The title says it all really. Everything that could go wrong in a year, has gone wrong. I won't go into detail because there's just too much and I'm trying not to think about it. Suffice to say, as I type this, my golden retriever is undergoing $2,000 worth of emergency surgery. Our other dog passed away back in June. There were so many arguments...no all out brawls, after last years' lights, that we decided we weren't going to do lights this year. In 2013, we spent way more than we could afford on lights. That included over $1,500 building the sleigh. Hanging around outside every night was exhausting and my wife has since been diagnosed with severe arthritis in her ankle, making it almost impossible for her to stand in one spot for more than a few minutes. Then on Halloween, a complete stranger came up to us during a community event in the local park and hugged us and said that our lights bring so much joy to her, her family and friends. That was followed by neighbours asking if we were doing lights and expressing disappointment when we said no. So, we decided to do lights again this year, but with no changes from last year. After an endless stream of huge unexpected bills, we simply don't have any money to buy anything new. That's devastating, because we always try to add new elements each year. This year, it's just not possible. I spent all day Sunday testing every light string to see if they still worked. The lights on the roof weren't taken down until early March (just one of the fights), so I expected most of them would be dead. To my complete surprise, they weren't. Out of 21 strings I tested, only three had failures. One short string had no blue or yellow lights, so that's probably a simple broken wire. Our garage door curtain had two strings out, again due to obvious broken wires (which we knew about). Finally, the longest string, which was on the main part of the roof, had numerous faulty lights on about half its length (about 17 metres). Luckily, I have a 20 metre string I bought last year as a spare, so we can just chop it off and replace it. Our 3.6 metre tree, which survived four Christmases has also pretty much died and we can't afford to replace it, so it will leave a huge hole in the display. I would have really loved to be making the switch this year to RGB and adding a megatree (if anyone has a spare they're not using, let me know), but with the bank account at an all time low and no end sight to the nightmare of 2014, we'll just have to suck it up and do the best we can. I just hope our motivation will kick in soon and our visitors are none the wiser. Roll on 2105.