I’m not proud of it, but I would definitely call myself lazy. If there’s something that I need to do, more often than not I’ll put it off until the very last moment. This, coupled with the fact that I’m fairly cheap, means that I’ll wait as long as possible to get something done if it’s something expensive. Unfortunately, something expensive to get done is usually something big. This is a story about me recently trying to fix broken shit at my place.
About half a year ago, I replaced all the light bulbs of this ceiling chandelier I had. My grandma discovered one day that, while she was turning on the lights, they were extremely dim. I wasn’t sure what was the issue was, and I didn’t want to call in an electrician, so I held off on doing anything for the longest time. The only problem: my work devices are in that room and it’s a makeshift office for me, meaning that at night I get very little light. As a workaround, I moved a small lamp into the room, but you can imagine how little illumination that gives off as opposed to an actual ceiling light.
Between back then and now, I did have moments of determination where I wanted to get it fixed. I even went to Home Depot with my girlfriend to look at replacement chandeliers, thinking that was the problem (spoiler: it wasn’t). There was this one lighting store I wanted to go to that specialized in light fixtures, but they were never open on the days we usually meet up. Looking back now, I’m glad we never went since I would have most likely replaced my fixture if I went. I would later discover that the problem stemmed from the dimmer switch controlling the lights not being compatible with LED lightbulbs, though I never pursued it further since the idea of working with electricity wasn’t too appealing to me.
Cue September 11th, 2022. I had just returned from a one week work trip, exhausted. Naturally, I was laundering the clothes I brought on my trip since I didn’t want to pay the hotel $5/sock or whatever the going rate for laundry services are at hotels today. To my dismay, my washer stopped working mid-cycle, leaving a puddle of water in the drum alongside a heap of soggy clothes. I had grown up in an apartment where we had shared laundry appliances so handling situations such as these was a novel experience for me. I reached out to my family, who were more familiar with home ownership, and my girlfriend, who had similarly experienced a washer breaking down during COVID. Both parties recommended that I find a local appliance repair service, and consider buying a new one if the cost of repair was too high. So I did that.
Prior to calling an appliance repair company, I actually looked on YouTube to see what common causes for a washer not draining were, and whether or not the operation itself were easy to do. Despite not owning appliances before, I have done minor home repairs, such as replacing toilet pumps and… I think that’s about it, actually. Of course I would want to see if I could do it myself before having to pay someone to do it. After watching a 15 minute video on how to drain a washer, I decided that it looked way too difficult for me to do. I wasn’t even certain that I would fix the problem, so I called the company. However, looking for videos on repairing washers reminded me of the lighting situation. After watching a few videos, I was confident that I could actually do it myself. So, with this newfound motivation, I ordered the two tools I would need for this job:
- A voltage tester
- A replacement LED-compatible dimmer switch
I also bought some electrical tape, but didn’t actually need it in the end. Plus, the tape arrived a day after I received the other two items, and I was ready to get this project that I’ve held off on doing for six months done. Altogether, the tools I used costed me no more than $60, plus I could keep the voltage tester after this project for any future instances where I want to avoid being electrocuted.
The repairman arrived around noon on September 13th, 2022. By that time, the water in the washer picked up a rather stale stench so his presence was greatly appreciated. After one hour and $180 later, the machine was back to working condition. On the same day, in the afternoon, my dimmer switch and voltage tester arrived. Still riding the highs of having my washer fixed, I flipped the breakers for the switch and began un-mounting the existing switch.
Before you do something new, there’s so much uncertainty surrounding the thing and I find it hard to gauge how difficult something will be, even when I’ve already watched someone else do it. Honestly, things aren’t always that hard; I tend to think of something as extremely difficult just because I don’t have a concept of how difficult it is. But, after accomplishing that thing, it never is as hard as you thought it to be. In less than an hour, I flipped the toggle for the new switch and my fixture lit up like a summer sun. I was honestly really proud of myself in that moment, even though it’s a rather small win. On that day, not one but two bits of order were restored to my household. I could finally rest easy after my wearisome business trip, with a weight from six months past lifted from my shoulders.