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It's a miracle, I'm not completely useless around the house!

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
This past week now that I have use of my left hand I decided to do a few things around the house I've been wanting to do. I've never been the most handy husband. Fixing things meant breaking more things But a friend of mine has been redoing a bedroom for his son-to-be and I've learned alot in a short time and gained alot of confidence from him, so I decided to be a bit ambitious and get more positive about my abilities.

The first thing I did was install a programmable thermostat in our finished basement. The manual one we had wasn't working well, and it gave me an excuse to start with something. That went well and now I don't freeze to death in the basement. It was a pretty simple job, but when you look under a picture in our living room and see the result of me trying to hang a clock, you'll understand

The next thing was I wanted to install a dimmer switch on our fan/light in the living room. This would be my first time ever working with electricity. I learned most of what I knew from my friend and found a video tutorial on this particular job online and that boosted my confidence. It went pretty well. A few things were tricky like connecting 2 different kinds of ground wire together and putting on the switch plate (I had to drill through the metal outlet box to affix the screws unfortunately), but I"m happy to say we now have mood lighting and the house hasn't burned down yet

The last project was alittle tougher. Since we've moved into our house we had an outlet that didn't work in the living room. I eventually figured out that the reason why it doesn't work is because it's hooked to one of two light switches on the wall next to it, and one of the switches doesn't work. This is where I almost got electrocuted *lol* I took off the switch plate and saw that everything seemed to have been hooked up correctly. I tightened the connections and it still didn't work. So I had a voltage tester that my father in law lent me and I wanted to make sure there was even power going to the switch. I touched one end of the meter to the metal outlet box and one to the switch terminals...nothing. I decided to try it on the working switch just to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong. I touched the outlet box again and as soon as I touched a terminal "SNAP! *spark*" and the circuit breaker tripped. Scared the hell out of me. My friend and my dad figured that the switch probably wasn't grounded...well I wish I had known that before. I gave up on trying to figure out what was wrong with the switch, deciding that we'd never use it anyway, changed my underwear and found out how to disconnect the switch from the outlet and cap off the unused wire safely. Now we have a working outlet but I still want to know why the switch doesn't work. But I'm not going near it for a while until I seek more advice on how to diagnose it safer *lol*

The next thing I want to do involves plumbing. We have a leaking toilet shutoff that drips every once in a while. Instead of paying a plumber $100 I thought I'd give it a try myself. It involves soldering which I've never done, but I've done my research and found alot of videos online showing how to do it. The interesting thing is, apparently it's technically illegal in massachusetts to do plumbing yourself. I can understand for major jobs, but technically I can't even fix a leaky faucet without calling a plumber. Yeah, I'll be spending $80 to do that..right.

So I'm really happy that I've learned how to do more things around here and got more confidence. It just shows what a change in attitude can do for you
post #2 of 22
I used to share a flat with a sparky (an electician to you Americans ) and learned loads- fixing all the rooms with dimmer switches was a great asset and I enjoyed the experience
Please don't try to overstetch your abiliities however, I do minor plumbing work in my workplace but am always aware that should I mess up I could end up costing the company way more in getting a professional in to fix it
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by silentNate View Post
I used to share a flat with a sparky (an electician to you Americans ) and learned loads- fixing all the rooms with dimmer switches was a great asset and I enjoyed the experience
Please don't try to overstetch your abiliities however, I do minor plumbing work in my workplace but am always aware that should I mess up I could end up costing the company way more in getting a professional in to fix it
Oh yeah I'm definately aware that if I mess something up I'd cost myself more in the long run, but I know enough to do all my research first. Especially the soldering, I've watched probably a dozen videos on it and talked to a few people, so I'm fairly confident it will turn out all right.
post #4 of 22


Congrats! My husband and I are horrible at do-it-yourself jobs. I once managed to destroy my bathtub trying to re-caulk it. Can you imagine? We had to call in a professional to re-install the entire backboard!!!

I have a lot of respect for those of you who are able to do fixy things around the house!!!
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rina_Marie View Post


Congrats! My husband and I are horrible at do-it-yourself jobs. I once managed to destroy my bathtub trying to re-caulk it. Can you imagine? We had to call in a professional to re-install the entire backboard!!!

