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Look at this letter I recieved today..


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Guest TERBObob

Wow ... I seem to notice a "rhythem" here ... and it seems to be the southerner's who simply can not understand that SOME winters , it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to remove certain items from the yard without destroying them , UNTIL the snow/ice is gone .

Why ? Simply put .. because they are FROZEN to the ground .

Ya know ... I too , lived in Fl ( still have a house there in Brooksville ) and used to think the same thing ... WHY can't folks get their decorations put away before NOW ? Well , all I am going to say is "walk the walk in anothers shoes, before you tell THEM how to walk in them" .

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I walked my yard today and was actually able to get exactly one more item taken down that has been freed from the ice. Still waiting for the big melt to get the rest down. The back and side yards still have a foot of snow....err.......ice in them. As soon as I have a safe place to put the ladder I will get the rest of the lights off the house and Santa and the deer off the roof.

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I just discovered this thread tonight and I'm jumping in awfully late. But I wanted to put in my 5 cents plus tax...

Let me start by saying I'm not trying to pass judgement on anyone in this thead, merely stating what I believe, even though I STRONGLY believe it.

First of all, someone mentioned teardown is hard in cold climates. Yer darned tootin' it is. This year teardown was awful. But you can be darned sure I was out on New Years Day for about 12 hours in the bitter cold, with a snow shovel and (in some cases) an ice pick digging through layers of thick snow mass that had turned into ice. 90% of our display was down and out of site the day after our last "lights on" day. 99% of it was down the next day or so after that.

What was left was basically invisible: stakes covered in snow, wires frozen down, and our icicle lights. The latter was not invisible, and even though a myriad of other homes I drive by still have small displays like icicle lights up, it bugged the heck out of me. I STRONGLY believe that we have a responsibility to our neighbors and our communities to put the display away as soon as possible -- most certainly by the end of January. This year, unfortunatly, I could not safely get up on the roof until just a couple of weeks ago to finaly get the icicle lights down. And as the snow has been melting away, I've been walking the yard, pulling up stakes as they're uncovered, etc. I probably see them before the neighbors do. So essentially, other than the icicle lights, our display has been visibly "down" since about January 3. And we live in a pretty severe climate.

When I saw the thread, I knew what would happen here -- a plethora of people saying "yeah screw the neighbors -- you have the RIGHT to do a display". I was actually very pleased to find more than a few people feel like I do basically -- the letter was harsh and uncalled for, but good grief it's almost April, and that's an awful lot of stuff up yet. Do you have the right? Probably. Do we all have responsibilities to be good neighbors? Certainly.

The same goes with putting displays up. I cringe Every Single Year when people start posting pictures of their displays going up in early September, I swear I've even seen August... Again I live in a cold climate and I find myself feeling guilty putting lights in trees (that aren't visible from the street unless lit) in early November when the temps are in the 50's or above... It just doesn't seem right. And yet we have folks here that have Santa and the whole gang out with candy-cane lanes in September...

What this boils down to is this: I'm (obviously) a Christmas light nut. but I only want to see Christmas displays, be it my own, or anyone else's, in-season. If I'm your neighbor and I'm looking at Santa (or ugly wires coming down) from September or October through March -- heck that's over half the year. And I'm probably not going to write you a nasty letter like that, but I'd certainly either speak with you, or, depending on our relationship as neighbors, talk to the city and see if there's anything that can be done... And If I feel that way as a lighting nut, just think how Joe Public, who doesn't so much mind the display (or at least tolerates it) in December, but doesn't really care that much about it (in December) just the same, feels...

Again, I'm not coming down hard on Mike -- that's just the example at hand. And the letter was obnoxious, rude, and for the most part likely probably untrue. But there was a reason it was written, and to write it off as "screw 'em, wait until they see me next year"... It hurts me and angers me. I know it was said under the power of high emotions so I won't take it at face value.

We claim to do these displays to make our communities happy. If we're NOT doing that (at least in March) then we need to point a lense at ourselves and examine if there's anything we can do to change that...

God Bless,

-Tim

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mliquori wrote:

.....

"Clean up your filthy property. You and your family have turned a beautiful street into a disgrace.

