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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Cautionary Christmas Tale about my life as VelcroMan

Surfboard Decoration (HI State Law:)

“So this is Christmas, and what have I done?”

This is what I ask myself a few dark and non-stormy nights ago. My wife and three boys sit, huddled outside our house, all tired, some miserable and one (me), bloodied and scraped, while my first annual “Christmas Lights Extravaganza” is a complete and absolute disaster!
What? It did hurt at the time :)

The night, actually, the day started really well. I blocked off a few hours, dusted some boxes and had fun decorating the outside of the house.
I was even smart enough to open an upstairs window, so I didn’t need to shimmy up and down the ladder every time I needed access to the patio rooftop.

Five hours later, and I was ready for The. Launch. Of. The. Lights.
Only one problem, it’s still sunny.

No problem.
Boys bathe, jump in their jammies, put on their shoes and off they go with Mama to do a countdown in front of the house. I close the garage door (too bright) and only seconds from the Launch of The Lights, I scrub the mission... again, deciding the light from the downstairs toilet is also too bright.
“It’ll only be a moment,” I say, turning the handle and face-planting into the front door.

The locked front door.
Which is next to the just-closed garage.
And, below the upstairs window (which, in a moment of clarity, I’d remembered to lock.)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch/sidewalk, my beloved audience waits.
I realize the awful truth: The Koopmans’s’s’’s are locked out.

For twenty minutes, I stalk the perimeter while Mama herds her Red Ninja Turtle, yellow Minion and Silver R2D2 to the chairs on the dark porch.
The boys are naturally bored, so when I come back, they're messing with some of the decorations.
"Don't play with Papa's blow-up toys," I yell out, and then wave to a passing neighbor, who suddenly picks up the pace and scurries by.

A light bulb goes off in my head (the only one I can light, apparently) and I get the (not so) brilliant idea to climb the patio roof to double check if any other windows are open.
Only two problems: Complete darkness and no ladder.

Ten minutes later, MacGyver would have been proud. With the assist from a trash can and a rickety fence, I stand, arms spread, the King of the patio roof (hoping the numerous friction burns on stomach, leg and wrist won’t bleed too much. Sadly, the mission failed: all the windows were locked.

New problem: How in God’s name do I get back down?
Calling Mama, she hustles the children to the back of the house (the little group looking like ComicCon refugees.)
As I position myself, stomach down, I back up until I'm straddling the roof and gutter, trying really, really hard to be the world's first VelcroMan... 'cos there's *nothing* to hold onto. Eventually, Mama's able to catch a flailing, trailing leg and position it atop the rickety fence. From there, I dismount and kiss the beautiful green grass outside home.

With no options left, I take one for the team, especially after our two-year-old tugs on my leg and says, “Help us, Papa. Help us.”
With the assist of a friendly neighbor, an emergency locksmith is called and a wait of “about an hour” begins.
I remember the whole reason behind the renamed Lockout of Lights, so to pass the time; the kids again take position on the sidewalk.

The countdown reaches zero, and I stand in the circle of lights, hands on hips, ready to receive the cheers of children and waves of adoration…
Palm Trees hate my style

“Uh, Papa, is the door open?”
Can we go inside now?
“I’m hungry.”

Feeling as deflated as the now-unplugged Charlie Brown Christmas scene (Snoopy was unfortunately culled by the children) I decide I need to end the Lockout of Lights.
Sadly, this (from the box) is the only picture of Snoopy in airier times

Walking the perimeter, I once more try the [redacted] and no way, the bloody thing opens!!! (Did I, perchance, use an extra ounce of frustration when trying? No, not I :)

Triumphantly, I stride to the front door and with a huge, manly smile (it’s always nice solving one’s own, dumb problems) welcome the family back inside using a weird, deep voice: "Come. Enter. Enter!"


Epilogue: The next night, I ask the boys if they want to see the additional lights that I’d placed around the shrubbery.
“Nooo!! We’re okay, Papa. We like it in here…”

Oh, and so what does this cautionary tale have to do with writing?
Don’t ever forget the key to your story!

