How many months does it take me to change a lightbulb?


Today I succeeded in changing a lightbulb. It only took me about 3 months.¹

You may wonder why it took me so long to accomplish this. Was it some sort of hard-to-reach lightbulb? Or maybe a case of sort of hard-to-find replacement bulb? No, it was more of a case of some hard-to-find motivation.

You see, the lightbulb in question was in my bedside lamp. The one I primarily use when going to bed at night. Almost exclusively at that time. You see where this might be a problem? The only time of day when I would be reminded of my lack of functioning lightbulb was when I was making that final push to go to bed. Not the time of day when I wanted to exert myself.

Exert yourself, Alejna? To change a lightbulb? You may well wonder. Let me explain.

At some point in recent months, we moved our stash of lightbulbs down to the basement from the kitchen. I didn’t remember what was down there, lightbulb-wise.

This matters as I have a dimmer switch on my bedside lamp, of which I am fond for 2 main reasons: 1) I can be courteous to John by keeping the light dim when he’s sleeping, and 2) the switch is easier for me to reach than the one on the lamp. The lamp is on the top shelf of a 5-foot high bookcase. The dimmer switch is on a cord, which I have positioned such that I barely have to lift my arm to turn off the lamp when I am lying in bed.

Lately we’ve been buying compact fluorescent bulbs rather than old-fashioned incandescent ones. However, they don’t work with dimmer switches. I couldn’t remember whether we actually had any old-fashioned bulbs. Given that I am someone who doesn’t want to have to even sit up in bed to turn off the light, I am definitely not someone who wants to go rummaging in the basement right before bed. Especially on a potentially fruitless mission that would leave me wringing my hands and still left effectively bulbless. Screw that!

Better to work with the known consequences of bulblessness. I had worked out a system, using other light sources. (My iPad, for one, let me read things with the light off, and doubled as a flashlight.) But I didn’t have to go down to the basement at bedtime.

Eventually, John ordered me a dimmable LED bulb. It arrived about a week ago. I had become so accustomed to not having a functioning bedside lamp that even a trip down a single flight of stairs was too much effort at bedtime.²

This afternoon, however, I had a breakthrough moment. In trying to get Theo to have a rest, I offered to have a rest with him on the big bed. He eagerly brought a few pre-nap books to read. The dim light coming from the shaded windows was not cutting it, though. I couldn’t read the damn books! Also, I was slightly caffeinated, and not even close to falling asleep.

Full of resolve and self-mockery I went to get the new lightbulb and screwed it in. It took all of 2 minutes, most of which was taken up by freeing the energy-efficient-and-therefore-environmentally-friendlier bulb from its somewhat excessive plastic packaging.³

I am the stuff of which lightbulb jokes are made.

¹ I think. I didn’t actually mark the calendar when the previous bulb went out.
² Bean, I think you appreciate the sway of laziness.
³ Whose bright idea was that?
⁴ This footnote doesn’t go to anything, but I couldn’t figure out where to put my alternate post title: “Dim and dimmer.”

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8 responses to “How many months does it take me to change a lightbulb?

  1. Hilarious and familiar!
    I’m fortunate in that no light bulbs have gone out since my last housemate, who was much taller than me, moved out. She was in charge of changing all light bulbs–though I often had to ask her to do it, but then, since I paid for the light bulbs, I think it was fair. But it did often take a while from bulb burnout to bulb replacement (probably not 3 months, though–I think you “win” as far as longevity is concerned).
    Then followed two months of housematelessness, during which I would have been in serious trouble if any lights had gone out. It’s a month since my new housemate moved in. She is taller than me, if shorter than my previous housemate, but so far she has not had to change any bulbs.

    …And I totally agree about the outrageously overdone plastic packaging on the LED bulbs. I think that maybe it’s supposed to protect them from getting broken before they are bought and installed? But it’s a lot of packaging AND very difficult to open.
    Anyway, congratulations on finally accomplishing this very important and long-procrastinated task!

  2. i am terrible about such things… putting of really simple tasks that would, ultimately, make things much nicer.

  3. Oh, this is classic! Love it. Every step of your reasoning makes perfect sense to me.

    Our lightbulbs are in a big box in the basement, too– and I have no idea what is in that box until I get there. It is always a surprise, generally not a good one. I don’t know when lightbulbs became so problematic, but they sure seem to be anymore.

    Also, thanks for the link. I’ve never been on a blog post footnote before. I feel very special. :-)

  4. So are mine.
    This is a wonderful story, grinable and full of character. Love it when you tell stories!
    To get my younger daugher to nap, I used to literally have to hold her down on the bed until she stopped wriggling.
    Then she would go out like, um, a light.

  5. As I read your post I noticed the smoke alarm battery chirping. Again. Somehow I’ve managed to not “hear” it for days now because it is too hard to get to and I don’t have any batteries anyway. I really need to get on that tomorrow.

  6. Eh, some things can just wait! I think I would go crazy if I was one of those people who had to fix or complete everything in a timely manner. I like to live my life by “drop dead dates”, the absolute last day/time a task can be completed. Light bulbs are already dead by the time they need attention, so they can be overlooked for quite some time around here, too!

  7. A very human and familiar story.

  8. I’ve just replaced a lightbulb in a livingroom lamp – only took me a month! And I even had to go and BUY a lightbulb, which was pretty much the hold-up. I’d only remember after I got home, and it got dark, that there was no lightbulb in that lamp.

    It’s never easy, is it?

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