I have to say, this story has sure played out at my house, where my bride lovingly (I hope) refers to me, in moments of teasing (I hope), as “Mr. Conserver Man” for what she considers to be an excessive devotion to making the electric meter spin more slowly and for my habit of figuring out ways to avoid using the car.

But the 100w incandescent in her bedside lamp says that I’m at least smart enough to know when to quit:

Fluorescent Bulbs Are Known to Zap Domestic Tranquillity
Energy-Savers a Turnoff for Wives

NESKOWIN, Ore. — Alex and Sara Sifford, who live here on the Oregon coast, want to do the right thing to save a warming world.

To that end, Alex Sifford, 51, has been buying compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use about 75 percent less power than incandescent bulbs. He sneaks them into sockets all over the house. This has been driving his wife nuts.

She knows that the bulbs, called CFLs, save money and use less energy, thus cutting greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change. She knows, too, that Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey and the Department of Energy endorse them. Still, the bulbs, with their initial flicker, slow warm-up and slightly weird color, bug her.

“What really got me was when my husband put a fluorescent in the lamp next to my bed,” recalls Sara Sifford, 53. She said she yelled at her husband for “violating the last vestige of my personal space.”

Experts on energy consumption call it the “wife test.” And one of the dimly lighted truths of the global-warming era is that fluorescent bulbs still seem to be flunking out in most American homes.

Sara Sifford says that is ridiculous. But she has lost the will to fight. She also said she believes that using CFLs is “the moral, ethical and environmentally correct thing to do.”

“He has worn me down,” she said. “Honestly, the fluorescent bulbs still bug me.”