Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Dining Room Light

For a long time, we have wondered about the "mystery switch" in our dining room. There's a light switch, but no light. We had investigated the ceiling, and thought that one place looked like it might have once had a ceiling light. In addition, it was in about the right place. Lindsay decided to climb up into the attic and check it out. With a little guidance from me, she located the box. Eventually, we opened that sucker up from the bottom. First try, right into the junction box. Of course, the power was turned off at this point. Notice my excellent choice of footstool.

After opening up a sufficiently large hole to pull the wires out, I noticed they were ... gross. This box had been sealed up before the advent of wire nuts and modern electrical tape, plus all the connections were made with soldered pig tails. It was pretty much disgusting. After clearing off all the gook, we tested the circuit. Success! Apparently the "mystery" light switch wasn't such a mystery after all.

Flash forward about a week (to yesterday). Knowing the circuit was a go, we tested to make sure the light actually worked. Again, success. And a funny picture.

What remains? To actually hang this sucker. In order to put a secure hook into the ceiling, I wanted to make sure I was screwing into one of our rafters. Since the junction box wasn't actually screwed into a rafter, I went into the attic and measured the distance from the box to the rafter. Next, I estimated where the rafter should be based on my measurement. Then I used a stud finder to find the position of the rafter in two positions near my position. Finally, I drew a line between my measurements (linear regression ftw), and I screwed that sucker in. Success! Of course, being the engineer I am, I had to go back up into the attic to get a confirmation before I hung anything from it. (Hanging a chandelier on a hook that falls out of the ceiling goes under the category of "Man, that was stupid.")

Anyway, I'll cut to the chase. We're pretty happy with it. VoilĂ !

You may have been wondering, "What's Lindsay doing anyway?" She probably would have been watching TV, but it turns out that this light is on the same breaker as our TV. So no dice. Instead, she was planting vegetables in her cool little inside planter deal. Check it out!

New Vanity

We have always hated our vanity. This is the best "before" picture I can find, but, by this point, we had already pained the cabinet doors, so it looked a little nicer than it started. Either way, it was one of those "necessary evils" that we were living with, because vanities are expensive, and we are saving for bigger fish (fishes?). A couple weeks ago (yes, I'm catching up!), Lindsay saw a vanity on sale at HD for $40. So we jumped on that. To my credit, it only sat in our living room for a couple days before I decided it was vanity day. It ended up staying like ... this ... for awhile.

For some reason, the builder did not include on/off knobs for the water supply to the vanity, so I had to shut off the water to the entire house to install it. This is/was a pain, so I decided to install some knobs myself. As it turns out, the supply lines running to this vanity are a strange breed -- I couldn't find the fitting anywhere! So our bathroom was a bit of chaos for a few days until I decided to give up and just install them like it was before -- knob free. In any event, it looks like this now:

Foundation Repairs

So about 2 months after we moved in, we discovered there was a foundation wall on the west side of our house that would seep/leak during a bad rain. It was pretty close to the drain, but it was still annoying. So about 5 months ago (I know, I'm a bad blogger), I fixed it. It's not too difficult, plus working with concrete is fun. In this case, I used hydraulic cement. Before hand, I cleaned out the joint really well with a steel brush and a "chisel" (see: screwdriver).

I have several other spots I would like to shore up, and then we have plans to 'whitewash' the basement walls with Drylok paint. I'm told that's a real joy, so I'm sure it'll warrant a blog post! :P