Thursday, October 15, 2009

And Then There Was(n't) Light

Larry would like all you fanatic DIY-ers to know that this week he both unclogged the tub and replaced the shower head. Back off! he says. I can fix stuff when I want to.

So we won't talk about the dining room light, okay? I mean, everyone has to remove the globe and then screw/unscrew the light bulbs to turn their overhead fixtures on and off, right? A few months ago, I had Theo "turning off" the light for me in this manner; as he procured a set of hot mitts from the kitchen so he could handle the (very warm) incandescent bulbs, he couldn't help asking, "Don't you think you guys should call an electrician?"

Ya think?

Larry blames this unfortunate situation on me, by the way. The light is attached to a ceiling fan (and we know all about these ceiling fans, don't we?) which mysteriously stopped working while Larry was away last summer. Summer, as in very hot. So I begged a neighbor (a DIY-er who can't resist a challenge) to see if there were something simple he could do to get it running again. Simple, as in, quick and not electrician-calling-worthy....

3 hours and a complete fan dissection later (I told you, he can't resist a challenge), he had fixed the fan; only now the wall switch (which had activated the light) went to the fan blades instead. "No problem," I told him. "We'll just use the overhead chain for the light."

That overhead chain? It broke off shortly thereafter. Hence, the "hot-mitts" method of room illumination. And, no, I don't know why we haven't called an electrician. Especially since Theo isn't around anymore to unscrew the light bulbs for me. But if I were to call an electrician now, it would be as if I wasted my neighbor's time. I'd feel bad about that.

And Larry? He just doesn't want to spend the money. I can't say I blame him. We're both tired of single-handedly propping up our moribund economy. Maybe America does need us (and our spending), but honestly? We're starting to feel like chumps.

(Ceiling fan picture lifted from - it has an entire video about installing your own ceiling fan)


  1. I think I can make Larry feel better. My husband, the engineer, and his cousin the electrical engineer spent months trying to replace the ballast on the kitchen light, which in the end, my 11 year old climbed up on the counter and connected in like 5.2 seconds. The problem? Neither of the engineers could figure out how wire nuts work!

  2. My sweetheart installed a ceiling fan in our bedroom. It works fine as long as the lights are on. Turn them off with the chain and it wobbles and makes noise--disturbing, irritating noise. So for about two years now, we unscrew the light bulbs every night and back on every morning. And yes those bad boys get HOT! Once Larry fixes yours, think he could head over to my house?

  3. I think maybe you should consider finding a handy man you can put on retainer.

    You can often find on in your local yellow pages or one that advertises in your local paper. Ask to see references, call the references, etc.

    A hand man will be able to fix the fan, replace the faucet, etc all probably much cheaper than calling a licensed electrician or plumber. Now if you were completely re-wiring the house or installing a new bathroom then call the plumber or electrician. However, these small little odd jobs...a handy man is what you need.

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  5. Beverly, you make me feel so much better.

    And Jane, I called a handyman once, a number of years ago, to patch a long-standing hole in my living room ceiling. Larry sent him away, saying he could do it himself. It was embarrassing.

  6. Perhaps a new ceiling fan might be the more cost-effective solution?

  7. Oven mits! That is awesome. My Dad is currently on attempt #11,467 of trying to fix the ice maker in their refrigerator. He is the DIY KING, and is SURE that he can get it to work. Currently, getting ice at my parents house involves a butterknife and a wrench.

    Seeing as I have essentially married my father, and am thrilled with what I have to look forward to.

  8. The switch for the fan light cost less than $5 at the hardware store anbd takes maybe 30 minutes to replace. But your way sounds more entertaining. :)

    My dad turned my living room ceiling fan, as it seemed to be loose. It then stopped working. I replced the entire fixture, as it came with the house. Still did not turn on. It stayed that way intil this summer, when we were trying to save money and open windows, use fans instead of using the window ac's all the time. Once I took down the fan and really looked at it, I found a wire was broken inside a wire nut. It was a 30 second repair, which took me 2 years to get to. :)

  9. Wish I lived closer. Although, I actually have no idea where you live. I could fix that. It sounds like you just need the power source coming from the switch to be changed with the power source to the light.

    It sounds like a fun challenge. (even the 2nd time around)


  10. I've spent half of my life turning lights in closets and the basements that way .. its much easier when you dont have to deal with the globe!

  11. We adjust our bathroom lights this way, except there is no globe cover. My mom thought I had burned-out lights. Um, no, it's just too bright at 6am in there with all the lights working.
    We might be hicks.