Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Seeing things in a new light

Sometimes I feel a bit of a fraud moaning about some of the minor issues that trip me up every now and again. After all, single and divorced people have to face them every day too. Nothing is insurmountable given a bit of time and thought, although they always seem to surface when I have work piling up on my desk or am trying to get something else done. But what the heck, it's my blog. If I can't have a bit of a whine here, where on earth can I do it?

This week it is lightbulbs.

R had a thing about lighting. He liked a room to be bright. Inappropriately bright in my opinion. Arc lamp or crude interrogation technique sort of bright. Particularly while eating. He once put on a head torch in a restaurant in a silent protest against its use of subdued, "romantic" lighting - or at least until I had a hissy fit and made him take it off.

He was forever on the search for the perfect lightbulb. Every time a new one came out - whatever the size, shape or wattage - he would buy a couple and try them out in various sockets around the house. And would carefully put the old, part-used-but-still-working bulb back into the first box he could find that would fit it and return it to the lightbulb shelf.

Light fittings were another obsession.
If he saw one he liked he would bring it home and put it up in a room to 'audition' it. Normally only one, regardless of whether one was needed or four. And no matter whether it took G10, Edison screw or bayonet fittings, and may therefore require a whole new selection of lightbulbs. Alternatively he would fit one of his many ugly, plastic bulkhead lights as a 'temporary' measure. There are still a few of those around the house; I am gradually having them replaced and shall enjoy a quiet celebration when the last one has gone.

When a lamp no longer works, I go to the mismatched assortment of compact fluorescent, low-wattage halogen and LED bulbs. New, nearly new or possibly even blown - R could never quite bring himself to throw away lightbulbs as he felt they ought to be recyclable. He was presumably saving them all up until the local authorities came over to his point of view on this issue!

I then have to find something that both fits and offers the same light level as the other light fittings in the room. Invariably I will only be able to find a spiral type when all the others are straight. Or the bulb I choose won't fit into the fancy-schmancy light fitting that was only put up on a trial basis. Or it is actually a dud and should have been thrown away...

By this time I am grinding my teeth with frustration and about to give up and light a candle instead. At least I know where those are and that they work.

Today another lightbulb blew. That is the third in a fortnight.
In the great scheme of things it is nothing, but I am starting to feel just a little persecuted!


  1. it's not the big things that get to us; sometimes it's accumulation of all the little things that chip away. aggravating, annoying, perplexing.

    i love your mismatched assortment of bulbs and R's obsession. it's so unique. my Dragon had to get used to twinkle lights. i keep strings of them and wind them around driftwood, the headboard to the bed, around doorways, or around where the ceiling meets the walls. he grew to love it. now when i need lighting so soften my angst, i reach down and plug them in.

    it is your blog. you complain about anything you want. we are always here with you through thick and thin, or light and dark as it were.

  2. I get so darn frustrated and irritated at those who tell me to stop complaining, be grateful, all that bunk. There are times that just require crying or cursing, complaining or saying thanks. I'm not allowed to complain because of the poor people in Africa? Please!

    You told me about moderation and balance in all things. So we complain a little, get it off our chests and feel better. The next day it is not such a big deal. As long as I'm not complaining 24/7 I should be able to have a few moments when I can vent.

    And, I got a knitting pattern book at the library with one for snowdrops and that will be one of my spring projects - to whip up a bunch to put out in a little vase!

  3. Anonymous19:04

    I have so enjoyed your writing and have often wanted to Comment...about the aloneness, about your honest sharing, about the depths of your love for R. But today you hit on the reason I have not written...I am not a widow but divorced; I envy your relationship and wonder what it would be like to experience such a connection.

    Thank you for acknowledging the least in terms of aloneness and frustration with maintenance! And for illustrating how it is possible to have a happy, successful, long term partnership.

    I am often buoyed by your efforts to keep up your home and property, to work when it's hard, to take pleasure in little things, and most recently to share your visits to places I'd love to visit too.

    Please be encouraged that your writing has touched someone in the U.S. Pacific Northwest!

  4. hahahahahaa I can picture all the lightbulbs and one fixture of each type and all mixed up... it's a game that could go on forever.

    Is there such a thing as a yard sale out there in the countryside?



  5. @WnS: I love little twinkly lights, but you will not be surprised to learn that R didn't! I am pretty sure they would cause him to don his head torch again!

    @WitM: Yes, a little vent every now and again is very therapeutic. And I love the idea of the knitted snowdrops - what a lovely project to keep you going until the days get longer (or have the clocks already changed in the US?)

    @Anonymous: Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It really means a lot to me.
    I have thought a lot about how difficult it must be to find oneself alone suddenly for reasons other than bereavement. I have had so much support from people and have often wondered whether it would have been equally forthcoming if R and I had separated. Probably not. In fact I am pretty sure it wouldn't.

    @Supa: Hey, have you been looking inside my house? Or at least at my lightbulb shelf!
    Yard sales aren't so popular here. We do have car boot sales, but I would rather pull out my own fingernails than go to one. I do have a very entrepreneurial niece - perhaps I could agree some sort of commission arrangement with her!