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One and a half weeks before the lights were due to go live, we began running tests of the portion of the display that was set up.  This helps us confirm all of the electric settings are correct, and functioning, as well as giving us  a look at our choreographing job.  Dan, John, Emily and I were watching out the window as the lights came on  for the first time.   The two new elements we added for 2010 were already set-up outside  – the 15 squares and the new, red and white 16 channel heart. As the first song started playing, I got my best Christmas gift of the year, early, when Emily said, “Oh my God!, I’m so lucky to live here”. 

That set the tone for the whole month the display ran.  Whenever we were sitting outside, we were humbled by the feedback folks shared with us.  One guy parked on the road and walked up to tell us that he had just returned from Disney, and said our light display was more beautiful.  Another night, I was sitting on the front steps, and an SUV stopped, the rear window went down and a woman stuck her head out and said, “Do you live here? – Holy Cow, this is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen, and I’m Jewish!” 

We had a couple good scares early on.  The night before Thanksgiving, while we were testing the lights, Brian said, “Tim!!!!  Someone is out there climbing on the rectangle.” I looked out and saw that this was true.  I jumped up, grabbed our biggest flash light, and  ran out of the house, with Brian, Emily and John trailing behind me.  None of us noticed that Dan was not running out with us. By the time we got out of the house, the person was no longer on the rectangle, but we heard a noise across the pond and realized someone was walking in the driveway.  I shouted, as fiercely as I could, “Hey, what the heck are you doing.”.  This nearly caused Brian, because of the hair standing up on the back of his neck, to fall over backwards.  From across the pond, we hear a meek little voice reply, “I was fixing the rectangle’. Dan, had noticed that one of the channels on the rectangle wasn’t working and went outside to fix it.  We all wished he had told us…thump thump thump. 

This wasn’t the first boo boo for Daniel in 2010.  In October, one Saturday afternoon we were hoisting a new red star.  We use a cat’s paw, to throw a rope up, over a tree branch. The branch we picked was very high, so we had to throw from quite a distance to achieve the arc.  Daniel and John shared the responsibility of holding the line, while I threw the cat’s paw. Well, after many attempts, I finally got it over the desired branch.  The problem was, it just kept on sailing – because neither Dan nor John was holding the line. This incident really confirmed for me, why it is so important, to designate a sole owner for each responsibility.

We had a major storm the first week of December, with high winds, and rain.  The display held up well, except for the new heart.  When we put it up, we used cable ties to secure it to a wire cable.  With such strong wind, many of the cable ties snapped from the see saw affect.  It was no simple matter to get the heart back up because it weighs almost 200 lbs.  Fortunately we were able to raise it with a winch and it was not damaged.

Probably the worst problem occurred on 12/18.  I ran into some connectivity problems and the light show was delayed about 30 minutes.  It was very stressful for all of us to see so many cars outside waiting for the lights to come on.  The problem turned out to be a poor connection on a USB port. 

In 2010, for the first time, we encountered a new phenomenon – SQUIRREL TERROR! One rogue squirrel did a lot of damage to our display. He chewed up many lines of lights and even some extension cords.  .We witnessed him chewing several times   We tried trapping him with a have-a-heart trap, but we didn’t have any luck.  Hopefully, he moved to a new neighborhood, or to heaven, in 2011.

As the volume of visitors continued to grow in 2010 we ran into serious gridlock again. This is caused by folks attempting to turn left back into our driveway entrance on Bloomer Road.  Rich Wisseman, Union Vale’s Highway Superintendent was very helpful to us.  He put up a no left turn sign for our driveway, and also came over to help us handle the traffic.  In 2011, the driveway will be blocked so left turns are not possible during the high volume nights. 

We had great times, with many family members visiting us from afar.  As Brian reminded me, our sister Karen made it up on two occasions, bringing with her the true spirit of the Holidays – we had so much fun...