Lance & Marianne's Christmas Decorating 2003
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December 15, 2003 08:07 PM

11-27-03: Thanksgiving Day

Started the Christmas Decorating today. This year is much different weather than last year, at least so far... Awoke to clear to partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-40's. Here's a panoramic picture of what things looked like when I started:

House on Thanksgiving Morning

The weather was nice, but due to other demands, I was unable to start on the decorating until noon, and had to take an hour offin the afternoon. So, I did not get as much done today as I had hoped for. I got all 10 lighted wreaths on the shutters, the big 5' wreath above the door with the "JOY" emblem in the middle, the red and green house trim lights, the red & frosted white icicle lights. and some new stuff: red & blue house trim lights on the porch/garage, and lighted Santa, Snowman & Bear windsocks on the garage. Here's a few pictures of the house as of tonight:

House on Thanksgiving Night

Total Lights for Today: 2,795. About 10% of the way there.... Light count will really pick up when I get to the many wireframes we have to install.... Unfortunately, I have to work for a few hours tomorrow, so I will be even further behind from last year by tomorrow night. However, it is also supposed to pour rain tomorrow morning, so I probably wouldn't get alot done anyway. Hopefully, I will be able to get started before noon tomorrow, and if the weather cooperates, maybe I can get caught up with last year... Of course, by tomorow night the rain is supposed to change to snow, so I had better get the lights on all the shurbs in front of the house tomorrow...


11-28-03: Friday

Well, I tried to get work done outside today, but several things were definitely against me, including the weather. It was actually dry this morning, but I headed for work at about 7am to get some things done, and only got half way there when I had to return home for a family emergency. My father was headed to the hospital. (He was sent home later in the day, nothing serious, but messed with the daily schedule none the less).

Anyway, I got started on the outside decorations when it was still dry, and managed to get most of the lights on the shrubs in front of the house before it started to rain. I had to pause for a couple hours while it poured. It gave me a chance to organize a few things and eat some lunch, at least. After the rain let up, I worked on some of the inflatables: a new Polar Bear on the left property line, and a new Santa to go with the old Snowman on the right property line.

The snowman is actually sitting on our neighbor's lawn! It started rain a little harder again so I had to take another break, but got back out to put the lights on the shrubs by the Polar Bear, both the regular mini-lights and the lighted 4" balls. I think it came out better this year than last year. After that, I started to set up the inflatable Nutcrackers/Soldiers, and about half way through the second one, it realy started to rain. I finished up, got soaked, and called it a day. Had to wait for the rain to stop to take the pictures for tonight, but it finally stopped.

Here's a view of the house overall for tonight. I managed to add a total of 2,865 lights today for a current total of 5,660 lights.

They are forcasting 3-6" of snow for tomorrow, with a winter weather advisory, so I don't know what will get done. I should go to work, since I never made it there today to get some things caught up, but I don't know if I'll go or not. Hopefully tomorrow I can get to some of the wireframes, since I can assemble those in the comfort of the warm family room, and then move them outside. I may try to place the many blow-mold plastic decorations tomorrow as well. That really fills up the lawn in a hurry. I can't even start with the 2-dimmensional wireframes, though, since they are still sitting at work waiting for a trailer ride to the house!


11-29-03: Saturday

You know what?? SNOW & WIND SUCKS when you are trying to decorate outside.... I should certainly be used to it, having lived downwind of Lake Ontario all my life, but today was a little too much for me to take with everything else going on right now. I didn't even get outside until about 3pm to work on the decorations because the temperature was around 30 degrees, and winds were whipping at about 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph all day long.... And, of course the wind was blowing right of the lake all day long, so we picked up about 6" of new snow, but some areas of the lawn have 12" and some are almost bare, since the wind was really blowing the snow around until about 3pm. Wind chills were in the single digits most of the day, so I waited until things settled down to work outside.

Two of the inflatables are now sitting back in the garage since the wind ripped them right out of the ground. Fortunately, nothing was damaged as far as I can see, but I'll have to reworked how I placed them since the wind in those areas can get extreme as it is funneled around and between the houses. The snowman and the polar bear should be back up tomorrow.

While I was waiting out the weather, I assembled as many wireframes as I could fit in the family room. For part of the afternoon, we had a herd of reindeer in the family room!

I did get the sleigh and reindeer outside along with some new rope light goft boxes in the sleigh. I had memories of last year as I shoveled the lawn to put up the reindeer & sleigh.... I hope I don't have to plow the entire lawn like I did last year to get things in place....

I could hardly believe the wattage rating onthe rope light presents... The use almost as much power as the entire line of reindeer! The do have 775 lights in them total, but I thought LED's were supposed to be more energy efficient. These use 350 watts total!

I also got the lighted arch and red wireframe bows on the front door.

The snow certainly lights up the area, making the nighttime photography brighter! Today I managed to add 3,648 lights making a new grand total of 9,308. Pretty close to 1/3 of the way to last year's total of 28,303.


11-30-03: Sunday

Well, motivation is definitely something I am lacking this year when it comes to getting started on decorating. I didn't get started outside today until almost noon. It also didn't help that several different neighbors and friends came around today and wanted to talk....

