Lighting It Up

Most of the year, we have a lot of light around here. All those windows let in the sunshine, and we don’t even bother turning on the lights once the sun comes up.



And then winter comes. Shall we say the dark days of winter? The days when the sun goes down at 4 pm? The days when lights are required all day long because of the deep, dark Seattle gloom? I was excited the other day when the sun hadn’t set as I drove to town at 3:30 pm. Sure I needed sunglasses and a visor, but I wasn’t driving in the semi-gloom of sundown; it was sunset all the way.

Winters can be long, and let’s just say when I’m making dinner at 5 pm (yes, that’s after dark)  I need a little light. So late this fall, we figured out a few lights were missing, burnt out, on the blink, needing some help. The MR, good guy that he is, got out the ladder and got to work.

It was a no go. He took them apart, he changed the light bulb, he got out his multimeter, he jiggled wires. We were still in the dark.

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When I’m cooking you dinner, you don’t want me doing it without sufficient light unless you want everything blackened. So the MR told me to call an electrician–I know so many of them off the top of my head.

OK, so I went on Facebook the bane savior of the modern world. Our local community discussion board has asked for electrician recommendations twice in the last month and all four listings were for the same guy. I thought I’d give him a try.

One phone call, and he was scheduled for the next day. Sure he’d had a cancellation and just happened to be in our neck of the woods–which means the middle of nowhere. This was a small miracle.

I may sound a little bitter. Let me explain. Our microwave started displaying an error message around the beginning of the year. Well, it’s slick and sleek, but JennAir microwaves don’t have the best performance record, so we bought the extended service.

When I called in, they got my email address wrong–it’s my name which is really hard to figure out especially when it’s on a computer screen in front of you–and so I waited for four days to hear from the extended warranty company. Then when I called them back, they had me call a company that refused to service extended warranties because they were simply too busy. Well hello, tell your affiliate that so I don’t have to call you. Finally, I got a hold of someone who actually would do the job in three weeks–thank you very much.

OK, so I was a little crabby with repairmen, electricians, deliveryman, Fed Ex guys–maybe I’m just crabby.

Anyways, the fact that he could come the next day was awesome. Since he was coming, I decided I’d figure out just how many lights we had that didn’t work. That may sound a little crazy. Why wouldn’t I know? Because the fellow who designed this house had a thing for lights. Shall we say obsession?

We have 40 light switches to control the lights in the great room. Let’s be honest, even after three years I don’t know which switch to push.

So what did I do? I turned on all the lights. I know crazy; we never do that.

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And one of the lights by the bookcases in the office area was out. We also had two lights out over the china hutch, but the MR said he’d take care of those.

We have Lightolier, low voltage lights, that use a transformer to convert from regualr 110 voltage to the lower watt 12-volt light bulbs. The MR and the electrician figured the transformers were blown, and we’d need to order new ones.

This is 20-year-old technology, far from state of the art, so it’s hard to say which parts and how much it would cost.

So the electrician came out, he actually called to confirm while our new furniture was being delivered. I was a little busy and failed to answer the phone. He took a chance and came out anyways.

Well, after a little digging around, it wasn’t the transformer. It was just a faulty connection after 20-plus years of use. Derek of Alive Electric showed me how to fix the loose connection next time and fixed all four of our broken lights.

OK, so I paid almost $200 for someone to change a few light bulbs–he didn’t even have to do that; he just had to make sure they were screwed in properly. But the MR was figuring on a minimum $800 bill, and Derek made sure next time I could fix the problem on my own–or at least my guy on a really tall ladder could.

So I’m totally recommending Alive Electric for your next electrical worries, and my cooking is back on track. I know you were concerned.

As to why I was mad at the Fed Ex guy, well our doorbell has disappeared and instead of my regular order, he was delivering something for the MR that needed a signature, so I had to stick around home day two and wait for it.

Oh, and the Crate and Barrel guys have no idea how to get to our house, so I ran half a mile to get them–no I’m not going to take the car up the driveway and get into another accident. And no, our house isn’t the one with four motorcycles, a fence, and a dog in a cage. Let’s face it buddy, you weren’t at the right place.

They did recommend a cone at the top of the driveway, since someone threw away our address numbers on a lovely sign. And they liked our house, so they can’t be all bad.

Where do you find handymen, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, repairmen, or any of those people you need every now and then to keep your world right?

By the by, a giant wind storm knocked out the power for 12+ hours early Sunday morning. Thankfully we have a generator, so we could watch the Seahawks big comeback against the Packers. Miracles never cease to amaze me. After the win, our microwave came back to life. Maybe the Hawks are big microwave fans. It’s a mystery.


3 thoughts on “Lighting It Up

  1. Wow, that is a lot of drama! So glad your “ray of light” (so sorry for the terrible pun, no actually I am not sorry) Derek of Alive Electric was willing and able to come to the rescue. He probably was so willing to come, and canceled all kids of customers because he had always wanted to get inside that Big White House on the Hill, and didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity. We, in Mesquite, NV have a super family operation that are able to work miracles on anything. They are truly a gift to the city because there are so many elderly living here and they are just about the only handy men in town. Thank you Lindy Corp.

  2. Pingback: Check Out January | big white house on the hill

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