[HOUSE AND HOLMES] Lighting Up The New Year

Rob Loos, Ledger Columnist

This New Year I made a resolution that I would be a lot smarter with my home renovations and less dependent on my super contractor genius friend, Dave. My new mandate got a quick test as I spent time with my mom who lives in Ohio.

She actually lives, eats, and breathes Ohio. She insists the word “Ohio” comes from an Indian word meaning: “The most beautiful place in the world.” I remember that I learned in 4th grade that “Ohio” was the Iroquoian word for the “big creek” that separated the state from Kentucky, but I quickly realized that you don’t argue with Mom, especially after she’s had painful knee surgery.

She lives in a housing development where the homeowners association mows the grass, rakes the leaves, and plows the streets when it snows. Unfortunately, they don’t do anything inside the house. When I arrived, Mom proudly boasted that she recently had “the web installed.” I showed her how to magically connect a smartphone to Wi-Fi; she was impressed that after all my years in Hollywood I finally learned something useful.

I was honored when she asked me, and not my mechanical engineer, I-can-fix-anything, brother-in-law Jay, to tackle a special challenge in her garage. She pointed to two overhead sockets with burned out light bulbs. Could I replace the bulbs? “Of course,” I crowed.

I immediately wondered how I’d reach the 14-foot-tall ceiling to change the glass orbs. One bulb was mounted to the chain-drive electric garage door opener and the other to the ceiling. Maybe I could stack several storage boxes and use them as a plastic ramp? Or I could situate the firewood like Lincoln logs and climb a log mountain? Or maybe I’d just use my Hollywood superpowers and shoot webs from my wrists to swing up there like Spidey.

So I did what I always do in pressure situations: I broke down and phoned my ace contractor friend Dave. I reached him as he was helping his super-model girlfriend pick out the perfect Lhasa Apso.

I whispered into the phone and quietly asked for his help. He laughed and responded, “Everybody in that development has the same house so they all have the same problem replacing lights. Ask her neighbor if you can borrow a folding ladder.” I snuck next door to my Mom’s neighbor, Frank, borrowed his ladder, and successfully replaced the lights. Which once again goes to prove, “If I can’t figure it out—and I know that I can’t—my friend Dave can.”

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