Adjustments around the house


Have you ever changed something in your house that completely tossed the normality into chaos?

I mean something stupid… something subtle… something so ordinary that if it hadn’t changed you would never even consider it. And I don’t necessarily mean change in the manner you might be expecting, such as painting the walks, buying furniture, or hanging different curtains. I mean change in all forms and definitions, including addressing some overdue maintenance or what might be thought of as the most minor of adjustments.

Like a lightbulb.

Have you ever changed a lightbulb and tossed the normality of the room into chaos?

A few weeks ago, a bulb burned out in our kitchen. Obviously, this was not a big deal in the grand scope of things. For purposes of our story however, consider…

  • The light happened to be a ceiling fan unit, which was designed to use four bulbs.
  • Of course, the four bulbs had been there since we moved in, were visually the same in appearance, and we didn’t have any bulbs of that style in any of the bins, closets, cabinets or other assorted places where extra lightbulbs are stored.
  • It took a couple of weeks before our schedules managed to include running down a checklist of errands.

Sure… sure… if it had been some sort of big deal, I would have immediately jumped in the car, headed to a home improvement store (or home improvement aisle or retail outlet with some bulbs on a shelf), and picked up four lightbulbs. It simply never became that big of a priority.

Even when a second bulb burned out.

For whatever reason, we haven’t been in the kitchen all that much in the past few months, and the kitchen has been virtually vacant during evening hours. You know, evening hours, when it’s dark outside and you might find yourself more inclined to turn on the lights. And even when we were, the unit had four bulbs, with two coming on at the flick of a switch, and we could see everything we needed to see.

Back to the idea of replacing lightbulbs and causing chaos though… Terry and I were standing there, selecting lightbulbs, and sorting out our options.

Standard or decorative? Soft White? Bright White? Cool or Daylight or… yeah… you get the idea.

We made our selections, eventually arrived back at our home, and I opened the package and switched out all four lightbulbs, replacing the old with new.

Bulbs changes… cue the music… chaos begins.

After a couple of weeks with reduced lighting in the room, united with changing the color or wattage equivalents or whatever measures lightbulbs are using these days, the room was brighter and different.

It’s a good different. Or, at least an acceptable different. And eventually, we’ll get used to it and things will no long seem different. (Until one of those bulbs burn out, all of the spares in the second package we bought have been used elsewhere, and we hop back on the merry-go-round.)

Things like this happen all the time around a house. Projects and work and repairs that may or may not need to be done, with decisions involved in the process. And… forgive the saying but allow the intent… when finished they shine a new light on some things.

Terry and I own a van. It’s old. It’s well used. And late last October, the lift support struts (or whatever fancy, technical name they have) for the rear gate decided they had been through enough.

It actually happened without warning. They just failed one day. And because some guy named Murphy loves such delights, they failed just as I was preparing to load the van at the start of a day filled with craft fair activities.

I was speaking to a couple of people that weekend and they were filled with all sorts of helpful advice. Lift supports are tricky to replace. Lift supports are costly to replace. This person went through this finding gate struts. That person went through that with their mechanic. Another person was quoted thousands by the dealership.

This and that and another and yikes. Scary stuff. All with just enough of a hint of truth or familiarity that the advice made sense. So…

Old vehicle… well used vehicle… no time in craft fair season to drop it off and not have it available for an extended time vehicle… I grabbed a couple of 2x4s to brace the gate open and bravely ventured into November and December with broken rear tailgate lift support struts.

Eventually the craft fairs disappeared into the rearview mirror, I had a bit of time, and managed to look into the process and cost for replacing lift supports on a van. (Quick tip: You can find a ton of stuff on YouTube.) And there on the screen was my answer… wait… come on… THAT’S IT?

Beyond the process of ordering the parts… which is another story, for another time… the entire replacement process involved the whopping investment of about ten minutes of work. Pretty much literally spent more time getting a couple of tools to start and cleaning up after than I did on the actual work of replacing both struts. Plus, I even had the cash to pay for the parts in my wallet. It was not expensive.

And it was one of the most emotionally disturbing efforts I’ve ever turned in. Why disturbing? Well… I already told you. On one hand, it was done and I took care of it. Van fixed… cue camera capturing me emerging from the garage with my hands rubbing on a towel while taking a deep breath acknowledging the completion of a job well done. And on the other… yeah…

The project was beyond easy, affordable, and yet I had spent more than two months fighting with and struggling against and working around a broken tailgate with expectations of difficult and pricey. More than two months of frustrations because I couldn’t find ten minutes for research and another ten minutes for repairs.


They say at times that ignorance is bliss, and in many ways, it’s true. I’ve also heard that the only constant is change. Amazingly, lifting the veil on either… looking around and investigating things in the desire to be just slightly less ignorant… putting in the time to fix something with the hopes of bringing it from where it is back to where it was… requires adjustments. And sometimes, those adjustments are frustrating... sometimes, chaotic.

Most of the time, at least for us, they’re not boring.


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