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Christmas lights – Next year, I’ll be going out of town
Posted:Dec 10, 2020 2:41 pm
Last Updated:Dec 12, 2020 9:42 am

Christmas lights – Next year, I’ll be going out of town
It is the season to be upset at decorating the outside of your house I guess. I’ve assisted, rather did the most of the work, of decorating four houses now. I’m not fond of being up on ladders or working in cold weather.
When I got back from Frisco that Friday night after Thanksgiving. I did my own house. I had my lights arranged for when I took them down last year, all on spools, and I tested the strands before I put them away for the year. Putting lights on my house, not really a chore. Putting them away is way more work, but it is easy putting them up the following year.
I keep them in four separate boxes, and I bought dedicated power cord extensions ten years ago, that I keep in their own box. I consider them my Christmas cord extensions, and they get no use during the rest of the year. I had no idea putting up lights was an all-day affair for some people. Took me about two hours, and that includes a trip to Lowes to buy some stables. I really thought I had enough of those, but that hiccup was fine. Plugged everything in, and “Bingo”…worked. Pleased, I took a picture, another year done.
I should have never taken that picture. I forgot how women are….
First, casually left my cell on a coffee table, next thing I know, the security guard is looking through my photos on my cell when I went to the restroom. Nothing on my cell bothers her until….”You have lights on your house.” She says.
“Well, yeah. I told you I was going home to do it that Friday.” I said.
“I want lights on our house, to surprise C******.” She says.
“This house is a lot bigger, did you buy the lights already?” I asked. She shook her head.
“What about measuring how many feet of lights you need?” I asked. She just looked at me.
“Power cords? A timer? Lights can get quite expensive depending on the type.” I said.
“You’ll figure it.” She said casually.
In my head, I knew I could, but this felt like a Segway into me doing all the work.
“I don’t want to put up more lights. I only live here half the time. How about I give half the for you to put them up?” I said.
“I know what you want. How about a trade….something you want, for lights on our house.” She said.
“How about I you for all the lights and you put them up?” I said.
“I know where she keeps her old lights, shouldn’t take you long at all.” She countered.
“Let think about it,” I said.
I was sitting on the couch, and she got closer….and rubbed up and down my crotch with her hand.
Thirty minutes later I was opening old boxes, in a euphoric state. That lasted until I opened the first box and pulled on a single strand of lights. They were all wadded together in a ball. Ugh, and the second box…and the third….the fourth….the fifth…the sixth…FUCK!
It took three hours to get the strands untangled. Then I plugged them in. Not LED lights, but old ones with lamps. Took another two hours to get three-quarters of them to work. No cords. No timer. I went outside to measure, steaming inside, and now hungry. I was confused after I took the measurements. I only needed one box for the trim on the outside of the house. Why the extra boxes?
No one was home now, so I left and got some lunch. Came back with some clips, and just started to hang the lights. Took about two hours. I went to Lowes to buy some cords and a timer. As it got dark, it looked great. I was pretty pleased with myself.
The across the street neighbor came over and talked to me about them. She is an older lady, in her seventies, and sweet. “They are beautiful, my Ralph put up lights on our house every Christmas.” She said.
“Well, if he needs help, I can stop by,” I said.
“He died from the Covid, three months ago. It’s ok, they just reminded me of him.” She said.
Something broke inside of me. I remembered my own grandmother, her first Christmas without my grandfather. As a , I complained to my Dad about putting lights on her house. My Dad acted like a zombie during that time. Everything he said was undertoned with sadness. I am embarrassed now, about my attitude then.
It was getting colder, but I offered to put lights on her house too. I was so glad her husband had organized like me. It took me only two hours to get everything up. The blow-up Lama in the front lawn made me feel better. He did something I had not thought of, a diagram on the inside cover of the box lid to show where the lights in the box went and the cords. Plus, the box cover to show what kind/brand of lights they were. Pretty smart.
I stood in the middle of the street, looking from one house to the other, and saw that the corner house had no lights on it in a street filled with Christmas lights. Strange, in this upscale neighborhood. I walked down to it.
I knocked on the door. A teenage boy answered. I talked to him, and he opened up his life story right there on the front porch. I’m not sure what I asked, but the talked about his parents that were at the hospital, not for Covid. His Mom has diabetes and was having her right leg amputated below the knee. His Dad was sleeping at the hospital and he just felt numb. I asked him about his Christmas lights, and he said his Dad and him did it every year, but probably were not going to do it this year.
“Let’s put up your lights, and talk,” I said.
So we did. Everything was done by Midnight. Not as organized, but not as bad as the second one I did. The seemed to feel better. I actually felt worse.
Worse? Yes. I connected to this stranger. He reminded me on how well adjusted my own were before they moved out. It appeared to me that I helped him be a little happier. Yet, I have not been able to do that for my own nineteen-year-old ? My own refused to help me with the Christmas lights this year.
I love Christmas time. The gaudier the decorations the better. No one was home when I got there. The security guard was at work. Secretary was away for the weekend visiting family. Twenty messages from the same guy as I picked up my cell off the coffee table. He could wait until morning or even later.
I am doubting my own social skill set. I am confused about how well I establish rapport with people I don’t even know, but my own …They are like aliens to me now that they graduated from high school.
Even my most recent enemy has turned a corner and has been nice to me. I wanted a nemesis, but not from my . I invested so much emotional energy into them the last twenty years that it feels like it was effort wasted now. My job is going great. Social life is great. Every woman in my life appears happy. The feeling of being a failure as a father from my two boys makes no sense to me. I hate it.
(Confirmation 303083)
Eye Contact and Hello.
Posted:Nov 10, 2020 3:36 pm
Last Updated:Nov 11, 2020 4:16 am

