Saturday, January 07, 2012

Home Improvement

We all have our strengths and weaknesses and one particular form of Kryptonite for me is mechanical things not having to do with computers, stereos, or televisions. I bought a grease gun a while back to lube my sliding glass door and you would have thought you were watching an episode of the Lucy show.

It is with this firmly in mind that I decided to do some home improvements around my house yesterday. Since it gets dark so early in the winter and I have to work later than I would like sometimes, I thought it would be great if I had a device installed to turn my porch light on at dusk.

I go to Lowe's and find a nice programmable one. In install it in my overhead porch light and at dusk, sure enough it comes on...and goes off...and comes on...and goes off. Turns out the enclosure around the light reflects enough of the bulb's light back to the sensor that it thinks it's daytime. Then when it shuts off it thinks it's dusk again.

So that's a no go. There is also a hall light that I think would be nice to cut on whenever it is approached, so as to not have to find the switch in the dark. I figure this is simple. Just take the toggle switch out and replace it with motion activated switch.

Well, the toggle switch is not attached the way shown in the replacement switch's instructions. And all the wires except the ground are the same color. Some advice from an electrician friend later, I am able to release the wires from the toggle switch. I attach the non-ground wires one way with the idea that if they go the other way, I'd reverse them. But I got it right the first time and it works. Except now all the wires and the slightly larger switch don't fit in the box.

Changing the wire crimps and very artfully shoving everything in solves that problem, but by this point I am so worn out that I don't even think about changing the toilet seat. Maybe today. Maybe not.

But yeah, the fact that I took any of this on is definite proof that things are changing for me.

James Taylor

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