Whenever I do home improvement projects, I always emerge feeling manly and satisfied. Unless they don’t work. After one of those, I emerge feeling sweaty, inferior and seriously questioning what my fate will be in my frequently-imagined post-apocalyptic future.
This last weekend my project was finally installing the motion-sensitive light fixture that my brother gave me on the back of the house. I figured this wouldn’t be too hard, if everything was up to code in terms of junction box etc., with the light that was there now.
My house has some quirks with its electrical system as we’ve discovered. The previous owner was quite a capable handyman, but his profession was paint and drywall, not electrical, and sometimes the things he did … well, let’s just say they worked, but few were able to figure out how exactly. I hate to make a joke that sounds like a culturally insensitive Polish joke, but the light switches in my house are backwards – up is off, down is on, and apparently that’s the way it’s done in Poland, where the previous owner was from. I tried to rewire it myself, but 20 minutes and several visions of toiling in Lord Humungus’ sugar mines later, I let them be and decided I could learn to love the Polish way.
When I took the old light fixture off the wall, I was very happy and relieved to discover that there was a standard, up-to-code junction box underneath. I happily rewired things, installed the mounting plate, and then spent 90 minutes trying to fit the light onto the mounting plate.
I don’t know wtf was going on with that mounting device, but the one of the screws just wasn’t long enough to mount the damned light fixture properly. I was able to mount it, but there was a gap of about a centimeter on the one side because of the too-short screw. Making it worse was the issue that once I had wired the light fixture into the junction box, I couldn’t just set it down to figure out what to do, I had to mount it or unwire it. Net result was that I had to hold the thing up there with one hand while I worked on my tiptoes with the other hand.
I was frustrated, perspiring, and ready to throw in the towel and contemplate a world with no light in the backyard, when Timmi came down with a great idea – why not use the Mighty Putty we got for Christmas and see if that helped. At first, I thought her idea was crazy, but honestly, I was supposed to use putty or caulk to seal it after the fact anyway, so I thought, what the heck?
Very long story short, fast forward a half hour later, and that light fixture was securely affixed to the wall and nicely sealed to boot!
Now all I need to do is work up the courage to leave the light on without me standing there with a fire extinguisher. We’ll deal with that bit of paranoia in another post.
General, Rants, Shameless Consumerism