Anyway, I did get the blue net lights on the weeping cherry tree this afternoon. Boy, that tree is getting big, it went from 1000 total lights last year to 1,650 net lights alone. I still have to put up the icicle light "fringe" around the bottom to get rid of the smooth bottom edge you get from the net lights. I figure that will be around another 400-500 lights.... It took me almost 3 hours just to get the lights on that tree alone today!

I also had to reorganize some stuff in the garage to get out the large fiberglass santa for the front porch. I also reinstalled the Polar Bear and Snowman inflatables, and re-set the other three inflatables after the winds of yesterday. After that, I started working on the blow-mold plastics, and got most of the nativity scene under the weeping cherry up (can't find baby jesus, he's buried in the snow in the pile of blow-molds in the driveway). I also started setting up the scene in front of the Nutcracker Inflatables, but ran into light string problems and a lack of replacement bulbs, and since it was dark outside, I decided to quit for the day about 6:30pm.

Overall, I guess I added a paultry 1,670 lights to the display today, but the blow molds sure help fill up the lawn with light. The new grand total of lights is now 10,978. I still have a couple trailer loads of decorations to bring home from work, so still lots to add to the total....

It's supposed to be frigid the first few days of the week, so I don't know if I will get much done the next few days. I may not update anything until next weekend. We did take out the window frames today, so they will probably go in during the week along with the window candles. All things we can do from inside in the evenings. But the good news is the weather is supposed to be warmer next weekend, so maybe the snow will melt, and I can get motivated to really get some decorating done.....


12-06-03: Saturday

Ok, it was a bad, very bad week, and I got practically no decorating done all week. I had to work from before dawn until well after dark all week, most nights not getting home until after 7pm.... My father ended up back in the hospital on Tuesday, and is now there for the long term. It looks like he had a minor stroke. Anyway, top that off with the east coast snow storm, temperatures in the upper teens, and wireframe decorations that needed major lighting repairs, and it all adds up to not a whole lot accomplished today. I didn't even drag myself out of bed until after 10am, and didn't get started on the decorations until almost 1pm. I worked thru the worst of the snowfall, though. We got about 4" today, and I had to shovel the lawn to install the wireframes I did get to.

I finished most of the "Kneeling Santa" nativity scene. I still have a few 2-D wireframes that I put in that area, but they are still at working waiting for a trailer ride home along with all the other 2-D wireframes and our trees for inside... I had to do some repair work on the animated trumpeting angels, as the zip ties that hold them together began to degrade from the UV exposure last winter. Got everything back together solid, though. I also gotthe second wireframe arch up in front of the family room door and the "North Pole" lamp post over by Santa & Sleigh.

I was certainly hoping to get alot more accomplished today, but the snow and wind made it very cold outside. Wind chills this afternoon were around -20. And the constant snow falling made it very difficult to work on anything. I only managed to add a total of 1,515 lights today for a new grand total of 12,493 so far. The weather is supposed to be better tomorrow, so hopefully I will be able to get more done. I have to find some time to get to WalMart or Home Depot to get some supplies and light bulbs to fix up some of the stuff already outside, too! But, here's what we look like as of tonight:

Oh, yeah, I also hung the large wireframe wreath on the garage temporarily, but that has to get put up on the side of the house over the garage when I put up the garage roof decorations, maybe tomorrow....


12-07-03: Sunday

Ok, so I didn't get these updates done for a few days worth of decorating, and right now my memory of exactly what I did and the conditions I worked under for last Sunday are not the best, But I did take the pictures on the cooresponding days, just never got the website updated. So I am doing my best to remember from last weekend what happened, but I can see what I did based on the pictures I took on Sunday night.

I remember the first thing we did this day was to finish the porch, putting up the tree and wreath along with the remaining trim lights. Marianne helped with the porch decorations, and we got it done alot faster than if I was doing it myself. We got a couple more inches of snow, and that made the lawn decorating even harder. I tried to put the ball lights on the maple tree, but found that most of them were not working, and they are the hardest thing to fix because the light strings are all bunched inside the plastic ball, making testing almost impossible without taking the whole assembly apart. I don't thing they will be going on the maple tree this year....

After giving up on the ball lights and the maple tree in general for now, I decided to finish the trim on the garage and the poinsetta & candy cane border lights on the right side of the property. I couldn't find the cord for the left side of the property, so I have not yet installed the line of these on the other side of the property. These are replacing the spiral trees we had for a couple years down the two sides of the property. The heavy snow last year destroyed the spiral trees.

Our neighbor got home mid-afternoon, so I borrowed his 32' ladder to do the decorations on the left side of the house. I had to cut down the apple tree that was growing there the past few years, it had just gotten too big and I was afraid it was going to begin to damage the house, so it was time to go.... It was a lot easier to install these decorations with that tree out of the way, plus all the hardware was still on the side of the house from last year, so I just had to put everything on the hooks. Last year, I had to do it all from scratch since it was a new deisplay area for us.

