That is my answer to the question “How many people does it take to change a light bulb?” That plus a dog.

Unbeknownst to me, when you change large fluorescent bulbs in a fixture that is on a 9 foot ceiling it’s not a walk in the park. In fact it can involve high drama, injury and destruction.

That’s why we needed all the stuff. The dog was there to add the high drama as she sat on the other side of the door and whined pitifully.

So where do I begin? Yesterday I created something called thermal shock in the one and only light fixture in our laundry room. This laundry room isn’t technically anything special. All of you have a room in your house that is the main conduit between you and your stuff in the house and the world outside. Ours is the laundry room. It has a set of doors that lead directly from the outside world (the garage) into the inside world (the house). Just about everything that comes into the house comes in through those doors.

There are no windows.

It resembles a human colon in function actually. We take and absorb what we need into the house and the rest is waste that ends up in the garbage can/recycle bin. Graphic but accurate description. You get the point.

That lack of window makes for a problem when the transitioning thing is going on. No light equals steps that are stumbled on, clothing and shoes are tripped over. The careful staging that I have done of things that must transition in or out of this room come to a screeching halt because it’s pitch black. The domestic equivalent of constipation.

Back to the thermal shock. I only know this because my dearest Sweetie has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things. Sometimes it’s the Encyclopedia Brittanica, sometimes its the Encyclopedia Craptanica. He informed me that my rapid switching on and off of the light switch caused this thermal shock to kill both of the bulbs in the fixture.

Go figure and let that be a lesson to me.

Well I could have waited for Sweetie to get back, but I’m not sure when exactly that would be. He just left and he’s got more work than time back east. Suffice it to say that the colon of the house could not wait that long to go. I had to take matters into my own hands.

The evening went this way. Me calling Sweetie from Fred Meyer “Um, what kind of bulbs do I need to buy to replace the ones I wantonly killed?” “Hmmmmm let me look” Sounds of tapping on a computer (thank GOD for Google). After what seemed like forever, because I have to pee and I’m wearing my uncomfortable work clothes he comes up with a number. The numbers on the bulbs match his research but the bulbs don’t have green ends (I don’t know either, it must be an electrician thing) but at this point I will die if I don’t pee, so I buy the things and resolve to take the old ones out of the fixture to check against the new ones for size and shape – prior to opening the package.

Get home, pee, don’t change clothes because that would make life easier. I am not about easy right now. I am about fixing this. Yes I climb the ladders with my work skirt and sweater on. The tights, surprisingly, survive to cover my legs another day.

Bring a ladder into laundry room without taking the cars out of the garage. Something I will be sorry about later because carrying a ladder through the garage with out dinging either of the cars proves to be very, very tricky.

Unscrew the end of fixture at which point the other end magically jumps off of the ledge holding it up and flings it self toward the floor.

Curse a blue streak and burst into tears, in front of my kids. Listen to my daughter tell me to relax, it’s all fine. Tell my daughter the parental equivalent of “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.” Set my parenting cred back about 15 years.

Survey the damage. I’ve managed to direct the wooden part of the fixture into the laundry basket with a relatively soft landing. The large piece of rectangular plastic that covers the bulbs and diffuses the light has not been as lucky. It has a 1/2 inch long piece that cracked off the corner when it hit.

Curse some more, mostly under my breath.

Oldest daughter gets some tape and fixes the corner.

I bring another ladder veeery carefully into the laundry room. It’s suddenly much more crowded in the laundry room.

Swap out bulb #1. It immediately bursts into a blinding white light. Take a few minutes to let my right eye stop seeing the after image. Oldest daughter turns off the switch.

Swap out bulb #2. Turn the switch back on s-l-o-w-l-y to make sure all is well. And it is. Both bulbs work. Whoo Hoo!

This is where it gets tricky. It’s a combination of the three of us running up and down the ladders, sometimes two of us on one ladder, until the screw is back in. This is not as easy as it sounds and it suffice it to say that I cursed a few more words and sweat a bucket. No more tears.

Carry the two ladders back out to the garage. Spare both cars again. Put the tools away and turn the light switch on and off s-l-o-w-l-y a few times to survey my handiwork. Make like Tom Hanks in Castaway after the fire scene and beat my chest a few times.

Go upstairs, change into my flannel pajamas and suck my thumb after a brief conversation with my Sweetie. I can’t talk for long because I am completely spent.

The dog is devastated she wasn’t involved.