Lighting ninja

We’ve been doing a lot of work in our new house. It was built in 1972. From what we know, it has been remodeled once, we think in the early 2000s. We can’t really tell exactly what that remodel entailed, except tiling was added to the counters. The rest is as much of a mystery as a couple light switches that seem to light nothing. More on lights later.

We have spent the last four months replacing faucets. Most were leaking. Since we were replacing the kitchen faucet my husband wanted a better sink. He also added a garbage disposal, because though we’re not supposed to use one with a septic system, I’d rather grind up any crumbs that end up in the sink instead of risking chunks stuck in the pipes.

It took awhile to accomplish that humongous mission — we’re talking four faucets in the two bathrooms and one in the kitchen. And let’s face it, I’m not doing any of the work, not that I would be the least bit helpful. Every time my husband ran into a glitch, I suggested we call the handyman. The reality is, my husband is retired and the ground hasn’t even been broken on his new shop, he doesn’t have anything else to occupy his time. My only job during all these updates has been to help pick out the accessory of the moment.

My other obvious responsibility was that of cheerleader. For those who know me personally, I’m a horrible Pep Girl. Here, the man to whom I am married is doing his best to update things in our new home, to make them more comfortable for me, and at every hiccup I throw down the pompoms and suggest we call someone who knows more than he does. He plugs away in spite of me (Googles, actually). I try not to take his grumblings personally. Who says it’s not a marriage made in heaven?

Once the faucets were finished, he set to lighting up my life, quite literally. Apparently, all the people who lived here since 1972 were from medieval times and happy to view the world through a dim lens. When my hubby’s idea of brighter light bulbs in the office area (daylight LEDs) was a failed endeavor, he started replacing the hardwired lamps. Four above the desk, three over the kitchen bar, two over the kitchen sink.

I don’t understand any decision to put pendulum lamps with little candle-type bulbs over a desk. Or even in the kitchen for that matter. The biggest light conundrum, though, was the huge light/fan combo in the living room with three nightlight bulbs. Yes, I said nightlight bulbs. We’re talking four watts of unmitigated power. Twelve whole watts of light in a huge room – snort – you couldn’t even locate the lamp in the dark with that kind of wattage.

After he disassembled the old light above the table in the dining room, he totally lost power to the wires. I told him it was time to call an electrician. My daughter said the same thing. We hovered on the couch in fear of our lives. He wouldn’t give up. When I woke up the next morning, he said, “the light works.”

I thought he’d dreamt it and I chuckled. He said, “No really. Google kept referring to the GFCI.” That’s Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter — or to us unsupportive types, the kind of outlet with the buttons on it. “I kept looking for one and finally found it, outside on the front porch.”

He even solved the mystery of one of the ghost switches, which now has a new lamp attached to it. He’s like the lighting ninja. Why did I ever doubt him?

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website, or follow her on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh. Her column is always available at under the Life section.