This weekend, I needed a no-fuss dinner.
I don’t really know if I totally remember the entire weekend.
I just keep having flashes of images that consist of strings of Christmas lights, a staple gun, frostbitten fingers, bruised shins from leaning on ladder rungs, and extension cords.
This was the first year that Lee and I put Christmas lights outside. I have always done lighted garland around our doors, but I never actually stapled up lights around the house. Last year, I got the idea to frame our garage door in lights. I never got around to buying the lights and planning it out so when this year came around, I knew I was definitely going to do it.
I have helped my grandparents put up their lights for years and I planned on just using the same kind of lights they use…those big individual ‘C9’ bulbs that always seem to remind me of old people. I am a pro with the staple gun and can get my grandparents lights up in record time! However, when I opened the boxes of lights that I had purchased, I was saddened to see that instead of one thin wire between the lights, there were three wires that were twisted together and very bulky. I also wanted to alternate red and white bulbs but when I tried to unscrew one of the white lights, I discovered that they weren’t light bulbs at all. They were just plastic covers that looked like bulbs covering a regular string of lights.
I decided to just roll with it and use them anyway. Much to my dismay, my ‘light duty’ staple gun was too “light-duty” to conquer the bulky wires between the lights and wouldn’t hold the wires up. I only learned this after driving around to two different stores to try and find the right staples for our gun on Friday night.
Saturday morning I taught a 7:45 Jazzercise class (I forgot my workout shoes and my keys to open the center = crisis morning) and then headed to my grandparent’s house to put their lights up. Of course, I chose the coldest morning of the year to do it. Nonetheless, their lights were up and stapled in no time. I took my Pap’s ‘heavy-duty’ staple gun home with me, thinking it would do the trick and tackle those bulky wires.
After yelling and flipping out about the “cheap and crappy merchandise that everyone sells” and complaining that “they don’t make things like they used to,” I decided that Sunday morning I would go searching for longer staples. I mean, that had to work, right!? I was determined to get the lights up!
So…Sunday morning. I went to Jazzercise at 7:45 and was at Lowe’s by 9:00am. I bypassed the staple aisle and went to check out their lights and…now I can’t be sure…but I swear I saw a light from heaven shining down on a shelf that had three lonely boxes (the number of boxes I needed) of white lights…with one wire between each bulb. Yes, I said bulb. The lights were actually light bulbs! The lights were identical to the ones my grandparents use!! I quickly tested all of the sets to make sure they worked and bee-lined for the register. There were other people in the aisle and I was sweating bullets thinking that someone was going to take one of the boxes that I needed. I grabbed them up like a crazed shopper!!
Does anyone else underestimate the amount of time something will take? I had a timetable of an hour to get these lights up. Four hours later, I was just finishing up!
Okay. Long story short…or actually, longest story ever, I got my lights home, I put them up, I only lost my temper a couple of times, and the garage looks great!
Oh yeah. I also made ribs in my crockpot. Enjoy!!
Slow-Cooked Sweet and Tangy Ribs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup cola (I used Diet Coke)
1/8 cup honey
1/8 cup packed brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs
In a medium-sized bowl, combine oil, cola, honey, brown sugar, garlic, Worchestershire sauce, salt, marjoram, pepper, and nutmeg.
Pour 3/4 to 1 cup marinade into a large resealable plastic bag; add the ribs. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight, turning the bag once. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade for basting.
After refrigeration, drain and discard marinade. Place ribs in slow cooker and pour reserved marinade over top. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours* or until meat is tender and completely cooked through.
*My ribs were completely cooked through after about two hours. I turned my crockpot to its lowest setting and continued to cook the ribs for almost an additional two hours, which allowed the marinade to turn into a glaze that coated the ribs.
Yield: 2 servings
Oh. I didn’t tell you the story about me wrapping lights around 20 feet of fresh pine garland only to discover that one set didn’t work after it was all hung.
Seriously. I’m done with lights. Until I put my tree up this week.
Do you put Christmas lights up outside?
Any funny Christmas decorating stories?