2 Home Improvement Sunday

Love 'em or hate 'em, but every once in a while it's time for a home improvement Sunday. And it just so happens that we had one yesterday. (After all, I can be pretty bossy.)

Remember that light fixture box from the photo of plant tags from yesterday morning's post?

We had the good fortune of stumbling across a 4-light fixed track fixture on clearance at Lowe's on Saturday. Believe it or not, we saw the fixture hanging on the wall with all of the others, but the price was not marked, and we said "wow, that would be perfect." I think we both expected the price to be high (because usually the wow-that-would-be-perfect items end up having wow-I-cannot-afford-that prices), so we were thrilled when we saw the ridiculous clearance price of $23. And luckily, there was one box left; however, I will say that we were nervous because the box was slightly dinged up and awkwardly taped, and because someone had scribbled "new" with a black sharpie on the end. (The fact that someone scribbled "new" on the box sort of makes a person think it's not new, right?) Anyway, we bought the $23 fixture knowing that we could return it if something was wrong with it.

And why did we buy this fixture? That's simple: to replace this awful thing in Tod's kitchen, which I've been trying to get him to do for years, literally. The light actually quit working a couple of months ago (maybe because I messed with it?), so it was finally time to make the change!

Once we carefully removed the parts from the "new" box, Tod held it up against the old fixture so we could get a better idea of what it would look like. Even though it was a bit smaller than we thought it would be, we were ready to give it a shot. 

The FIRST thing we did, because even though we are lawyers we are not complete idiots, was turn off the power to the kitchen (really, to the whole back of the house because I was a bit paranoid about the whole electrocution thing, especially after Tod gave me careful directions about how to most quickly deliver him to the ER in the case of an emergency). Then we removed the light cover and the bulbs. After locating the black, white, and copper wires and disconnecting them (making sure to cover the ends again with wire caps), we unscrewed the actual fixture from the ceiling. 

P.S. I'm sorry about the quality of the photos in this post, but we had the power turned off at most points so lighting was a bit of a challenge. Thank goodness for Maglites though.

Anyway, as you can see, we were left with both a discolored area that had missed out on the ceiling's last paint job and a couple of quarter-sized holes where the old fixture was screwed into the ceiling. So we made our second trip to Lowe's in as many days and picked up some white paint and some environmentally-friendly spackling paste. 

After I spackled the holes, we needed to wait 30 minutes or so to let it dry before I busted out the paint roller.

So did we sit on our laurels and watch the World Cup? 

Nope. First, we enjoyed a few laughs and a Capri Sun. (I am laughing in this photo, not crying.) 

Then, because we wanted to give the spackling paste extra time to set so gravity wouldn't pull it out of the ceiling and onto our heads, we marched ourselves outside where we proceeded to cut down a forest's worth of tree limbs. I guess I should say that Tod proceeded to cut down a forest's worth of tree limbs because you know I'm way too accident-prone and scared of chainsaws to wield one myself. But I did supervise and make him wear glasses. And at one point, I got on the ladder and caught a limb so it didn't slam into the neighbor's roof. So I think I was pretty helpful actually.

The idea was to remove the limbs that hung over the roof (and some that even sat on the roof) so the next big storm doesn't send one of them through the roof. 

While Tod finished getting in touch with his inner Rambo, I decided to head back inside and start the paint job. (Also, Tod feels about painting the same way I feel about chainsaws. Basically, he's terrified of it, which is fine with me because I enjoy it. Plus, I'm messy, and if you're going to make a mess of someone's house, it's usually better to do it while he's not watching, right?)

The painting was going fine until one part of the darn popcorn (Tod has blown ceilings) started peeling off with my paint roller. I did not panic, however. Instead, I turned on my ever-flowing fountain of patience and kept my cool. I let the paint dry a little and tried not to screw it up even more. Eventually, I was able to get the peeling under control and to camouflage it with paint. You can still see where it messed up a little, but thankfully it turned out to be a manageable crisis.

Once the paint dried a bit, we started tackling the job of actually installing the new fixture, something we had watched before but had not actually done ourselves. Very quickly, we realized that we would end up with a crooked fixture if we did not get another part, something we were calling a universal adapter thingy. It turned out to be called an all-purpose crossbar, and thanks to a helpful employee at Lowe's, we were able to quickly find what we needed. (It was our third trip there in two days, after all, so now we're like Lowe's pros, right?)

And before you say that Tod is going to get struck by lightning for riding in the handicapped cart, he was actually doing the store a favor because someone had just left the electric cart in the middle of the parking lot, and he was just returning it to the front desk. (On second thought, perhaps it is me who is going to get struck by lightning for snapping this picture and then posting it on here. Hmm.)

Once we returned home, we realized that we needed yet one more thing: some different nuts and bolts to unite the mounting tab with the crossbar. Because Lowe's was closed by this time, it was time for a trip to K-Mart instead. 

The mounting tab is on the left, and the crossbar is on the right in the picture below.

After a few logistical misses, we finally got a hit insofar as figuring out how to put the whole thing together and wire it properly. (Thank goodness for Maglites and for the internet.) 

We installed the fixture and carefully screwed in the glass shades and the bulbs. 

I'm pretty sure I squealed when we turned the power back on and everything worked.

If these photos don't do the transformation justice, then maybe you can just trust me when I say that this new fixture makes a world of difference. But honestly, what do you think? Was our home improvement Sunday totally worth it or what?


Anonymous said...

Why the picture of Zelda but not Heidi?

Nan said...

Home improvement projects put Heidi in the bed (literally). The sounds, the smells, the yelling (only kidding about that part), they're all just too much for our sensitive girl. So Heidi was not having any part of posing for a photo with the new fixture. Zelda, well, she's fearless.

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