Miniature bulbs aren't jolly fun


December 18, 1997|By Ed McDonough | Ed McDonough,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TWO WORDS CAN turn me from jolly to Scrooge-like in the blink of a bulb -- miniature lights.

I hate dealing with those confounded devices. It started with an aunt with an upside-down tree (that's a story for another column), and then through eight years of marriage.

While I certainly wasn't happy about the end of the marriage, it has one benefit -- I've all but eliminated those pesky little lights from the household holiday scene.

I've always been a fan of the larger, screw-in bulbs. It's easier to replace bulbs and the wiring lasts longer. Heck, I'm still using sets of screw-in lights that are more than 40 years old. And then I've got about two dozen sets of miniature lights -- all less than 10 years old -- in various states of disrepair.

The problems with miniature lights are twofold.

First, the thin wiring is prone to short out. This is especially true of lights tossed around outdoor branches, but lights used for nothing more complex than outlining a bedroom window have fallen prey to shorts.

The other problem is with the bulbs themselves. On larger sets of lights, bulbs work in circuits of 10, and if one in that 10 is loose or blown, that group of 10 doesn't work. The simple solution is to change bulbs until you find the one that doesn't work, except no two sets of miniature lights use the same bulbs!

There are dozens of different bases for miniature bulbs. Some have two small prongs while others have a rectangular prong under a round base, but those round bases come in an array of sizes.

But even if you're lucky enough to find the right base, you still need to make sure the bulb is the right voltage. Of course, you can take the burnt-out bulb out of its old base and try to thread the wires of a new bulb into the old base -- if you have the skillful hands of a surgeon.

So now that I get to make all of the lighting decisions, it's back to the larger screw-in bulbs. I do use a few sets of miniatures, but only for an outside tree that's too tall to clip on the larger fixtures.

Anybody out there interested in about two dozen sets of miniature lights that don't work? Perhaps among them, you can find some replacement bulbs to fit your sets. Give me a call at 410-751-1007. They're free to a good home.

Banner lacrosse turnout

More than 60 children from Northwest Carroll have signed up for the new Francis Scott Key High School Junior Eagles lacrosse program, which begins in the spring.

Organizers are trying to determine registration fees, home field for games, what league travel teams will play in and other details.

Organizers will accept registrations through Jan. 1. Girls are especially encouraged to sign up to allow for two teams divided by age. The program is open to all students in grades one through eight in the Francis Scott Key High attendance area.

The group also needs adults willing to help run the program. A lacrosse background is not necessary.

An organizational meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Francis Scott Key High cafeteria.

Information: Nancy Owings, 410-775-7541.

Holiday schedules

With the holidays, the regular trash and recycling collections on Thursdays will be pushed back a day for the next two weeks. Trash should be out by 6 a.m. Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.

Tree planting

If you bought a live, balled-in-burlap Christmas tree and you don't know what to do with it after the holidays, Taneytown officials want to hear from you.

The city can arrange to plant the tree in one of its parks, where you and your family can watch it grow for years to come.

Information: 410-751-1100 or 410-756-2677.

Pub Date: 12/18/97

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