I love my engineers, but some of them are so Beta type it annoys me.
The biggest problem I had with them today is upon the first contact is EYE CONTACT followed by a “Hello.”
My guys have the worst social skills. A few of them get better, and a few of them believe they are so valuable they don’t need the training.
I honestly believe social skills are more important than all the technical training my guys have had.
My company has lost millions from engineers not having good social skills and that is just from the region I work in. I’m sure it is worse at busier sites.
In a meeting today, and one of my guys has to give an explanation and…he stared at the wall instead of the attendees as he talked…then didn’t look up from his laptop…and worse, turned his whole body away from the rest of the group as he talked. Ugh, I just wanted to throw my cell at him. I’ve coached about forty or so about their meeting skills. When my customer looks at me and points to my “guy”, I am fully aware of what I have to do later. I hate being the “teacher” when big money is on the line.
It's the same when meeting someone new, those same guys will freeze up when I introduce them to other people around us. I just don’t get it. The same guy, an hour later, just nods his head as I introduce him and scrunches his shoulders like he is being beaten. Some of the guys I have been with for years look to be in a panic when I introduce someone new. Doesn’t matter the gender I am introducing them to.
This brings me to what I did right that Saturday night a couple weeks ago and caused me several weeks of drama.
I was dragged from a garage by an Amazonian security guard and witnessed a woman in a bathrobe giving a reprimand to another security guard in the entryway of the mansion. Her temper was a little on the high side, and inwardly I recognized the same level from my own work interactions.
I don’t know how everyone else does it, but me, I operate from my own frame of reference. The need to find the underwater issues is hard and can wait until feelings are cooled. I matched her temperament, but not her words with my own “escort”.
“Why didn’t you tell me I was getting into a car with this charming woman? I would have run here. Jeeze!” I said louder than her, not remembering what she said to the other guard.
First, she was older than me, but not by much that I could tell. A few inches shorter, black hair. I took a step towards her and pulled her pointing finger down into both my hands. “Hello,” I said, and I smiled. My fucking mask hid the smile, but I put my whole face into the effort. I let go of her hand after a second or two as I looked into her eyes. I didn’t say it, but I thought, “You’re beautiful.”, and really, she was.
I could see her face relax, and I waited. Nothing else. The guards were talking to each other and the robed clad woman then motioned me to the waiting car with a driver that was wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt, opening the back door nearest us. I was hoping for a limousine or Rolls, after being in a garage that had both and several other exotic cars. Instead, we got into an ’80s or 90’s Cadillac. It was very roomy in the back seat though. I found out later it was her favorite car. I was confused about the driver not having a uniform, but Amazon that got into the front passenger seat was wearing a black suit. (More about her later…she was as intimidating as fuck, this coming from a guy who was surrounded by intimidating people when I was in the military. I would have wagered my paycheck she could have taken any one of the guys in my entire company.)
Anyway, we got in the car. I was confused about going in the car in the first place since I was told we would be taking a shuttle bus from the house to the marina. Unlike my car, there were ten buttons/switches on my handrest. No pictures of what they were for…so I tried each one.
One switch raised a darkened thick glass between us and the front seat. Four did the music. An intercom, etc. The very last one actually raised and lowered my window.
“So, you’re a mechanic?” She asked after she heard me laugh as I raised and lowered the glass window.
“Engineer. I build stuff.” I said absently, turned towards her and her boob was hanging out of her robe. She watched my face, and I tried not to look at the boob specifically, but I’m freaking male. Her smile got wider and wider with lots of teeth. I looked directly into her eyes with every fiber of my being.
“You can take off your silly mask. I don’t require one around me.” She said almost as if demanding I take it off. “I don’t think I have ever seen a man wearing a rainbow jaguar mask before.” She said.
“It’s a rainbow leopard. At least the package said that but it was made in China, so you are probably right. They misspell a lot of English words.” I said.
“Why on earth are you wearing such a gaudy childish thing?” She asked.
“My date wouldn’t let me wear my Bugs Bunny tie to this party, so this was a compromise. Black tie affair and all that. You are not quite dressed as I expected.” I said playfully.
“My fucking party, besides both of us are probably overdressed at this point.” She said laughing.
“I am?” I asked confused.
She raised the dark glass between us and the front seat. “Oh yes…” She purred, then she giggled.
“Are we going swimming or…something?” I asked.
She undid her robe, letting it fall off her shoulders. I had just met this sexy woman a few minutes ago.
It would take pages to describe what she did to me next for the rest of the time in the car. It happened.
So to get back to my original point. After a week on the water, I asked her “Why she did what she did in the car?”
Her response, “You had me at hello, and then didn’t fuck it up.”

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