So here’s the set up. My family room has a cathedral ceiling with some recessed light fixtures using incandescent spotlights. The bulbs last forever but when they do go bad they’re a trouble to replace. I have to get our giant aluminum step ladder down from its mount on the garage wall and avoid banging up my cars. Then it’s the twists and turns through the house, being very careful not to whack the walls or the furniture. Once in the family room I need to lay down old towels or carpet pieces to avoid scratching the hardwood floors once the ladder is up. Then I’ve got to scale the heights and balance myself carefully to tackle the chore at hand.
The other day I noted that one of the recessed lights was out, but I was busy and it was several days before I resigned myself to getting a new bulb at the hardware store and then going through the ladder routine. I get the ladder in place and reach to unscrew the offending bulb and, lo and behold, it goes on. It didn’t feel particular loose in the socket when I touched it so I logically concluded it wasn’t a poor connection but more likely a filament going bad. My moving the bulb slightly must have shifted the filament a tad and achieved connectivity (you can’t really see what is going on inside this type of spotlight bulb). I have had this happen to me before with the regular light bulbs and my experience has been that the bulb will work OK for a short while and then fail permanently. So I come down from my perch on the tall ladder and resolve to wait out this bulb, leaving the step ladder in place, certain that the problem bulb will fizzle out in an evening or so of use. But this guy doesn’t oblige my carefully crafted model of how the universe behaves. It’s still working fine several days later and the ugly aluminum step ladder is still in the family room, but now snickering at me.
I need help deciding how to proceed with this home repair fork-in-the-road. Here are the choices as I see them:
1. Wait the bugger out. Leave the step ladder in place while ignoring the glares from my better half and from visiting friends. It’s gotta give out sometime and I’m going to be ready. I’m going to take great pleasure in squeezing every last kilowatt hour out of the thing. This could be a long stand-off.
2. Cockeyed optimist. Everything is right with the world and that darn bulb is good for another five years now that I’ve jiggled it. Put the ladder back in the garage and return the new bulb to the hardware store for a refund. Treat myself to a giant Dunkin Donuts coffee with the refund money. This is a tempting option.
3. Preemptive strike (the highly recommended choice of my retired engineer friend). You’ve got the ladder in place, replace the #@*&$ bulb you cheap Yankee and toss the offender in the trash – its history. Move on to more important things in life (for my dear friend, that would be ice fishing – but that’s not my cup of tea).
What should a befuddled Yankee scientist do? I’m not moving the ladder until I hear from you.