, but hopefully the dog walkers, coyotes, and occasional roof rat appreciate the troubleshooting effort that went into it.


Currently readingThe Stand by Stephen King

Currently watching: The Stranger, Mr Robot (Season 4)

Recently watched: Mank (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️), Tombstone (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Currently listening: Elvis Costello Armed Forces

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