a very expensive lightbulb

Today I spent $250 dollars to be told by an electrician that my problem was the lightbulb. These things happen. He felt so sorry for me but eh, this not even close to the worst such incident in my long and storied history of not being handy. I was thinking – only really handy people should be old house homeowners, but then he said “I told my wife when we were house hunting – no houses older than 1995.” So apparently, nobody should own old houses, ever. Good to know. Then he threw out some ranges of what it would cost to update from the nob and tube wiring we enjoy, original from the 20s. I told him I would have to break it to one of my kids that they would no longer be attending college and told him I’d probably just see him in a few years for something equally stupid and embarrassing.

I was chatting about it in a meeting and people were wincing in sort of vicarious visceral reaction which I assume was a mixture of embarrassment and pity. So I decided to list all such incidences I could remember, caveat, my memory is crap so there are probably twice as many:

  1. The time the dishwasher repair guy pulled an uncooked black bean wedged between in heat coil as the reason our machine had been smoking.
  2. The time the plumber directed our attention to the slowly leaking water bottles sitting on the floor of our pantry as the source of our “pipe leak” trickling into the basement.
  3. My favorite (only because it didn’t happen to me) – the time John called the fire department at 2am because the carbon monoxide detector went off. I was out of town – he was alone with baby Alice. Hazmat suited firemen showed up to greet half naked John standing in the front yard holding Alice, went into the house, thirty seconds later came out and handed him the source of the hazard – an alarm clock from Margaret’s room.

One of those days when you feel like – man, I’m just not great at this. Where “this” = the business of living. But, on the plus side, the electrician stayed and chatted way longer than he probably would have if he’d had actual work to do, checked several of my other old light fixtures, and played with my dog. He was a bit odd, but I soak up these moments of connections even with strangers whenever I can get them. People are strange and interesting. Who knows, maybe he thought the same of me.

2 thoughts on “a very expensive lightbulb

  1. Yes! I relate! I spent an hour on the phone with IT last week trying to solve why my laptop speakers weren’t working. I was absolutely convinced I needed a new laptop…and…the solution was to restart my computer. My two life lessons learned: 1) always turn it on and off first, and 2) always carry duct tape.


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