Lights – My Way

For the last 35 years my best friend (Sara) and her husband (David) have come over to help decorate the Christmas tree.  We have cookies along with hot chocolate and Baileys.  Real whipped cream.

About 30 years ago, I was a little too vocal about how I like the lights as David was putting them on the tree.  He stopped, handed me the remaining lights and “suggested” that I should probably do the lights from then on.  He was correct.  I like the lights to peek out from the interior of the tree and for at least 20 years I’ve had lights that slowly fade on and off as well. 

Covid means no tree trimming party this year, so I was thinking there was no rush to get the lights on the tree.  YA thought otherwise and asked me repeatedly when I was going to put the lights up (we got the tree on Friday).  She even took the lights out – hence the decorated dog in the photo. 

When I eventually relented and started with the tree, she sat on the steps and watched.  Then she made a recommendation.  Then another.  I told her the story of David handing me the lights and telling me to do it myself.  She went upstairs and didn’t come down until I was finished. 

What job do you just like to do yourself?

24 thoughts on “Lights – My Way”

  1. When I was very young, my mantra was “Do it myself!” I still prefer to do most things myself, although Husband always puts the lights on the tree because he is fussy about how they look, and I am too impatient. He also is taller, which helps.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am appropriately modest about most things I do. If you tell me I’m not washing my car properly or that I’m screwing up the chicken cacciatore, I’ll listen to your input with respect. Your opinion is at least as good as mine and probably better.

    But if, god forbid, we are working together on an important writing project, don’t expect me to welcome your input. You still might have smart things to say, and maybe your ideas are better than mine, but when I’m trying to write carefully I become autocratic. I listen to a mysterious voice in my head that tells me what to do, and I really don’t know how to share the job when that happens. In that one area of life I am obliged to follow my muse.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Most things, like cleaning, I want done “good enough” but as long as someone else does the job, I am not picky. A few things, however, I want done My Way. Like my garden. That has to be done my way— plants have to be rotated, fertilizing and composting must be done just so and at the proper time, and things must be weeded by hand. Then there are materials for staking up plants. My husband will use any broom handle anywhere, which drives me nuts. Why have a beautiful flower garden defaced by a bright red broom handle that detracts from the entire thing? A discreet bamboo stake is barely visible.

    I did it My Way.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Just about everything. I don’t work well with others (not that I can’t, I just prefer not to.) I’m particular about cooking, so unless potatoes need peeling or corn needs husking, I’d rather do all the cooking myself.

    Unlike Steve, I welcome input on my writing, but I resist like the devil the urge to incorporate other people’s suggestions because, in the end, I have to write the story exactly the way I feel is the best. If I put my name on it, by golly it’s going to be 99.9% me.

    When my wife and I used to decorate a Christmas tree, I’d erect the tree (real or fake) and string the lights (per her direction–she likes them closer to the trunk of the tree like VS. I like them more on the tips of the branches). But then we share placing the ornaments. I did most of the high ones because I’m tall. She still decorates the rest of the house with Christmas stuff. I stay far away because she knows exactly where she wants things and I, of course, would have no clue where to place the candles or the wreath or the manger scene or the miniature Bedford Falls.

    I wonder if those who prefer to work alone are more concerned with being fully recognized for doing the job (either well or poorly–no excuses) and those who like to work with others value the teamwork and camaraderie over producing the best possible results. (the old “too many cooks spoil the broth” idea.)

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I can speak to why I cannot share writing projects. Credit isn’t an issue. As an editor, I spent years making other people’s work look better without claiming credit. I’m just helpless to resist the opinions of my muse. My muse is truly “she who must be obeyed.” She tells me how the job must be done. I’ve learned she is usually right. But even when she might be wrong, she calls the shots.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. And yet you two have a great relationship, for you are able to get good work done. I worked comfortably with my muse for many years without knowing she could be difficult. Then I asked too much, and suddenly she made it clear I was not in charge. I understand now. She lets me pretend I’ve got control, but we both know better.

          Liked by 4 people

  5. Having lived alone since the mid 70s, pretty much everything is done my way. I sometimes solicit suggestions for doing something better or more efficiently, but don’t take too kindly to unsolicited advice.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Oh dear, the more I think about it, I like to do a lot of things myself, so I can have them done my way. Hmmmm…

    On the other hand, it drive Husband nuts how I’ll interrupt him to ask whether he wants me to make, say, cornbread or a baked potato to go with the chicken… on most things he doesn’t give a rat’s patootie.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You know, at the college, when we’re building a set and I’m supposed to be teaching the students, there are days when, even though they’re doing the best they can, once they leave, I have to fix it and the thought occurs, “This is why I just do it myself!”. But I know it’s a learning opportunity for them. If there’s time and if they can handle it I will have them redo it. Sometimes that just doesn’t work.
    There are a few things I can help Kelly with in the kitchen. And her with me. But more often, it’s just best to let us do it our way.
    I think I’ve mentioned I’m chairman of a building committee. We had groups of volunteers this summer for demo work, but once we started walls, well, I’m sort of hand picking people to help. It’s hard to build a wall by volunteers. I know the Amish can do it, but they all know what they’re doing I think. Covid is also keeping us separated. And there are some odds and ends, as in any remodeling project, where I have to spend some time just staring at it trying to figure out what the heck to do with whatever the deal is. So it may as well just be myself anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Some difficult tasks are structured so it is possible for outsiders to offer help. Some are not. My best example of the second sort is the rather complicated and fussy process of launching a boat off a boat trailer. It is a set of procedures that can easily go wrong, and once it goes wrong it can be a catastrophe. I long ago learned that I should be ready to accept commands from a guy launching a boat off a trailer, but I should never volunteer help. One person needs to be unambiguously in charge of that operation. I’m sure there are other examples, such as surgery, where many hands can work together but one mind has to be controlling everything.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Like K-Two, I’m pretty used to doing things my way because that’s often the only option. I argue with myself sometimes when I know I’m trying to rush through something and it would be better to spend the time to get it right. But then again, sometimes pretty good is good enough.

    I do like to hang my own Christmas lights, though. I’m a tuck ’em in deep person.

    Liked by 4 people

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