Changing light bulbs

My project for this afternoon was changing light bulbs. I know what you’re thinking, so go ahead and laugh — I’m laughing along with you! This is Home Ownership 101, right?

Well, my house has literally dozens of ceiling light fixtures, mostly of the canister variety, but some of them are the old kind where you have to unscrew the three screws just enough to release the glass fixture without dropping it, then unscrew the light bulb, screw in the new light bulb, and then carefully rescrew the three screws so the glass fixture will stay put, without dropping it or cracking it. That’s assuming I can reach them — when the stairway lights start burning out, that will be a job for a handyman-to-be-named-later.

There are so many light fixtures that I can hardly walk into a room without seeing one burned-out light bulb, so I tend to wait until there are several and then tackle them all at once. Most of the ceiling canisters take large phlorescent spotlights, but a few take smaller phlorescent spotlights or LED lights of various sizes. Then I have several fixtures that take standard 60 watt bulbs or their phlorescent equivalents. So the first order of business is to find the right bulbs for whichever fixtures need attention on that occasion.

Then there are the outdoor lights. I hadn’t changed any outdoor lights at this house before (that’s what husbands are for), so I didn’t know what to expect. There are two lights at the garage that burn out repeatedly. These fixtures probably need to be replaced and/or rewired, as I suspect they are getting zapped by moisture. I didn’t try to do anything with them today. Then there are a series of wall-mounted lights that run up the walkway from the garage to the front door. All of these had burned out, and as we’re now much closer to the autumnal equinox than the summer solstice, I really needed to get those lights working again so I can find my way home at night.

So out came the ever-so-cute day-glow-green power screwdriver that I bought a few weeks ago because the thought of rummaging through Kurt’s messy toolbox was just too painful. I had two different types of outdoor light fixtures, and I had to figure out how to take each one apart and put it back together. The task unfolded as follows:

  • Go to the garage to get the footstool
  • Stand on the footstool
  • Find and insert the right screw bit
  • Figure out which direction to rotate the power screwdriver
  • Figure out how to take the light fixture apart
  • Identify the bulb in question as a 60 watt standard bulb
  • Recall that I am fresh out of 60 watt bulbs
  • Go in the house, observe three 60 watt bulbs installed in the dining room
  • Remove two of those bulbs
  • Go back outside with soon-to-be-repurposed bulbs
  • Successfully install one bulb in the more accessible of the two fixtures I was trying to repair
  • Get back on the footstool for the more difficult one
  • Drop one of the two screws and realize that it had vanished, apparently in the same place that socks go to in the dryer
  • Go in the house, rummage around, and find a screw that looked like it might work
  • Go back outside
  • Go to the garage for the ladder because the footstool wasn’t high enough to reach the top screw that needed to be done first if I had any hope of the whole thing holding together
  • Successfully re-screw the original screw in the top position
  • Try without success to screw in the substitute screw in the bottom position
  • Say nasty words
  • Look down and see the lost screw hiding in plain sight
  • Screw in the second screw
  • Put the ladder away and call it a day… because I had no more 60 watt bulbs to cannibalize from anywhere.

So tomorrow I have to go buy 60 watt bulbs (I need at least 6 to finish what I’ve started, so I figure I’d better buy a dozen), get out the ladder and the ever-so-cute day-glow-green power screwdriver, and try to finish this job.

One step at a time.

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Posted on September 9, 2011, in Learning and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Oh, I would SO be there with you on this!! Not that Mark is a major fixer-upper kind of person, it’s just that I can comfortably not do any thing about it it because it’s supposedly ‘not my job.’ One example: checking the 4!! possible places where Joseph might have left his helmet when he’s already at the Armory on his way to Ft. Irwin at 6:30 this morning. Also one place where Melora’s much better at using power tools because she figured out a long time before the divorce happened that, if she didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done.

  2. One day at a time. Best idea, locate the handy person now and break him or her in now. We have one, Bill, and he does everything for about $25-35 per hour. Well worth it. Yo do know that incandescent bulbs are extinct as of January? HUGS Geri

  3. You had us both laughing He loved the cannibalizing the light bulbs from inside (he can relate to that). Yes, one step at a time.

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