Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

Kids and Breakables

Posted by middlerage on November 7, 2013

I have several CFL bulbs throughout the house. The thing about a house with kids is stuff gets broken. More than your average non-kid house (he says staring at $1400 cracked Plasma television YK threw a lugnut at. To be fair YK was two at the time. And very excited).

I just discovered a broken CFL bulb in the kids’ room. Who knows how long it’s been that way? Depending on the website Google lands on, it is either THE END OF THE WORLD (environmental mercury poisoning) or it isn’t a big deal – miniscule mercury amounts, and dependent on age of bulb (longer use = less mercury).

But shit. Kids. Me or the lovely one is one thing. But our half formed mini-me’s? Have they been irrevocably tainted with mercury poisoning?

And it was a chore to clean up. Washing the carpet, collecting the glass fragments.

LED bulbs are unholy expensive, but I am on a mission to replace my CLFs with them. And on a mission to surf websites with a ‘meh’ attitude towards CFL breakage. Sort of the ostrich version of ‘acknowledge and move on.’


7 Responses to “Kids and Breakables”

  1. Mark Leisher said

    I looked into this in some depth when I switched to CFL and came to the conclusion that as long as you don’t stir up the wreckage, the kiddos should be OK. It’s the airborne mercury you want to avoid. So wet-mop your Superfund site well once the glass spill is contained.

    I’m about 25% done replacing CFL with LED and it’s EXPENSIVE!

    • Jerry said

      Just starting the LED revolution as well. One fixture where the CFL’s were always blink-blinking has become much more pleasant. Hoping that by replacing as needed I’m helping improve the LED economy of scale.

      • Mark Leisher said

        Heh. I hope every one of my LED purchases gets us past the tipping point into a big price drop. I feel like such a pioneer.

  2. Jerry said

    Revisiting this, and tossing aside the pragmatic discussion of the cost/benefit of available lighting options, I’m drifting back to the shit I broke when I was a kid. The two most memorable were… light fixtures. The first came earlier than most of my other memories, no specifics but there were other kids in the room and in a spastic moment of joy I threw a stuffed animal in the air (probably Leopard; if it had been Pony I would not have been so surprised) and it came down accompanied by the jagged fragments of glass that had been covering the light fixture in my room. Yikes!

    Memories this old are brittle and yellowed on the inside, but I remembering being at the store with Dad very quickly, picking out a replacement. From this distance, it seems like after the breakage I was whisked away to make reparations. That’s probably not accurate.

    The second light-breakage of note came when I was in seventh grade, and some sort of thrown object shattered one of the cylindrical shades in the light fixture in our hallway. I know that was the year because the coverup involved my cousin, who was there that year. Superglue seemed to be a good idea at the time. The reconstruction project was careful and precise; a casual observer would never have noticed that anything had ever happened. Until the heat of the lightbulb turned the glue black.

    Busted, but in a quizzical, “You pulled this off for a while,” kind of way.

    • middlerage said

      Fascinating. There must have been something about those center-ceiling shades, because my brother and I broke one too. I still have a very faint wrist scar where a fractured blade passed through.

  3. Dahveed said

    Back when I was a kid, a buddy of mine had somehow obtained a small jar of mercury. And I can remember him pouring it into his hand, playing with it, and pouring it back in the jar! This dude also had a hellacious tumor removed from his leg a couple years later and I wonder if it was related.

    I hate CFLs. I don’t like the quality of light and I hate how temperature-dependent the brightness is. I don’t like what a pain in the ass they are to dispose of properly. But most of all, I hate how CFLs cause buzzing in singlecoil guitar pickups! Makes it impossible to record. I stockpile a small supply of tungsten bulbs just for my studio. When LEDs come down in price, I’ll switch over.

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