I was resigned to the need to replace the light fixture, since, well, that's what we had to do. It's one of those older style ones, with a ceramic base, and really older-style wiring, and I supposed this would be as much as imaginable like the old lights we'd make in home economics class back in middle school, just, take out the old fixture and screw the wires around the proper poles of the new one. I envisioned something like how you connect the power to a model trail set. bunny_hugger was foreseeing many kinds of problems, including that we'd have to find the fuse for the attic, and that's almost certainly the same circuit as the bedroom, which would mean I'd have to work without the spotlight or anything but the flashlight, plus, who knows if they even make fixtures compatible with the old wiring anymore? But if we got an electrician in to do it right how much might have to be fixed? Would an electrician even touch it without a major overhaul of the house's wiring?
Then we got lucky, because I went back and looked. The base of the light fixture was actually fine and intact. What I had broken apart with my head was just a doohickey that plugs into the light fixture, and provides two electrical plug outlets as well as a new base for the light bulb. I took the thing to Ace Hardware, since I had no idea what they were called, and asked the woman there if they had one of these. She said, oh, yeah, one of those doohickeys, which I guess must be the proper name for them, and found one that was nearly an identical match for the old one. So our light situation is fixed and now it turns out we can plug stuff in up there, which will be useful for the spot light or a box fan or anything else we might need to work up there.
There's still work to be done up there, of course. In order to get at the ceiling boards I had to move the stuff that's normally stored in the attic out of the way, and mostly, I moved it towards the center, where the roof is tallest. This ought to be reversible, except that things had to be moved side to side because some spots weren't accessible otherwise, especially when I had to bring tools and the spot light and all that around. So, bunny_hugger has despaired of getting that all back in order, especially when it'll only be in order a few months before the roofers get down there.
Trivia: After cracks were discovered in the fins on their Saturn I-B rocket, the Skylab 4/3 crew began referring to the booster as Old Humpty Dumpty. Twenty minutes before launch the crew received the message, ``Good luck, and God speed, from all the king's horses and all the king's men.'' Source: Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story, David Hitt, Owen Garriott, Joe Kerwin.
Currently Reading: From Eudoxus to Einstein: A History Of Mathematical Astronomy, C M Linton.