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Advice Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota Things I Really Like Winter

Storing Geraniums over the Winter

October 13, 2016
Storing Geraniums over the Winter

Did you know you’re supposed to be storing geraniums over the winter? Did you know that these incredibly hardy plants can last for decades if stored properly? That’s right, there is no need to purchase new geraniums each year. Geraniums are actually perennials even though they are grown as annuals in many parts of the country.

I love geraniums because their blooms are bursting with color that seem to last well into the fall. Geraniums have a lovely, delicate fragrance and it’s really challenging to kill them. They can handle being over-watered and under-watered. If you have a cabin up north, you don’t need to worry about hiring the neighbor kid to water them while you’re away for the weekend. They’ll endure under considerable neglect.

Storing Geraniums over the Winter

Overwintering geraniums is pretty easy. There are three ways to store your geraniums: keep them blooming and growing, letting them go dormant and making cuttings from them. I prefer letting my geraniums go dormant because it’s the easiest way.

Potted Geraniums – This method is generally for geraniums that have been planted in the ground during the growing season. Dig up the plant and place in a put with ample room for the rootball. Prune it back a bit and water thoroughly. Keep the plant in a cool and well lit area in your home. You’ll want as much sunlight as possible so a southern facing window works well. There still may not be enough light so the plant may get a little spindly or leggy. You can use a plant light if you prefer.

storing geraniums over the winter

Make them go Dormant – This is my preferred method of wintering my geraniums, mostly because it is the easiest and because I have a cat who eats houseplants. Many sites will tell you to water the plant during its dormancy, and that may work. I don’t bother. I pull the pots in before the first freeze and place them all in a dark area of the basement. I actually put them in an unused shower in the basement so I can shut the door and keep the cat out.

I don’t think about the plants until spring. Let me repeat that. I don’t water them, I don’t hang them upside down and I don’t let them have any light. They are out of sight and out of mind.

When spring comes I bring them outside into the shade at first, and soak them as they are moved into more and more light. After about a week I put them back into direct sunlight and pretty much forget about them until fall when it’s time to overwinter them again. Of course I prune them each season and clip any dead blooms off the plant. I’ve used this method for over 15 years and have beautiful geraniums.

Storing geraniums for the winter

Cuttings – I’ve made cuttings from many plants, but not geraniums. I’m sure it works wonderfully because the plant is so hardy, I just haven’t had a reason to do it yet. Basically cut 3 or 4 inch cuttings and remove any leaves from the bottom of the cutting. Place into a pot filled with vermiculite. Make sure the drainage is good. You can place the cutting into a plastic bag to keep the cutting humid. Rooting should happen in about 6 to 8 weeks. Once they have rooted repot them into potting soil. Keep them in a cool well lit place until it’s warm enough to put them outside.

Pretty simple. Geraniums are one of my all time favorite flowers because they are so easy to care for, and their stunning blooms last and last.

Kids Minnesota Things I Really Like Winter

Easy Winter Accessories Organization

October 11, 2016
Easy Winter Accessories Organization

I love this easy winter accessories organization hack! In Minnesota we’re never sure when winter will start or when it will end, but keeping all the hats, scarves, mittens and gloves out gets sloppy and takes up too much room by the back door. So I created this easy winter accessories organizer and put it where we keep all the boots and coats.

Prior to this household hack I simply used an old Trader Joe’s shopping bag to store all the winter gloves, hats and mittens in. The problem with using a bag was that you’d have to dig through it each time you wanted a pair to wear.

That usually meant, especially if you are a smallish child, dumping the contents out, rifling through it all and then leaving with mismatched mittens because there was no way to know if the mates were in the bag when you only had seconds before you missed the bus.

Easy Winter Accessories Organization

I used a standard over the door shoe organizer and filled it with hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves. Mostly hats because those don’t get lost as easily as gloves and mittens.

As you can see, there’s plenty of room in each compartment to fit two or three hats and several pairs of gloves and mittens. I even manages to fit the dog’s sweater in one of the compartments.

This way, you can see which mittens have mates and which hat goes with which scarf or pair of gloves.

