Saturday, December 12, 2009

Light Bulbs

After years spent wandering about in semi darkness I have come to love light bulbs. The brighter the better. You will not find a 60 or 75 watt bulb if it is safe for me to use a 100 watt. As soon as the sun starts going down or if it's a little cloudy outside you can find me walking through the house turning on the lights. Not only in the room in which I will be working but also in any room that I can see out of the corner of my eyes.

There used to be a time in my life when I depended on flickering oil lamps and later the noisy Coleman lanterns. There was always a healthy supply of flashlights available if we needed to go into a room that didn't have a lamp lit. The only thing a light bulb meant to me at that time was the long boring evenings with a sock stretched over it so I could darn a hole in the toe or heel of the socks that kept filling the darning basket.

So you can understand my love for light bulbs that are actually serving the purpose they were designed for. I how ever do not like the new energy saving style. Imagine try darning a sock with it. But that isn't the reason I don't like them. So far all the ones we tried have not lasted longer than the old regular ones and they are a lot more expensive to buy. But the thing that really made me leery of them was the one evening while we were eating supper the one bulb started smoking furiously. We turned the lights off and removed the offending bulb but were concerned about what might have happened had we not been in the room. Several weeks later another one did the same thing, so now we really don't want to use them, and then recently for the lack of something better to read I started reading all the fine print on one of those energy saving bulb packages and was not at all impressed by what I read. Anything that requires a haz-mat team to clean up a broken light bulb is not something I want in my house.

All that aside. Over the years I have discovered the best place to hide Christmas gifts from my husband is in plain yet not too obvious sight. I had purchased his gift several months ago and hid it in our closet on a shelf hidden among a stack of assorted empty boxes. All was fine as everyday he would get what he needed in the closet and never noticed a thing and I was serenely happy knowing that it would work just as it did for years already.

It all came crashing down on me tonight when the light bulb in the closet burned out and he went to fix it. As he was standing on a chair he called me and asked "I'm really not supposed to see this am I as he pointed at his gift." I choked and stammered while he stood there looking immensely pleased with himself for having discovered his gift. As you can imagine I am not nearly as thrilled as he is and have no idea what else to get for him and Christmas is less than two weeks away. What should I do?


  1. I agree about the light bulbs! And for the gift, I think I would wrap it and stick it under the tree! :~)

  2. I'm with you on the light bulbs. This whole thing is far less green than they would have us believe due to the mercury and potential for toxic exposure to us (if they break) and to ground water while they sit in landfills.

    As far as the present, if he looked happy don't let him have it until Christmas but rest in the fact that you know for sure it's a winner!

  3. I too go around turning on the lights, I hate to be in the dark.
    Maybe you should swap his gift with one of the children's and let him look puzzled.... of course, then you would have to share the secret with the children, hmmmmmm...... I like the suggestion that you give him a light bulb.
    Margaret B

  4. I completely agree with you about those light bulbs, and I decided it when I read the packaging too. We'd also noticed that they didn't last any longer than the other ones. Now I've bought up a bunch of the old kind for fear they'll quit making them and we'll be stuck having to buy the new ones.

    I loved your Christmas story too. I remember making a similar item for my mom, complete with a poem. I put seashells on mine because we lived by the ocean. She's kept it all these years.

  5. I agree about the bulbs. We live in the country and I think it feels cozy to have a little bit of light throughout the house when all I see is the darkness outside...As far as the gift, I don't know what to suggest--Sorry...I don't know how you kept it a secret, I'm terrible at it! :-)

  6. While we always had electricity, the house I grew up in was always dark, even during the day. But, I prefer natural light, so I keep curtains simple and open them as soon as the sun's up. However, at night, I like simple glows rather than glaring brightness. I like to mimic nature as much as possible and it helps me sleep better.

    I get the Lehman's catalog and am looking into some oil lamps. I have plenty of table-top ones, but I'd like one to hang in my dining room. When the power goes out, it's nice to be lit.

    One time, growing up, our power went out and I was happy that I had an excuse not to do my homework. My father pulled out one of his many antique oil lamps and set it in the middle of the dining room table and had us all sit around it and do our homework. He tried playing it up like "this is how they did it in the old day" (we all liked the old days). Unfortunately, having to do my homework dulled the enthusiasm I might have had for working by lantern light.

