Saturday, November 16, 2013

[Sorta] Being Bob [Vila]

Somewhere in between tapering for Chicago and leaving for Marine Corps, an unfortunate situation appeared in my kitchen. The light had stopped working.

I heard a crackling noise when I flipped the switch and had a sense as to what it was. Dave volunteered to fix it.

As weeks went by, not having a light in the kitchen was driving me crazy. The more time that passed, the more I read up on how a bad switch being an electrical hazard. And, well, that's never good.

I watched a few youtube videos and decided I was going to fix it. 

The first weekend of November was a strange one for me. I had no long run scheduled. I woke up early and ran some errands. Errands that eventually brought me to Home Depot.

I love Home Depot. The smell of freshly cut lumber is by far my favorite smell. It reminds me of my childhood and my Dad's never-ending home improvement projects. He can destroy and then rebuild anything (though sometimes to my Mom's dismay).

We watched a good amount of This Old House with Bob Vila back then. Bob reminded me of my Dad - the flannel and jeans, tool belt, boots, mustache/beard combo. Bob worked on projects in New England where people had funny accents. A big change from the job sites in the Chicagoland area I imagine.

By the time I left for college, I'd helped with a variety of projects - painted few rooms, assisted with the construction of a gazebo, sealed a deck and laid tile in a bathroom. So I was no stranger to a Handy Andy or Builder's Square back in the day.  

But on this Saturday morning, I was at Home Depot alone. It's strange to go into a home improvement store without my Dad. He has the place memorized and knows exactly what to get. I on the other hand, wander the aisles looking for the short list I've created based on a few trusty youtube videos. Though I had hoped I'd get everything I needed in this trip, the rule of Home Depot is that you'll make two to three times the number of trips you'd originally thought to complete a project. 

I pick up a switch, electrical tape and wire tester, then head to the cashier. As I check out, I wonder - Have I bought the right switch? Will I end up electrocuting myself? How bad will it hurt? I pay the $9 bill and leave the store.

I head home and decide to tackle it right away. I re-watch the youtube video on my ipad and follow the steps. I take photos along the way. This way, if I screw something up and have to call in reinforcements, at least he'll know what I did. 

In less than ten minutes, I had replaced the switch and had a working kitchen light again.

Electricity is amazing.

The old switch pulled out from the wall.

The new switch before reattaching to the wall.

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