Monday, October 8, 2012

did it my damn self.

I may start a separate blog for just my home improvement projects. Until then i'll leave them here. So, in January I made a list of everything I wanted to do to the house. It was pretty long. With living in two houses for 4.5 years, mostly at the other house, I had let a lot of things go. There was also a bit of . .  lets say resentment, about the fact that there were things broken, that my super handy can fix anything bf, never quite got around to. (and because I know he sometimes reads my blog, yes, thank you for all of the things you did fix. I do appreciate it . .) That being said. Some things were long neglected. So I started on the easy stuff. Mostly painting. I like to paint and I get bored so I do paint a lot. Then I moved on to things that i perceived to be slightly intimidating. Or heavy labor. I put in the garden. I hung some lattice. Replaced a broken lock on the door. Little things. Then one day I'm dorking around with this new mirror for above the mantle and I broke the ONE sconce that worked. When i moved in there were two. The first one broke about a year after I moved in. I covered it up with a picture and a plant. There was no way I was going to deal with electricity. Well it never got fixed and when I broke the other one I decided I better figure this out. So I found some sconces on lighting I had been looking for years for something I liked, that wasnt pricey.  For a cheap bitch I have expensive tastes! I finally found some that were $31.00 a piece, with free shipping. whoot! (yes, I do normally implore you to shop local, but I found NOTHING local that I liked in my price range) 

So one evening when the kids were home I decided to give this a try. Now. I have plaster walls. plaster is a bitch. I knew I had to go into this project with some patience. And measure a lot. I had to obviously use the existing wires coming out of the wall. But i also needed the sconces to be a certain distance apart so i could fit my bitchin new mirror between them. I had my directions and the first issue was there was no handy electrical box like you would find in a new home. There were simply two wires hanging straight out of the wall. whoot!

 First I had to flip the breaker, which was not labeled correctly. This entailed me standing in the basement flipping breakers and having Harrison yell NOPE NOPE NOPE and me yelling ARE THEY OFF? ARE THEY OFF? ARE THEY OFF?, it was fun. really. Once we were reasonably sure there was no electricity to the wires (i do have this meter thingy that the ex left for me, i did use that to see if there was juice), I was ready to start. I measured about 18 times. Because I suck at measuring. And got the new brackets attached to the wall. I only ended up with one small chunk of plaster in my eye which i deem a success. Now it was time to wire the new lights in. This is super easy. You just grab two wires that are the same color and twist them together in one of those little plastic cone things. The problem is electricity really does terrify me (i wonder how many times i stuck something into a light socket as a kid? too many i think). So i'm standing on a chair to reach all this. And I have chase standing next to me with a 3 foot piece of wood with these instructions. "if i touch that wire, and I'm getting shocked, I need you to swing that at me hard enough to knock me off this chair. you got that?" I think he was torn between pure fear at holding this responsibility and pure fascination at the possibility of knocking me off a chair with a stick.  Harrison was simply horrified. I touched the wire. It was dead. I sent the kids on their merry way. I consider this also a successful teaching moment. But that is another blog.

The install, in total took less than an hour. And they look awesome. Here is a bad picture of them. Trust me. They look good and are practically straight.

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