Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How many ways to change a light bulb?

I googled "light bulb changing jokes" (because isn't that why google was invented? to find out really irrelevant information?). Did you know there are whole web pages devoted to these kind of jokes? I read a number of them and some were quite funny. Here were two of my favorites

Q: How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: One, but the light bulb really has to want to change.

Q: How many believable, competent, ``just-right-for-the-job'' presidential candidates does it take to change a light bulb?

A: It's going to be a dark 4 years, isn't it?

What it really comes down to is this. We all know that changing a light bulb is a simple task. And yet, twice now I have come face to face with a light bulb that defies changing.

The first time was in our home in First Colony. We had a light bulb about 25 feet high in the middle of a staircase with walls on both sides. On one side about 16 feet up there was a large window with about a 2 inch window sill. Trent and I tried everything. We are lucky to still be alive. We tried putting the ladder on the stairs (using textbooks and phonebooks to level the stairs) and I would hold the textbooks and Trent would climb the ladder. At one point, I remember that Trent had one foot on the top of the ladder and one foot on the windowsill and I could just see him falling, landing on the stairs, rolling down and taking me and the ladder with him. It was after that vision that I put an end to our ridiculous ways. I was 8 months pregnant with Adam and did not want him to lose his father before he was even born.
Several nights later, we were playing games with some good friends, Andy and Laura, and we were retelling our feeble efforts. Andy asked to look at it and the next thing I knew, Trent had hoisted him so that his fingers could reach the window sill. Andy did a pull up (with just his fingertips) and managed to stand on the window sill (with out going through the window) and then putting one foot on the other wall did this crazy spider man thing and got the bulb changed. (I think Laura and I were both having heart attacks). But in the end, Andy made it down in one piece and we sold that house so we would never again have to change the light bulb (well, that was just one reason). Trent and I still laugh about it; In our mind Andy will always be "spider man."

So with this memory fresh in our mind, we noticed a couple of months ago that one of two flood lights high on the exterior of our house had gone out. Naturally, within a few weeks the other one went out. We were trying to come up with how to go about changing it when Trent suggested that the next time I talk to Peter (the owner of our house) that I should ask him how (if ever) he had changed those light bulbs. When I asked him about it, he volunteered to change them. (and I was not about to argue otherwise) So, yesterday was the day. Peter had bought one of those telescoping light bulb changing poles that reaches 11 feet. (the box even assures that "You too, can change a light bulb in minutes!" )

The first bulb went relatively well, It only required hanging halfway out a 2nd story window, 20 minutes, and my saying "please, don't fall out the window" 10 times.

But the second one was a little more problematic. The angle was all wrong for being able to get to it from the window. So we tried a 7 foot painters ladder, in an uneven flower bed with a birch tree right in the way. As Peter climbed the ladder, it would start to lean, so I grabbed the ladder, and he grabbed the tree. If he stood on the very top (which the ladder explicitly states in one of its bright red labels that you should not do) and put one foot in the tree, with one arm holding the tree, and the other arm holding the pole, he could reach it. I actually thought for a moment that this was not so bad after all.

But then the new light bulb would not fit because there was a fitting ring that was stuck in the socket. He tried to knock it out using the other end of the pole at which point he commented that it probably was not the best idea to jam a metal pole into a live socket. It was then that I noticed another warning sticker on the ladder that stated "This Ladder conducts electricity."

After much trying, and even with Peter and the tree becoming very, very close and personal. The new light bulb just would not go in. It serves me right for buying the "green" fluorescent bulbs that use less electricity, because as it turns out, they are shaped just slightly different than the traditional light bulb.

Peter was going to head to the store to get another light bulb, when I asked him about one other light bulb that I was unsure how to change (this time buried in the garden). He commented that he had just changed that light bulb and was surprised that it was already burned out. And in a funny turn of events, we determined that the whole socket was bad and perhaps even that light bulb still worked. We checked it, and it did. And IT was the same kind he would have gone to the store for. So he climbed back up the ladder, made a little more love to the tree and . . .

Let there be light! I think we were just as happy as God was on the first day!

Only the happiness was for two things . . . the light and the fact that no one was harmed in the changing of this light bulb.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I guess history repeats itself! :) We definitely miss hanging out and playing games with you all. We couldn't get enough of Bohanza when we were spending time with family back in March. Thanks for introducing us to the game - that might have been the night you did! :)