LED me tell you watt I know about lightbulbs

Because the husband is nearing retirement age, we get a number of invitations to free steak dinners where financial advisers explain the complexities of investing and persuade you to secure their services.

We’ve never gone to a free steak dinner hosted by a financial adviser, but I’d go to a free steak dinner in a heartbeat if an expert was explaining lightbulbs. The complexities of navigating retirement and lightbulbs are now on the same plane.

It doesn’t even have to be a steak dinner. Make it a free hot dog in the parking lot of a big box store and I’ll be there.

The last time I went to buy lightbulbs, I read up on them beforehand. That’s something in itself when we now have to “read up” on lightbulbs. I even read “How to Read a Lightbulb Package.” Talk about feeling like a dim bulb.

Lightbulbs now come with extensive narratives.

Meet the CFL: curly, medium base, affordable and cost-efficient, with just a touch of mercury for a hint of danger. It has a delicate side and may not hold up to power surges. Not advised for workshops. Your 20-watt CFL is comparable to a 75-watt incandescent (or is it a 60-watt?), a 53-watt halogen and a 14-watt LED, give or take a handful of lumens. Or is it lemons?

Once you calculate the cost of the bulb in relation to the estimated yearly energy costs, divide by the lifespan of the bulb in relation to the lifespan of you, and multiply by all the negative reviews you read about the bulb online, your head explodes.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that yearly energy costs are important things. I mean no one wants to be spending more money then they have to. I just think that there are a lot of simpler ways of going about it. Like changing energy providers by checking out things like these Pulse Power reviews – see it’s a lot simpler than trying to work out how energy efficient a light bulb is.

Then there is the matter of light color. Why must being energy-efficient cause me to look dead? A lightbulb should not make a room and the people in it look as though they are in a funeral home. Manufacturers are working on the problem, and they’ve made considerable progress in that many energy-efficient bulbs now simply make people look critically ill as opposed to the deceased.

Offerings as to the color of light range from soft to softer soft, and softer soft, to cool, cool and crisp, and bacon crisp. In many cases, you simply don’t know how it’s going to look until you get it home and try it on. Like a sweater.

My second request is that a lightbulb not cause eye strain. I dropped hefty change on an LED bulb, stuck it in a lamp and turned it on to read. I had to take the shade off the lamp to see the words on the page.

Hotels are the worst. Flick on the lights and you spend the evening waiting for them to power up. If you planned on reading, you’d be better off in the hotel bar.

I’ll hang in there to reduce our energy consumption until we get it right. In the meantime, the kitchen is the best lit room in our house. We have recessed lights (halogen, not too pricey, more energy-efficient than incandescent and fairly long-lasting as long as you don’t touch them with greasy fingers). We camp in the kitchen a lot.

The lighting is good, but the weight gain has been terrible.