Tag Archives: fluorescent lights

The Perversity of Inanimate Objects

29 Nov

Maybe it’s only at our house.

I have written often – and with great feeling – about the fluorescent lights that hang around our house. The one in the den only worked once every six months, and woe betide the person who turned it off by sheer force of habit. We were often reduced to using the computer by the glow of a kerosene lamp. Talk about irony! The one in the bathroom just took its own sweet time. Generally, it waited until you had done whatever it was you came in to do, and smiled at you as you walked out the door. I’ve showered by candlelight more than once.

After changing the bulbs, to no avail, The Squire bought new switches for both rooms. Both lights have worked perfectly ever since. The one in the bathroom did stumble slightly, but The Squire shook his fist at the ceiling and snarled, “You an be replaced, you know!” The light came on immediately. (I’m perfectly serious.)

The smoke detector in the kitchen is hyperactive. We have a self-cleaning oven (Woot! Woot!) so I am reasonably sure there’s nothing burnt on it there, but every time I turn it on the smoke alarm goes off. Really? Setting it on 100° F to put bread on to rise is dangerous?  Boiling water will make the thing start shrieking!  Yeesh!

Sunday night, I glanced into the kitchen as I headed up to bed, and the room was flooded! The dishwasher had decided that draining was too much trouble. Fill, yes. Drain, no.  Luckily, our friend Mac has a wet-vac, so I drove over there to grab it.  Worked a treat!

A few weeks ago the pull-shade on my side of the bed stopped working. I think the spring has died, but I’m not sure. I spent a couple of days reaching under the drapes to roll and unroll the thing by hand. The Squire suggested I switch it with the one over the window a/c (duh!) which I did. As I slotted it into position, the bloody thing unrolled  completely, all the way down to the floor! Arrgh!

And what’s with the thermostat? We have programmed it to remain at 68 during the day, and drop to 62 at 9 PM.  Every morning it has hiked itself back up to 70. Turn it down, and it will stay there until about 3 in the afternoon, and those hot flashes I keep having are not because my hormones are out of whack.

The water heater much prefers to be set at 130°, never mind what we want.

As I said, maybe it’s just at The Rice Paddy.



26 Sep

For quite some time I have been complaining – voraciously – about the fluorescent lights in several of the rooms downstairs.

The one in the den only agrees to come on twice a year; you must either leave it on 24/7 or use the computer by candle light. The irony of that is not lost on either of us. The kitchen and bath come on when they sense you are finished whatever you came into the room to do. This is not really problem in the bathroom; I don’t wear makeup and The Squire doesn’t shave, and there’s a nightlight that will serve for just about anything else you need to do. The kitchen is more problematical, as I often need a flashlight to read a recipe or tell how full a cup is. As I am putting the food on the plates, the light will come on – and I swear you can hear it snicker.

“Would you please replace the ballast in the lights?”

“There’s more to it than that.” This, I understand, is Husband Speak for “I don’t want to be bothered right now”.

Saturday, after flipping the kitchen switch a dozen times, The Squire went off and purchased new bulbs for all three rooms.  They now come on, but they flicker.  This would be maddening enough all by itself, but the warning sign for each of my three TIAs has been that I see flickering lights behind my eyes.

The Squire is now off to The Big Store to purchase ballasts for the fluorescent lights. I hate to say, “I told you so”. (Not really. I’m gloating.)

Sitting in the Dark

26 Jun

A few days ago I posted about the general frustration of not being able to turn on any of the fluorescent lights in the house.  The Squire finally admitted it was a problem, and wandered off in the general direction of Home Depot, and instead of fluorescent bulbs, came home with two ceiling lights, which can only be described as a glass boob with a bronze nipple.

Do not ask me to explain this.

Our house is best described as “accumulated, not built”.  The main section was built around 1935, and each successive owner has added other bits as needed. The ceilings on the second floor are so low that I can touch them by raising my fist over my head.  When we bought the house all of the ceiling lights upstairs were the type that hung down about six inches (enough space for the light bulbs)and had a flat square glass shade. Several years ago a friend of ours was changing his clothes, pulling his T-shirt over his head, and hit the light fixture in the TV room, breaking the shade and needing thirteen stitches in his hand. We immediately replaced that fixture with a “boob”. The light in the guestroom is directly over the bed, so we didn’t bother to change it at the time.

However, instead of getting new fluorescent bulbs (which he claims he forgot) The Squire purchased two new matching fixtures for the TV and guest rooms (They are actually one large room, separated by bookcases.) and planned on moving the original fixture into the living room, which still had one of those square glass jobs.  Actually, it all made sense, except for the part about the fluorescent bulbs. However, this is the same man who, when it was 105-F, forgot he’d been sent to pick up a window a/c unit, so I can only say it did not surprise me.

Changing out the lights upstairs was no problem, but the living room was another can of worms entirely.

This part of the house – living room and our bedroom above – was probably built during WWII, and while building codes have changed, I highly doubt this wiring was ever up to snuff. First of all, there is still a fuse box in that section of the house, and it was installed upside down.  (Clue number one.) The fuse for the overhead light also controls the outlet beside the fireplace, which is fine, but we discovered that now the lights in our bedroom, which is directly overhead,  don’t work either. (Clue number two.)

When The Squire removed the old fixture he discovered that the electric tape is so old it is made of fabric, impregnated with rubber. OK, this is wartime America, so we’ll give that a pass, but the wires are so short there is nothing to which he can attach the new fixture. It looks almost as if once the original light was installed, the wires were snipped off short, rather than wrapped or otherwise insulated. (Clue number three.)  Although he is perfectly capable of handling most wiring problems, this is such a mess he doesn’t want to tangle with it, and having loose, un-insulated wires sticking out means he is even reluctant to replace the fuse, for fear the wires might touch, and start a fire.

We really need to find somebody who can get this fixed and won’t report us to the county.  We have a friend who is a licensed electrician, and he has promised to come see what can be done, but unfortunately he’s not particularly reliable. Our grandson might be able to handle this, but his schedule is just horrible, so not much hope there.

In the meantime, we are sitting in the dark.


My Next House…

18 Jun

… is not going to have a single fluorescent light.

First of all, the bloody things buzz and drive me crazy, but what really sets my teeth on edge is that fact that they are so undependable.

The one in the bathroom generally – generally – comes on within two or three minutes. The kitchen light is more sadistic. I have prepared entire meals by flashlight, only to have the light come on just as I put the food on the plates.

Ah, but the den light. Thereby hangs a tale. I think it only comes on once or twice a year. The Summer Solstice is coming, so maybe it  will deign to grace us with its presence.  It is so temperamental that we normally leave it on 24/7, but two weeks ago a visitor turned it off  before we could stop her as she left the room. We have flipped the switch on and off, turned it on and then off and counted to 10, then flipped it on again, cursed and swore, opened the fixture and tapped on the tubes.


I have suggested to The Squire that he get new ballasts, but he tells me “it’s not as simple as that”, whatever that means, so for now I actually use the computer by candle light.

There is a certain irony to that.