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Handywoman - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
I started to tell this story in a response to somebody's comment, but then decided to tell the rest of it in my own journal, because it's worth saving and thinking about.

My garage has been giving me all kinds of problems...er, issues....er, challenges (yeah, that's it) since I moved in here. First, it had no electricity. It had a power line running into the garage, but not hooked up to lights/outlets/etc. A buddy of mine from work came over one day and taught me the fundamentals of wiring, and we put in a light. (Yay! I still remember that first moment when we got it all hooked up, turned the power back on, flipped the switch, and the light came on. I was so thrilled!) I then used that knowledge to wire 2 more lights, and 2 outlets in the garage.

My next goal was a garage door opener. I bought one, and decided I would install it completely on my own. I read through the instructions and was very intimidated. It was one of the larger home improvement tasks I'd undertaken, and I wasn't sure I was up to it. But I followed the instructions step-by-step, and although there was a few challenges along the way (and it took me an embarrassing amount of time), when I was through I had a fully functional garage door opener.

You shoulda seen me in the driveway, pointing the remote at the door, and up would go the door. *poing!* Another press, and back down it would come....whee! Okay, so perhaps simple things amuse me. But it was my accomplishment, something I hadn't been sure I could do, but succeeded in nevertheless.

The next challenge was when the garage door started falling apart. It came off its track, and even when a tall friend helped put it back on its track, it had subsequent problems. One of the springs had come unbolted during the crash, so it was twice as heavy as it had been. The bolt was lost, and the one on the other side looked like it was about to give. The door was old and unwieldy, and it just seemed to be getting more and more decrepit. Also, the opener stopped working - in fact the whole outlet stopped working - I figured probably because the door had gotten so heavy, something had burned out, or kept tripping the GFCI, or something.

Anyway, as an incredibly generous and kind v-day present, C bought me a new garage door, complete with professional installation. (This was good, because installing a garage door sounded like a tough task to me, particularly since the existing one seemed to be constantly threatening to fall upon someone or something.)

This brings us almost to present day. The garage door installers came on Monday, and installed the door. They plugged the opener into an outlet inside the house, via extension cord, and it worked great. (This is good, because I'd been concerned that the opener itself had burned out.) The door looked beautiful, but the outlet the opener was plugged into still wasn't working.

The installer guy said that the outlet wasn't working, but when he hit it with a hammer, it would flicker. He said I should get my husband, or whoever had done the wiring, to come back and take a look at it. I smiled at him apologetically, and said, "Actually, I did it myself."

Can you believe that? I smiled apologetically, and shrugged in an embarrassed fashion. As though I should be ashamed that I'd wired my own garage! I didn't even tell him that I'd installed the opener myself too, although I should have. Too weird - I don't even know precisely why I responded that way. This was something I was so proud of, after all, but I got all shy and embarrassed, just because the big burly home-improvement guy assumed some man had done it for me.

I should have looked him in the eye and said, "I did it myself. Why would you assume a guy did it? I installed the opener alone too." But I didn't. I might as well have put my hands behind my back, looked at him through my eyelashes, and scuffed my foot on the ground, for all of a proud, independent, home-owning, home-repairing woman I looked at that moment! By fixing my own garage, I give women everywhere a good name, but by being ashamed of it, I trod that same name into the dirt.

Oh well. At least I told him that I'd done the wiring, and would look at it. He responded with, "That's great!" Then Friday I took my screwdriver, my needlenosed pliers, and my dad's circuit tester (because I've lost mine), and I fixed the faulty outlet. One of the "hot" wires in the junction box below the outlet was a little loose, once I tightened it up everything was working fine. So there. Girl power! Now I just have to learn to be bold enough to tell people about it with pride....
read 14 comments | talk to me!
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: March 10th, 2002 05:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

When I bought my condo, since is was just a few months til Christmas, I told my relatives to buy me a book on home repair so I'd have a guide to the simple things to do; the next year, I bought one on home wiring. It's good to be able to fix simple things yourself, doesn't matter if you're male or female. By the way, I wired a couple of C's phone outlets for him.
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: March 11th, 2002 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
The same C as Ren's C? Or a different one?
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: March 11th, 2002 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)


Same C.
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: March 11th, 2002 10:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I thought she was just making up this whole "C" thing!
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: March 11th, 2002 10:22 am (UTC) (Link)


Nope, C really does exist and is somewhat human.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 11th, 2002 07:28 am (UTC) (Link)


Good for you!!
retepsnave From: retepsnave Date: March 11th, 2002 06:07 am (UTC) (Link)


lol...... yes when confronted with someone... invariably we all come up with a "what we should have done"....... but it is good to hear that you took claim for something that you rightfully did and did well..... and better still you were certainly highly competent enough to have been able to go back and fix it!!!

sounds like the garage has not been an issue or challenge..... but rather a good learning/empowering experience! now next time some burly homerepair guy comments on the assumption that a woman had to have had some guy do the work.... you'll now be able to look him directly in the eye and stick it to his pompus ass!!!!!!

glad that things are working welll-
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 11th, 2002 09:20 am (UTC) (Link)



Yeah, I'm proud of myself for being able to identify the problem and fix it on my own. I was even so caught up in the "home improvement rush" last night that I installed myself a programmable digital thermostat!

Yay! Take that, burly homerepair guy!
retepsnave From: retepsnave Date: March 11th, 2002 09:23 am (UTC) (Link)


I got to install one of those in our rental appt. the other day..... problem was the wires were old and not labeled.... had to trace them down and trouble-shoot...... :-(

but now properly programed it should save you a tidy sum of money!
very nice! congrats!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 11th, 2002 03:49 pm (UTC) (Link)


Sounds more complicated than mine - my biggest challenge was getting the darn wires to stay put under the screws, since they didn't want to.

Yep, I'm hoping it'll save money! Thanks!
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: March 11th, 2002 10:45 am (UTC) (Link)
So what temperature are we aiming for?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 11th, 2002 03:48 pm (UTC) (Link)


Well it depends on the time of day. It's got settings for morning/day/evening/night, and you can pick the time each starts, plus the temperature. I make it quite high in the morning/evening (75 right now), but lower for night and lowest for daytime, when I'm at work. (My upstairs windows need replacement, so the upstairs (where my bedroom is) is much colder than the downstairs. That's why I go much higher when I'm likely to be up there (morning/evening).)
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: March 12th, 2002 03:17 am (UTC) (Link)
If only you had this degree of control at work!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 12th, 2002 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)
read 14 comments | talk to me!