  7. Living in the dark too long brings on deperssion. I remember how depression it was to be in a room with with dark walls and flickering kerosene lights night after night in cold Canadian winters. Plus you don't light the lights until it is almost dark in order to save a few cents in fuel. That was the life of the Amish in my area. But thanks be to God, I finally came to the realization that you don't go to hell because of electric lights... well anyway I left the Amish but not because of the kerosene lights.

  8. I think one reason people want bright lights at night is that they live in climates where there's a lot of gloom in the days. Out here in the desert, we get 350 days of pure sunshine-- so at night, the darkness is very pleasing as it helps it feel cooler, too...but when I lived in the rainiest part of the country, I HAD to have BRIGHT BRIGHT lights at night and when it rained...I would walk around snapping them on when it clouded over, too!

    I think there is a little metal washer you can buy, that goes between the regular lightbulb and the fixture, and it helps save energy. That way you can have the good kind of bulb (the old-fashioned ones) and save energy...

    As to your husband...well, he looked at the present, and let you know he had, so no surprise for him!!!

  9. I'm with you...the new "energy saving" light bulbs...aren't. My eyesight is poor and good lighting is a MUST for me if I'm to do any type of hand work after the sun goes down.
    Many is the night I've gone to bed by the flickering of the fire place. I well remember when the upstairs bedrooms were "electrified" and that meant one lone bulb hanging from the ceiling!

  10. I can see why you would love a good strong light bulb after being deprived of light for many years.
    I've had good luck with the energy saving ones, but sounds like you had a bad batch.
    A shame about your husband discovering the surprise. It's hard to keep a secret in our house, for sure.

  11. I don't like the so called energy saving lightbulbs. I've decided if it comes down to it I will use battery operated lamps or oil lamps before I use them. A friend of mine had part of of living room catch on fire from a lamp with one of those bulbs in it.

    It's too bad that you husband found his gift. I hid dh gift with the pots and pans. He'll never find it there.

  12. Scary about the new bulbs! I have managed to avoid them, but I know that soon they will be all we can get.

    We use them to heat our well house as well as raise our chicks, so I'm not sure what we'll do when we have to get the new 'cool' ones.

  13. We have discovered with the new bulbs there is a flicker that gives us headaches to read by. So, that has detoured us from buying them along with no real cost savings(if anything, they cost more!).
    We, also, have lots of rooms on dimmer switches. I love a house lit up but with a glow,not bright light.

  14. Well, I agree with Elle. I could hide anything in the kitchen, and my hub would never find it! LOL

  15. I'm with you all the way about the new light bulbs - plus I don't like that they start out dim and get brighter. That bugs me for some reason. I like having my lights on too! That's a tricky one about your husband's gift. Let's don't want to have to spend more $$ for something else and try and trick him, so maybe write him a poem on cute paper or something about what a great dad/husband he is and then later give him the gift. That stinks but I'd probably still wrap it and give it to him (and be disappointed of course!). You know he didn't mean it though, so that helps. You should've sent him in with a flashlight! ha ha

  16. Make him a shirt and hang it in the closet. :)

  17. I'll tell you what's even worse about those new light bulbs- the government wants to make them the only type of light bulb we can buy and are phasing out the conventional ones within a few years. Yuck!

    Here's what I would do about the gift- find a completely different box and wrap it up so that it looks like something different. He'll be surprised when he unwraps a weird type of box and then opens it to find...the gift you bought in the first place.

  18. I'd say don't give him that present but make him wait until all the presents are opened and he didn't get what he thought he saw. Imagine the look on his face as he anticipated "the gift" and he didn't get it. Wait for a while--after dinner or a few hours or a day--and then give it to him. Make it some sort of a game but make sure he DOES get it after all is said and done.


  19. So DH buys all these 'green' ugly things for our lights & can lights, cost a pretty penney. The can ones started blowing in a month ... after (2) times I made him call the manuf. Did you know that there are specific ugly lights to go in the upside down position? they don't tell you this.

    We got all our money back TG! I am truly tired of this green & global warming stuff.

