Sunday, February 17, 2013


Saturday was the day we set aside to replace the ugly fluorescent light in our kitchen that had recently started to fill the whole house with a terrible burning electronic smell every time we turned it on. I got lots of mileage out of this situation on Facebook, what with the cooking in the dark (I'm LITERALLY the Pioneer Woman!) and the toxic burning plastic smell (Mercury fumes, y'all, I cannot be responsible for anything I say on here). We had the switched taped in the off position so the kids wouldn't forget to leave it off. And we all jumped on Charlie Valentine's morning when he got excited about all the balloons and turned it on by accident; even though it was only on for a few seconds, the burning smell lingered into the afternoon. Ahh, home ownership, isn't it the best?

So Saturday we lazed around for a little while, cooked some eggs in the dark, then trundled everyone off to Home Depot to buy some recessed lighting for Ryan to install.

There is always a lot of fooling around at Home Depot. Also a lot of inspiration for projects unrelated to the one we went in for. I don't think I can sleep at night until we replace our downstairs bathroom vanity, for instance. Or our carpet.


When we got home, Ryan turned on the broken light and went out in the garage to try and find the right circuit breaker to turn it off. I stood underneath it listening to the clicks and saying "Still on! Still on! Still on! Still on!" This went on for several minutes before gray smoke began pouring out of the light. "TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF SMOKE SMOKE SMOKE SMOKE SMOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I shrieked, before nearly killing myself lunging for the wall switch in the kitchen. The light stopped smoking, but the whole house went dark as Ryan frantically tried all the breakers to find the right one.

Eventually, he figured it out and he came back in. As it turns out, it is good we were not using the light since it first started making the smell. You know how many times we've looked at each other and said "I am so glad that happened while we were both at home!" A lot of times. A whole lot of times.


Because, as Ryan the electrical engineer says, it definitely could have caught the ceiling on fire. And then the rest of the house. Because heaven knows I'd be too busy shoving the kids out the back door then running upstairs for the lovey's to even think about grabbing a fire extinguisher. Or turning off the wall switch, which also would have made the fire go out. Which would have been kind of an embarrassing mistake.

So after we stood together for a few minutes in the kitchen, silently considering what might have happened, Ryan measured out the light placement and started sawing some holes in our ceiling. I like to call that part "No turning back now." He assures me that even though the holes were large, there are no animals in the ceiling that would crawl through them and land on my head. So that's good.

Towards the end, Ryan and Charlie used our pipe snake to run the wires from the switch to the four lights.


When they were not "helping" with the project, Charlie and Wes were complaining that the TV wouldn't work, the XBox wouldn't work, and Angry Birds wouldn't work. I suggested they go outside and be grateful that the old light didn't burn up the kitchen while we were dropping them off at school.

Soon, it was time for the big moment. Ryan called everyone in from the back yard and turned the lights on. They are beautiful. Even James thinks so (this is the beautiful, bright after picture. For the before picture picture a black rectangle with a stove in the middle of it, that was my kitchen). After a couple of hearty "WOW!"s and "AWESOME!"s Charlie asked excitedly, "Does this mean the XBox will work again?" and he and Wes ran off to play Taz. Then we went out for dinner and to buy some last crucial parts to finish the job. After bedtime Ryan put the finishing touches on the lights and I wiped drywall dust off every surface imaginable and washed the sinkful of dishes it was so easy to ignore when we couldn't see it in the dark.


I think I've just about gotten all the scum stuck to everything that I couldn't see for two weeks because of the light issue, but otherwise I am very happy with the new setup. Even if it does make our linolium floors especially gross and in need of replacing.


SnarkyMommy said...

The best part about recessed lighting is that no one can break the light with a misplaced soccer ball kick. Not that I would know anything about that.

Sarah said...

So great! And you make it sound so easy!

CP said...

Yay!! No more cooking in the dark! I swear, it's always the little things that make a mom's day :)

Steph said...

Can Ryan come over this weekend to do ours? We still haven't replaced ours since it fell from the ceiling in the middle of the night in September! We're supposed to do it this weekend, but diy electrical projects don't seem like a good idea when your husband isn't an electrical engineer (but likes to pretend that he is).

Enjoy having lights again! :)

sarah said...

that is awesome! How does one make such perfectly round holes in the ceiling?! Is there some sort of tool one uses?! Or is Ryan really that good?!

I know what you mean about hardware stores--they make me want to renovate the whole house. We tend to buy a lot of stuff and then look at it in the corner for months. I'm so impressed by your family's ability to get 'er done!