So this past weekend we got the Christmas tree up and I actually got all the lights working instead of taking a month to light the tree and finishing on Christmas Eve as has become our tradition. Of course, I had hoped to really impress the wife and kids by getting the lights on the house too. Now last year I bought three extra strands when they went on sale so we could do twice as much of the roof as we did last year but I could not break those open until I found the old lights…you know, on a matter of principle. I tore the garage apart and much of the rest of the house only to find them when I wasn’t looking. Apparently for an entire year, the outside lights have been sitting beside my desk.
I don my headlamp, you know, because it is 10pm at night, and after sweeping the leaves off the front half of the roof, I proceed to string the outside of the house. Half way through I have to start reattaching the clips that I halfway took down last year. After the first 3 strands of lights (3×300=900 lights) are up, the house is looking pretty good but I am not satisfied. A glass of wine later and I am back on the roof.
Now, we live in a split rancher. What that means is that our house is built into a hillside. The front of the house is 1 story tall. The sides and back are two stories tall but the hill continues downward giving the illusion that from the roof you are about 9 meters above the ground. Of course I started taking down the gutters years ago so while we still have gutters on the front of the house, the back has no gutters so the dark roof just blends nicely with the blackness of the night. One big lesson of the night is that as you back up on a roof, even if you are sitting on it, you are not necessarily backing up in a straight line and that vast emptiness you feel under your toes isn’t roof.
Now, running the next 3 strands of lights is a little more heart pounding and shortly after getting over the peak of the roof I hear a disturbing noise as if I were sliding down the roof just before dropping into the great abyss. But I am not moving so I quickly turn my head to see what I might have knocked down the roof. My eyes are just in time to see this gray blur of fur leap from the roof, missing anything resembling a branch, and get absorbed into the blackness. Seconds later I hear a resounding thud and rustling of leaves as the thing hits the ground. Apparently I scared the holy sh*t out of one of the squirrels living in our attic. I have to admit, I almost laughed myself off the roof as I watched it propel itself into nothingness. I have seen squirrels fall from trees, shake their head and run off; I am sure this one will be back in the attic shortly.
Did I mention that I only swept leaves from the front half of the roof. Man leaves are slippery! Being on the roof at night was very enlightening. I was able to listen to something large and not domesticated tromp through our backyard. The crisp air was exhilirating!