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2012-366 Day 8 – Home Improvement

So here we are, eight days into my resolution and an eventful day has pushed this update to the very limit. I would have missed my resolution if this was anywhere east of the Rockies!

But it’s not, and part of the reason this was so late has been a recent spate of home improvement projects. Some of you know that we recently bought our condo and have been in it for just over three months now. The first month and a half or so was a flurry of planning, projects, and painting. This initial rush died down as the holiday season wound up, leaving a couple projects in mid-completion (I only asked that you politely ignored the hanging light that had the chain tripled up on itself, please), and quite a few still on the drawing board (quite literally in fact, as Jess wrote a list on the chalkboard closet doors she painted earlier). Since we decided to stay home for our week off between Christmas and New Years, it seemed like a natural time to knock some things off the list.

Jess has heard this rant several times since we moved into the new place, I dislike home improvement projects. I dislike the fact that I have to go back to the home improvement store three times to accomplish a single task. I dislike that fact that I’m kind of starting my home improvement knowledge from scratch, and so there are many things I’m still learning how to do. I’m used to succeeding at most things I do (er, I’m not sure how to phrase that without sounding kinda prideful, or at least anymore than I already am guilty of), and each project presents a new challenge annoys me.

Take the hanging lamp for instance, we had a ceiling fan in the dining alcove that shorted out just after we moved in. We decided to replace it in November, so I went to the store and got a new ceiling fan. Taking the old one down revealed that they had knocked a piece of the ceiling out with the old installation (pretty much everything we’ve found in the place has had just a little extra something knocked out or beat up, the repairs before us were just a bit sloppy), but the wiring and bracket seemed sound. That was, until I put up the ceiling fan we got and discovered that the screw locations on the fan were too wide to fit onto the bracket mounted on the ceiling. No problem, I thought, we got a pretty big fan, so a smaller fan would probably have a smaller bracket, and we didn’t really need a large fan in the room to begin with. So I went back to the store and bought a smaller fan, got it home, took it out, and discovered that even though the fan was smaller, the bracket was the exact same size as the larger one.

Back to the store for the third time in the same day. I returned the smaller fan, went and looked at a hanging light and determine the bracket would probably work, but I’d find an employee and talk to them first. I found a guy and told him my story, he opened a ceiling fan and saw what I was talking about, and he then showed me an adapter that should make the brackets mesh. At this point, however, I wanted to go with a sure thing, so, after having him open the hanging light to verify the bracket would fit, I selected that one and took it back to the condo. Jess and I threaded the wires through the chain, I hooked them up to the ceiling wires, tightened all the ceiling pieces and tested the light. It worked! Unfortunately we then looked and noticed that the chain was too long (I had balanced the light on a chair on the table before). This all had taken place on one day, and at that point it was well into the evening, so I made the executive decision to zip tie the chain back on itself to an acceptable length, and I was retiring from the light hanging business for the time being.

I was finally ready to unretire during our winter break, and, with an improved understanding of what was going on, removed the light, disconnected the wires, removed the excess chain, shortened, stripped, and reconnected the wires and chain in a little under half an hour. And my project for today, putting a door handle on our storage unit (it had only the deadbolt on it before, which made it difficult to shut easily as you had to make sure it was seated correctly which required holding the deadbolt housing and turning the key at the same time) required only one trip to the store to acquire the handle. The tricky part was that our drill (an awesome christmas present from my parents) is corded, and there are no plugs out where our storage area is (even daisy chaining my two 25 foot extension cords would not reach the nearest outlet). I struck upon some inspiration, however, and pulled the car into the carport where our storage unit is. My initial attempt met with failure, however, as the small converter which plugged into the auxiliary jack (you know, the old cigarette lighter) on our car which has a single three prong plug did not generate enough juice to turn the drill even once. I was about to give up for the moment until I remembered I had a power strip that plugged into the auxiliary jack in the trunk.

Pulling out the power strip, I noticed the packaging said it provided 150 watts. I thought that might work, so I plugged everything in and gave it a shot. I got a good two second burst from the drill, which I could do again after a two second rest. I marked the door, and with three two second pulses on each side, was able to get the initial holes. I then swapped out the drill bit with a Phillips bit on an extender and was able to get the handle’s screws most of the way in. I was able to finish up with a regular Phillips head, and success was mine! It’s a little off center to the left (Ssh, don’t tell Jess!), but I was just glad to be able to do it in one shot! I guess there’s hope for me yet.

The problem solving part of me likes home improvement projects, the rest of me could definitely leave them. That being said, I’m grateful to have a home to improve and a wife who in excellent at it in her own right (she was painting and replacing cabinet hardware while I was doing all this, but this isn’t her blog entry ;).

Weight: 240 Max: 240 Min: 240
Yearly Mileage: 4 miles
Current Belt: Purple – Next Belt: Orange – Next Test Date: 3/12
Fitocracy Level: 5 (2399 points, 799/1000 to next level) – ID: disciplev1

Posted in Matt 2012-366, Matt General. Tagged with , , , .

2 Responses

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  1. Mom said

    Darn. We considered the battery operated drill, but they are huge and clunky and don’t fit everywhere, and of course we thought you’d always have an outlet… Ooo, did you think to maybe drop an extension cord from upstairs? (A 50-footer would probably do 🙂

    Suggestions for one less trip per project:
    2. Run it by dad.
    1. Google it 🙂

    Love, Mom

  2. Matt said

    I think it was a one time exception, and it worked fine. Don’t want to pop the screens out again, they were a big enough pain to get back in when we replaced them all.

    We’ve drastically cut down on trips (and projects too, but that’s beside the point), but I’ll keep those suggestions in mind. 🙂

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