As you can see, I have several compartments left over. I was thinking I could put wool socks in those as well as hand warmers and ear muffs if I can ever remember where I put those last spring.

By keeping the organizer with the boots and coats, the kids are encouraged to keep all their winter gear in one spot instead of creating a trail of clothing as they walk in the door. Less to clean up and less to lose.

 

Events Winter

Preparing for a Snowstorm like Snowstorm Goliath

December 28, 2015

If you’re from the Midwest or North Eastern parts of the country you probably know how to prepare for a snowstorm. We’ve been hearing about Snowstorm Goliath for the last week now and let’s hope it isn’t a bust because at this point most people have stocked their shelves with extra bread, milk, eggs and booze.

Thankfully it’s winter break or many of us would have the added inconvenience of entertaining the kids when school is canceled.

If snowstorm Goliath is as big as they say it will be we can expect up to 10 inches of snow by Tuesday morning. This will be the first significant snowfall this winter (and winter starts in Minnesota right after Halloween so this is a big deal).

I don’t give much thought to these huge snowstorms because I was raised in the Midwest, I work from home, school isn’t that far from the house and I keep a pretty well stocked pantry and liquor cabinet. However, if you aren’t native to the states that get a fair amount of snow each year you might be experiencing your first major winter storm and may not know how to prepare for it. So what can you do?

  1. Make sure you have a decent shovel and if possible invest in a snow blower. If you can’t find one or it’s out of your budget find a local neighbor kid who wants to make a little extra money. Shoveling snow can be dangerous for the older folks if it’s heavy. Don’t overdo it.
  2. Prepare your vehicle. If you don’t have to drive don’t but if you do make sure you have a winter survival kit in your trunk. Include a blanket, bottled water (or ice if you live in the tundra), snacks like granola bars or protein bars (something non perishable) or nuts, a flashlight, lighter or matches, flare gun etc. Stay in your car, don’t get out to search for help. It’s much easier to find a car than it is to find a person in the snow.
  3. Booze up – You don’t need to get soused but after being shut in with the kids for a day or two you might want to take the edge off just a little. If weed is legal in your part of the country blaze up!
  4. Get your game on – Dig out the board games and fire up the fondue! Keep everyone entertained with a rousing game of Monopoly or Pictionary.
Minnesota People Things I Really Like Things that piss me off Winter

Mall of America Threatened by Terrorist Group Al-Shabab

February 22, 2015
Mall of America Rotunda

The Mall of America was officially threatened by Somali terrorist group Al-Shabab. I’m not surprised by this and I doubt Homeland Security is either. I have to assume the MOA has had a large target on it since 9/11, if not before. It epitomizes everything about western culture that groups like Al-Shabab despise.

In the winter I am a mall walker. I usually go to the Mall of America before the shops open to walk around each level of the Bloomington, MN mall, which ends up being a couple of miles. Yesterday I stopped by the mall later in the afternoon thinking it would be less crowded. I rarely go to the mall on weekends because it is so packed with people, it’s difficult to find parking, there are too many people and yeah, because I am keenly aware of what a target it is.

If someone is going to try to attack the MOA I would assume they would do it when it was filled to rafters with shoppers and employees rather than when the morning mall walkers were there but no one else is.

IMG_0625

Still, there are no metal detectors to walk through when entering one of the many entrances to the MOA. There is a strong security presence which includes dogs being led around the mall on a fairly regular basis. I usually leave when I see the dogs.

If you haven’t been inside the mall it’s difficult to imagine how big it is. For the first time visitor it is overwhelming how massive the structure is (and they’re making it even bigger!).

This is a picture of the Mall of America I took from 24th Avenue and just off I494, about two city blocks away. I still can’t get it all in the frame.

Mall of America

It would be very easy for anyone who wished harm on Americans to do something involving the mall. At least from what I can see, which admittedly is probably what security wants me to see.

There are people in the mall wearing backpacks, there are people pushing strollers, there are people wearing all kinds of different heavy clothing in the winter (though I tend to leave my coat in the car because it gets too hot otherwise) and there are many people wearing full burqas and most of the people in the mall are carrying large packages.