I have a lot of respect for those of you who are able to do fixy things around the house!!!
I'm not getting cocky, I still have a lot of screw ups in my history
post #6 of 22
I fixed several broken windows in my last flat (I kept getting locked out by my own fault ) but the last one I did was awful- completely slapdash- and I realise now that I had figured out how to do a good job and then just gotten tired
If you are researching anything that you are doing then thats a good thing but also realise that jobs need to be done with a clear and sober head
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by silentNate View Post
I fixed several broken windows in my last flat (I kept getting locked out by my own fault ) but the last one I did was awful- completely slapdash- and I realise now that I had figured out how to do a good job and then just gotten tired
If you are researching anything that you are doing then thats a good thing but also realise that jobs need to be done with a clear and sober head
Yes I don't drink before I do anything...actually no, scratch that, I think I had a beer before I put in the dimmer switch. But I was still technically sober
post #8 of 22
Way to go!! Can I give you Jim's email addy and let you make him feel bad for NEVER doing anything like that around the house. Especially point out to him how easy it is to do electrical work.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pami View Post
Way to go!! Can I give you Jim's email addy and let you make him feel bad for NEVER doing anything like that around the house. Especially point out to him how easy it is to do electrical work.
No not yet because it took me years to get off my butt and try

It's not always that easy. Like I said I almost shocked myself trying to test the switch and I still don't know what's wrong with it. I may find out eventually but where that switch is positioned, we'd never use a lamp on it and having to turn on a switch for anything else is just a pain

And I'm trying to figure out why today when I installed 5 more cabinet locks to keep Reeses out, it took me almost 2 hours *lol* I guess I'm just slow
post #10 of 22
How is your wife taking this? Is she coming up with more projects for your new found ability?
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReesesPBC View Post

It's not always that easy. Like I said I almost shocked myself trying to test the switch and I still don't know what's wrong with it. I may find out eventually but where that switch is positioned, we'd never use a lamp on it and having to turn on a switch for anything else is just a pain
Well I was kind of being sarcastic about the electrical part so that he would get eletrocuted but I was just kidding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
How is your wife taking this? Is she coming up with more projects for your new found ability?
I bet he will get a list soon!
post #12 of 22
remember duct tape is always there for you lol.
the wife tells me we need to fix this or that. to which i say cant dear , I am trying to fix the dbase on your work server. heeh
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
How is your wife taking this? Is she coming up with more projects for your new found ability?
Actually the things I've fixed so far she could care less about She never uses the finished part of the basement that much so she didn't care about the heat, we probably WON'T use the outlet much, but I wanted it fixed, and she likes the dimmer switch now but didn't care in the beginning. She's not really the "honey could you..." type
post #14 of 22
I can solder stuff and I am a girl (but my uncle is a plumber and used to let me work with him in the summer for extra cash)
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by icklemiss21 View Post
I can solder stuff and I am a girl (but my uncle is a plumber and used to let me work with him in the summer for extra cash)
Is it as simple as it looks? I was considering even getting a small length of copper pipe with a joint and soldering that for practice first.
post #16 of 22
It is simple enough that they actually taught us how to do it at school at age 14, but if you have never done it, I would practise first anyway, just to get used to it.

You can't really go wrong (you could make it look big and messy by resoldering but thats about the extent of it). For something more 'advanced' I probably wouldn't try myself - but then I rent so don't have to pay for a plumber.

But then, I have an unhealthy obsession with power tools so I would probably try repiping the bathroom for fun at the same time
post #17 of 22
I gave up on doing minor repairs because in this house it was never like in the book diagrams or on TV!!!
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gemlady View Post
I gave up on doing minor repairs because in this house it was never like in the book diagrams or on TV!!!
I don't think anything ever does. Just shutting off the power so I could do the dimmer switch was not as expected.

The living room circuit breaker shut off everything in the living room except the fan/light that I wanted to work on. I thought maybe the kitchen breaker controlled it..nope, that didn't even shut off the kitchen lights, only the outlets. The stove and fridge were on another circuit. The bedroom breaker? Nope, in fact that shut off everything in the bedrooms except for our bedroom lamp...ok... Bathroom breaker? No but it did shut off the hallway light. Eventually I wound up cutting power to the whole house *lol*
post #19 of 22
Well, this is all very interesting to me, as I have an extremely talented and handy hubby, who still prefers to rig everything up in sight with duct tape.

May we borrow you for some REAL home improvement tasks?
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wookie130 View Post
Well, this is all very interesting to me, as I have an extremely talented and handy hubby, who still prefers to rig everything up in sight with duct tape.

May we borrow you for some REAL home improvement tasks?
I don't think I even own duct tape...
post #21 of 22
I am a firm believer in Duct Tape myself
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
remember duct tape is always there for you lol.
oh my gosh heck yes! duct tape= livesaver!
and great job on being a handyman!
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