alpaca princess (renniekins) wrote,
alpaca princess
renniekins

Handywoman

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....
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