IMG_0628

In addition to the regular weekend shoppers I encountered on my short visit yesterday, there were also the various school dance team competitors that seem to be there every weekend during the winter and the girl scouts selling cookies, there was also a large event at the mall, an annual diabetes walk for charity. So the mall was probably at full capacity yesterday. It was so full I completed my errand and left as soon as I could make my way to the doors through all the screaming babies and toddler meltdowns.

I’m glad we’re being told to be vigilant but I’m sad this is what our world has come to. If you can’t spend your Saturday shopping for kicks, riding a roller coaster or two, maybe taking in a movie, eating all kinds of great food or really unhealthy crap, getting strange parts of your body pierced or having your eyebrows yanked out with a string what kind of a world do we live in? Not one I look forward to.

 

Advice Dumb Shit I Do Winter

How I Tamed the Snowblower Beast

November 11, 2014
snowblower engine, new snowblower

If we still had minstrels they’d write a song about how I tamed the snowblower beast – all by myself no less. As a Minnesota blogger I take on most of my tasks with the idea that I will probably write about them. Usually something goes wrong and it’s worthwhile to take a few pictures and have a laugh or two at my expense. I know a little about a lot of things and can handle most fix-it jobs around the house without assistance but occasionally one comes along that intimidates me just a bit. Learning how to assemble the snowblower was one of those things.

I have tools (not the ex husband) and am not afraid to use power tools if I have to. I’m not afraid but truth be told I probably don’t really know how to use them properly. I’ve found that I’ve acquired a decent set of tools over the years but most jobs require a butter knife and nothing more.

Assembling the snowblower required more than a butter knife but not by much. Most of the challenge was getting the damn thing out of the box. I bought the snowblower a few months ago, long before snow was in the forecast and while it was still balmy out. I purchased it when I did because it was on sale and I wanted to save $50 and because I didn’t want to be putting it together right before a storm or even worse, right after one. I had plenty of time to put the snowblower together but every time I thought about tackling the project I found something better to do. The box was big, it was difficult just to get out of the car and I really didn’t know how I was going to cut around the box like it showed on the box opening instructions not unlike Ikea packaging.

Instead of taking a box cutter and cutting a top out of the box (because I knew I’d cut myself, that’s why) I decided to turn the box over and open it up that way. It wasn’t a bad idea either except I ended up with one flap tucked under the box and ended up having to cut that which wasn’t that big of a deal once I got into it.

Once I got it out of the box I was tasked with the removal of the box which caused a fair amount of anxiety since it was Saturday and recycling day was the day before. Now I had a huge box that had no place to go for a week. I set it on top of the discarded TV from 2007 and haven’t thought much about it since (yes, missing another recycling day).

The box was a distraction from the real task at hand. I could put the handle on and make it upright. All that was necessary there was to screw on two bolts to each side of the handle. After pulling it upright of course.

IMG_0284

That was the easy part. The scary part was figuring out what to do with the bag of extras that was in the box. Included with the red and black behemoth was a bottle of oil and some other plastic things.

It was at this point where I left the garage and came inside to check the weather.

The storm wasn’t due for a couple more days and I was hoping my neighbor would return from hunting soon so he could to the rest. Putting oil into a machine scares the crap out of me for some reason. It’s irrational, I know. The problem is I’ve seen people put the oil in the wrong part of the machine causing my dad to yell and scream and accuse said idiot of not knowing anything about machines (which would be accurate). Not wanting to repeat that scene even if he has been dead for 8 years I was a little worried about where to put the oil.

On an ironic side note I froze up an engine on a ’72 Nash because I didn’t check the oil. I’d only had the ugly ass car for a couple of weeks and no one (I’m talking to you dad) had ever told me about putting oil in the car.

Where was I?

