I have to replace a faulty light and ceiling fan switch. It’s a deluxe model that features a dial for the lights instead of the regular ON/OFF lever. I don’t know what the previous owner did in the kitchen that required ‘Barry White’ lighting moods, but that’s why we cleaned the place down to the last molecule before we moved in.
The last time an electrical project of this scale was attempted and successfully completed was in the Winter of 2001. My dual position on that mission was tool holder and tool giver-outer. The task; to add a set of A/C receptacles inside the ‘shed’.
I have a small closet accessible from the outside of my condo that the realtors call a ‘shed’. You have to give Southern Californian realtors credit for being creative because labeling this closet as a ‘shed’ helps to raise the value of property and lets SoCal men think they’re getting a little piece of Tim Allen nirvana.
This closet contains the controls to an automatic sprinkler system that the previous owner installed to assist him in watering a 20’x6′ patch of grass. That’s right kids, Mr. Barry White in the Kitchen needed a modern appliance to water an area about the size of four king size beds.
Never mind that I needed to use it just as badly once I moved in and became acclimated to life just ten miles to Disneyland.
The controls were plugged into the closet’s light fixture, requiring that the light be left on 24⁄7 so that Lawnboy 2000 had the power to command the five nozzle watering system when scheduled to do so. If the lights were turned off, so was the sprinkler system. The same ‘shed’ that should have empowered the previous owner with the ingenuity of Tim Allen, had obviously failed in that task.
Someday I will tell you why it took my wife and I five weeks to discover the reason why Lawnboy wasn’t doing it’s job and thus how the grass almost completely died.
After an explanation of the problem, my father-in-law, Stewart, AKA Alpha Male, took one look at the situation and said, “piece of cake”.
Now Stu is the toughest man I know — he is the real Clint Eastwood. Any day of the week he will kick ass, kick it some more and then ask for names only after he’s finished cooking a side of beef on the BBQ.
After a quick trip to Home Depot, installation began while I was taught some basics in safety while working around the lightning bolt that runs through my home. I took detailed notes.
The plug installed just as easily as Stu had foreseen, except there was small wire that protruded out from the light switch faceplate and dangled to the newly installed plug above.
We both knew this wasn’t finish work and I didn’t want to bother with hiding the wire behind sheet rock because it’s in a ‘shed’ and a ‘shed’ should never have that finished look. Still, the wire would fit better if some of the sheet rock behind it could be chipped away, where it met with the faceplate.
So with a hammer and screwdriver in hand, Stu began to dislodge expertly calculated measurements of sheet rock. After several hits, we took a look and decided that one more chip ought to do the trick. Without fanfare, the Alpha Male took one last wack at the hammer.
Upon contact, an arc of brilliant blue flame, with the words Ben’s Revenge tattooed across it’s beautiful color, reached out and slapped Stewart upside the head and against the back wall of the closet. In that same nanosecond required for all this to happen, I launched out of the ‘shed’, arms flailing, jumping up and down and screaming like a little school girl — thinking surely my father-in-law was now in Heaven and already giving the Angels advice on proper posture for a great golf swing.
The electricity left with a storm, resetting every circuit in the house. All was quiet for a full minute. And then I could her my mother-in-law from inside the house exclaim, “now what have they done?”
Stu came back to life with a laugh and a chuckle. I put my pants back on, rejoined manhood, and walked over to the Alpha Male who was inspecting the screw driver, the tip portion completely fried out of existence.
On that day, everyone but the Sears Craftsman tool made it safely through, but that’s ok because Craftsmen tools come with a lifetime warranty even if you introduce them to 8 million degrees Fahrenheit.