Merry Christmas to you and yours :)


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you found your way into the house again.
Maybe the neighbors will at least enjoy the lights.
Although hopefully not your blow-up dolls.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Hilarious! Well, obviously not for you at the moment, but next year - when you get those lights out again - that's all your kids will remember... and the year after that, all the way to your dotage. Enjoy :-)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It sounds like so much fun but probably only because it happened at your house, not ours. I wish we pictures of velcro man getting off the roof.
And I think your decorations are lovely.

Melissa said...

Hahahaha. This is by far the best blog post you've every written.

Better have your wife sew a spare key to your [redacted]. :P

S.P. Bowers said...

Good to see you again! For several months I had to take my keys with me everywhere, even just to get the mail. Oldest child had developed a habit of locking me out.

S.P. Bowers said...

Glad you all got back in.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

And this is why you are never allowed to abandon the blog- the posts are so much fun!!

My husband always makes us stand for his light display. Every year he hooks them up to the timer, and every year the timer fails and the family stands in the cold forever while he tinkers with the timer.

Elephant's Child said...

So glad you made it inside. Finally. And that only flesh wounds were involved.

Jo said...

Thanks for the giggle velcro man. I could just see it. I did something similar many years ago, wind blew front door shut and I was caught outside in my nightdress. Had to go to a store across the road, he then had to go around the back and climb a wall to get into our yard, face three German shepherds, go into the house and open the door for me. Luckily all went well.

By the way, your blog and several others have all sprouted Captchas.

Morgan said...

Hahahaha!!!! I really am laughing. I love the way you tell stories. (And I bet you're an even better story-teller in real life with your accent and all that) :)

Thoroughly enjoyed. Hilarious, Mark. :) :) :)

Talia Davol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deanie Humphrys-Dunne said...

We all enjoyed hearing about your Christmas adventure much more than you did when it was happening! Thanks for sharing. I'll bet we've all had a similar experience! I know we were locked out of our house once and had to call the locksmith. Of course, it was on the weekend when none of them wanted to work!

LD Masterson said...

Hee hee hee hee.

Have you buried a key in the garden yet?

Lisa said...

OMG, you couldn't have actually done that on purpose and had it come out so comical. I know it probably wasn't at the time, but I loved the recounting of it! Glad you came to no serious harm! Love the photos!

Al Diaz said...

Velcro-man! Can I use that as an additional power of Lord Baldernot? I am sure he can make a good use of it, hahahahaha. Good nothing is broken. Dragon hugs!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Oh crumbs Mark .. honestly .. it happens to the best of us ... and it is the best of us. Well that will give the kids loads of laughs later on ... and at least all is well ... and you have your lights ..

Happy and carefree rest of the seasonal build up .. Hilary

Kittie Howard said...

Aloha, Mark! Still chuckling over your Chevy Chase adventure here in cold North Carolina. But think the kids will be telling their kids.

Yolanda Renee said...

Loved the story, sorry it's at your expense, but still such a lovely Christmas tale. Reminds me of the few Christmas tree trips to the wilds, that included trees too big for the condo, that extra trip to a hardware store for a saw to cut it in half, and the spiders that crawl out in a warm home! Not to mention the loud swearing that curdles the hot chocolate! After two such attempts we bought a fake tree!
Trying to capture the true joy of Christmas is really all about the tiny, funny, disasters that occur during the well meaning journey to tradition!
Merry Christmas to you and yours, and thank you so much for sharing!

Arlee Bird said...

Ah, the perils of Christmas. I'll stay on my couch and be a grinch.

Tossing It Out

Kristin Smith said...

Haha! What a wonderful Christmas tale fraught with danger, intrigue, and of course, an unexpected turn of events! I think your wife sounds like a saint. :)

Love your Christmas decorations by the way—at least you have the Christmas spirit!

Kay said...

Yowch! That looks painful, Mark. I must say, your lights are pretty though.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Gee, Mark.... Gotta give you and A+ for effort!

Hoping you all had a wonderful holiday and I wish you and your family the best for the coming year!

How are things coming along? I would love an update!

All the best!

David P. King said...

I absolutely love hearing your adventures. Your family is wonderful. Wishing you a very Happy New Year, Mark. Thank you for being my BBFF (best-baldy friend fo-reals). :)

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