You think you are liked and admired for the Xmas Mess you force on our neighborhood. You are wrong. You are the laughing stock of Glen Cove. Even TV made fun of you.

You must have previously lived in a slum because that is what your property looks like.

You have lowered property value for the entire street.

Why do you think your neighbors, Christians and Jews, want to look at your dirty old Wmas junk for months every year.

Get off your lazy, useless buts and clean up your mess!

You are very disliked by the entire street.. MOVE!"

......

BUT! Should Mike and his family take this kind of abuse from someone who doesn't even have the courtesy of signing their name to the letter? NO. This is a prime example of what has caused countless changes inthiscountry.

When we listen to junky - poorly written - lop sided - hurtful commentary like the letter listed above, and it makes us feel guilty to the point that we change what we are doing in life, then you could say squeaky wheels get the best of us. Heck - it's that kind ofresponse that could get prayer removed from schools! Now wouldn't that be a disastrous blow to this country where freedom rings loud and clear.

So What! if it takes some time to put it up and take it down - i am sureMike (likeso many of us) works hard at making his home look nice year around. He does it for himself and his family - and if the neighbors likeor dislikeit's looks that's their issue one way or the other,I am surehe stays within thecity ordinance guidelines. I have news for you - your always going to find someone with too much time on their hands who has something to complain about! When you find one - send them down to the local mission to help work in the soup kitchen - it will help change their attitude..

Those that know me personally know that I ama kind and caring neighbor, always have been,and well thoughtof in our community. I will quickly stand up for the rights of ALL who live and breath, thats the Marine Corp Vet in me taking a stand for yours and my rights. I believe in democracy, and the will of the people, but if I am not mistaken we still have rights, like the right to keep and light blow molds and minis and c9's - the right to celebrate the birth of our Savior in ourOWN way!

Like the song says - the phrase is "Merry Christmas - and if you don't want to celebrate it - God Bless you - but if you don't like what I am doing - Put A Helmet On - It's My Country TOO"! It's about the birth of Christ and you can't take that away!

Mike - send that letter to the complaint department listed below...

post-2519-129571036878_thumb.jpg

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Guest Jeff_Womack

Mike,

I am approaching this reply as delicately as possible. While I agree with you doing the display and doing it big, I also understand your neighbors' issues. In the picture you posted there grass is green and there obviously is no snow and ice (so Terbo, there really isn't a need to talk about Southerners not knowing what we are talking about, there is photgraphic evidence of no snow or ice). I also agree with Papaand some others' comments that this letter is the work of an uneducatedcoward who won't face you directly. Personally, I believe you are heading in a direction where you are going to have real problems with your display as it gets bigger especially if you don't take measures to keep your neighbors on your side. Your yard is not an island, your display does affect everyone else on the street. I may be wrong here but wasn't your display on HGTV that the two little girls talked about it being up year round? If so, it sounds like to me that you need to swallow your pride and ask for help from friends in setting up and tearing down the display. (Cadveat - I say this when it is a problem for me also, I hate asking for help!) You have a great display and yes I love the cement mixer, but proceed with caution or you might make real enemies in the neighborhood. We have seen this many times here on PC for much smaller displays and we have lost many displays to neighborhood disputs. In the end, my post comes down to "proceed with caution". :}

Jeff

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I don't see how so many people are saying that there's no valid complaint here just because the letter was rudely written (and very much so a personal attack).

What that almost certainly means is that this person's anger has been festering for months, maybe years, and they finally blew a cork.

Am I suggesting that we all have to bow to our neighbor's unreasonable demands and whims? Heck no. As many of you know, we have two very hostile neighbors that won't speak with us (at least politely) 365 days a year. But I bent over backwards to TRY to work with them and answer their complaits -- it was only after it was clear that they were unreasonble and there was nothing I could do short of never doing a display (and even then I doubt they'd still be on any better terms with us) that I shut off all communication with them. And even so, I still run the display limited hours and no display on Christmas Eve (which was one of their main complaints -- that it interrupted their family time)

I just don't get this whole "Screw 'em, you have a RIGHT to do this" attitude. Am I justfying the tone of the letter? Certainly not. Am I justifying their complaint. Yes, I sure am.

