While I’m Not a Handyman…Yet…

For the last few evenings, I have been trying to install a new outdoor lamp for the front door.  The old one was oddly placed and rusty.  I assume it was worth about 10 bucks.  Anyway, after removing the old lamp and switch box, I decided on a better spot where my new lamp would be hanging.

I decided the best way to cut would be to take my drill with a large bit, and begin drilling until I reached the approximate size of the switch box.  Well, since I have cedar siding, and have never hung the stuff in my life, I thought I could simply wrench it out with my hammer.  Big mistake.  The siding split in half length-wise.  Thankfully I have a pile of cedar siding for just this type of accident.

I measured out the piece, clamped it down to my workbench and cut it to size with my circular saw.  Ok, it fits like a glove.  Now I have to snake the wiring from the old hole to the new.  Sounds like a simple task.  Not for me, for I’m not a full-fledged handyman, you see.

This is not your standard electric wiring.  Insulated copper that is wrapped in a flexible metal snake.  Strong stuff and not so flexible.  Anyway, I spent the remainder of the night, in the dark, trying to move the wiring the 2 feet or so to the new hole.  I used a thin metal tube with a hook.  I was able to hook the thing, but through much frustration, the stupid cable wouldn’t move.  Finally, after some time, I was able to at least get part of the cable to the new hole.  This is when I called it a night.

I took the next night off.  Had some fun on our 7 year wedding anniversary with my wife and daughter.  We ate at La Cucina’s in Denville.  Yummy.  After that, we took the daughter to the nature park for some fun at the playground.

Fast forward to Tuesday night.  While fighting the cable with my pliers, I finally negotiated the wiring to the correct hole.  The switch box was fitting into the hole with the cables hanging out.  D’oh!  I forgot to put the cedar siding up.  Oops, I need to cut another hole.  No way was I going to take my large drill bit to the new (ish) piece of siding.

So I brought the piece of siding to my work bench with the correct measurements drawn out.  I then started chipping away with a wood chisel.  This takes too long, I thought to myself.  So I fired up my fancy new rotor.  The hole came out fine, though I should have taken it slower to get the exact measurements right.  Anyway, once I hung the siding up, the switch box fit, sort of.  Enough to hang a lamp on, I guess.

Now comes the fun part.  Remember, as I am not really a handyman, I make mistakes.  The next mistake was trying to clamp the switch box where the machine bolts go (to anchor the lamp).  The drill caused a hairline crack running a few inches towards the door on the piece of siding that I just cut, and nailed down.  Nothing a little sealant won’t fix.

So, another mistake.  I am ready to hang the lamp.  The old lamp is removed, the new hole is cut, the wiring is in the correct place (and yes, the switch for the lamp is off), the new piece of cedar siding is cut, hung, and the switch box is in its new home.  I have the lamp on my ladder ready to place the anchor into the switch box and to wire everything up.  Bang!  What was that, you ask?  Why yes, the new lamp has fallen off the top of my ladder crashing onto my brick steps down below.

Well, I called it a night again.  One side has a nice dent, and is missing a piece of glass.  My wife decided that we could hang the damaged lamp outside our back entry under the eaves, in a spot that hides the dent.  Great.  Now I have two lamps to rewire, and hang.


One Response to “While I’m Not a Handyman…Yet…”

  1. metalcommuter Says:

    Thank you. I don’t write too much about my unsuccessful bids at being a handyman, so you might find some of my other materials offensive, interesting, boring, or all three!

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