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!


  1. Ooh! Lindsay has the right idea! I've been getting anxious to start planting but we're still covered in snow. The chances of me being able to start anything inside without the cats destroying it are pretty slim. I'm hoping to convince Andrew to help me dig a spot for a garden in the backyard.

  2. looks like someone needs a ladder

  3. Okay, Linds, you need to tell me about how to grow stuff inside! The only spot I have for a garden outside doesn't get much sun.

  4. Oh, and PS, LOVE the new light!