Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Christmas Blues in July


I've posted before about my love of Christmas lights. For the most part, if something is shiny, glittery, or lights up-I'm all over it. For the sake of today's random ranting, we're going to limit it to just lights. Let me 'splain....
As we all know, lights are only available around Christmas time. I will admit that lately, Wal-Mart and other evil stores have started carrying some colored lights at Halloween too. Those are mostly limited to purple or orange. So I'm guessing our story started at Christmas time many years ago, in a classroom far away.
Before moving to Mississippi, I worked at a school in the Florida Keys. I was there for eleven years. In my life, I've only spent two Christmases in Key West...the rest have been here in Starkville (my family likes to travel.) In Key West, it's really hard to get into the true Christmas spirit since it's so warm year-round. There's something about Santa in Bermuda shorts and a tank top that just doesn't say Christmas to me. So....in order to help pass along the Christmas spirit to my students, I hung a strand of Christmas lights around my board. I liked it so much that I ended up hanging about 6 or 7 strands from my drop tile ceiling. Very easy to do...all you need is paperclips. I ended up liking the lights so much that I kept them up all year. In those days, I had sets that had multiple settings and it was real neat to turn out the lights and work solely by festive twinkle lights.
But alas...this part of the story has an unfortunate ending. Florida is always on the cutting edge of laws, procedures, curriculum...anything related to school. Each year the fire marshal would visit the schools and look for fire hazard violations. Two guesses who was on his list, and the first one doesn't count. Yes, that's right people, my 10 strands of lights (all plugged into a total of two outlets) came back to haunt me later. Basically, administration told me that if I didn't take down the lights, the school could receive some serious write ups that could potentially lead to not opening the school. Believe me, I thought hard about that. Christmas lights and no school, or no lights and school....that's a tough call. The fire marshal was a stickler for all things unsafe. All window areas were to be clear by a certain distance and no paper could be hanging from the ceiling or on the walls. I mean, please...have you ever seen an interesting elementary classroom that didn't have something posted in the room? Otherwise, you look like you're in a hospital or something. I was obedient and took down my lights, albeit grudgingly. It's like a little part of me died that day.
Fast forward to moving to Mississippi. We tend to be notoriously slow in some areas and most of the time I complain about this, but not in this case. Apparently, no one here was concerned about the fire safety in schools. My lighting habits have returned and even though my room looks like a bad disco, I really enjoy it. The students that have trouble focusing aren't being helped, but in my experience...they find ways to distract themselves...my theory is to give them something interesting to look at. You'd think this would be a dream come true, right? My new school and administrators not giving me any flack for my tacky lights. And it was a dream come true until today.
For you see, I've been working in my room this week. Today, I plugged in the lights (about 6 very long strands) and NONE of them worked. At the end of the school year most of the strands worked and a couple of them had half the strand blown and I was going to just take those down. I had no idea that I'd be throwing them all out. I wish I had tried a strand or two earlier, so at least I could be prepared. But alas.....it wasn't happening.
The sad part is that it currently isn't prime Christmas light season. The stores don't even have the Halloween stuff out yet, so I won't be getting any lights any time soon. That's literally breaking my heart. How will I be able to enjoy my surroundings if they aren't wrapped top to bottom with lights? I guess I'll be finding out next week. The thought depresses me. And it doesn't help that QVC has been running a "Christmas in July " show all week. I try to quickly skip over that channel so I won't think about what I'm missing.
You'd think in this day and age of technology, they'd create a strand of lights that wouldn't blow out or wouldn't blow out half the strand. We can put a man on the moon, but we can't keep the lights glowing? Something's not right with this picture. Just like something's not right in my room....it all appears strangely plain. And in the world of Tassie...plain is death.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

ok, several things to say -
1 - I bet it wont be long at all before Halloween stuff is out.
2- Josh was having this same problem last night b/c his lights are also out and he cannot find more. he is sad too.
3 - I was JUST talking to the new teacher, Lori, about all those Florida laws! (did you know she's from Florida?) She was telling me that they couldnt hang stuff on the wall and I had never heard of that before! now I've heard it twice in one day!