I was in the basement hallway earlier this week and noticed a wall switch and outlet that have never been updated to match everything else. Rather than pay the electrician $90 an hour for something that would take him less than fifteen minutes to complete, I decided to do it myself.
A stop at the locally owned electric store (shoutout to Dunker Electric) resulted in a new wall switch, outlet, and faceplates ($3 well spent). I got his advice on my task. Then, last minute, mentioned three other “backwards” wall switches in the house that. When you flick the switch up, you turn the light off. It drives me bonkers.
“Is that an easy fix?” I asked.
“It’s a three-way switch, right?”
My blank gaze served as my response.
“You have more than one switch that controls the same light?” he clarified.
“Take the faceplate off. Then unscrew the box from the wall and turn it upside-down. Screw it back in place and you’re all set.”
Sounds easy enough, I thought.
“Do I need to cut the power first?”
“Nope, no need to.”
Famous last words.
I returned home with my confidence in the rafters and my ego inflated; in my mind I’d already successfully changed out all of the electrical. I am so good I can’t wait to tell people about this!
The first 2 three-way switches (I mean, I even know the lingo cause I am that good) were quick fixes. That left one more.
Why is it that at-home projects throw curveballs? Why is it not all smooth sailing easy breezy 1-2-3? Anyone? Anyone?! Yeah, I don’t know either.
I turned the third box upside-down. It was hard getting it back into position, because the wires behind it were in the way. Screwing the box back into place was tricky enough. Once complete, it was no longer flush with the faceplate.
Given that my OCD prevented me from tolerating backwards switches, do you think a non-flush switch is even an option? Please.
After many more tries, I finally decided the final option was to move the wires. I reached in with both hands – BOTH HANDS – and repositioned them.
An electrical current shot straight up both hands.
You don’t need to cut the power first my ass.
I involuntarily screamed, my eyes opened wide, and my heartbeat accelerated. In that split second I’m pretty sure even my nasal passages were cleared.
Naturally, I did what anyone would’ve done; called my brother. I told him I’d just shocked myself and neither died nor peed, and had since started sweating. All was well.
Naturally, he did what any big brother would do: laughed his ass off. (Well okay, I can’t confirm that his ass actually came off as I couldn’t see him. Still, you get the gist.)
It’s safe to say this was my commode for the week.
But, I’ll have you know that I got the job done (after cutting the power. I mean, I’m not a complete amateur). With faceplate in place and everything beautifully flush, I turned the power on at the breaker and then flipped the light switch.
The lights illuminated. For a second. Before the breaker kicked. And then wouldn’t reset. And I was still sweating. (I continued sweating for the next half-hour, fyi. Not like the dripping, beady sweat, but the thin, filmy kind.)
This is the point at which I ask – How is it a good thing? – in order to find the ode within the commode.
How is it a good thing exactly that I played both electrician and electrocutee? Did you hear me say my brother nearly laughed his ass off?
Yeah, that’s all I got. But making him laugh is no small feat. Plus, he’s the funnier of the two of us, so getting him to laugh makes me swell with little sister pride. It’s the best compliment he could give.
Also, if you’re wondering, I called the electrician. He’ll be at the house Monday to fix the blown switch and change out the two old ones. It’ll take him less than fifteen minutes, and I’ll willingly shell out $90 for a full hour of labor.
Categories: Odes To Joy