Hey, That Was Easy! | Change a Tail Light Bulb

There are people who like it light, and there are people who like it dark. I like it light. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is pull up the shades. In the shower, I turn on all the lights so it’s as bright as possible. I’m a light sleeper and get up easily. I’ve never been one to need caffeine to get me going in the morning and once I’m up, I’m up. Mikey is just like me.

The Mister likes it dark. If the world suddenly lost power and we had to live by candlelight, I would feel the breeze rush past my face in the dark from all his euphoric fist pumping. The last thing he does is pull up the shades. He showers in the dark, barely tolerating the dawn peeking through the metal blinds in the bathroom. He sleeps like a drugged animal in transport to a mating facility and wakes up by degrees. A heavy meal or TV works as well as a tranquilizer gun. Nico is just like him.

It’s no surprise that light bulbs are important to me and not important to him.

One of the inescapable consequences of a long term relationship is that somewhere along the line you pick up rolls and duties that the other person in the relationship believes only you can fulfill. For example, I do all the cooking. Occasionally the Mister will cook, but it fills him with such dread and stress that he loses all ability to think and I have to leave very, very, very specific instructions on what to do or I will come home to 4 oz of grilled salmon marinated in 1 cup of coconut oil.

“You said one part oil to one part acid! You never told me how much one part is!”

“Because it’s 4 oz of fish. I figured you would know I meant a few tablespoons versus 2 cups of marinade! Seriously, did the fish float?”

“A little.”

I’m just as guilty. I am incapable of changing a light bulb. A light bulb will burn out and I will walk across the house, past the cabinet with the light bulbs, and say to him, “The light in the family room just burned out.” Depending on the location and wattage of the bulb, he’ll change it. Kitchen, yes. Family room, yes. Living room, dining room, laundry room: yes, yes, yes. Master bedroom and master bathroom: not even if my life depended on it. There are light bulbs in those two rooms that have been burned out for years. I watched the light fixture in our room go dark bulb by bulb over the course of two years. When the last one went out, we had a Battle of the Breezes in the dark. I was shaking my fist indignantly. He was fist pumping.

When the light bulb in my tail light went out, I was understandably in a panic.  I am not only a light person but a blinker person as well. I always, without fail, employ my blinker. I would just as soon ride without a seat belt than I would turn without using my blinker.

Thankfully, the tail light bulb is another one of those light bulb areas that meet the Mister’s approval. I called him at work to tell him my left tail light burned out, and on his way home he stopped at the dealership and pick up a light for around $3.00.

Then it sat on the entry table in the kitchen for a few days while I drove around making only right turns. In his defense, he was extremely busy. He just wasn’t going to be able to get to it until the weekend.

I was convinced something was going to happen because I didn’t use my blinker. I cringed; I waited for the blast of a horn; I looked for flailing middle fingers in my rear view mirror. I became so nervous I started using the hand signals I learned in driver’s ed 25 years ago, except then I became nervous that because it’s been so long since motorists actually used those hand signals, no one would know what I was doing. Like, maybe they would think I was stretching my arm after a particularly vigorous series of tweets at the stop light, or enjoying the grit of smog running through my fingers. So along with the left turn hand signal, I started pointing to make it perfectly clear to everyone involved that I was going places, and that place was LEFT.

At that point I became alarmed with how incredibly awesome I must look. After I turned left, I quickly turned right and headed home so I could pull out my vehicle manual.

As it turns out, changing out a tail light bulb isn’t that hard!

The hardest part was finding a bit to fit the torx screw. I ended up using the Mister’s drill accessory kit with the IKEA tool kit in my Mama’s tool box.

After that, I pulled the light case from the car, unscrewed the bulb cap-thingy, and popped out the bulb. You don’t even need to screw in the bulbs–at least not in my car. You just pop it in the same way you plug a charger into a phone.


I spent so much time bragging about my mechanical prowess to the Mister that it backfired. Two days later I was in our bedroom trying to decide if I was holding a blue or black sock when I sighed dramatically and said, “It sure would be nice to have a working light bulb by which I could pick out socks!”

He just grinned widely and said, “You should probably get on that! You did change out a tail light.”

I blinked twice and picked up the gauntlet. One week later I told him I needed him to make pasta sauce for dinner. In my instructions I told him he needed to add “some wine.”

He used 1/3 of the bottle and a bucket of sweat.



Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


    • says

      Four variations of fist pumping that I know of:
      1. Elbow in ‘V’ position in front of torso, hand in fist clench, then a swift movement – keeping elbow in ‘V’ position – toward the waist. Depending on the excitement, the elbow might extend past the waist and into the open space behind the body.
      2. Elbow in ‘V’ position and fist near neck. Yank arm so that elbow is 90 degrees. Repeat as excitement dictates.
      3. The arm motion of throwing a football but cut the follow-thru short – the hand kept in a fist clench
      4. The arm motion of punching the sky. Or like Mario punching the question boxes in the 80’s Super Mario Bros game. Start with fist near head, punch the sky repeatedly.

  1. Donna in Melbourne says

    I thought this was going to be one of those straightforward (yawn!) ‘how to’ posts you come across on other blogs…. then I found myself literally laughing out loud (I may have even snorted at one point, shhh!). I relate: I’m light, he’s dark (always wondered what that breeze was). And as for only making right hand turns… chortle! With you all the way!

  2. Gabbie says

    Like your Hubs I flourish in the dark half-lit cave I call a home, slumbering heavily like a winter bear, happy to live only by the flickering light of tv….. While my husband skips about like a hateful fairy opening curtains and flicking on lights…… I could kill him LOL

  3. says

    Good times.

    And, I might add, congrats on changing the tail light. Much to my grandfather’s chagrin (he was big on a girl being able to check her own oil, change a tire, etc.), I’ve yet to change one. My modus operandi: go into the auto parts store, buy the part and then innocently ask if someone might be available to help me . . . at which point, they take over. The years, they’re a pilin’ however . . . so I’m not sure how much longer that will fly! :)

  4. Kirsten says

    “I like cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food I’m making. ”

    Hope you are doing your own fist pumps after writing this one!

  5. Fairfax Avenue says

    Even though he’s really tall, I’m always wary of asking my husband to change light bulbs. I’m simply convinced that his pants will fall down. Two of our very tall adult sons visited last week and one task I gave then was changing light bulbs: one took down the cover and removed the 4!! dead fluorescent tubes – the other installed the new bulbs and replaced the cover. (To his credit, my husband bought the bulbs.) In 18 months my kitchen has never been brighter. Problem is, my tall sons all live out-of-town and I can’t schedule the burnt out bulbs for their visits.

  6. Lisa in Seattle says


    … and yet you keep asking us why we read you every day. I’d quote from this post, but I’d just end up copying and posting the whole thing.

    Also I am a little in love with Shaina up above for her extremely technical exploration of fist-pumping.

  7. Phaedra says

    I just snorted into my morning tea reading this! The hand signals were awesome!
    We may be living a parallel life in our house. I like the light, Jason likes the dark (and literally- the showering in the dark? check) and he will leave burned out light bulbs until I start unsafely climbing on things to change them myself! However, the tailights? He does do that for me. Congrats on the bulb change!

    • says

      My husband doesn’t mind light during the day in other parts of the house–he feels it’s important that I stress that point–but I disagree. He always works in the kitchen using the low level under cabinet lights. Craziness!

  8. says

    This. Seriously, this. I want to give you a hug for such brilliant descriptive writing, but I am too busy snorting, laugh/coughing, and whiping my eyes while nodding my head to be able to free myself from my chair.

    Oh and why do I read your blog every day? Because of YOU and your brilliant writing. In my mind your blog has become the .ooooo1% of blogs out there that break the rule of having a defined topic. I’ll read anything you write about because your writing is honest and not funny for the sake of being funny (like a lot of blogs have become). Sure I like the William Morris posts (since after all I write a design blog), but on the other hand I can’t imagine your blog without all the other great posts. Keep doing what you’re doing – I’ll definitely keep reading! :)

  9. REnea B. says

    Seriously. This is why I read your blog. Newly started for about a month. I love that it’s always different. Funny. Honest. Normal. Something that could happy to anyone. I once wore a button on my coat that said. Be different. Be yourself. I think that sums up what I feel about your blog. You aren’t trying to shoe horn yourself into a stero type blog. Love the pictures that come with the writting. R.

  10. Karen says

    Your post inspired me! I replaced the bulb in my car dome light yesterday (it’s been out for a week or so) and am loving the light going on again when I open the door. Entertaining post, as always!

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