January 31st, 2008

I never would’ve thought changing two lightbulbs would turn into such a mission.

First one light in the bathroom went out. No big deal, we still had the other light, which was more than adequate. But as much for form’s sake as anything else, I pulled the cover off the light to see if the bulb could be replace with one of the multitude of utterly redundant bulbs in the loungeroom.


All the lights in our apartment are filled with compact flourescent bulbs, the only exception being my desk lamp and the two bathroom lights. My desk lamp has an old incandescent filament-style bulb, because that’s all it has always had (and I can’t figure out how that bulb has lasted so many years), and the two bathroom lights have something in between old fashioned flourescent tubes and modern CFLs. The two bathroom lights require flourescent tubes that have been twisted into a squareish shape, not spiralled like CFLs, and which have an odd plug consisting of four pins in a square, unlike CFLs which plug into any regular lightbulb socket. Anyway, when the first one went and I saw what kind of a weirdarse flourescent tube it was, I thought, bugger it, we’ve still got adequate light in the bathroom.

But then the second bulb blew, and it turned out to be identical to the first. And here’s where it got really irritating:

See, these particular square flourescents are really hard to pull out of the socket. I mean, really hard. It took me two days to get the first one out, and it was only then that I could see enough of the specifications to buy a replacement with any kind of confidence. I bought two replacement bulbs and plugged the first (actually, the second to blow, but the first one I succeeded in pulling out and therefore replacing) one in, then set about replacing the other bulb.

I mean, really: In what kind of parallel universe do you wind up pulling half the ceiling down in the process of replacing a blown lightbulb? Did I somehow fall through a warp in the space-time continuum and find myself on the planet Hanna-Barbara? And it wasn’t  just that I pulled half the ceiling down trying to pull the blown bulb out, I just about pulled the bulb itself apart in the process.

Ah, well, eventually I managed to replace the old bulb with the new one without damaging the socket itself, then I repaired the ceiling (it’s made of aluminium (I guess, judging by the lack of weight) slats resting precariously on ridges fastened to the walls), and we now have full light in the bathroom again.

But the whole process was utterly ridiculous. I mean, it has never taken me so long to replace a lightbulb ever before. Nor has it taken so much energy. Nor have I ever broken anything in the process of replacing a lightbulb. And yet it has taken a total of three days to replace two lightbulbs, and half the bathroom ceiling wound up on the floor in the process.

But that’s all just fine and dandy, because it’s all repaired and we now have full light in the bathroom again.

Now, if only I could find the brilliant architect who designed our apartment so that the first thing you see on opening the door is the bathroom and the even more spectacularly intelligent fellow who decided to light our bathroom with the most absurdly difficult to replace bulbs, I’d soon be a happy man… just as soon as I had finished picking the bones I have with them, that is….

2 Responses to “garhhh”

  1. Jeremiah Says:

    Ain’t those a bitch? We have the exact same kind and the first time I had to change one, I ended up pulling only half of it out of its casing. So now, I had half a lightbulb plus some evil looking copper wire filaments hanging down. Now, I’d killed the juice to the light, but…you never know. I finally got it out but yes, only after pulling down half out kitchen ceiling.

    I recall last year when the good Mr. Yang went up in the rocket and a Chinese friend asked me if I thought he would make it. “As long as the guys who make the rocket ship aren’t also the ones who make lightbulbs and those plastic picture hooks.”

  2. wangbo Says:

    If the guys who made the rocket were the same ones who made the lightbulb, David Bowie would’ve found himself a reason to update that old song of his.

    The fun bit was explaining to lzh what happened, and the look of horror on her face as I told her I pulled half the ceiling down and then she asked “Did you clean up?” Well, yeah, it’s just some aluminuim slats that sit loosely on these ridges, not difficult…