It’s not like there was more than one place to put the oil. There were two places to put fluids into the engine. The gas tank and the oil thing. The gas cap was clearly marked but the place to put the oil was not and that was what tripped me up for three days while I waited for my neighbor to return.

pink flamingo covered in snow

In the mean time storm Astro arrived and dumped a whole of 1.5 inches on St. Paul. A snowblower wasn’t necessary to remove the snow so I was off the hook until the next storm. Surely by then my neighbor would have returned from hunting, right?

He’s still not back so after texting my brother a rambling text about the snowblower, and getting shamed by him for not actually reading the operator’s manual I found my courage and poured the oil in the only other place to pour anything.

Nothing blew up, even though nothing was turned on, so I figured it was all good. I added some gas, I put the key in the slot and pulled the rip cord.

It actually started up!!!

I engaged the auger and tore up some of my driveway and then the engine killed reaffirming my belief that I should not be allowed to play with any kind of engine.

Upon closer inspection of the words that are printed on the back of the machine I learned that the rip cord should be pulled while the lever is switched to choke and that once started it should be moved to run instead of the other way around.

Amazing how it works so much better now. And, it makes a decent lawn mower in a pinch.IMG_0290

Advice Minnesota Winter

How to Prepare for and Survive a Minnesota Winter

November 9, 2014
Minnesota winter survival kit

It’s coming, sooner than we’d hoped but just about on schedule, really. The powers that be at the weather center are predicting a Polar Vortex in the next 48 hours. Montana is expected to reach a low of -9 while places in the Midwest, including Minnesota, are expecting a foot of snow by Tuesday. If you’re from other parts of the country and you’re not sure how to prepare for a Minnesota winter (because that’s what’s being predicted for half the country – at least for the next week, but not MN because we won’t see the grass again until late April or early May) listen up because I’m going to tell you all you need to know to survive a Minnesota Winter.

Basically you’ll need to focus on these three areas – Warmth, Snow Removal and Sustenance – to survive a Minnesota winter.

Warmth

Get your furnace checked now. Ideally you should have had it checked a lot sooner but that’s ok, in Minnesota we wait until after the first snow fall to do most of our winter preparedness but then winter lasts 8 and 3/4s months around here so basically we’re always ready. Change your filters, clean the air vents or bleed the radiators if you’re lucky enough to have them.

To keep the warmth in your home you’ll need to make sure your home is sealed up tight. That means 3M Window Film, though in MN we call it 3M Window Tape because you tape the film to the window and 3M makes tape, Scotch Tape, just FYI. There are all kinds of copycat window sealing kits at the hardware store and they cost considerably less than the 3M version but they never work as well and no one in Minnesota buys non 3M products. I don’t even know why they stock the other brands, probably for out of towners who don’t know better.

What you wear when you are outside is also important. In Minnesota we don’t don our coats and boots until the first snowfall. The temperature doesn’t matter, if there is no snow on the ground you’ll see people wearing shorts and flip flops. Once the first flakes fly we pull out our Carhartts, or puffy down jackets and Sorel boots. We don’t usually bother with scarves or ear muffs until January and then only while ice fishing on a windy lake. Mittens and gloves are important but often forgotten or lost.

Snow Removal

In Minnesota we’ve actually had winters with little snow. The winter of 1983-84 we had just 14.2 inches of snow but usually we get upwards of about 50 inches each year. That’s a lot of snow to move and if you don’t have a decent shovel, a couple of college kids to remove it or a working snowblower you’re not going to survive the winters of Minnesota. You need a way to get from your house to your garage (if you live in the city where the garages are unattached) or you’ll need a way to clear your driveway (if your garage is attached to the house). No matter where your garage is you’re going to have to move the snow off of it and that means work.

Minnesotans develop a nice layer of subcutaneous fat, usually acquired at Friday fish fries, taco Tuesdays and Booyas. While we my have larger asses than folks in other states we have some pretty buff forearms and biceps from moving all that snow. You’ll often hear of 89 year old ladies beating off would be muggers with their bare hands because we have such great upper body strength due to all the snow removal.

