As I mentioned a while back, I tend to procrastinate.
So it came to pass that on Christmas Eve, as the sun sank and darkness crept in, I was on our front porch stringing Christmas lights.
To my credit, I had hung the greens and bows many days earlier, so the house looked decked, but only in the daytime. I kept waiting for a semi-balmy day to finish the job, but this December proved a bit stingy with balmy days.
Thanks to detailed instructions my husband engineered a few years ago, stringing the Christmas lights is a pretty straightforward job: Plug in two extensions cords on the left, one on the right. Connect three sets of lights, flip the switch and you're done.
This time around I followed the instructions, plugged everything in and saw … darkness, no rainbow of lights.
I tromped over to the outdoor outlet and checked those button things (known to enlightened others as a ground fault circuit interruptor).
I pushed the buttons. Several times.
I went back into the house and checked that the outdoor switch was on. It was.
Sigh. I stood perplexed in the dark, and tried to think what the problem could be. Unfortunately there were just too many possibilities: the lights themselves, a plug, an outlet, an extension cord, the switch? My meager electrical knowledge database was … overloaded.
I almost called my husband out to help, but a bit of pride stopped me, along with a little voice that said, "Come on, Cathy. You can do this."
I tromped down the steps once more and tried a last, voodoo-esque move: I unplugged both extension cords and replugged them -- but in the opposite outlet.
Bink! We had Christmas lights!
I felt downright merry.