Tuesday, June 1, 2010

3% Less Ugly

"3% Less Ugly" is Mike's new catch phrase. Whenever we do anything that improves the house even just the tiniest bit - like removing the ugly metal rack that was bolted to the front of the house to hold the old owner's huge window a/c unit - Mike says the house is "3 (or 1 or 6 or 10)% less ugly." We like to appreciate the small victories in life around here. Mike really pushed his Helpful Home Handyman skills to the limit this weekend. I don't know exactly how many percents less ugly the place is now, but it's quite a few. We didn't really have much of a holiday, but hopefully he feels that it was all worth it in the end. Besides mowing and and cleaning and grilling and laundry and getting haircuts and multiple trips to Home Depot and the grocery store and having dinner with our neighbors, he also replaced a ceiling fan, a light fixture, and the doorbell. That's a lot of electrical work. Electrical work is scary. So far, no one's been electrocuted, but I'm still keeping an eye out for house fires. We changed the doorbell because the old one was SO LOUD that every time it rang, it scared me half to death and I nearly wet my pants. The new one is a huge improvement and the buzzer at the back door now also works (why we need a back door bell, I don't know, but if there's going to be a button there, it might as well work). As for the ceiling fan, the one in the kitchen was old and ugly, totally filthy, and it burned up light bulbs like a hungry beast. Plus the light bulbs were special candle-shaped ones and they weren't bright enough to cook or clean by. Perfect for the kitchen! So we bought a new one and installed it ourselves! And nobody died. Aren't you impressed? I am. Good thing we did, too, because Mike discovered that the old one was only marginally attached to the wood beam in the ceiling, so it was dangerous to boot. He had to shave some of the plaster off to move the box over and rebolt it to the stud. Talk about studs! Mike should try out for This Old House! :) The new light fixture replaced the old Tiffany-style stained glass chandelier over the kitchen table that should have been over the kitchen table but wasn't centered properly. It was a decently pretty shade, but just not our style at all, and it hung down too low with sharp edges. We both have drawn blood whacking our heads on that thing. The new one is so inconspicuous that it makes the kitchen look even bigger! The big challenge with this project was that the old light was on a dimmer and the new light has an environmentally sound fluorescent bulb in it that can't be on a dimmer switch. So Mike changed the switch! I'm telling you, when I married him I figured he was only going to be handy for whipping up flotation devices made out of his pants and fighting off bears in the woods, I never suspected he could rewire the house! Bonus. Here's a picture that kind of shows the old fan and the old light: And here's the new fan and light: See what I mean? 3% Less Ugly!

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