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Posts published in “Thoughts”

Designed to Fail: Weak Christmas Lights

Christmas 2I first used the word “fragile” in the title of this rant, but I thought weak was more appropriate. I make that note because I am sure I would have plenty of people reminding me that light bulbs are by nature fragile, so take care. I am not talking about the fact that if you drop them, step on them or otherwise destroy them, you get what you deserve. I am talking about how these light bulbs have the life span seemingly equal to that of a short-lived to fly, or something another educational sounding reference. Is this just Murphy having a good laugh at my expense that after I have so proudly mentioned earlier that I hung my lights early this year, beating the snow, that the bulbs at the absolute highest point on my house have already burned out?

These are brand new bulbs! And to add to my argument, these are bulbs for Christmas lights – you’d think they would be built to be a little hearty considering how they are supposed to be used. Mounted on a house, with no shortage of getting bounced around in the process, left out in the cold and burned at for hours on end. Isn’t this what they are designed to do? I refuse to get up on my slick roof now just to change out a few bulbs, but they bug me every time I drive up to the house at night – those gaps in my nicely hung uniform lines just glare brightly with the absence of what should belong. I never realized the absence of light could stand out in such a pronounced fashion. No longer do people notice what you have displayed, rather what is missing.

Christmas 2

Let’s move indoors now to those little cheap strings of lights we encircle our tree with. These quaint little bulbs seem near indestructible when you look at them. You throw that strand round and round and end up with a nice little display to compliment that traditional tree. If you make it through the actual hanging process intact, chances are within the coming weeks, prior to Christmas of course, a bulb or two will go out. If you get the more expensive variety, one bulb out is no problem, the rest of the strand looks great. But, if you were cheap and got the lowest priced variety, the whole strand is a goner, leaving you to guess at which bulb is the culprit. Ever spent 15 minutes tearing up your fingertips pulling out and replacing each bulb one at a time in a seemingly futile effort to rejuvenate your lighting display? Ever felt your blood pressure rise through the roof because you made it all the way to the end of the strand, and it still didn’t start working. Argh! This means there are two or more bulbs now out. Trust me, pony up for the better variety with redundancy built into the wiring. Your sanity will thank you. Either that or just toss the strand that goes out and gets a new one, which is, of course, a great example of our throwaway attitude this day.

Christmas 2

Christmas is the season of good cheer and happy thoughts. I remind myself of that every time those nagging burnt out bulbs show up. Just think happy thoughts.

Christmas 2I first used the word “fragile” in the title of this rant, but I thought weak was more appropriate. I make that note because I am sure I would have plenty of people reminding me that light bulbs are by nature fragile, so take care. I am not talking about the fact that if you drop them, step on them or otherwise destroy them, you get what you deserve. I am talking about how these light bulbs have the life span seemingly equal to that of a short-lived to fly, or something another educational sounding reference. Is this just Murphy having a good laugh at my expense that after I have so proudly mentioned earlier that I hung my lights early this year, beating the snow, that the bulbs at the absolute highest point on my house have already burned out?

These are brand new bulbs! And to add to my argument, these are bulbs for Christmas lights – you’d think they would be built to be a little hearty considering how they are supposed to be used. Mounted on a house, with no shortage of getting bounced around in the process, left out in the cold and burned at for hours on end. Isn’t this what they are designed to do? I refuse to get up on my slick roof now just to change out a few bulbs, but they bug me every time I drive up to the house at night – those gaps in my nicely hung uniform lines just glare brightly with the absence of what should belong. I never realized the absence of light could stand out in such a pronounced fashion. No longer do people notice what you have displayed, rather what is missing.

Christmas 2

Let’s move indoors now to those little cheap strings of lights we encircle our tree with. These quaint little bulbs seem near indestructible when you look at them. You throw that strand round and round and end up with a nice little display to compliment that traditional tree. If you make it through the actual hanging process intact, chances are within the coming weeks, prior to Christmas of course, a bulb or two will go out. If you get the more expensive variety, one bulb out is no problem, the rest of the strand looks great. But, if you were cheap and got the lowest priced variety, the whole strand is a goner, leaving you to guess at which bulb is the culprit. Ever spent 15 minutes tearing up your fingertips pulling out and replacing each bulb one at a time in a seemingly futile effort to rejuvenate your lighting display? Ever felt your blood pressure rise through the roof because you made it all the way to the end of the strand, and it still didn’t start working. Argh! This means there are two or more bulbs now out. Trust me, pony up for the better variety with redundancy built into the wiring. Your sanity will thank you. Either that or just toss the strand that goes out and gets a new one, which is, of course, a great example of our throwaway attitude this day.

Christmas 2

Christmas is the season of good cheer and happy thoughts. I remind myself of that every time those nagging burnt out bulbs show up. Just think happy thoughts.

In times when there is not much money to be spent on things such as vacations, many people become more interested in the kinds of ways to take vacations without breaking the bank. A cheap vacation can have some serious advantages as well as some potential disadvantages.

Types

Some cheap vacations include going camping, staying with relatives or visiting destinations that include free admission–like the beach or national museums.

Vacation

Considerations

Depending on the price of gas at the time of a trip, it is not always cheaper to drive. In fact, if you have frequent flyer miles, you may be able to buy one or more tickets for next to nothing.

Vacation

Potential

Cheap vacations often leave more time for things that are more relaxing because you’re not booked up on expensive side trips. A cheap vacation sometimes becomes a family tradition because it gives families more time to talk and play together.

Vacation

Time Frame

Plan to travel in off-peak seasons. While it is harder to find time to travel during these times of the year, those who do plan on traveling at this time are rewarded with cheaper hotel rooms, cheaper airfare and cheaper rental cars.

Benefits

If the vacation is part of a family trip, parents can include their children in the planning process. This will help children learn how to balance budgets and understand the differences between wants and needs.