Sustenance

If you want to survive a Minnesota winter you’re going to have to stock your pantry with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, tuna fish, canned green beans and French’s Fried Onions because you’re going to be eating Hot Dish for the next 6 or 7 months. Don’t worry, you won’t be eating Tuna Hot Dish forever, just until the day after Thanksgiving when you can switch out the tuna with turkey and eat turkey hot dish until Christmas/Hanukah when you can use those leftovers to get you through New Year’s when you switch back to tuna. See Tuna Hot Dish recipe below.

That’s really all it takes to survive a Minnesota winter. You might be wondering what it is we do all winter long, what keeps us entertained. Why haven’t I included any tips of entertainment? We’re too busy removing snow, preparing to remove snow or talking about removing snow to do much of anything else. Thankfully hockey season lasts all year long.

Tuna Hot Dish Recipe

1 can tuna
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
Half a box of cooked elbow macaroni
French’s Fried Onions

Mix tuna, soup and cooked noodles in oven safe casserole, cook at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove hot dish and sprinkle the French’s Fried Onions on top and return to oven for another 15 minutes or until onions are golden.

Optional ingredients for non Minnesotans who want some flavor in their food:

Half a cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onions or you can substitute with French’s Fried Onions
1/2 cup frozen peas

And here is the original Campell’s recipe though I caution you because it calls for pimientos and that’s just too extreme for Minnesotans.

Dumb Shit I Do Events Food No Carbs Things that piss me off Winter

30 Days Without Wine and Chocolate: Day 1*

February 18, 2014
Valentine's Day chocolate in the garbage, image of red heart Valentine's Day candy in the trash bin,

It’s been a whole day without wine and chocolate. I feel ok but it’s winter outside and that makes me want to carb load. Yesterday was worse because I had to shovel 4 inches of wet snow (my neighbor was kind enough to do the front but I still had to do the back – I have awesome neighbors!) but it was the beginning of this 30 days without wine or chocolate so I was able to get through it easily.

I don’t have to shovel today but it’s still winter (which sucks the big one) and it’s dark outside and it seems like school has been out for three years.

(I’m sorry, this wasn’t supposed to be a complete bitch fest the first day)

I went through the house and threw away all the chocolate. We just had three birthdays and Valentine’s Day so there was a fair amount of chocolate in the house. I also threw away the leftover Halloween candy which I had stuffed into the china cabinet last November, though everyone had forgotten about it.

I’m not throwing away the wine. I’m committed but I’m not insane.

It’s only been one day but not having the wine made not having the chocolate (or any other carb) much easier.

29 days to go.

*I can’t tell you how long I struggled with that colon in the title. In fact I’m still sure I am using it incorrectly but I’m so crabby I don’t really care. If I’m using it wrong please correct me.

Send Jen on a Vacation Winter

Cold Enough For You?

January 5, 2014
what do Minnesotan wear on their feet when it's really cold outside, best boots for cold weather, Sorel boots,

“Cold enough for you?”

That’s the question Minnesotans greet each other with. It’s a rhetorical question but one we start using when the temperature dips below freezing for the first time in the fall. Come summer in August we’ll ask if it’s hot enough too but we don’t use that phrase for very long.

It’s cold here in Minnesota. As I type this it’s -6°. It’s sunny and the air is crisp. So crisp it actually hurts your lungs when you breathe it in too quickly.

– 6° isn’t that cold though you’d never know that from watching any of the national news programs. I watched a nationally aired news show from New York the other day and the reporter was interviewing people on the street. He talked to families from the NY, TX and TN. All of them mentioned wearing multiple layers and complained of cold toes and noses. The temperature was 15° above zero.

At 15° above zero Minnesotans might zip up their coat. If you visit the University of Minnesota you will see many students wearing shorts.

It’s going to get colder. Much colder. And, the wind is going to kick in. The Governor has closed the schools on Monday throughout the state because temps aren’t expected to rise above -20° and wind chills could be around -50°.

When it’s this cold if you breathe in too quickly your boogers will freeze together and effectively shut off your nose breathing abilities. When it’s this cold the snow is like corn starch and sounds almost as bad as fingernails on chalkboard when you walk on it.  But when it’s this cold you can also do a lot of fun things. You can actually hammer a nail in with a frozen banana.

