Home improvement Uncategorized

Let there be lights

My house is currently not on fire. I consider that a big win.

While I know most of you operate on your day to day life without your house on fire, most of you have not just changed out four light fixtures. And most of you are not as inept at home improvement as I am.

My wife decided we needed new light fixtures when we bought our house. The light fixtures we had were fine with me, as they did their no. 1 job, which was to provide light. Apparently, that was not enough.

We visited a few lighting places, and she spent a prolific amount of time online researching lights. On occasion, I reminded her that our house was, in fact, bathed in light. This did not stop her.

The fixtures all arrived on the same day. My son had gotten home from school and he called me. “Dad! We’ve got, like, six boxes on the front porch!”

“They’re light fixtures,” I said.

Cue the disappointment. “Oh. Well, yeah, I’m going for a bike ride.”

I installed the first one fairly easily, with only one text message to my brother-in-law, who is an electrical engineer.

Next two, piece of cake. Only caused my wife to say, “That’s it. I’m going to the store” one time. In case you are wondering, I’m a lot of fun during home improvement projects.

The last one was the real challenge. And that had a lot to do with the factlight-directions that the instructions appeared to have been written, fed into Google translate as one language, and then fed back into Google translate as another. And then repeated 11 times. Among the instructions (and any typos and errors (including “elecrian”) you find here are verbatim from the instruction sheet, which tells you how helpful they were):

“Please cut down the power when you instaII Ihe Iamp or wire.”

“Please follow the install procedure when install the crystal and the shade.”

“The lamp should hang on the humidity lesser and in breezy environment.”

And my personal favorite: “Please asked professional elecrian(who had got electrician certificated) to install your Iamp.”

Feeling confident here!

The directions were, frankly, pointless. And the last fixture had three different sets of wires for three different lights. And by my math, there was only one set of wires coming out of the ceiling.

So I called my brother-in-law. He gave me easy to follow directions on how not to burn my house down. Apparently, all the black wires on the fixture can go to the black wire coming from the ceiling. Same with the white wires. Prior to getting my brother-in-law’s OK to do this, I just assumed that doing this would make our house explode. In short order, the last of the lights was up and actually working.

My wife has since identified some other lights in our house that she feels are worthy of replacement. Now that I have the procedure fairly down, I think I will be up for it. I shouldn’t even need to call a certificated electrician.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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