I came back down the stairs to where Rob was waiting. He was staring upward at the unlit light with a strange expression on his face. I followed his gaze, and froze.
"Oh, God DAMMIT!" I yelled.
The light was not, as I had imagined, simply a bulb that needed to be changed.
No, no it wasn't.
Instead, it was a light fixture covering the bulb.
And not just any light fixture, mind you, but one of those stupid glass ones with a sort of a lip around the edge that is held on by screws. The Super Cool-O Long-Arm Commercial Light-Bulb Change-O-Rama did not, by the way, include a freaking screwdriver attachment.
Nor did it include an attachment to keep the aforementioned light-bulb cover thing from crashing down upon your head once you loosened the screws appropriately.
This was ... not good.
I tried to reach the fixture to take it off, but even on tiptoe, I couldn't quite get a grip on it. I stepped up a couple of stairs higher, and tried to lean out while holding onto the railing to get a grip on the thing.
Rob looked a bit unsettled.
"Um," he began, "am I supposed to, like, catch you or what?"
I looked down, and noticed that I was in a bit of a precarious position. "Yeah, that would probably be good, Rob."
I stood back down for a minute to reassess the situation, and a thought occurred to me.
Now let me try, for a minute, to describe this part of the stairwell. At the point where the light fixture sits, the stairs make a right-angle turn. Standing on the second step up from the corner and looking down, I was facing a wall. On the ceiling between me and the wall was the light fixture. Really, I decided, what I needed was some way to brace myself between that step and the wall so that I could reach up in the middle and attack the screws holding the bulb cover in place. I looked at the wall, then down at my feet, and considered whether or not my leg would be long enough to kick out and brace against the wall while leaving my other foot solidly on the steps.
I did a high-kick, and ended up with my foot on the wall, propping me up, just as I'd planned.
"Ohhhhhh, this is SUCH a bad idea," said Rob, turning away as though he couldn't bear to watch.
I ignored him, and tried to reach for the fixture. Jackpot! I could reach it, and barely feel one of the screws. I stood up on tiptoe with the one foot remaining on the step, and attempted to keep my balance with one hand while fiddling with the light cover with the other.
Rob looked down at my feet. "And you're doing this in SANDALS, too!" he exclaimed, horrified, taking in my black platform slip-ons.
"Well, dude, I mean, these give me two extra inches," I told him calmly.
"And you need the height, yeah, yeah." Rob did not look convinced. "Are you sure you ... I mean ... oh shit, this is SUCH a bad idea ... I ... I should really go get a camera," he said, and turned as if to go grab one from the office.
Luckily, the impending train wreck of what I was doing kept him from camera searching. I'll bet he's wishing he'd gotten it now, though.
"I need higher heels," I muttered, struggling with trying to pull off the bulb cover.
"Oh, yeah, like THAT would be a GREAT idea," said Rob, covering his face briefly in exasperation.
This was working, though. This would work, eventually. Once the bulb cover was off, I could step down and use the Amazing Cool-O Bulb-O-Rama(tm) to change the actual bulb. Yes, this was just a small obstacle in the path to enlightenment.
"It looks like it's getting closer," mused Rob, angling for a look at the bulb cover. "Maybe if you just pulled there and pushed there ..."
"Dude, I can barely feel the screws, and I can't SEE them at all. Can you be a little more specific about what the hell you mean by 'there?"
Okay, yes, I was a bit snippy. I admit it. But you try doing a half-split on a stairwell against a wall for fifteen minutes while you try to take off an ancient bulb cover and see how much serenity YOU can maintain.
Finally, FINALLY, the bulb cover came free, and the light bulb was there, in view, and free to be changed! Now, I could use the Cool-O Long-Arm Commercial Light-Bulb Change-O-Rama(tm) for its stated purpose, to wit, changing the light bulb at the top of the stairs!
"Okay, Rob, grab me the changer," I said, heady with glee.
Rob just looked at me like I was out of my mind. "Um ..." was all he said, and looked up at the bulb.
Oh. With the lightbulb cover off, the bulb was easily reachable with my bare hands. No need for the high-tech changer. A bit sheepishly, I switched out the bulb with a new one, and stepped back down to survey our handiwork.
"Okay, I am NOT putting that freaking cover back on there," I declared.
Rob said nothing.
"I'll just put it up in the room, and if Charlie wants it back on there, let HIM do the splits for half an hour!"
Rob looked away as I stomped up the stairs with the offending light-bulb cover.
"All right," I exclaimed, undaunted, "Well, that didn't work out so well, but I KNOW that those bulbs on the track lighting in Dad's office will need this! Let's go try that!" I grabbed the Cool-O Long-Arm Commercial Light-Bulb Change-O-Rama, and stalked off towards Dad's den, with Rob following behind, his face the picture of longsuffering.
But really, how hard could it be to change out a track lighting bulb? They're just out there, you know? Not covered by anything -- it should be easy.
It should be...
[to be continued here]