I’ve left the globe light unlit, not having hired a handyman yet. But in the past few weeks, light after light went out around the house. The outdoor light in the dog yard, a light in the kitchen, one in the bathroom, and a light in the hallway. There may be more. Had I a different cosmology, I’d blame a poltergeist. I bought various type LED bulbs at big box store this week and left them in the trunk for another day, avoiding things I don’t know how to do. Today I brought them in, realized I bought the wrong light for the dog yard but used the one I’d gotten for the kitchen. (And when I let them out for their final outing tonight, I flicked on the light and said, “Look, you have a new light!” I actually said that out loud. To two dogs.) The bathroom light was straightforward. But then there was the hallway light. It was another one of those 1966 lights. Drats. I’ve been eyeing it for weeks, taking no action except to use other lights to illuminate the hallway at night. But it seemed solvable: it’s only a half globe, and it’s just hanging from the hallway ceiling and not nestled precariously in the middle of the stairwell.
Tonight I went to a movie with friends. The kids were in bed when I got home, but one kid peeked out to ask me to turn on the heat. Doing that would mean turning on the furnace, which my brother showed me how to do when he visited, but I’m still not sure I’ve got it, and is there a flue or something I’m supposed to open, and good thing we have a CO2 detector, because I don’t know what I’m doing, and once I light the pilot light, I just fiddle with the switches on the wall? But instead of sharing my pent-up anxieties, I just fetched a blanket. Amazingly, there was a wool blanket right there in the cedar chest. The next kid asked for her quilt (which was, coincidentally, sewn by farmer’s wife). She knew where it was but couldn’t reach, so I hopped on the stool and grabbed it for her. And I was like, hey, there’s a stool in this hallway. So I just moved it over to the hallway light, and it was the right height. I struggled with the globe for a minute, but then I realized there’s a certain art to getting it off. I slipped off the half globe, washed it (but not vigorously; I didn’t want to crack it, as I have no clue how to find a vintage replacement), inserted the bulb I was going to use for the dog yard, which I’d chosen for its full-glare natural daylight illumination, and slipped that half globe back on. It gives off quite a light.
The burnt out lights have bothered me these past few weeks. I keep up wiht the daily chores, but I’m purposively not housekeeping all day. I’m not a housewife. I’ve got to figure out how to manage the house in conjunction with a full-time job. But those lights (and some other spaces in the house not vacuumed or mopped or repaired) have made me feel like things are falling apart at the seams. Cue How may professors does it take to fix a lightbulb joke here, but these globe lights have vexed me, and worried me, as they have signaled my limits. Unscrewing that half globe was some sort of friggin’ victory. I was all chuffed that I’m ready to move on to the full globe precariously perched in the stairwell, when I heard from a bedroom, “Can you turn off the light?” So I did.