It all started on July 4th, 2009. I remember the day precisely because I was on the deck, grilling brats when my wife informed me "One of the kitchen ceiling lights is burned out". There appeared to be a hint of urgency in her voice. After 25 years of wedded bliss, I knew exactly how to respond to this request. "I'll get right on it". Now here represents a difference between men and women. There are four lights in our kitchen ceiling, so the loss of one constitutes a mere 25% decline in available lighting. (OK, since Labor Day there's only been two lights working, but I prefer to think of the room as "half-lit" rather than "half-dark".). Besides, my liberal friends have finally brought me around to their way of thinking. We don't need four lights burning when greenhouse gasses are inundating our planet. Where chores are involved, I find Al Gore's thinking to be right up my alley…not changing a light bulb becomes a "Convenient Truth". Hey, I'm always open to the other side of the political fence on those few occasions when liberal groupthink makes sense. My wife disagrees.
Besides, what possible dangers are involved in insufficient kitchen lighting? So what if one cannot tell if the chicken or pork is still pink and therefore inedible? From what I've read, colonics are an integral part of the homeopathic medical fad, and nothing cleans out your system better than a good case of salmonella. And there are definite dangers in changing these light bulbs. First, the damn thing is 11' above the floor. With my 5' 7" frame and a 6' step ladder, I must stand on the rung imploring "THIS IS NOT A STEP" in order to accomplish the deed. And thanks to the Democrats, the new bulb is an environmentally-friendly CFC reflector containing lethal amounts of mercury. One slip of the hand and the bulb falls 11' to the floor, releasing a plume of toxic vapors which will overcome me-precipitating my own 11' fall- and most likely kill the cats—amused as they would be chasing thousands of little mercury balls scurrying across the floor. (Hmm..note to self--always have cats present when installing new light bulbs).
(It's a LONG way up there)
To make matters worse, this 6' wooden ladder is down on the first floor in our storage room. That means I must carry it up three whole flights of stairs to our 3rd floor kitchen, negotiating landings and bearing significant weight on my shoulders. Apparently my wife has never considered how many accidents occur on stairs, nor the number of 50+ year old men struck down by cardiac arrest when carting heavy ladders around. Tell me ladies, is a single (OK, two single) light bulb(s) worth losing your best friend and spouse? I thought not.
Besides, it's not like I haven't done anything useful around the house since July 4th. I've supervised the sodding of the yard and the cleaning of rusty water stains from our white fence. Supervision involves making phone calls, hiring specialists and writing checks, which can be stressful. Especially writing checks. I also did a lot of stuff myself. I researched, purchased and set up a new laptop, even though I already have a perfectly good 17' model. A man can never have too many computers. I also researched, purchased, and installed a Blu-Ray DVD player, although I don't own a single Blu-Ray DVD. I bought a new Nikon D-5000 camera and new lenses came for Christmas. The book to teach me how to use the camera is 380 pages of 5" x 7" paper, all in English. I had to read it. And finally, I researched, purchased, installed and configured to my wireless router a combination fax, flat glass copier, scanner and photo printer. I don't have a home office so I'm not sure of what use the fax machine will be, or the copier for that matter. But it looks cool as hell next to my last year's purchase of a combo printer-photo printer with the same five digital photo card slots as my new printer.
As you can see, there are far more important things in life than changing light bulbs. Like installing the HD-DVR Satellite receiver in the bedroom to match the one in the great room, even though we don't have an HD TV in the bedroom. And my brother-in-law recently helped change the brake light in my car, an issue I immediately remedied after the third time a Dare County sheriff saw fit to pull me over.
So, all of this constant reminding and hints ("Hey Russ, it looks like you could change one of those light bulbs by merely standing on the kitchen counter") falls on deaf ears. Yeah right, like I'm gonna scramble up onto a 3'6" high counter without benefit of a step ladder, lean over two feet and attempt to remove a light bulb that's actually over the fridge. What do I look like, a 12-year old boy on a set of monkey bars? Men prioritize. It's in our blood. Along with 90 proof vodka and PBR.
I believe this is all an attempt to bring about my early demise and collect life insurance so she can have some 21 year old cabana boy move in and perform all those menial tasks. But I fooled her. I changed those freakin' bulbs today, and if I die later tonight from hauling that ladder round-trip over three flights of stairs (or, more likely, suffer from a sudden drop in blood pressure from being 11' in the air changing the first bulb), I'll get the last laugh. I guarantee that cabana boy couldn't program a DVD player much less configure a wireless router.
But, its time to go. Gotta find an HD TV to go with the bedroom receiver. Well, actually I called Steve Green at Audio-Video Providers. He's ordering it, bringing it over and installing it. Phew! Another busy day.