Wednesday, June 20, 2012

James Bond of the attic

Yesterday, I did something that surprised me: I climbed up into the attic with a flashlight in my teeth, crawled into a dark, dusty hole, and fixed an electrical problem. Like James Bond.

Now, if you know me, you know that home repair comes as naturally to me as navigating highways, which is to say, not at all, and please bring a hot bath, glass of wine, and copy of Pride and Prejudice so I can recover afterward. Electricity, especially, is not in my comfort zone. I couldn't even make a light bulb glow in high school physics, and that was with a clear diagram and a teacher standing over my shoulder, directing me and informing me that I was wretched at physics and should probably just accept that and move on, preferably to someone else's classroom.

But I've started to realize that many of life's mysteries are really just puzzles, and with enough motivation and googling, one can solve them.

This year, with our beloved handyman moved away, I have:

* fixed a clogged sink by removing the S-bend
* fixed my own broken vacuum
* replaced two doorknobs and turned a third around
* managed to transform at least one modern Transformer (a blue one)
* and now, deactivated a bum attic fan while keeping the upstairs AC running

And the coolest part is that when I asked for help, it wasn't my guy friends who helped me. It was all women! On Facebook and then in person, my girlfriends gave me a quick primer on how to use wire caps, and then it was just a trip to the breaker box and a few quick twists. Boom! Fan disconnected, switch flicked, AC on, upstairs blessedly cool again.

Before now, I would have panicked and crowdsourced a new handyman and paid a few hundred dollars for five minutes of mysterious work done in the attic. But I'm beginning to understand that the secrets of the world, many of them, are open and waiting to be discovered. Problems can be broken down and solved. I can fix lots of things, sew lots of things, work patiently at most things until the solution is unlocked. In today's world especially, the internet holds all the answers. I even have a friend who taught herself how to knit in one night on YouTube. When we ask the right questions, we can empower ourselves by solving our problems on our time, in our own way.

Was I scared, when I held my wire nippers out to cut wires that I was... pretty sure were on the right breaker switch? Yeah, I actually was. At 95% sure, I knew that if I was wrong, I was going to get a serious electrical shock. And, yes, I pretended I was a spy deactivating a bomb and talked to myself in a James Bond voice. And yes, when I didn't blow myself up, I yelled WOOHOOO!, because with risk and research and work comes a moment of victory that shouldn't be ignored.

The older I get, the more I realize that solving my problems myself is empowering.

And yesh, Miss Money Penny, I like that verra much.



K A B L O O E Y said...

I'm thinking sapper in The English Patient, or bomb defuser in The Hurt Locker. You're a stud, regardless.

Matthew MacNish said...

I remember the first time I opened up a computer to replace some parts inside. Now if only I could gain the same understanding of the internal combustion engine.

Lexi H said...

Well done! I love doing things like that, make you want to say "I am woman, hear me roar."

Pinafores and Pinwheels said...

Your friend must be really awesome ;)

delilah s. dawson said...


Seleste Delaney helped a little, too.


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