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Vacation Reruns: SayUncle v. The Light Nazi

From 2002.

I have a few pet names for my lovely wife, such as sweetie and honey. I also refer to her, at least weekly, as the light nazi. My wife has this superpower to detect wasted electricity almost instantaneously. For example, if I leave a light on and exit the room, she immediately hones in on the room using her bizarre extrasensory capabilities (seriously, the Department of Homeland Security could probably use her to detect unusual electrical fluctuations). Upon her discovery that I am heating the neighborhood or letting the flies out, Im in for a quick reminder to turn out lights and shut doors.

One problem I have with her ability is the fanatical zeal in which she enforces her duties as the sworn protector of home electrical efficiency. Another example: when I am in our office and have the lights on then decide Id like a refreshing beverage, by the time I return from the kitchen the lights are off in the office. Also, in her zeal, she has turned lights off on me while Im still in the room reading. She seems so obsessed with saving that quarter that she occasionally fails to notice that someone is actually benefiting from the use of the electricity in question.

My wife apparently has been saving up all this electricity usage for the holidays. Every year, me and the wife also get into an argument over Christmas decorations. The argument stems from the fact she wants to put the decorations up right after Labor Day. Whereas, I prefer them to be put up about the second week of December. This past weekend, satisfied that she had saved up enough electricity to warrant decorating for the holidays, yours truly wound up doing a lot of work in preparation for the upcoming holidays. Until this past week, the wife and I were the only ones living in our subdivision. We just got a new neighbor so I suppose the new neighbor was the cause of the tackiness that is holiday decorations. Since, other than us, hell be the only one to see them. Unless of course people start driving down a new subdivision to look at houses in the dark.

On Saturday, the wife and I pulled all the holiday knickknacks out of the attic and started decorating the house. I argued about it less this year than ever. I basically said honey, its not even Thanksgiving yet? and she replied with but Thanksgiving is late this year. I shrugged and said Oh. Learned helplessness has finally set in. I can just agree and do it quicker than I can disagree, argue, and wind up doing it anyway. Ah, the holiday spirit.

We put out our Frosty the Snowman salt and pepper shakers, put up our Christmas tree, put a Nativity scene on the mantle, and put out all the other stuff from the eight boxes that were in our attic labeled Christmas. This took up half our day.

Sunday rolls around, and I find out the wife had bought about nine boxes of icicle lights. Yours truly was then taken to task to take said nine boxes of lights (at 300 lights per box) and trim the house with them. A friend came by to help. Fortunately for me, my friend had done this before. I hadnt.

Your average SayUncle is about six feet, one inch tall and weighs about 170 pounds. Your average SayUncle is also lethargic on the weekends. And your average SayUncles natural habitat is some primitive, oblong, leather bedding (commonly referred to as a couch) where the SayUncle stalks its prey, the elusive Sam Adams and the only slightly less-elusive rum and Coke. Your average SayUncle is also poorly equipped for climbing steep inclines, which is a required skill when hanging 2,700 icicle lights. The reason the average SayUncle is so poorly equipped for climbing is because the largely sedentary SayUncle often catches several Sam Adams or rum and Cokes per day on the weekends, in between naps of course. Mind you, the only known SayUncle in existence hasnt lived in its natural habitat since it wed the SayAuntie, who is hell bent on destroying the SayUncles natural habitat.

The friend shows up. We put the ladder up to the house and he climbs up. Then I climb up. I realize in about five seconds that my boots are poorly equipped for walking on the roof. You need something that allows you to bend your ankles. It was also at this point that I realized Id never really used a ladder to climb on a roof before. And that I didnt really know how to get from the roof to the ladder, and subsequently to the ground, safely. After my friends instruction, I figured the whole ladder thing out, climbed down, and put on some sneakers. Then its back up the ladder to discover my friend had already placed one box of lights. Then, I cut myself on the gutters. I refuse to climb down and am content to finish the job while bleeding on the hangers. We then develop a system in which I place the hangers and my friend inserts the icicle lights into the hangers. About three hours later (when its dark, but were working with lights so . . ) were done.

I call the wife. The friend calls his wife. And we all stand around outside looking out over our icicle lights and the lighted garland on the porch. My wife looks me lovingly in the eyes and smiles, shes happy. I look at her and smile. The whole time thinking that we will waste more electricity on these Christmas lights this year than I will waste by leaving lights on for the rest of my life. Also, I hope our only neighbor appreciates the holiday display because I dont think anyone else is going to be driving by our subdivision to look at our lights. I put my arm around my wife and smile again because I know that I’m bleeding on her holiday sweater.

With the light nazi appeased, the SayUncle was allowed briefly to return to his natural habitat before bedtime.