Our displays shouldn't be an "us" vs. "them" thing. Most of us claim to do this not for ourselves, but as a gift to the community. While those people who drive an hour to see your display in December might not care that you have stuff in your yards for 7 months out of the year, your neighbors certainly do (and I'm not directing this solely at Mike, who I respect).

Every time someone gets a negative letter, there's this whole tirade from dozens of people going off on our RIGHT to decorate. Can we PLEASE talk a bit about our RESPONSIBILITIES as members of the community as well?

Would you enjoy it if your neighbors had faded skeletons and pumpkins up right now? Or a faded, torn sign saying "Kerry/Edwards 2004"?

-Tim

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You know I was upset when I placed the original post. But now I've had time to think a bit. I do value everyones comments, and thanks for taking the time to post. While I want to say Amen to papa LF, I understand where alot of you are coming from. I will try to have most of whats up down this weekend for my neighbors sake. Although its not going to change anyfeelings they have about me and my display. Because they would rather I didn't decorate at all. But thats my right to do so, and NO ONE will change that. That being said I'll do what I can to keep things done in a reasonable amount of time.My display is a large one and I do 95% of the work myself putting up and taking down. With each year getting bigger and bigger it will take longer and longer, or I'll have to hire a crew.

And yes we were on HGTV. What that girl was taking about is what you see on my house now. the yard was clean just the house needed finishing.

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Guest Jeff_Womack

mliquori wrote:

With each year getting bigger and bigger it will take longer and longer

I think that is the pit we are all facing as we get larger Mike. I did have the fortune to be part of Jeff Trykoski's tear down crew this year. It was amazing to see how quick we got his entire display down. I think we we 99% done in 3 hours! That made me think that I need some Elves of my own. ;)

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Guest Jeff_Womack

mliquori wrote:

With each year getting bigger and bigger it will take longer and longer

I think that is the pit we are all facing as we get larger Mike. I did have the fortune to be part of Jeff Trykoski's tear down crew this year. It was amazing to see how quick we got his entire display down. I think we we 99% done in 3 hours! That made me think that I need some Elves of my own. ;)

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tfischer wrote:

Every time someone gets a negative letter, there's this whole tirade from dozens of people going off on our RIGHT to decorate.

-Tim

mliquori wrote:

... But thats my right to do so, and NO ONE will change that. ....

I think it's more about everyone's right to decorate responsibly, so that it those who look at our houses the rest of the year don't have to wonder if our lights will be up forever

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I just answered an email from one of our fellow posters regarding this thread. In writing that reply a thought came to me again that i forgot to mention;

Wouldn't it have been better for the author of the letter to stop by and ASK if they could HELP MIke take the rest of his display down rather than make him and his familyfeel bad? We take for granted that we all have the ability to just go out and climb that ladder and clean it all up. (Im not asking to know), there may be a slight disability there getting up a ladder - I know I do - and thank God for my boys that will climb that ladder for me.

Walk a mile in his shoes before making judgement.

Mike - have an enjoyable summer - we look forward to seeing your display again next year.

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Papa-LF wrote:

Wouldn't it have been better for the author of the letter to stop by and ASK if they could HELP MIke take the rest of his display down rather than make him and his familyfeel bad? We take for granted that we all have the ability to just go out and climb that ladder and clean it all up. (Im not asking to know), there may be a slight disability there getting up a ladder - I know I do - and thank God for my boys that will climb that ladder for me.

Most definitely it would have been better for them to do just about anything than write a nasty letter. Like I've said both here and in Carrie's thread, though, that these issues tend to bottle up over time -- sometimes even years, and when people blow up, they don't react in the nicest, most neighborly manners oftentimes...

I'm definitely not defending the means of communication. I'm merely suggesting the complaint might have a hint of legitimacy and it shouldn't be thrown "in the shredder" without at least considering it (which Mike has done).

As for your second point, I suspect people assume that if it got up, it can come down... Of course things aren't always that simple (e.g. I do my Mom's display and sometimes I don't get back to take it down until April/May)...

-Tim

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oldcqr wrote:

I realize that it is not a lot of fun to do tear down, but we absolutely MUST schedule our tear-down time as carefully as our set up time. For those of us in mild climates, this is an easy task. For the many that have to deal with winter time snow and cold you have it tougher - but don't use the cold as an excuse to NOT perform your duty. Ask yourself: 'Would I set up in thisweather?' If the answer is yes, then you should be out there taking stuffdown.

