"Okay, you push it up there, and I'll steady it," he said.
Can you say, "Famous last words?" I knew you could.
In what was beginning to resemble a modern remake of an old Keystone Kops film, Rob and I struggled with the bulb-changer, trying to align the suction cup with the top of the bulb (not too difficult) and push it on there so that it would stick (surprisingly difficult).
I did not, as I recall, hit Rob in the head accidentally with the pole.
Nor did I knock any knick knacks, books, videotapes, or comic books off of Dad's shelves.
I also did not put the end of the pole through one of his TV's, or into the tape slot of any of his VCR's.
Unfortunately, these small successes were about all that didn't go wrong during what should have been a simple operation. The light fixtures simply did not want to stay still long enough for us to get the suction cup attached, although, to give us credit, we did try for quite some time, approaching it from different angles and in different ways.
Really, very little blood was shed, considering, although some of the language I used did blister the paint a bit in spots. (The less said about that, the better.)
"This is SO not going to work," said Rob.
I ignored him and changed the subject. "Well, as long as I've got this thing, I might as well knock down some of the cobwebs up there," I said, and began to do so.
Now, when I say "cobwebs," I'm not sure that really gives a good picture of the state of Dad's ceiling and track lighting cobweb-wise. I could say that probably no one had disturbed these cobwebs for at least 5 years, and possibly as many as 40. The ceiling is at least 15 feet high in spots (given that I'm 5 foot 7 and the pole gave me an extra 11 feet), and even Dad's six-foot-two frame couldn't reach those bad boys with a feather duster.
Determined to at least salvage SOMETHING from this debacle, I madly attacked the cobwebs with the pole, flailing through them and spinning them around it until it looked like an eleven-foot stick of cotton candy.
I kid you not, man. There were some serious cobwebs up in there.
"Generations of spiders have made their home here, finally sure they'd be safe. No one will find us here, they think, until suddenly, DISASTER STRIKES!" intoned Rob in a voice of mock sympathy.
I glared at him.
Finally, I pulled the pole back down and grabbed a paper towel to wipe off the giant spool of spider webs.
"You wanna try the suction cup again?" Rob asked.
I leaned on the pole for a minute, needing the support it provided. I was emotionally exhausted, defeated, and done.
I sighed a deep, heavy sigh.
"No," I replied, shaking my head in resignation, "no, I think that's it. I give up. We're done."
I glared at the Super Cool-O Amazing Commercial Light-bulb Change-O-Rama. "Stupid fucking thing!" I declared, and gave it a kick.
It stubbed my toe.
Hey, at least I had light over the stairs, now. That was something, right? And fewer cobwebs in Dad's office. Surely, that was an accomplishment all its own! Sure. Sure it was.
Rob and I trudged back into the front room to gather up the different pieces of the bulb-changer. We spent some time trying to figure out how each one was supposed to work, and arguing over whether or not it made sense. We even pulled the old light bulb from the stairs off the top of the garbage pail to see which attachment(s) might have worked on it, before deciding that, yes, maybe it would work, but not here.
It was, perhaps, one of the most disheartening experiences I'd ever had.
Rob and I looked at each other, shaking our heads over the whole thing. "Why do I get the feeling that I am never going to read about this in your blog?" Rob asked, rhetorically.
I didn't answer. I couldn't. All I could think of was, "How many programmers does it take to change a light bulb," the words chasing each other round and round in my mind.
Apparently, more than two.