Sunday, December 23, 2007

Arr! Arr! Arr!

Tim Taylor would be proud.

The building in which I live (and hope to soon depart) has three stories.  The configuration is a little weird, but out of 24 units, there are only 4 on the second floor.  (There are a bunch of two-story units, which accounts for the disparity.)  Anyway, all the units open onto a central courtyard.  Meaning they're outdoors.  Meaning they get dark at night.

There is a walkway on the second floor (which services just the four of us).  There are footlights around the walkway.  Seven of them. 

About a month ago, I mentioned at the last homeowners meeting that a lot of the bulbs on the second floor were out.  I was told we were down to our last lightbulb, and that changing them is a bit "tricky." 

A month has gone by, and now they're all out.  Now, OK, sure, it's probably a safety hazard.  But more than that, I'm hoping to put my unit back on the market in January, and I'm thinking that anyone who comes to see the place at night isn't going to be really impressed by our high standards of building maintenance if, y'know, every damn light bulb is out.  So I emailed our HOA President (who is also our lightbulb contact, being as he's an executive for a chain of lighting stores) and tell him that I'd like to replace all the second floor lightbulbs, and could he get the bulbs, and could he show me whatever the "trick" is, so that I can do the job.

I am pleased with that email.  Largely because the HOA President and I haven't been on the best of terms over the last six months or so because of the contractor debacle -- and I worked very hard to get just the right "let's work together and make the building pretty" spirit in there.  It got results.  He went out and bought new light bulbs today, and met me this afternoon for a lightbulb replacement lesson.

Not particularly difficult, as it turned out.  The only trick involved is that there are two screws holding on the plate covering the light bulb, and you have to be certain to line up both screws when re-attaching it.  No more difficult than, say, taking the license plate frame off your car, although you're working on a somewhat smaller scale.  The real trouble part came when, after he showed me how to do the first one and left me to it, a little spider came crawling out of the second one once I'd removed the plate.  So I was a little ooked out removing plates and reaching my hand in the small, dark space in order to unscrew the old light bulb, but, thankfully, nothing came skittering over my hand.  (I had an unpleasant Dune flashback.  But I figured, hey, if I'm going to own my own damn house, this is exactly the sort of minor maintenance I have to be capable of.  Hell, I even brought my own screwdriver.  Because I'm, y'know, prepared for this.)

Forty-five minutes later and I'd replaced all the lightbulbs.  (When it gets dark and the puppies switch on automatically, we'll find out just how well I replaced them.)  I was feeling so handy, I even replaced one of my window screens that the contractors had forgotten to put back.

I grunted a few times, then put the electric kettle on for a nice cup of tea.

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