Tuesday, May 23, 2017
How many senior citizens does it take to change a lightbulb?
Um, make that: seasoned citizens.
Yesterday, I was informed that the exterior light by our front door was out. If you live in the mid-west (like we used to), that would generally mean: unscrew a lightbulb, put in a new lightbulb. Here in the Tropical Tip, it is never that easy - the first thought that goes through my mind is: I hope I don't have to replace that light fixture. The salt air is tough on everything.
To answer the title question: two. When working on a ladder, we try to have both of us on task. I took the step-ladder out and started disassembling the fixture. No, you can't just reach up into it and take out the bulb - we put a fully enclosed fixture there to help deal with that salt air. Two thumb screws, and the top lifted off... I reached inside to unscrew the bulb... it turned, but wasn't coming out. Swell. That means either the socket has disintegrated, or the bulb has rusted away. Two more screws removed, and another thumb screw, and I could rotate the fixture.
It is the bulb. That means the fixture itself may still work. That's the bright side. The not so bright side: the bottom metal part of the lightbulb has fused itself to the inner socket. Only way to remove that is more disassembly of the fixture, then try to pry the bottom of the bulb enough to get it to move... without breaking the socket. I removed pieces of metal, a little at a time until I got past the fused part. It still wouldn't unscrew (insert "the difference between a light bulb and a pregnant woman joke" here). More prying and attempted rotating. I finally broke the last of the bulb out of there, without breaking the socket! One it a row.
Joan brought me another bulb while I cleaned the socket. Trying to hold the socket while inserting the bulb... I dropped it. The bulb. It broke. Maybe the joke should be: how many light bulbs does it take when changing a light bulb? It wasn't one of the good ol' 60¢ bulbs; no, it was one of the curly-Q pricier bulbs. I got the broom and dust pan, and swept up the broken glass.
While I was doing that, Joan was cleaning the inside and outside of the fixture (years of accumulated blowing sand/dirt). Another bulb and... it works. Oh, joy - I won't have to replace the fixture. Of course, to reassemble the fixture, the bulb has to come out, but we were careful. I couldn't get my ham hands inside the fixture to get one screw back in, so we traded places on the step ladder. I put the rest of the fixture back together and... we have light.
The broken bits in an egg carton before going in the garbage...
... safer when taking out the garbage.