Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday's Rain

OK, so, a couple weeks ago, I put my neighborhood-sanctioned plywood reindeer ("Pokey") out by the curb.  I had purchased an outdoor light for him, and duck taped the extension cord for it across the driveway.

I didn't expect the duck tape to survive the rains, actually.  Although the stuff I bought was actual "duck tape" brand, it didn't have the stickiness I usually associate with the stuff.  (I got a roll of the "colored" stuff, rather than the standard grey, and it seems somewhat below par.)  So, yeah, the extension cord was no longer taped where it should have been.  

But I didn't quite know why the light went out.

To be clear, setting the light up in the first instance wasn't the easiest thing ever.  Apparently, what makes it an "outdoor" light is that the little holder comes with a rubber gasket which sits around the base of the bulb and prevents water from leaking in.  That may be true for standard bulbs, but I had me a nice CF job, and the base of that thing was too broad to get through the gasket.  I ended up having to remove the gasket from its little attachments and put it directly on the bulb like a little skirt.  Screwed the bulb in there nice and tight (the gasket seemed well pressed against the edges of the holder) and figured it would survive anything but a direct onslaught of rain.

Which is, as previously mentioned, what came from the sky on Wednesday.

So, after testing the electrical outlet, checking the fuse, and testing the timer, I walked all the way over to the light to see if I could figure out what the problem was.

I could.

There was about a quarter cup of water inside the light bulb.  Not inside the holder, mind (although, yes, that was a bit damp as well, notwithstanding the gasket), but trapped inside the bulb itself.

Removed bulb (for recycling).  Dried out socket.  Applied gasket to new bulb (lot of good that'll do) and screwed new bulb in nice and tight.

Until I heard the snap.  Now I've broken the base of the damn thing.  Not the bulb, the holder.  The metal part of the holder is now attached to the bulb in my right hand, while the rest of the holder is in my left.  Well, no, now the holder is in the trash bin.

Went to the hardware store and acquired a new holder.  Purchased a new bulb for it, which was both:  (1) specifically identified as for outdoor use; and (2) not a CF bulb -- the new base looked a little narrower and might actually make it into the gasket as designed.

Can't put it out yet, though.  The driveway is still quite damp, and it won't take the duck tape.  Hopefully, things will dry out enough in the next few days that I'll get a shot at being a good neighbor again.  For now, Pokey's in the dark.  And I'm really pretty glad that I didn't set him on fire the other night, with the whole water/electricity combination that was going out on there.

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