Monthly Archives: February 2011

Light switches

So our house has a lot of dimmer switches in it. Most of them are some variation on a big dimmer and a very small on/off switch. The ones pictured are for our living room. We have no interest in varying the light intensity in really any of our rooms, plus we’re switching out the incandescent bulbs for CFLs, and we’d rather not have to shell out for special dim-able CFLs.

We made our first attempt at replacing a light switch today. The kitchen light switch looks exactly like one of the left-hand switches in the picture, and we wanted to change it out for one that looks more like the one on the right above. We were very puzzled by what we saw after removing the switch though. Sorry I didn’t get a picture, but we had two black wires, one going up the wall, one going down, taped together with electrical tape and then attached to the switch. Eh? Then we had two white wires, one going up, one down, twisted together with a wire nut, and then NOT attached to the switch. Hmm. Then there was a red wire, going up the wall only, and also attached to the switch. The ground screw was definitely not attached to anything, though some googling seemed to indicate that wasn’t too unusual. We were a bit confused at this point, as the instructions that came with the new switch led us to expect one black wire and one white wire attached to the existing switch.

So Dave headed up into the attic (which is apparently filled with blow-in insulation on top of the regular pink insulation) to have a look-see. After a quick trip to the place we’re still renting for a head lamp and some knee pads, he was able to stay up there long enough to determine that the pot lights in the kitchen had most definitely been added after-the-fact, and while a little odd, seem to be wired okay. The red wire was not in fact indicating a three-way switch, which is what some googling led us to believe initially, but was just the normal “hot” wire in a new exciting color added solely to confuse us. sigh. Some more googling this evening has helped me learn that the configuration we saw wasn’t really all that unusual, so we were just being a couple of newbs I guess.

So Dave determined to his satisfaction that we weren’t going to burn the house down. I guess I’m not too surprised, since it’s lasted this long. I’m glad though, that we have a new switch, and it’s controlling four ~25W CFLs rather than one 100W bulb and three 65W incandescents. Here’s what the kitchen lights look like currently:

The new bulbs are sticking out a lot, so we’re going to see if we can raise them a bit. They look especially bad when they’re turned on because the ceiling is painted with glossy paint, so it’s very reflective. Ewwwww.

Hopefully the rest of the switches won’t be as exciting, though the living room also has pot lights, so who knows…

(We’ve also been doing a ton of painting, but I need to figure out how to get pictures off of Dave’s camera before I write about that…)

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And now for something completely different…

We worked on max height “box jumps” at the gym today. I was pretty happy with my 35.5″, but then Dave went and jumped 50″. Impressive. Here’s the video:

Raked!

The sun came out, so I raked. Unfortunately it looks like no one has bothered to do so for several seasons. On the plus side, the dirt underneath it all is pretty rich! Maybe it will actually get dry now…

Before:

After:

The front entry area

The floor just inside our front door is a bit weird. Well, first there’s this dirty rug that we’re leaving while we’re moving in and making a mess…

Then there’s this area that looks like it was tiled on right over the hard wood. On the one hand I understand wanting a more water- and stain-proof surface right where everyone will be entering and exiting. On the other hand, it really annoys me that it’s not flush, and the tile just looks really out of place.

A lot of the tiles are loose, so I pulled one up to see what’s underneath. Well that’s not really illuminating at all, looks like a lot of dried adhesive. But you can kind of see the edge of the hardwood, so that’s not very encouraging. I’m thinking we’ll probably pull all the tile up and go from there, depending on what’s underneath.

First day of home ownership

I couldn’t resist taking the day off to spend some quality time with our new house, so Dave dropped Loki and me off this morning and drove off to work in a wave of envy.

Unfortunately it’s been raining all day, so my plans to rake and trim the rose bushes were nixed.

So instead I attacked the master closet. It started with a high shelf and a low shelf, and after much prying and cursing, I managed to remove the lower shelf. I’ll leave the upper shelf to someone with more height and thus better leverage. We plan to install our modular wire shelving system thingy once all the shelves are out. Oh, and I removed the closet doors. Not a fan.

Speaking of doors, I also removed the lower door on the hallway shelves. Our plan is to make the right-hand bedroom (aka the office) into a dog-free zone for the cats. We’re going to cut a hole in the back of these hallway shelves, high enough so Loki can’t get to it, that will give the kitties access to the closet in the office. We’ll probably remove the doors to that closet too.

Most of the rest of the day was spent removing things like curtain rods and window blinds (left to us by the former owners) and taping in preparation for painting. Loki spent most of the day in various levels of confusion and nervousness, but I think he survived okay.

For the living room, the hallway, and the shared living room/dining room wall, we’re thinking a medium green color…

For the kitchen and shared kitchen/dining room wall, we’re thinking grayish purple. A little weird, but I think it will work well with the green on the other walls…

And for the master we’re thinking some sort of tan. The main color in that room will be the blue duvet. (folded up in the bottom of that picture.)

Anyhoo, tomorrow we’re going to buy spackle and probably the green paint, since that’s the one we’re feeling pretty much decided on. And maybe we’ll even charge the SLR, so we’ll have pictures from something besides an iPhone. 🙂