Saturday, April 09, 2011

Progress Report

I woke up this morning with the idea of finishing up the necessary wiring to get the kitchen's ceiling light working and then heading back to PA around noon. But the wiring job required my getting into the attic to finish running the wires and it was just 20 degrees and the attic is unheated. So I put everything in the kids bedroom back in shape while waiting for the sun to warm up the attic.

That meant I needed to put the outlets back together, reconnect the wires in the junction box, where the old power used to come in to the circuit, rewire the light fixture over the door, and put the three tongue and groove boards back in place. It took me about an hour to do that but I'm pleased with the way things went back together. i removed the back section of the "groove" so the boards are more ship lapped than tongue-and-groove. That little change, accomplished with a wood chisel, along with a little sandpaper work, made putting things back way easier and neater.

By then I was ready to get the wires run. I had to remove a couple more of the attic floor boards to get the old wires out and the new wires in. Not easy when you have to stand/kneel on some of those boards while fishing around in the pink fiberglass insulation, but I got 'er done.

Just as I was finishing, Mark showed up and we began the process of hooking up the ceiling fixture, the porch light, and the two switches to control them. That's also when things started to go slightly wrong. Mark was the one who took the light apart before I arrived. All I remembered was there was something "hinky" that had to be done to get the light to work with the switch.

Mark being Mark (think hyperactive, workaholic, who talks nonstop) and me being wired on no food but four cups of near espresso level black coffee, we were having difficulties communication. Mark talks so quickly that it seems he sometimes skips past whole sentences. Under normal circumstances I have to ask him to repeat what he said two or three times before I've got all the sentences needed to get the general gist of what he's talking about. Sometimes I have to ask him to draw me a diagram. I'm sure he thinks I'm a little slow in the head.

Anyway, with my memory having failed me and with Mark not having drawn any diagram of the way things were wired, we ran into an "Oh, no!" moment when we got around to powering the circuit up. Mark admits as an electrician, he's a great stone mason. And, unless you do a lot of it, it's easy to forget even the simplest circuitry.

Being late--it was already 2 in the afternoon and I had planned on leaving at noon--we eventually shrugged our shoulders and decided to disconnect the circuit and come back to it another day.

I left the Bolt Hole having two of four targeted circuits working properly. A third was wired but not working as it should (switches turned on caused the breaker to trip). The fourth requires finding the junction box hidden in the peak of the cathedral ceiling in the upstairs bedroom. Good luck on that, Mark.

I hadn't gone twenty miles when the solution to the kitchen problem hit me. It was one of those Homer Simpson "DOH!" realizations. Something so simple that it's almost embarrassing to admit. I'll tell you what it was in the next post: "A Lesson in 'Lectricity."

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