But mostly you look for things to do indoors because odds are the car isn’t going to start.

We’ve been hearing about the frigid air coming from Canada for a few days now. You can’t escape talk of it on the news, radio or anywhere on the web. Facebook is filled with nothing but status updates about how cold it is. We’ve been anticipating this cold snap for a while and yet there has been no run on the grocery story (though possibly the liquor store) and people aren’t panicking.

We’ve been cold before and any Minnesotan worth their Sorels knows that it gets cold like this every winter.  We’ll ride it out like we do all natural events by watching TV and feasting on hotdish.

 

 

Ex#2 Winter

Snow, Snow and more Snow

December 10, 2013
lots of snow

Less than two weeks ago I actually said (back when we had nothing but grass and temperatures above freezing) that I though we might have a mild winter.

It’s my fault, I jinxed it, I take full responsibility.

About a week after I made that stupid prediction it’s been snowing ever since and the temperature has barely crawled above 0.

Zero!

Thankfully I have a snowblower (that doesn’t work) in one of the storage sheds out back. It hasn’t worked in years but ex#2 tells me it’s an easy fix and all he has to do is clean the spark plugs or maybe the carburetor. I’m not really sure because I stop listening after a while. I know better. He gets all excited to do manly things around the house. He even Googles how to do it and might watch a few videos over and over. I get excited because I believe the task can easily be completed with a little WD-40 and possibly some duct tape – that’s how simple he makes it sound.

And then he ventures outside into BELOW ZERO wind chills and suddenly the job isn’t so easy.

It’s still easy, it’s just a lot harder to work on it in the colder than anyone should have to endure temps. Suddenly there is more Googling going on but now it’s for someone who repairs small motors. Thankfully we have one of those nearby.

Now if I could just get him to take it to the shop. Maybe next spring?

 

 

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Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota Uncategorized Winter WTF?

Christmas Lights In April Are Offensive

April 19, 2013
snow in April in Minnesota, Christmas lights in April, Minnesnowta

Who’d have thought that posting a picture of lit Christmas lights in April would set off such a heated argument?

It snowed last night. It snowed quite a bit and frankly I’m pretty sick of the snow. We’ve had snow on the ground since Thanksgiving. I know this because my ex husband took me on a motorcycle ride on Thanksgiving and it started to snow right as we returned home.

We’ve had snow on the ground ever since. It’s come close to melting but there has been visible snow for the past 5 months.

It’s okay, I live in Minnesota and we’re used to snow here. Lots of snow.

Spring snowstorms aren’t unheard of here but usually they happen in March.

It’s April. May is only a week and some odd days away.

I’ve had it with snow but there is nothing I can do about it. There is no one who can do anything about it. I could be like one of my neighbors and yell and scream about it but that doesn’t make it go away and it doesn’t make it easier to handle. Is does scare children and pets, however.

No, as much as I like to complain it doesn’t help so last night I embraced the snow and turned on my Christmas lights that I hadn’t taken down from two years ago.

I was going to last summer when I was thinking about painting the window trim but I never got to it so they remained up. Getting them up was a lot of work and I see no point in taking them down so I can put them back up again. Yeah, my neighbor thinks they look “ghetto” but it’s not like I turn them on after New Years.

I mentioned that I had turned on my Christmas lights on Facebook. One of my friends suggested that I post a picture so I did.

And then all hell broke loose.

You can check out my timeline on Facebook to see the conversation. If you aren’t friends with me you will need to friend me first. While you’re friending and fiddling with Facebook be sure to like my book Minnesota Nice.

I’m always amazed at what offends people. At first I thought she was joking but it soon became clear that she wasn’t. People rush to judgement all the time and bad things happen because of it. I get it, that’s just life. But this was deeper than that. I can’t really wrap my head around what was so offensive about the lights. Religion got brought into it and the conversation quickly devolved to crazy talk. 86 comments later and we were discussing The Onion and Stephen Fry. There might have even been a quote from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Life is too short to do a lot of things. Rushing to judgement is one of them as is being so easily offended by someone’s choice in home decor. It is my home and if I want to leave my lights up all year and even light them I will. I won’t, I think they look stupid, but I have the right to do whatever I want and telling me to do one thing only makes me want to do the other, even if I don’t really care.

