Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Serious Side of Toy Soldiers

Toy Soldiers aren't playing around
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Earlier this month I helped my parents by putting up the Christmas lights at their house.  As I was going through the items they normally decorate with, I came across two of those hard plastic light up toy soldiers.  They stand about three feet tall and I always find them to be a festive part of the display.  My dad told me he wasn't going to put them out this year and asked if I wanted them.  I've always found my outdoor decorations a bit bland, so I jumped at the chance to spice things up.  Little did I know how much this duo would spice things up around my house.

The soldiers would not stay standing on the front porch.  The slightest wind would send them tumbling to the ground.  After several days of picking them up and trying to secure them to anything I could find, I came up with the brilliant idea of putting the decorations in the window of our bonus room over the garage.  They were the perfect height and width for the window sill and the wind wouldn't be a factor.  All was well until Wednesday night.

The bulb and carpet
I had already gone to bed, but my wife smelled burning plastic while in the living room watching TV.  First she thought it was something plastic that melted in the dishwasher, but after discovering that wasn't the case and noting the smell got stronger, she followed her nose upstairs.  Sure enough, the light bulb had popped out of the back of the soldier and had fallen to floor.  You can see from the picture it burned the carpet and the baseboard.  The bulb and the casing around it also burned.

Earlier in the evening, my daughter had bumped into the figure, so I'm wondering if that somehow knocked it loose before it eventually dropped to the floor.  I'm just thankful my wife was awake and found the problem.  I hate to think what would have happened had we not been home or had all been in bed when this occurred.

Soldier's back
This marks the second Christmas decoration mishap of the week.  On Tuesday night, I climbed onto our roof to replace a strand of lights on the peak that got ripped down by the recent snow and ice storm.  The roof was still wet and a little icy and I slipped a couple of times.  Clinging on for dear life, I had to call my sons from inside the house to reposition the ladder so I could get down.  I didn't hurt myself, just bruised my ego.  The lights are still here on the ground with me.

Both incidents have served as a reminder to be careful with your decorations during the holidays.  Life can change in an instant.  Be safe and Merry Christmas.