At our farm, Christmas lights can go up on our house as early as October or November.
It really depends on the weather.
My husband, the man-farmer, outlines our roof and our front porch with white lights.
I like that.
That’s his new name.
Okay, sorry, I’ll get back on track.
SO, he outlines our roof and porch and puts the lights on a timer so that they come on at dusk (which in the winter can be as early at 4:00) and they turn off at midnight.
He also decorates the base of our windmill with multi-colored lights so that it looks like a very festive tree from afar.
We live on a fairly busy street.
And our house sits back from the road, nestled behind the trees.
It’s a nice treat for commuters to get a glimpse at night of white twinkling lights in the distance.
At least, I hope drivers enjoy them.
Do people even look up?
There are no street lights on our rural road and I HOPE drivers smile when they get a glance of our twinkling twinklers.
AND we are trailblazers on our street.
I do not lie about this!
We were the FIRST on our block (which has only three houses) to put lights up.
My grandparents never put lights up outside during the holidays.
As soon as we moved in, our first Christmas here, the lights went up.
Then a few years later another house put up some lights.
And then the last house on the block put some up.
But, he’s trying to outdo everyone because he not only puts up lights at his house, he’s gone gaudy with those inflatable reindeer and snowmen.
How dare he.
But, alas, the street is now a bit cheerier during the holidays than it was a decade ago.
All thanks to the man-farmer.
He got the lights up this year in November.
Turned them on on December 1st.
And then the wind came.
New Year’s Eve was blustery.
And when we woke up some of the lights had fallen out of their clips and were dangling from the roof.
We weren’t going to turn them on anymore (we turn them on December 1st and turn them off January 1st…we need to lower the power bill, ya know!) and so man-farmer was going to take them down.
It wasn’t windy.
But a little slick out.
And so he got out his extendo-ladder.
You know, a ladder than extends from a normalish size to a longer size.
He set the ladder up and locked the extendo part before leaning it against the house by our back door.
He climbed up and removed the light timer from the extension cord that feeds into the garage where the whole shebang is hooked up to electricity.
Then he moved the ladder over to get onto the roof that’s over our kitchen.
It’s the lowest part of our roof, maybe 12 feet up?
I don’t know.
It could be 10 feet.
I’m not good with numbers.
It’s taller than him and he’s about 6 feet tall.
So, he moved the ladder over and started up.
He got to the roof and time froze.
But sped up at the same time.
Because he had extended the extendo-ladder.
But had forgotten to lock the extendo part.
And it fell down.
And he fell down.
It was a very Clark Griswold moment.
Starting at the roof, he hit every rung on the way down the extendo and landed on the brick walkway that separates our home from our garage.
None of us saw anything.
The girls and I were in the house.
But we all heard a huge crash.
Which was the ladder smashing into the bricks (after it tore a hole into the aluminum siding).
Zoe was in the kitchen and she went to see what all of the commotion was.
There she saw her father lying on his back next to the ladder.
His hat and eyeglasses had been jarred off of him and lay as prone as he was on the bricks.
“Go get your mother” he moaned to her.
She ran into the bedroom where her sister and I were and told us that dad needed help.
When I got to him and saw him sprawled there, my first question was “did you hit your head?”
I think I asked him that ten times.
Because of my friend’s husband.
He hit his head after falling off of a ladder and received a traumatic brain injury.
And it took lots of rehabilitation for him to be where he is today.
And I had flashbacks to that when I saw my husband, man-farmer, on his back atop the brick walkway with his extendo-ladder next to him.
He assured me he hadn’t hit his head.
Now, man-farmer does NOT deal with pain very well.
His own pain or others in pain.
He proceeded to get up TOO QUICKLY and I had to tell him to “Whoa, slow it down there buddy!”
There was no rush to become upright again.
We got him into the house.
His lower back was where his pain was located.
And his shin was bleeding as he had gouged it on the ladder rungs on his way back down to earth’s surface.
We discussed whether or not to go to the hospital.
Upon my examination…
Yep, I’m a self-imposed doctor. Being a momcologist does that to a person. I know way more about medical things than I really should because my kid had cancer at one point in her life…
I decided that he didn’t break anything.
He was able to move his arms and legs and his breathing was okay.
Then he started sweating and stating that he thought he was going to pass out.
I told him to calm down and that his body was having a reaction to his pain and it would be okay.
And he is okay.
We popped into the doctor’s office two days later and she said he was okay.
He was suffering from a very sore lower back and she said he was having back spasms and he should get better within a few weeks.
And he’s getting better.
The doctor gave him muscle relaxers and he has popped a few in the evenings.
He’s gone back to work and has gone back to the barn.
He isn’t carrying heavy buckets of water to hydrate the barn dwellers.
I’m doing that.
When man-farmer went down and I had to take over ALL household and farm duties, I got a sense of what it would be like to be a single mother around here.
Luckily, the kids were still out of school on winter break.
They took great care of dad.
Gigi knew he would be okay right away.
She took it upon herself to get him band-aids for his jacked up shin as soon as we saw what had happened to his leg.
One of the band-aids had the words “you’re okay” on it.
And she knew if he put that on, he would be.
I wish man-farmer would let some of her optimism soak into his own being.
He can be a bit of a pessimist.
Kids sometimes know more than us adults.
He’s going to be okay.
And the lights will be taken down in the spring.