For most people Thanksgiving day means gorging on turkey and watching football games. For ROM it means he can start putting up his Christmas lights. He'll have most of them up by the end of the weekend, though he'll keep adding to it right up until Christmas day. All the years we lived in the midwest, the most decorating he did outdoors was to maybe hang a wreath on the door. That all changed the year we moved to Florida and spent our first holiday in an apartment. The apartment complex always had contest for the best display. We had a downstairs apartment with a private entrance and small yard area. ROM was determined to win and started decorating.
The center piece of his display was a set of brown wicker deer covered in tiny clear lights- a mama, papa and baby deer. To set the deer off we surrounded them with bright red potted poinsettia plants and draped them with more white lights. It was simple, elegant and so pretty. And then the war of the Christmas decorations broke out...
Living above us was an obnoxious couple from New York. They were loud, pushy and a total pain in the ass. They had these mean ass little dachshunds that were always getting loose and trying to bite me- horrible little dogs, much like their owners. Anyway, shortly after ROM had finished his decorating (or so we thought) the New Yorkers set up one of those big ass lit up inflated snow globes with a snowman inside it- right in front of ROM's deer. Holy shit, I thought ROM was going to stroke out when he got home from work that day! Well, he wasn't going to let this go so he spent the evening moving his decorations in front of their humongous inflated snow globe.
For several days all was well and it looked like the New Yorkers were going to back off. Then lo and behold- a giant inflatable Santa appeared right next to the gawd awful snow globe, both of which towered behind ROM's tasteful deer and white lights display. It looked like the freaking Macy Day Parade. Not to be outdone, ROM strung white lights on our shepard's hook with potted plants turning it into into a Christmas tree shape. We were sure they would stop now because there wasn't much room left in the little yard.
Oh hell no, they weren't done! The worse was yet to come. To our horror their next addition was a life sized Santa that sang the same five Christmas carols over and over and over again. And they placed him right at the bottom of the staircase- by our front door! Every evening as we sat on our lanai we had to listen to that creepy looking damn Santa singing those same fucking 5 songs non-stop until 11 each night. You have no idea how close that frigging thing came to ending up in the lake behind us. The only thing that stopped us were the security cameras.
By this time, ROM was becoming unhinged and there was no stopping him. He strung lights all along our lanai that faced the yard. And bought more poinsettias to run the length of the lanai with white lights strung on them. The New Yorkers took the challenge and responded by placing signs on stakes around the yard saying things like "Merry Christmas" "I Believe" and "HoHoHo"- with multi-color flashing lights on them. And squeezed in an inflatable nativity scene. ROM retaliated by hanging wreaths on the outside of our lanai- lit with white lights, of course. Between ROM and the New Yorkers you needed to wear sunglasses when looking at that little patch of yard. It looked like someone suffering with unmedicated schizophrenia had decorated. People from other parts of the apartment complex would walk over nightly to see what was new with the bat shit crazy warring Christmas decorators.
Days went by with no new additions and we thought surely the New Yorkers were done. Again, we under estimated them. Just a few days before the judging they placed countless candy cane poles completely around the yard. And draped them with strings of multi-colored flashing lights. Oh sweet jezzuz, you should have seen ROM's face when he got home and saw it. His pretty deer, beautiful poinsettias and tasteful white lights were surrounded with big ass blow ups, an animated life size singing Santa, gaudy candy canes, tacky little signs and flashing colored lights.
The next thing I knew, ROM had a neighbor kid up in the tree on the other side of our sidewalk- stringing more damn white lights! This shit had to stop. I had a talk with ROM and pointed out to him that it was dangerous to have a kid up in a tree stringing lights for him. His response was that the kid's dad was okay with it and actually helped the kid up into the tree. He then looked me in the eyes and said "I will not let those fucking New Yorkers win!" And I knew from the look on his face and tone of his voice that he meant it. I silently prayed that the New Yorkers were done.
Finally it was the night of judging... I was out helping ROM straighten the bows on the deer and making sure his white lights were draped just so. About that time the New Yorkers turned all their shit on. ROM looked so pitiful when the garish multi colored flashing lights with the tacky candy canes came alive and surrounded his pretty deer. Then the human sized Santa started singing the same fucking songs we had listened to for past three weeks and the inflatables filled with air towering over everything ... and ROM snapped...
I had turned to go back in our apartment when suddenly the candy cane lights went dark, Santa stopped singing and the blowups deflated. Next thing I knew Mrs. New Yorker came stomping down the stairway screaming "You unplugged my stuff!" To which ROM emphatically responded "I did not!" There was several exchanges of "you did, too" and "I did not" as she plugged here decorations back into her extension cord. To this day, ROM insists he didn't unplug her stuff and if he did it was completely accidental as he stepped over the cord. I still think he snapped and pulled the plug on the New Yorkers' holiday splendor.
Was ROM vindicated by winning first prize? Yes, but the win was ruined for him because he tied with the New Yorkers for 1st place! You have no idea how relieved I was when the New Yorkers moved by the time the next Christmas rolled around. ROM won first prize the next year- and didn't have to share the win with anyone.