Take a Knee

“Take a knee” I told my daughter. She’s 2.

She very carefully put one knee on the ground and then put her hand on her other knee. When you give pep talks, this is how it is done—with everyone taking a knee. That’s what my coach taught me and that is what I have taught my daughter. When we are going to have a heart to heart, we have to take knee.

“Ok,” I say. “We are going to put up the Christmas lights. I know, I know, we have been lazy and they should have been up a while ago. But never mind that because we are doing it now.”

She leans in closer to really hear her instructions next.

“What I want you to do is to run around the front yard and cause havoc. I want you to destroy and rip and go nuts. See those boxes of lights over there? I want the lights unpacked and boxes ripped apart pronto. Those stakes over there, those I want thrown about. Think you can do that?”

“Newt!” She yells. She yells the name of our dog when she means yes.

“Good deal. Let’s get rolling.”

I love it when my daughter helps, it’s very entertaining. I know some people get pissed off when the little kids help because things do slow down and something is bound to get lost. I, however, love the hell out of it. It makes any job fun and I gotta be honest here, I love it when she looks so proud when she has accomplished something like putting a stake in the ground. Hossmom says she is very eager to please her father. Great, I have a toadie.

Imagine Godzilla rampaging in downtown Hong Kong. Now imagine Mothra showing up and Godzilla and Mothra doing battle in downtown Hong Kong. That’s how we put up lights.

“Brahhhhahahahahahah~!” she yells.

I look over and she has just tripped over the lights that I have put in the sidewalk on the stakes. 5 stakes have popped out of the ground.

I look at her and say “Well, put them back in” and I turn my back to the tree in the front yard. I have to put up lights on this thing while at the same time dodging spiders and old wasp nests. While my daughter is Japanimation in action, I am the freaking ballet. Together, we are formidable.

A minute later I look back over to my daughter. She has accomplished putting most of the stakes back in and to my amazement, they are straight. I am raising a genius, all of you should be jealous.

But then she steps over them to the other side of the sidewalk and proceeds to again trip over the strand of lights and pulling them out of the ground. This time she doesn’t even look for my instructions, she just begins putting the stakes back in the ground. However, she has decided that if she licks each light bulb before putting them back in the ground, they will stay better. I can find no fault in her logic.

I have finished the tree and have only screamed like a girl once, I am counting this as a good day. It’s time to move on to the reindeer that my daughter has so generously unpacked for me 20 minutes ago. At my feet is a mass of metal and lights that is supposed to look like Rudolph. I have no idea where most of the parts are that keep this thing together thanks to Little Hoss. I love the challenge and call over my henchman.

I tell her to bring the wire and to my amazement, she does. Seriously, she is a great helper and we work well together.

The next 20 minutes is spent putting together the reindeer. I am 99% sure that Scrooge himself designed these things so that fathers would eventually get pissed off and just throw them in the gutter. But we are resourceful and we have duct tape and chicken wire, enough to build a god damn Macy’s Float if we have to.

We get the reindeer up and things are starting to come together. I am getting pleased. A neighbor comes over and says that I am starting to make them look bad because they haven’t put up their lights yet. Secretly, I agree with him. You do look bad next to this gaudy over the top Christmas spectacle that I am putting on.

My philosophy on Christmas is that the tackier it is the better it is. Lights, lights and more lights are the way to go. Presents poorly wrapped, colored lights mixed with white lights and an 8ft inflatable snowman, that’s the only way to go.

Sadly, our 8ft snowman—named Princess Candycane by the neighbors kid—is not going to make this years celebration. She has passed beyond that point that I could repair the nylon and will be sorely missed.

As well as the lights that I normally put on top of the house, but this was done in protest. Hossmom does not want me to “risk” myself on top of the roof this year. She seems to think that I will come tumbling down and brain myself. She has it in her head the image of me last year up there laying upside down on my stomach, spread eagle, trying to reach the last corner of the roof. No worries, I made it. I think having a second kid is making Hossmom soft.

It still doesn’t mean we can’t go all out and tacky though because this year we are bringing in “The Machine.” My mother in law actually got me a machine where you plug all the lights into it and it synchronizes it all to music. Think the bud light commercial with more lights, none of which that match.

I am eager to try this thing out and so is Little Hoss. She is starting to growl which I know means that she is getting impatient. Soon, my little one, soon.

Everything is plugged in and ready to go. I call my wife out with Bubba Hoss. We stand out front and I look at my daughter.

“Flip the switch” I say. She pushes the red button.

If you have epilepsy, or think that you might have it, please stay away from my house. In fact, even if you don’t, you may want to still stay away because this might cause it.

The lights blink and twirl, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Sometimes only one side of the yard is lit up and sometimes the whole thing is. Carol of the Bells, Here Comes Santa Claus, Feliz Navidad—words cannot describe the beauty.

I look down at Little Hoss and she has her hands on her hips, looking at a job well done. I am doing the same and sometimes it amazes me when she mimics me. I spit and she tries to with the effect of some slobber just rolling off her chin.

Maybe she can get on the roof with me next year?

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