Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Flip the Switch, Already!
My attempts at doing home projects is about as successful as trying to get a pet rock to shake hands. It's inherited. My dad sucked at home maintenance, and I guess God thought it would be funny to pass that trait to me. Still, I attempt to learn and do. If I don't have to rely on "freebies" or even "cheapies" from family or friends, I'm happy. I've learned to change the oil in my car (but why would I; I can get it done by someone else for $21). I can now change out my own brake pads. I've learned to hang new light fixtures and change out old outlets and light switches. This last one is still a lesson in progress. Kally's Kris came over while we were having our basement remodeled and ran wires for a new light in Cameron's bedroom. I planned to do the switch myself, but as this was my first attempt at putting a new switch where one didn't exist, I asked Kris for a little guidance. Over the phone he said to take the blah blah blah (I won't bore you with details of how to wire a switch). Anyway, I got my stuff together and headed to the basement to handle the job, which was a little more complex than I thought it would be. The carpenters had rigged a makeshift light fixture that involved an extension cord connected to exposed wires at the swith box. Anyway, I made the assumption that they had made the contraption work. I disassemble the rigging and proceed with the wiring. (Let me interject here that Kris is very good at explaining things. While it seemed to me to be complex, it was still very easy to follow his instructions. It also helped that he labeled each bundle of wires.) Anyway, I finish my work, check my wiring and flip the breaker switch. Nothing. I flip it off and rewire, making sure my connections were sure. Back to the breaker. Nothing. Did I misunderstand him? I mentally go over his list of instructions. No, I did it like he said. A little more fiddling around, but still nothing. I'm baffled. Maybe there is something I'm missing. I call Kris. He goes over the instructions and I check it all. Looks good. He's baffled. (He said that it could be he forgot to connect it at the breaker, but I'm sure he was really thinking, "How do you spell incompetence? J-A-S-0-N.") Anyway, on Saturday, he and Kally make a special trip to Mt. Sterling to try to resolve my issues (of which I have many, and only a few can they resolve). Kris heads downstairs, tools in tow. He checks for current along the wire bundle. Nothing. Must be a problem at the breaker box. My breaker box, as most do, contains lots of switches. Someone labeled them years ago, but used terms that were somewhat cryptic. I've tried to relabel as I've dealt with the various outlets and switches. Also in the box, but unlabeled, are four new switches installed by Kris--a double switch for the water heater and two single switches. One is for the light in Cameron's room to which I've become aquainted. The other one is covered in black tape and I is not connected to anything. Kris looks the box over and hesitantly, as if he's not quite sure, removes the tape from the extra switch and flips it. Now, I've often said that my life is a musical. Kelsee and I can sing a song to fit just about any situation (ask Cameron about our duet of "Would I Lie to You?"). Immediately upon Kris flipping this extra switch and a beautiful glow imminating from Cameron's room, the following filled my head: "Why can't they get the picture? Why don't they understand? We're not dealing with the planet of apes, we're talking about the modern man. So you people with them itsy bitsy teensie weensie tiny minds... Here's your sign. Here's your sign." Hey, at least I wired it right.