The Down Side of the Hill: Friday night lights, batteries included

Back in my younger days, Friday and Saturday nights were for socializing, meeting up with friends, enjoying a few cocktails, maybe some dancing. "Carousing," my mother called it.

Back in my younger days, Friday and Saturday nights were for socializing, meeting up with friends, enjoying a few cocktails, maybe some dancing. "Carousing," my mother called it.

Except when she was going to the VFW with my father every Saturday evening. That was kicking up her heels.

Call it what you like - my late nights of socializing over drinks and loud music are few and far between these days. Also largely regretted the next day.

So, I was surprised recently when my husband commented over dinner: "It's Friday night."

"Hot time in the old town?" I parried.



"Hot time? Friday night? Out on the town?"

He caught my drift. "Oh, no. I was just thinking out loud, I guess."

We finished our dinner of tuna hotdish (it's Lent - old habits die hard), and yes, "hotdish," not "casserole." This is Wisconisota, after all.

While I cleared the dishes he noticed, and mentioned, that I still hadn't changed the halogen bulb in the track lighting. His vertigo keeps him off ladders. Also, I installed the lighting about a year ago, so the assumption was that I would know how to change the bulb.

I got the step ladder out of the utility room, climbed up and looked at the light. I looked at it for a long time. Long enough that he asked what I was doing.

"I can't remember how to get the bulb out."

I climbed down, and then commenced the 21 simple steps to replacing the track lighting bulb.


• Get the laptop.

• Search Google for how to remove halogen bulb from track lighting.

• Read directions that make no sense.

• Thank lucky stars that I saw it when I cleaned the kitchen drawer, and didn't throw it out.

• Climb ladder again.

• Try putting sort of wrench, sort of fork-like tool on several junctures where it doesn't fit, and tell Hubs it's not working.

• Try removing the entire housing and bulb as he suggests, but it doesn't come loose.

• Climb back down, go to computer, search YouTube for a video.


• Watch video, seeing suction cup thingy that was also in the drawer and think I'm pretty sure I did throw it out.

• Find suction cup thingy (whew), climb back up and successfully remove face of halogen bulb.

• Realize the spanner wrench (Hubs supplied proper name) fits inside the bulb to execute a quarter turn. Bulb pops out.

"Do you have a new bulb?" He asks.

I tell him I don't. I was going to buy one, but as I looked at the many selections and I wasn't sure which was the right one.

• Hubs tries to read the number on the bulb, but print is too small.

• I find my handy, lighted magnifying glass in my office. It doesn't light.

• Hubs tries to take the battery cover off. It won't budge.

• I fetch a flat screwdriver from the tool drawer to pry the cover off, revealing two C batteries.

• Back to the utility room for the box of batteries.

• New batteries don't do the trick.

• Find the battery tester. Batteries are good. Put them back in.

• Play with the switch on the magnifying glass and - eureka! - it lights.

• Read numbers on the bulb.

• Search for the right bulb, place in cart (plan to place order later, after adding a few more things).

As long as we had all the batteries out, I also popped new ones in my electric toothbrush. Our fire alarms are direct-wired, so they were good to go.

Hubs thought we should put fresh cells in our anniversary clocks while we were at it. We have two: ours and my parents'. Along with the enormous Black Forest cuckoo he brought home from Germany, our house sounds like a clock shop every hour. We're pretty jazzed when we can get them all in sync.

I think it might have been the most exciting Friday night we've had in a while.

Judith Liebaert writes for Positively Superior and the Duluthian. She is the author of "Sins Of The Fathers," a crime novel set in Superior and inspired by a true cold case. Find her online at

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