Replacing the Light Bulbs in a 384 square foot House full of Chickens, Furniture, and Appliances (aka a magic trick)

I moved to this property over two years ago. I have never changed the lightbulbs in the ceiling fixtures. I’ve switched out the porch light. I’ve switched out the bulbs above the bathroom mirror, but the lights on the ceiling have lasted over two years. Last semester a great many of the bulbs burned out, and then i was really living like a pioneer. If i wanted to read or write anything for school after sundown i had to set the lantern next to my notepad in order to see it. I told myself i would remedy this situation on the break between semesters but in actuality i wasn’t sure how exactly i was going to do it. I had a very heavy, extremely reliable and versatile ladder that was wider than the walking space i had in the house at the time with a stock tank full of chickens, a freestanding closet, and a lap top + desktop monitor in the middle of the room. There was no place to move these things to the side because the bed, the refrigerator, the dog crates, the oven, the rocking chair, and the record player were to the side. Not to mention the washer and dryer machines. I was really unsure of how to change the lightbulbs in the bathroom because the fixture was directly above the toilet. I couldn’t put the ladder directly underneath unless i somehow lifted two of the legs over the toilet. There was not enough room to scoot it over the toilet sideways because the ladder would not fit through the door if turned. One could certainly fold the ladder and then it would fit through the doorway but there was not enough room to angle the ladder diagonally on two legs so that it became short enough for me to reach the giant buttons at the top of the ladder that had to be pressed inwards in order to unfold the ladder, so it had to go into the bathroom doorway unfolded already as far as i could tell.

What happened was that i put it off until i had only 2 more days off work before my semester break was over. I went to work, finished my shift, and finally remembered to buy lightbulbs. I knew i would put those lightbulbs down somewhere and then talk myself out of doing anything with them until the chickens had grown up and gone outside to join the flock. There was a part of me that realized that meant doing a whole semester of schoolwork by lamplight. It would be horrible. So i didn’t put them down. I walked around with the lightbulbs in my hand, unwilling to set them in the shed, until i just opened the shed door, dragged the ladder out into the yard, lugged it to the house, dragged it in the house, and began setting it up. It was heavy and bulky and made plenty of noise which sent the chickens in the house into a squawking clucking angry frenzy.

I bent the ladder into a v-shape (it can be straightened or v shaped) and locked it into place. I stood it up and realized i needed about two more feet of height if i was going to comfortably reach the ceiling. I laid the ladder down again on the floor in the narrow space in the middle of the room, between the stock tank and the bed and refrigerator. I extended each side of the ladder two feet, locked them into place at this height, and turned the ladder back into an upside down v standing in the only spot in the house it would fit. Satisfied that this was the correct height needed, i moved the stock tank as close to the wall as i could get it, causing more upset with the chickens. I unplugged my computer monitor and moved the chair it sat on in front of the lap top on the tv-dinner table. To do that i had to move the rocking chair back against the bathroom door. I stood on the ladder and unscrewed the nut at the bottom of the glass dish of the first ceiling fixture. Once the nut was unscrewed i saw that there was a long beefy bolt sticking out of a hole in the glass dish that was now held to the ceiling only by my hand. I carefully pulled the dish down. It was full of dead bugs which dumped all over my arm and pants through the hole the bolt had been threaded through. I brushed them off and dumped the rest of the dead bugs in the trash can. I set the glass dish on top of one of the dog crates, set the nut on the top ladder rung, grabbed a new light bulb from the box and ascended the ladder again. I unscrewed the old bulb and replaced it with the new one. The place to put the bulb in was just a plastic socket hanging from a wire in the ceiling. It had been clipped in place so that it was facing sideways but was by no means really well anchored to anything. I made a note to myself to disturb this setup as little as possible each time i changed the lightbulbs. The fixture in the bathroom had two bulbs. The two fixtures in the main room just had one each. I liked that the sellers had matched the fixtures to the ceiling. The fixtures on the metal ceiling had silver rims and a silver nut. The fixture in the bathroom on the wood ceiling had a dark brown rim and a dark brown nut. I enjoyed this creative choice. I retrieved the glass dish and threaded the bolt through its hole. I held it in place with one hand while i screwed the nut onto the bolt with the other. Then i climbed down and flicked on the light. Next. I did the same routine with the second light in the main room. The bathroom light was more difficult. The toilet was in the way and the ladder barely fit through the bathroom doorway. This meant that i had to hook my leg in the ladder and hang off the side a bit. I was close enough to both walls to touch them if the ladder ever tipped (it did not). I would hang off the side of the ladder to reach the fixture over the toilet. I had neglected to close the lid and was terrified of dropping the nut (the key piece that held the fixture together) into the bowl of the toilet (despite my fears it did not happen). I managed to change both light bulbs in the bathroom ceiling fixture and get it put back together. Then i removed the ladder from the house, shortened and folded it back up, lugged it back to the tool shed, locked it in, and moved all the furniture in the house back to its place. Immediately afterwards the skies opened up and it rained for hours. I sat in my house with the lights on. Now the bulbs could be on the shelf in the tool shed. Task completed.

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