    Merry Christmas, TTFN ~ Marydon
    **NEW BLOG**

  20. Oh, no! SOrry to hear about his finding the present. :( I would also wrap it up and put it under the tree or do a scavenger hunt to make him find it. LOL!

  21. I agree - they're ugly and a menace to clean up. I broke one while renovating our bedroom. I never break lightbulbs but since this one had to have 10 steps to remove and discard safely - it had to be the one to break! It figures!
    I agree with Elle - hide his present in the pots and pans!

  22. I've heard some bad reports about those new fangled light bulbs too. I won't use them. Besides there's no way to clip a lampshade to one. Isn't there a concern about the mercury or something in them too and proper disposal? I think Edison had the right idea and if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

    About hubby's Christmas present, I would find something else but much less inexpensive, maybe even a joke, and put it in the same size box, wrap it and be sure he gets it first. Then give him the one he saw. Thats how my sense of humor works.

  23. Hi Joyful -

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I popped over here and love your blog! I've signed up as a Follower. I hope you'll sign up at mine so we can stay in touch. :)

    The best way to keep snooping husbands, kids, and others from discovering their gifts is to wrap them as soon as you get home.

    Does your husband love computer stuff? How about a portable hard drive? Or a digital camera? Ha! Those are the two top things on my list. I thought maybe someone else might like the same thing.

    Susan :)

  24. I'm new to your blog - it is very enjoyable. I will join your Followers list :)

    I am the opposite - I turn off lights and only have lamps on as I think it creates a cosy environment.

    I find buying presents for my husband very difficult - he has everything he wants so by the time Christmas or birthday come around I struggle to dream up gifts. This year I have bought him lots of little things:)

    God Bless

  25. I agree about the light bulbs--one can never have too much light. Heaven will be full of it, shining from the face of Jesus.

    I tuck my husband's gifs in my bottom sock drawer. He never looks there. Or, wrap it as soon as you get it home, then even if he discovers it, all he'll see is wrapping paper.

    Thanks for your comments on my blog. I appreciate your perspective.

    Audience of ONE

  26. I don't like the new lightbulbs either!

    My husband likes to "hide" my gifts in plain site, too. One year he put them at the top of a bookcase -- one that I walk by several times everyday -- and I never even noticed them. My only excuse is that I'm short...

  27. MaryAnn,

    This whole time, I felt I was the only one who was fascinated by light bulbs. Granted, I've grown up with light bulbs my entire life, but like you, as soon as I see the sun beginning to set, I start turning on lamps, making sure hallways are lit, etc. I love light fixtures so much and always keep my eye out for fancy bulbs. We bought a few colored bulbs last year. They were fun to watch the colors on the ceiling and walls. I agree with you on the energy saving bulbs. Odd shape, don't last long, and aren't very "economical", as they say.

  28. I tried the new light bulbs and didn't like the flickering, the warm up, and that they didn't work on a dimmer switch. They also burned out much faster than ordinary bulbs and are so much more expensive. I was straightening up the front porch over the weekend and came across a bag of them, all burnt out. Does anyone know how to dispose of them? Do they have to be taken to hazardous waste collection day (once or twice a year around here)?

  29. I am a lighting design professional and couldn't help but notice the many comments about the "new style" lightbulbs.

    Here are some pointers on making the investment in CFL bulbs work for you.

    1) DOn't buy them at the Dollar Store or Wal-Mart. If possible get them at a large lighting supplier in a bigger town. The discount stores sell the "seconds."

    2) CFL's can be purchased for use on a dimmer switch. They cost more

    3) Most CFL's are designed to work in a vertical position. They will not last long at and other angle.

    4) In rooms in a household like the bathroom where the light is switched on and off a lot, it may be better to install a lower wattage CFL that stays on all the time, since the on/off action more than twice a day shortens their lifespan.

    5) Consider stages of lighting rather than dimmers or overlighting. For example, in the living room, three 4 watt CFL's may provide enough illumination for playing and resting and normal activities. Cleaning and so forth could use more light so you could have a lamp or two with a 26 Watt bulb for more light.

    6) CFL's are made with continually lower amounts of mercury, but if you are truely concerned, wait about three years for LED technology to advance to the point of affordable in home use. They will last 10-12 years or more.

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