Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Funny!

"Keep it simple"
"Work smarter not harder"
"Start with the easiest"

All quotes our Fathers, Grandfathers, bosses, friends and colleagues preach to us throughout our lives as a constant reminder to make the most efficient use of our time. To some degree we all love to 'armchair quarterback' a series of events and point out how much better we could have done it. Of course these opinions are always shared in hindsight -- when anyone could easily figure out the fastest way to the finish line.

I'll give you all a chance to tell me the first thing you would do if the light in your closet stopped working.

Sure any normal person would naturally check the light bulbs for proper operation. That's evidently not how we Nortons do it here in Texas. No sirree. Since this fixture had two light bulbs in it I was sure I would have noticed if one of the bulbs had gone out, so I didn't even entertain the idea that there could possibly be anything wrong with the light bulbs.

This particular closet has a motion activated switch, so when Amy decides to review her wardrobe at a moments notice she doesn't have to be bothered with the time and effort involved in actually turning on a light. When I first noticed that the lights weren't working I tried to turn them on manually. The little indicator lights on the switch wouldn't change despite my repeated pushing of the little button. Ah-ha the switch must have gone bad, as it isn't responding to my repeated inputs/poundings.

Off to Lowes we go, I do love a reason to go to Lowes and this was a perfect opportunity to buzz on over there. I trot on in, find a replacement switch and head back home, thrilled that I was able to get in and out of Lowes so fast and with minimum distraction.

Once we get home I have the tedious task of trying to figure out which circuit breaker goes to the room in question -- I have a tool to help me figure this out, but seriously who has time for that? So I just turned off three breakers at a time until I found the right three (someday I really need to put better labels on the panel, "General Receptacles," seriously what does that mean?)

I make quick work of the switch replacement, after securing the device I decide I should make sure it works before I put the cover back in place. MUCH to my disappointment -- no dice! perplexed I check all the wiring, I double check the connectors, and say a quick prayer. Still nothing.

"That's it, those scoundrels at Lowes have sold me a bad switch!" I think to myself. So I bridge the wires together manually deciding that if the bulbs don't illuminate now then we have a BIG problem. Sure enough -- nothing, not even a flicker. I now move on to the ceiling, I remove the fixture and check the connectors in the ceiling, sure enough solid as a rock! "It's official," I decide, those pesky squirrels from last summer must have chewed through the wires and for some reason its just now coming to light (pun intended). I start to get a little bothered as there is no physical way someone of my size can access this part of the attic to replace this wiring.

Before I go find a miniature electrician I whip out the old multi-meter to get to the exact cause of the problem. I follow the normal troubleshooting tree for a problem this advanced and am astonished to see the electricity is making its way to the light fixture. I quickly conclude the fixture must be bad. Before I excite Amy with the promise of the joyous opportunity to shop for a new fixture; I decide I should, just for the fun of it, check the sockets to ensure, as my hypothesis states, there is no electricity.

What a blow, sure enough 121.5 volts right there at the light socket -- ah yes $40, 1.2 hours, a wasted trip to Lowes, all for two light bulbs. Works brilliantly now, I think in the future I'll just keep it simple!

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