Back In My Day, Gnomes Used To Push Electricity Uphill. Both Ways.

Brooke here:

This rag was used on a 2'x2' section. No joke.

The entire weekend has been spent fixing things that shouldn’t have needed fixing.  I made the mistake of spilling some paint on the floor of my office, and the rag I used to clean it up came back black.  Swell.  I called around for estimates on deep-cleaning wood floors and the lowest was $1.50 a square foot, or half the cost to completely strip the floor to the bare wood and slap a new coat of polyurethane over it.  Which led, of course, to hours and hours of scrubbing on my hands and knees.

I had it easy.  Brown’s weekend projects were rewiring or replacing switchplates and fixtures.  He has electrician’s tourette’s; the harder the project, the more entertaining it is to listen to him work.  After he finished what sounded like an especially difficult installation, he started on the new fan in my office.*  Eight feet below, I asked him what had gone wrong with the other project.

Everything, he said.  Someone had wallpapered over the outlet; there were five neutral wires; the sockets were poorly aligned…

Five neutrals?  Is that a problem? I asked.

No, he said, yanking down the old fan.  It’s unusual but not too bad... he said, poking around the socket … Someone didn’t know what they were doing and they ran a … he stopped and peered in the hole with a flashlight …  What the… ?  Oh fu**ing shi***ck!

Track lighting, before and after adding a bracket.

Apparently the old ceiling fan was adhered in place with a thumb tack and a wish.  The socket wasn’t screwed to anything and the wiring wasn’t properly grounded.  Brown threw up his hands, blamed it on electricity being a new invention at the time they built the house, and started from scratch.  Later, after he got the new lighting up and working, I learned several new words when he saw the gap between the ceiling and the light fixture.  He fixed it by rewriring the fixtures through a couple of sconces, but there are few things more frustrating than completing a project and then having to redo it.

On the bright side (don’t hit me), my office is now nicely illuminated.  With the lights back on, I’ve started the final trim and roll.  I’ll do a full progress breakdown in a later post, but here are some old status shots:

Adding blue paint with a brush pad. Note the old track lighting and precarious ceiling fan with its hidden dangers.

The closet was also painted:

My office, with yellow walls and blue closet.
Same view after painting and trimwork. The walls have been rolled, and the floors scrubbed all the way to Delaware and back.

More later.

*I decided to replace the clunky oversized brass fan with a smaller low-profile one after multiple comments sang their praises – you have my thanks, but perhaps not Brown’s.

3 thoughts on “Back In My Day, Gnomes Used To Push Electricity Uphill. Both Ways.

  1. Heh. I’m finding much similar in the renovation of a 1905 Victorian, mostly reverting to using the word, “Censored!” As an expletive to avoid turning the neighbours any more pale than they currently are following a bit of a wobble de-lathing a ceiling to get at the knob and tube in the first place.

    I rather suspect the two of you are going faster – and more cleverly – than I.

  2. Apparently the old ceiling fan was adhered in place with a thumb tack and a wish.

    Augh! Augh!

    I have this fear of ceiling fans falling on me. I used to sleep directly under one when I was a kid, and it would swing all over the place. I used to lay there unable to sleep for fear that this night it would finally come off the ceiling and fall on me. I keep *telling* myself that fans are put in place by people whpo know what they’re doing, and it’s okay to walk under a moving ceiling fan…really…yeah.


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