So, are you offended by Christmas lights left up long after the holiday season is over?

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Ex#2 Things I Really Like Winter

Have You Hung Your Holiday Lights?

December 3, 2012

Houses with crappy holiday lights, decorate your house for the holidays, how to make your house look like shit for the holidays, how not to put lights on a house, bad Christmas light displays

 

I have, sort of. I actually left the ones from last year up so I didn’t have to put those up. Because I am short and am afraid of going to the top of a 20 foot ladder I can’t put lights on my roof or my second story window. So my house looks like shit next to my neighbor’s. He goes all out with the icicle lights and multi colored lights on his roof. It looks awesome and at the same time makes my house look crappy. Putting lights on my house only draws attention to the ugly ass siding I have. My house doesn’t look this bad in real life. Close but not this bad.

Last year I asked ex#2 to help get the lights on the roof and 2nd story window. He said he would but never got to it. It didn’t matter how much I begged or nagged he is a master at ignoring me and was able to easily blow me off until after the holidays.

This year I invited him to celebrate Thanksgiving with us in the hopes that he would operate the turkey fryer and feel guilty enough about letting me cook and clean for three days that he would offer to do the lights on my house.

And he said he would. Just not this past weekend when it was 50 degrees.

decorate your home for the holidays, how to hang your christmas lights, nice holiday lights,

My neighbor with the awesome holiday lights (it even appears to snow more on his house and I swear that must be the star of the north or the one that guided the three wise men.) on his house took pity on me and put the lights on my garage. Something I am eternally grateful for because the pitch of even my garage roof is pretty steep and I was freaking out on the ladder. Even when we discovered that we had plugged in the second strand of lights the wrong way and had to do it all over again (though we both considered drilling holes in the wall and using another extension cord for a brief moment) he just got up on the ladder again and redid them. Cracking jokes the whole time.

I have the most awesome neighbor. In the spring/summer/fall he trims my tree and hauls away the branches and leaves. He really rocks.

My awesome neighbor even grabbed the ladder and brought it to the front of the house. He was going to do the job that ex#2 might or might not get to eventually. The problem was my ladder was too short for the house. My ladder, even extended all the way (past the safety rung) it came to the window and about 6 feet below the roofline.

My awesome neighbor tried anyway but to no avail.

So, I’m back to waiting on ex#2 who has a bigger extension ladder.

In the mean time I get to participate in the #HolidayLights Twitter Party sponsored by Phillips, and you can too!!

#HolidayLights Twitter party details

What: Join us for a Twitter party with Philips, maker of energy efficient light bulbs and exterior LED holiday lights, to share tips about decorating your home for the holiday season and setting the mood for parties, whether festive and formal or comfy and casual. If you light your house for the holidays, we would love to see photos of your display, too!

When: Wednesday, December 5, 2-3 p.m. ET

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #HolidayLights hashtag to track the conversation.  You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite: http://twtvite.com/holidaylights

Hashtag: #HolidayLights

Prizes: Philips will give away five total prizes – one set of IMAGEO Table Lights, two Lumiware Table Platters and two sets of LED bulbs.  Winners will be chosen randomly from among participants who respond correctly to trivia questions.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

Other info: Visit the Philips website – http://www.usa.philips.com/c/learn-about-light/298387/cat

Your fellow co-hosts

Amber, Parent Palace – @ParentPalace
Andrea, Mommy PR – @MommyPR
Annie, Mama Dweeb – @MamaDweeb
Connie, Misc Finds 4 u – @princesstimetoy (and/or @Miscfinds4u)
Jennifer, Redhead Ranting – @redheadranting
Kelly, Texas Type A Mom – @texastypeamom
Mickey, A Helicopter Mom – @ahelicoptermom
Mimi, Woven by Words – @MimiBakerMN
Piera, Jolly Mom – @JollyMom
Tiffany, Sweet Phenomena – @SweetPhenomena

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