I agree with everything you posted, absolutely and it all makes perfect sense. Great post!

I would also like toadd some observations in respect to the above quote; it does make good sense in general, but it overlooks a few factors.

In truth, Idoubt I'dset up to the extent I do in weather that goes below -5 (real temp or windchill factor, makes no difference, cold is cold). I would set up in-5 or above weather and have done so many times. This year was one of the most brutal, absolutely awful winters we have had here in years. I could not get all of my display down because of it. This isnot an excuse, its a reality.

In the Chicago area we had 39separate significant snow eventsover the winter season this year. Windchills were below -10, sometimes reaching -25 for weeks. The ice and snow freezesmany display itemsinto the ground, if you try to pull some of it out, you often break it. My house has an issue with ice dams (our fault, not enough insulation), I can't remove the icicle, swags or other lights from the gutters until we have a thaw. This year, the ice dams formed whileI was still putting the display up! Couldn't even finish the gutter line. On tear down, there was 4 inches of solid ice holding the lights and clips. No way we could chisel through it..because we tried. And unless my roof is clear of snow and ice, I'm not going up there--period. Safety first. Santa has been known to be strapped to that chimney until March, better that than to run therisk of slipping off a frozen roof.

The lights on my bushes were buried under a heck of a lot of snow this year. Sure, you can dig them out, but the wires become hard and frozen, they won't coil. So I leave them on the bushes until the snow melts off, which was in March this year..by then they havethawed enough to coil. In my case, wedon't have a heated location to warm them up, having approx. 30,000 frozen lights in the house is not an option. So I leave them, they cannot be seen unless you're looking for them (and they don't fade because they are buried).

Ido remove as much of my display as possible from the yard starting after January 6, that includes the controllers, all blow molds and frames, mini trees, bows and as much obvious Christmas stuff as possible. 90% of it is out of sight by late January.

Like others in the snow belt, cords and cables are buried under the snow, andrebar is really hard to get out of frozen ground. I use at least 350 individual pieces of regular rebar in my display, also conduit, and garden stakes. Each piece has to be hammered on to breakit free from the frozen ground andI have to use channel locks to try to pull it out. Time consuming at best.Andduring tear down, when its bitterly cold, you do have to go in to warm up from time to time. A lot of this stuff has to be done bare handed, I have yet to find gloves with enough flexibility that lets me do some of the things I need to do with my hands. Watching your fingers turn whiteis not something I recommend (been there, done that with frost bite, its painful as heck..).

There are manyspecific problemsthat we have to contend with that others in more moderate climates don't have to deal with. And this is just Chicago, I know its far worse farther North.

Which brings me to the neighbor issue.Most of theresidents that livein the cold and snowbelt areas are used to seeing Christmas decorations left up for much longer periods of time. Its very commonplace to see lightson homes and bushes, even municipal buildings and street lightsbecause we all have the same problem. The take down rules are a little different here and can't truly be summed up by saying "'Would I set up in thisweather?' If the answer is yes, then you should be out there taking stuffdown Its just not that simple, I wish it were.

I'm thinking it might be time to move to Arizona:laughing:

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Carrie Sansing wrote:

Which brings me to the neighbor issue.Most of theresidents that livein the cold and snowbelt areas are used to seeing Christmas decorations left up for much longer periods of time. Its very commonplace to see lightson homes and bushes, even municipal buildings and street lightsbecause we all have the same problem. The take down rules are a little different here and can't truly be summed up by saying "'Would I set up in thisweather?' If the answer is yes, then you should be out there taking stuffdown Its just not that simple, I wish it were.

Just to be clear, though, I don't think "lights in bushes" or even a few rebar stakes are really the issue. It's the bigger items: molds, frames, candy canes, etc, that usually can be pulled up fairly easy, even if you have to leave the extension cords and stakes (which are invisible comparison) behind.

But people do understand -- if you have Santa on the roof, and the roof is covered in 3' of icy snow, I doubt anyone's going to grumble that it's still up there. But if the lawn is green and you havedeflated inflatables all over it in piles, they may well complain. Where's the line between? Who knows...

-Tim

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