It’s a Long Way to the Top

Last year, I lamented the fact that I didn’t hang up Christmas lights. The problem was two-fold: I was stymied by snowy weather and a torn-up yard courtesy of a sewer line repair. This year, I vowed not to wait so long and promised to hang them up on a weekend in October when the weather was nice.

When a suitable weekend rolled around, I opened the garage door, stepped out onto the driveway, and stared up at the roof. WAY up. It’s about 20′ high there, or 3.52 Mark’s to put it in better perspective.

A moment later, Tara joined me and we gazed skyward together.

“Sure you want to do this, babe?” she asked, no doubt sensing my terror trepidation over climbing up a tall extension ladder with nothing to break my fall but concrete.
“You know, the weather’s not all that great,” I said.
“It’s sunny and 72º,” my too-observant wife replied.

Damn it, I thought. There’s never a cloud around when you need one.

Nevertheless, I mumbled some excuse about not being “those neighbors” who hung their lights up way too early, so she let it ride and I was off the hook.

When I came home from work on Friday, our neighbor Kelly’s house was festively decorated with twinkling Christmas lights.

I’m doomed, I thought, and fervently began praying for snow. Amazingly, Saturday morning it did indeed begin snowing…but that only lasted for 90 minutes, and nothing stuck on the ground. Today dawned clear, and by late morning it was 45º. I had no excuse not to haul out the ladder this time, so I did exactly that, even though Tara assured me I didn’t have to climb up there if I didn’t feel comfortable.

“I’m perfectly fine, babe!” I lied.
“Then why is it taking you 30 seconds to climb each rung?”
“Safety first!”
“Your knees are trembling.”
“It’s chilly.”

And so it went. Only, it didn’t go, because our fancy extension ladder is very heavy and difficult to maneuver. I had to screw in cup hooks beneath the eaves to hold the lights, and managed to make three trips up and down the ladder, but yeah…it was scary AF. I kept dropping the hooks, which may or may not have had something to do with the fact that my hands were trembling, so I grabbed a drill instead. That worked better but meant I could only hold onto the ladder with one hand instead of two, which only magnified my terror. And then a strand of lights came loose, and we had trouble positioning the ladder, and finally just decided it wasn’t worth the hassle.

I know you can hire people to hang Christmas lights, so I put out a request on Nextdoor for recommendations. I really want to have lights this year, but I’m not going to risk life or limb to hang them. The holidays are a lot less merry if you’re dead.

Still not sure if I’m writing every day this month…

26 thoughts on “It’s a Long Way to the Top

  1. ” This year, I vowed not to wait so long and promised to hang them up on a weekend in October when the weather was nice.”

    Great idea, Mark! My father always waited until after Thanksgiving, which usually meant having to deal with the COLD and the SNOW.

    And I hear you, I am NOT fond of heights; particularly looking DOWN.

    Can’t wait to see how your house looks this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, if I could get away with it, I’d hang lights up once and then leave them there forever. It would be a heckuva lot easier to just flip a switch every November instead of dealing with the hassle of a new installation whenever the holidays roll around! But alas, Christmas lights are not designed to withstand the rigors of a year’s worth of South Dakota weather.


    1. I have a strong mistrust of ladders. Mind you, this isn’t based on any type of negative experience; they just never seem up to the task of keeping you safely suspended dangerously high above the earth!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have an issue with heights, but it’s not that I dislike them–I love the view from the top of a cliff, mountain, or balcony.

    I’m just sure someone is going to sneak up behind me and push. Legacy of having so many siblings, I suspect.

    So I don’t mind cleaning the rain gutters, because I do it by myself. Except for the inevitable spiders in my cleavage.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The universe heard every excuse and committed to proving you otherwise!

    I have to say…I always worry whenever I saw my neighbors putting up their lights. Impressive that people do it every year, too. Hopefully you do get somebody to help if more got to go up–having lights is fun, but a broken bone (be it a vital one or not as vital one) isn’t worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One thing that helps when I climb our ladder to get the tree topper on our 10′ tree, is having my husband hold onto the bottom. His extra weight on it makes it a little steadier, and the knowledge that if I lose my balance, he’s going to cushion my fall gives me more confidence. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

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