I guess I got a little more done this day than I had for some of the days of decorating so far, but still not nearly as much as I should have done. We both just do not have the motivation to work on the decorations this year. Overall, we added 3,651 lights to the display today, making a new grand total of 16,144 lights. Here's what we look like so far this year:


12-13-03: Saturday

Lets see, how to begin... Thursday, warm weather & rain melted 99% of the snow around the house, that was a good thing... Friday, my sister called me at work at 9:00am to say she was at the hospital, and the nurses told her they didn't think my father was going to make it through the day... Left work by 10:30am, and spent the day at the hospital. My father improved slightly, but still has pneumonia and a staff infection with a poor prognosis, so our already depressed decorating energy took another blow. It snowed a couple inches on Friday night, but it was sunny, although very cold outside. I didn't even get outside until about 3pm to work on things. I just didn't have the energy or motivation to want to do anything. We worked inside assembling some of the wireframes to put outside during the afternoon, and I was disapointed that one of the brand new decorations, a holographic train with "motion" lights was partially not functioning. One of the series in the "motion" sections does not light,a nd I spent about an hour trying to tace out the wiring to test and repair it with no success. Now I have to try to find the receipt to return it.

The first thing Marianne and I did was to get all the decorations up on the garage roof. I did not feel to steady waling the roof with all the fresh powdery snow, so the first thing I had to do was to clear the snow off from the ladder to the peak so I could walk up and down the roof without fear of slipping and falling. Then we moved the wreath from the front of the garage to it's proper place on the gable end of the house and put the blow-mold climbing santa under the wreath.

This year I actually made a raised platform to fasten the base of the inflatable sleigh & reindeer to so it was more secure than it was lat year. I also had to replace all the bulbs in the deocration since they all burned out during the months it was stuck on the roof.... I figured we had better get this work done on the roof because we were forcasted to have a nor'easter on Sunday, and that would make getting on the roof impossible until spring or a good thaw, if things went as forcasted... By the time we finished this work, it was already mostly dark outside, but I decided to put out the wireframe decorations we had assembled, including a new "spring form" snowman on a base for use on the lawn. It is very similar to the lighted snowman windsock hanging from the garage.

After that I got the lights on the inner shrubs on the left side of the house, and then put the 4' artificial tree onto the planter post. After that I put out the wireframe candles and drummer boys. I also "finished" the nativity under the weeping cherry tree by hanging the nativity star from the tree trunk and placing the swirl trees as a backdrop.

That was about all we got done today, and it did not amount to much additional lighting, but it did add to the overall appearance by filling up some "blank" areas... We added a total of 1,637 lights today for a new grand total of 17,781 lights. Here's the overall view for tonight:


12-14-03: Sunday

Ok, the nor'easter is here... It started snowing before dawn today, and there was 3" of new snow on the ground by the time I got outside at 10am. It was windy, damp, cold, raw, etc, and generally a miserable day to get anything done. I tried to wrap up a few details, and with the problems with my father, I never got a bunch of the decorations home to even put them out. After this storm is over, it is doubtful I will be able to put them out this year, as we are forcasted to get 20+ inches of snow by Monday morning.

The one thing I really wanted to do was to finish off the left side of the house with the "NOEL" sign. It really looked naked with nothing on that side of the house at ground level. Marianne and I manaed to freeze and get the "NOEL" sign up. I thnk worked on the inflatable Dog & Puppy in front of the sign. Finally I got the two spiral rope light trees up to finish the display in that area.

After that, I got out the holographic present and holographic snowman and a new animated rope light rocking horse. After that, the snow was just too much, falling at about 2" an hour. I had to quit, and it looks like maybe that will be all the decorations we get out for the year after this snowfall.

As you can see by the pictures, by the time I took them at about 7pm, we already had over a foot of new snow on the ground. As of Monday morning, the total was 18" of new snow. This, along with a forcast of another storm on Wednesday night and Thursday will probably makeit impossible to do much more deocrating outside this season. I had hoped to put some lights on the maple tree, and may still do so. However, the pathcicles along the driveway, and any more wireframes on the lawn are probably out of the question since I can't find the ground to put them on!!

As of Monday night, the outermost candy cane along the driveway is completely buried in snow after our neighbor snowblowed his driveway, and the rocking horse is half buried in the snow. I had to disconnect the animation motors form the rocking horse and the wings on the 4 trumpeting angels since the snow was so deep they could no loner move. At least I got the decorations on the roof and on the left end of the property. I just wish I had gotten more of the wireframes up before the snow, but with the hospital emergency on Friday, I never had a chance to bring them home from work, so I didn't even have them at home to put out on Saturday or Sunday. So, unless I get some other decorations out during the week in the snow, this will be the final pre-Christmas installment. We managed to add an additional 2,375 lights today, giving us a current grand total of 20,156 lights. Still down about 8,000 from last year, but given the conditions for this year, I don't think I'll complain. I can't believe the remaining wireframes and lights on the maple tree amount to at least 8,000 lights, but there are still many things I did not get out this year.....

Lastly, I hope everyone has a happy, blessed and Merry Christmas and New Year......

- Lance


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Email @: Lance & Marianne Williams
7999 Brookside Drive
Rome, NY 13440
Last Updated: 12/15/2003 08:07 PM