Happy holidays!

13 Responses to “Vacation Reruns: SayUncle v. The Light Nazi”

  1. nk Says:

    An old [Stereotypically Stingy Ethnicity] man is in his deathbed. He asks: “My wife, Hannah, are you here?”
    — “Yes, Angus, I’m here.”
    — “My son, Ian, are you here?”
    — “Yes, Dad, I’m here.”
    — “My daughter, Rachel, are you here?”
    — “Yes, Daddy, I’m here.”
    — “All my family is here”
    — “Yes, Daddy, we’re all here.”
    — “Then why is the light on in the other room?”

  2. Ron W Says:

    Having worked in orthopedics with orthopedic trauma surgeons for 40+ years and seen the results of an unfortunate slip up, I long ago became very bold in saying, “I’m afraid to climb up there!” You’re a better man than me, Unc!

  3. JTC Says:

    Not saying I don’t like your current linky format, but you wrote nice; don’t totally lose the knack.

  4. Robert Says:

    And you’re so lucky to live very close to the Christmas Place store in Pigeon Forge! (My wife’s favorite place to shop…)

  5. Ravenshrike Says:

    Have you replaced all your lights with LEDs yet? Because that’s the best way to save electricity ant there’s no toxicity issue like with the mercury lights.

  6. comatus Says:

    A former colleague lost his father early in his life due to a tragic holiday decorating mishap. Ruined Christmas for him forever, it did.

    I do wacky shit on roofs, same as anybody else. But it has to have a better motivation than Santa Claus or the salvation of the world.

  7. Lyle Says:

    “I can just agree and do it quicker than I can disagree, argue, and wind up doing it anyway.”

    You’d fit right in with the Republican Party leadership then. What does she have over you? Sex? In that case you’ll be happier, and she’ll be happier, if you forget about sex and inform her that you are in charge of the household, that since you pay the electric bill you will decide on how electricity is used in the house.

    Also, Jesus doesn’t need pretty lights, a dying tree, plastic reindeer and shit. If one is a Christian in the basic sense, every day is Christmas anyway. If one is not a Christian, then WTF are you doing “celebrating Christmas”?

  8. Kevin Baker Says:

    The penis story is better.

  9. JTC Says:

    Lyle,
    Shit dude, he was a newlywed kid 13 years ago…and if you liken marriage to politics then your guidance system is way out of whack.

    And speaking of that, you don’t believe in birthday parties either? One doesn’t have to be a deacon down at the Antioch Church to celebrate His…I’m glad to know Unc has (or had, before being influenced by his anti buddies) at least some of the joy He brings.

    My point, and I hope you take it as I intend it, is that you can be a good husband without being a hardass taskmaster, and a good believer without being a joyless traditionalist.

    Oh, and Kevin? Not sure what that says about you. 🙂

  10. Alien Says:

    A sure cure for Light Nazi Syndrome: motion sensing light switches, aka The Devil’s Device. About the eleventeenth time she finds herself sitting in the dark because the switch timed out while she was sitting still she’ll get the message. Extra points if the couch/chair she regularly uses isn’t in line with the switch and she has to stand up to turn the lights back on.

  11. guy Says:

    Aren’t you like an economist or lawyer or something?

    Just provide her with an itemized list and a $20 bill at the end of the year and call it good.

    Or raw goat or whatever the required offering is these days.

  12. Jeffersonian Says:

    “Your average SayUncle is about six feet, one inch tall and weighs about 170 pounds. Your average SayUncle is also lethargic on the weekends. And your average SayUncles natural habitat is some primitive, oblong, leather bedding (commonly referred to as a couch) where the SayUncle stalks its prey, the elusive Sam Adams and the only slightly less-elusive rum and Coke. Your average SayUncle is also poorly equipped for climbing steep inclines, which is a required skill when hanging 2,700 icicle lights. The reason the average SayUncle is so poorly equipped for climbing is because the largely sedentary SayUncle often catches several Sam Adams or rum and Cokes per day on the weekends, in between naps of course. Mind you, the only known SayUncle in existence hasnt lived in its natural habitat since it wed the SayAuntie, who is hell bent on destroying the SayUncles natural habitat.”

    I “guffawed”. Too funny.

  13. Windy Wilson Says:

    My father developed an efficient system for putting up the Christmas lights. About every foot or 18 inches in the middle of the eaves he put a cup hook, alternating opening towards the house and away. After this it was a simple matter to put the eve lights on using a stick with two nails driven into the end, about 1/4 inch apart and protruding about the same amount.
    Window lights were mounted on cutouts sized to the front windows, with hooks and eyes to hang the cutouts in front of the windows.
    He didn’t like ladders, either, so something went on the roof only once.