There’s a right way to change a bulb in an electric stove. Then there’s my way. Here’s how things played out when the culinary light left our world this weekend:
Step 1: Open stove door and observe that the bulb has shattered, leaving a jagged base stuck in the socket. This will happen when the bulb is as old as the oven: 9 years. It served us well.
Step 2: Gingerly touch the edges of the bulb’s base. Oh yes, they’re sharp.
Step 3: Fetch a Winnie the Pooh band aid while my wife and I discuss alternative means of extracting the bulb remnants.
Step 4: Wife suggests a potato. We have none. Perhaps a crispy apple will do the trick. I pull one from the fruit drawer and begin carving it carefully so that it will fit into the hole.
Step 5: Watch sadly as the apple fails to grasp the ragged edges. Too mushy. Apple juice streams down the back wall of the oven.
Step 6: Grab the nearest pair of pliers and begin to gently twist the bulb.
Step 7: Notice with consternation that the soft metal has begun to buckle and flake off.
Step 8: Stop using pliers to turn the bulb. Start using them to rip the bejeezus out of the bulb.
Step 9: Observe many small metal fragments cascade into the stove. Children gather by the kitchen table to watch the unfolding spectacle – not unlike spectators at an accident scene. Daughter asks if it hurts for Daddy to be half inside the stove.
Step 10: Bulb tugging activity intensifies as I become increasingly frustrated. Sweat pours from my brow. It’s me vs. the stupid shard of metal.
Step 11: Did I gouge out some of the porcelain surrounding the socket?
Step 12: Enough of the metal is now gone that the bulb begins to turn on its own. In a fit of victory, I give one last yank.
Step 13: Large sparks shoot out of the socket as the bulb breaks free and I fall back. On my duff.
Step 14: Wife checks that I’m OK. Wife is heard to utter, “Uh oh” as she looks up at the stove’s digital clock and sees…nothing. It’s dead.
Step 15: I wonder aloud if perhaps I should have unplugged the oven before embarking on this adventure (I told you I’m not handy.)
Step 16: Concerned that perhaps the oven is no longer getting power, I reach, like a moth drawn to the porch light, into the socket and touch it.
Step 17: My fingertip and arm confirm that 110 volt AC current is indeed flowing through the socket.
Step 18: Make the long trek down to the electrical box in the basement. Dollar signs dance in my head as I wonder how much this might potentially cost us.
Step 19: Reset the breaker – it had tripped, but only sorta halfway. Good thing I didn’t pursue electrician school.
Step 20: Return to kitchen to a relieved wife. The clock works. We're saved.
Step 21: Vacuum up the stove, screw in the new bulb, and smile to my once-again happy family as light returns to our midst.
Your turn: I know some of you have your own home repair stories from hell. I hope you’ll share one in a comment.