Archive for November 2017

Tuesday – 27 Days Till Christmas

November 28, 2017

As I was counting the days till Christmas, I noticed we have 4 weekends in December before Santa arrives. Thats one more weekend than usual and its fitting for my last mega light show. Santa will also be here for 8 nights, which is more than his normal visit.

Looking back at the weekend I would have to say there were a few less visitors than last year. Of course that made it easy traffic wise and easy to find a place to park…but I still would have liked it to be busier. With my white Samoyed dog Snow, we were down walking the street until about 8:30 Friday & Saturday night and 8:00 on Sunday. As usual, she was a great hit with the kids and adults too. Snow will be able to join me when it is not too busy…probably next weekend and maybe the one after. Once I end up spending all my time directing traffic she will have to watch you from our bay window.

Every night and every morning I have spent time trying to get my neighbors 5 timers to come on at approximately the same time…its not working out. So yesterday, I ordered a new electronic controller for him and hope to have it in by the weekend. Its much more magical when they all come on at the same time!

Speaking of lights I’ve had the normal problems with a few here and there going out. Its kept me active in getting them going again. One of my goals this year was to replace as few as possible new strings to the perimeter and driveway lights, since I will be giving them away at the end of the season. This explains why you might notice more individual bulbs not working (I upped my acceptable burnout rate to 15% of the string before I replaced it). So far I still have a few older lights in reserve to replace burnt out strings, but I’m running out of red.

Having some time on my hands as I was waiting for visitors to show up this weekend I calculated that I have now had my light show for approximately 1,050 nights. Add in about the same for putting them up and I’ve invested over 2100 days to my Christmas Display…and you wonder why I am retiring after this year from my mega light show?


Light -off has happened.

November 24, 2017

As scheduled, the lights went on magically (well electronically) at 5:00 Thanksgiving Day. As usual, had a number of cars waiting and it was busy for the first hour and a half. The next couple of hours had spurts, but by 8:30 it had pretty much went to a trickle.
Biggest problem was that my neighbors electronic system failed and I had to put manual timers on each of his five circuits. Since they are not exact there is about a 5 minutes period for all of them to come on, but I’m working on it.
Had the expected failure of some light strings (even tho I had “checked them twice”). Fixed a few and will catch the rest tonight (when it will be warmer than last night).
Since that unknown reported suggested that last year was my LAST year, I expect the count might be slightly down this year. But than, maybe we will get some TV coverage which really pumps it up. Perhaps even Channel 5 might show up for the first time since there is no longer the Nashville Light Competition which they sponsored.
Tonight and Saturday are historically (yes I keep records) a pretty big nights, so I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of folks.

Sunday – 4 Days till Light-Off

November 19, 2017

I’,m ready! Everything is out, wired and checked. My goal was to complete it before the weather turned cold (and stormy) and I finished it on Friday afternoon. Of course, I never consider it finished until Christmas Day as I always find something to add…even in my LAST YEAR!
During the next 3 nights I will be checking sections to make sure they come on as advertised and nothing has gone out since I wired them in. But I will be careful not to turn them all on at once…that would ruin it for any lucky individuals driving by. Thanksgiving Day at 5:00 is the big moment!
I had two of my neighbors request that I put very specific figures in their yards and I have done so. Not many, but enough to make a scene.
Looking forward to great Christmas!

Tuesday – 9 Days till Light-Off

November 14, 2017

The plan for the weekend worked. All the figures are now out and the lawns are overflowing. With the elimination of the other 6 houses I ended up with a lot of extra figures for the main lawns (even tho I gave away about 70 figures last year). I added about 20 to the the neighbors yard and at least 30 to mine. This continues the tradition of “BJ” always getting more lights (“Dad, we need more lights”).

This week I will be running the electrical. With all the additional figures it could be a challenge finding enough power. I finished the center area (between the 2 driveways) and only had 8 extra amps left over for what I had dedicated to that area. The big lawn is on tap for today, than comes the neighbors lawn.

I’ve heard from Santa!!! He will be here for 9 nights starting on Friday, December 15th.

The lights will go on Thanksgiving Day at 5:00 and continue every night from 5:00 to 10:00 thru New Years Day.

Thursday – 14 Days Till Light-Off

November 9, 2017

Its all coming together at a very nice pace. I’m down to my last few thousand lights and getting ready to bring the figures out. The only lights left to go are on the houses (and I’ve already done the eves).
Spent yesterday cleaning up after the 5 inch rainfall and chopping up leaves.  Today will be devoted to finishing off the lights on the front of the house.
So far I have thrown away approximately 40 light strings (4,000 lights?) that I could not fix or had too many bulbs out (15% of bulbs out is my max in a string). The little specialty nick knacks I have collected over the years (snowflakes, stars, eve hangers, etc) took another big hit this year. I’ve just about run out of them which is another reason this is my last year. For example, I bought 15 – four foot sparkling snowflakes about 15 years ago and I am now down to one (you just can’t fix them).
Tomorrow I will do my final mowing on the lawn (yes it really needs it) and clean off the leaves (again). Saturday and Sunday I will bring out all the figures (I have my nephew and crew coming on Sunday to help). Some of the figures will be in their same places (think skiers), but there will be many additions and changes to the scenes. The challenge to find a place for my sea serpent ended up with a rather interesting result (one of my “walker specials”).
Next week will be devoted to getting them all wired in. I will also be doing all the little miscellaneous things that I do at the end.
Still waiting to hear from Santa, guess I better send him another email.
No more t-shirts and shorts, winter temps are finally here.

2017 Season Has Arrived

November 3, 2017

Its finally here…my 35th and final season for Sunny Side Lights.  I really appreciate all my neighbors for helping me host the annual event (and putting up with the all the traffic).

As I mentioned at the close of the 2016 season, this year will be my last “over the top” Christmas light display. Instead of 8 houses I am going back to the original two for my final show. But this will not result in a big decrease in the number of lights. The other 6 houses accounted for about 30,000 lights and 80 figures which leaves me with ONLY 100,000 lights and about 275 figures…not exactly a “small” production. Of course, I won’t have the exact number until I’m finished putting them out.

I started working on this years figures the beginning of September and finished them in October. I replaced 2,240 lights and re tapped 10,480 lights (every light on the figures is taped on and the tape usually last 3-4 years). That is a significant decrease over previous years (of course I had 80 less figures). So far, on running light strings, I’ve thrown away about 3,000 lights…but I still have a long ways to go.

Speaking of light strings, yesterday was a banner day…I put out over 17,000 lights. That entailed doing all the perimeter lights and half of the neighbors driveway. Once the rain is thru today I’ll work on the rest of the driveways. Last Tuesday I talked my son-in-law into helping me put up the Merry Christmas arch over the entrance, moving Santa’s house down to the entrance and putting up the arches on my driveway.

Speaking of help, after coming for the last 5 years, my brother will not be able to come this year as he is having medical problems. I sure will miss him! I will have my nephew and his clan come out to help put up the figures in about a week.

Haven’t heard from Santa yet, but I expect him the week before Christmas. I’ll let you know the exact dates as soon as he returns my calls (I think he is still upset that this is my last year).  I know that Snow (my Samoyed dog) is really looking forward to greeting all the kids.

As always, the lights will turn on Thanksgiving Day and continue thru New Year’s Day. The hours are 5:00 to 10:00.