In almost every room, there is an overhead light fixture; no problem there. But switching one on usually turns into a scene from a vampire movie, with one or both of us shrieking in fright, shielding our eyes and yelling “Turn it off! Turn it off!”
The lights in this house are freakishly bright, the kind that could be used to land an aircraft.
What is puzzling is that these aren’t high wattage bulbs. Throughout the home, our previous owners left us with an assortment of LED, CFL and incandescents equivalent to 60 watt bulbs… which is considerably better than in one of my previous homes where the previous occupant left one light bulb for the whole place.
I don’t know if it is the bulbs themselves that are set to “harsh white”, or is it the fact that they are affixed to ceiling fixtures that their light bounces off the gleaming white ceiling making everything look brighter than it really is. Could it also be because some of the fixtures have three bulbs in them that the light radiating from them is more than we were used to, coming from homes with very little in the way of overhead lighting, mostly table lamps?
Either way, in a home with two people who are prone to migraines, this was a problem.
When time permitted, after busy work days and between home maintenance projects, we rummaged through our packing boxes to locate our respective supplies of light bulbs. To our surprise, we both had accumulated generous supplies of 60 watt bulbs, chandelier bulbs and tri-light bulbs for reading lamps, but low wattage bulbs seemed to be in short supply.
On our next socially-distanced trip to the hardware store, we followed the “one-way only” lines on the ground to the light bulb section, fascinated with the mind-boggling array of types, sizes, lighting tones, and wattages. At this point, all we wanted was a simple 40 watt “soft white” bulb. It didn’t have to be anything fancy, just something to take the edge off the brightness of our current operating room grade lighting.
After fighting with our buggy with the bad wheel that kept wanting to direct us to the furnace filter section, we finally found the store’s 40 watt collection and grabbed a couple of packages to test them out.
That evening, as soon as it started getting dark, I chose one of the bedrooms for the pilot test. I replaced the bulbs in the ceiling fixture with our new 40 watt bulbs. When the mission was accomplished, I put the cover back on the fixture, jumped off the bed like a superhero after a successful mission, and put my finger on the light switch.
When I flicked the switch, rather than finding soothing warm light, I found myself squinting again in the harsh bright light. The 40 watt bulbs didn’t make much of a difference.
I remembered that when I was hunting through my boxes for the 40s, I had a single 25 watt bulb. I could not recall when I bought it or why I had it in the first place, but perhaps it was worth a try. I ran downstairs to our pop-up shop of light bulbs and found it easily enough. I replaced it in the test fixture, finally finding some degree of relief. That was when we thought it was time to get some more 25 watt bulbs in hope of relief.
So it was back to another socially-distanced trip to the hardware store, following the “one-way only” lines on the ground to the light bulb section, fighting with seemingly the same buggy with the bad wheel and a mind of its own. We found the 25 watt bulbs, but only two packages of them.
Given the scarcity of this hot commodity, we gently placed them in our cart like they were gold bars, and proceeded to pick up the other hardware items that had quickly added themselves to our list.
That evening, as soon as the sun went down, I was back, standing on the bed swapping out the single 40 watt bulb and my old 25 watt bulb, for two fresh 25 watt bulbs to see if it made a difference.
When I hit the switch, to my great relief, I no longer needed sunglasses to walk in the room. The light was, as Goldilocks would say, “just right!”
With the remaining package of 25 watt bulbs, we replaced the bulbs in the master bedroom, to our great relief, and added 25 watt bulbs to the shopping list for the next hardware run.
Surprisingly, 25 watt bulbs are not as easy to find, so whenever we spot some, we pick a few to expand our collection of back-up bulbs for when the ones currently in use have completed their 1500 hour life spans.
With fall rapidly approaching and nightfall coming earlier, we are pleased to be spending our evenings basking in the glow of warm gentle lighting, rather than lighting more appropriate for prepping for surgery.
Should we need stronger lighting for reading or for delicate up-close work, we have more than enough table lamps and task lighting to suit the occasion, and ample bulbs from our merged households, to keep the lamps going for decades, without giving us migraines.
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