Don’t tell anybody but I’ve been harboring a secret for a long time. I’m a fraud. I’ve made a career out of not knowing how to fix anything and relying on the kindness of strangers and Greg White, who is more than a little strange himself, whenever I need something fixed. But the truth is, just between you and me, I do know quite a bit about electricity.
Not about integrated circuits and all that high-tech stuff that Greg is into, but when it comes to simple wiring, either 12 volt or 120 volt, I can usually get the job done. When Terry and I were building our MCI bus conversion, which had a 24 volt system, I did the conversion to 12 volt for the house battery bank and all of the interior wiring for that, as well as all the 120 volt wiring, installing switches and outlets, light fixtures, and such. We lived in it full-time for 8 1/2 years before buying our current Winnebago Ultimate Advantage diesel pusher and the thing never burned down, so I guess I did something right.
When we were up in Long Beach, Washington flying kites with our pal Nancy Kissack a few weeks ago, she mentioned that the dusk to dawn security lights on her garage were not working and that she needed to call an electrician to come and fix them for her. I volunteered to stop on our way south and take a look at them for her. I think Nancy was a little skeptical at first but Miss Terry assured her that I really did know what I was doing, so here we are.
There were four carriage style lights mounted on the front of her garage, all with built-in timers and sensors, and none of them worked right. One stayed on all the time, one only seemed to work when it felt like it, and the other two didn’t work at all. So when we got here Wednesday afternoon we pulled the center two (the ones that wouldn’t work at all) off the wall and I tore them apart.
It quickly became apparent that the timers and dusk to dawn features on the nine year old lights were shot, and that the porcelain sockets themselves that the light bulbs screwed into weren’t much better. Buying four new light fixtures would cost quite a bit of money but after mulling it over for a while in my head and calling Greg White to see if my plan was reasonable, I told Nancy I thought we could rebuild them and save her quite a bit of money.
So yesterday that’s what we did. We made a trip to Home Depot for the new sockets and the rest of the parts we needed and back at Nancy’s house, Miss Terry and I rebuilt the first two light fixtures, completely bypassing the built-in timer features, re-hung them on the side of the garage, and they worked fine. Then we took the other two down and rebuilt them. It didn’t take us long to get a system going and by the time we were done we could completely rebuild one of the light fixtures in less than ten minutes.
With all of them put back together and mounted back on the garage, we could turn them on and off with a light switch, but that didn’t take care of the dusk to dawn ability that Nancy needed. No problem. Between Greg White and Miss Terry brainstorming we decided to get a small programmable digital timer and mounted it where the on/off switch had been inside the garage. Since the wiring diagram and wire color codes on the timer didn’t match the wiring in place in the garage, it took a couple of false starts to figure everything out. But I finally did, and doing a manual on and off test with the timer the lights worked.
The next step was to program the timer, and that’s where we ran into a problem. The fellow at Home Depot had told Nancy that he had the same timer at his house but he never had been able to figure out how to program it, and told her that if she did, to please come back and explain it to him. As it turned out, the first time around it didn’t work when Terry and Nancy set up the timer program. By then it was pretty late in the day, and we know that everything works on the electrical side of things, so I declared my job done. Today I’ll let the ladies tackle the programming again, and between the two of them I’m sure they’ll get it right.
As it turns out, I’m not the only fraud around here. If you were to read Nancy’s daily blog, Kissack Adventures, she would have you believing that she doesn’t know how to cook and that the whole back end of her property is a graveyard where she has buried failed culinary experiments. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s just not true. When we got here Wednesday, Nancy served us delicious smoked shredded pork sandwiches that she had made, and yesterday after we were done working on the lights, it was smoked ribs with mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and salad for the ladies. And it was all delicious!
I’ve got to tell you, I just can’t figure out why this lady is still single. Guys, somebody is missing the boat here! She’s attractive, intelligent, fun to hang out with, has a great sense of humor, she’s interested in everything from running to scuba diving to zip lining, she’s an amazing photographer, and a great kite flyer. She isn’t afraid to drive her Phaeton motorhome anywhere, even over the big bridge in Astoria, Oregon that scares the hell out of me. And she can cook! Of course, a woman like this doesn’t suffer laggards or fools lightly, so jerks and couch potatoes need not apply.
Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the third book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” ~ Thomas Edison