A little light opera


When I decided to change the 20 year old lights hanging outside the house, I figured it would be a simple matter of unscrewing some things and twisting a few wires together.

After turning off the electricity, of course. Then – instant makeover!

The good news is – I was successful in turning off the electricity. The rest of it was an overly optimistic dream. I’ll spare you the gruesome details except to say when bolt holes and bolts don’t line up, one particularly useless strategy is to keep looking at the same pieces arranged in the very same configuration while hoping they’ll somehow change their shape between one glance and the next.

My half-hour project took 6 hours to complete thanks to my insistence that magic was the real answer.

In reality, success required the random discovery of a couple of spare connectors in a basement jar, my clever wife’s suggestion that I rotate one backing plate a quarter turn, and a frustration-fueled last-minute improvisation ignited, in part, by the certain belief that I was 20 minutes away from being devoured by late evening mosquitos.

Now the new lights are up and shining so harshly that squirrels scurrying over the driveway are cast in sharp relief against the house across the street. Our entire front yard is illuminated with that special compact fluorescent intensity that says “Go Away!” And because I’m intimately familiar with how these appliances are connected to the wall, I’m waiting for the first mild gust of wind to put them in the bushes.

In short, exactly the effect I was going for. Make-over complete!

Describe a recent project that took longer than you expected.