Adventures in Lighting

Today’s issues revolved around the lighting in various parts of the house. Tuesday I decided to take a look at the ceiling light in the studio to see if I could improve the output level any by putting brighter bulbs in or adjusting the direction of the fixtures. The light has four small, adjustable halogen lamps on it that can be rotated and aimed up or down so that the light falls where needed. Simple, right?

Wrong. I checked the bulbs first, and while they were only 35 watt bulbs, I didn’t have any of the right variety in a higher wattage on hand to replace them with. So I tried to adjust the direction of the lights, and spread them out just a tad more, which seemed to work okay for a short while.

Late Tuesday evening, one of the bulbs went out. It just sort of faded away, and when I climbed back up there to check on it, the fixture was way to hot to touch right next to that particular bulb. The other areas of the fixture weren’t that hot, so after fiddling with it a bit longer and having it fade in and out repeatedly while providing some strange sorts of humming noises, I decided that the owners left us a bum fixture, and it would have to be replaced before it burned the house down.

Sheesh. All I did was adjust the thing! It wasn’t putting out enough light anyway, so fine. Off to the hardware store I went on Wednesday morning to look at lighting, figuring I’d also shop for hardware bits to make it possible to connect the American chandelier we have to the very German wiring and ceiling in the dining room. We’ve been waiting for the owner to come and do this like he said he would, but I’ve been tired of the waiting for at least the last week or so. Waiting and patience are not my strong points, though ITMan would have happily waited forever, I guess, and continued to eat in the dark. He’ll eat just about anything anyway, so seeing it probably isn’t strictly a necessity, but I need the visual as well as the gustative, thanks.

You must understand that I’m not Ellie the Electrician here. Plugging things in is one thing, and I can hook up computers, networks, and A/V equipment all day long, but both the chandelier and the light in the studio have to be hard wired. ITMan doesn’t know how to do it either, and 220v will knock you off a ladder onto your butt, so he’s not really all that up for the game. But hey, nobody else iwas going to do it obviously, and the Internet has everything, right?

Having done my research about which wires I should connect together and how not to get tossed off the ladder by stray power surges (thank you, Google), I had to talk to four different hardware store employees in a mixture of English and my broken German to cobble together some hardware pieces to actually hang the chandelier from the ceiling in the dining room. We had it up in the other house, but some usable hardware was luckily already there from the previous lamp (the ugliest lamp in the world, I might add, which is why I put my own up in the first place). We had to put the ugly lamp back up when we left the other house, and this house came with no lucky hardware attached. 😦

Hardware bits in hand, along with a replacement lamp for the studio, I headed home to read over the notes from my research. After dinner, I managed to hang and wire the chandelier on the first try, and nobody had to hit the floor to make it happen. ITMan held the heavy chandelier. Really, just about all he did was hold it up while I did the rest, because every time I asked his opinion on how something should be done, he claimed ignorance and said “This is why I don’t do electrical stuff. I have no idea.” Big help! I kept telling him that he should be the one playing with the electrical wires since he has way more life insurance than I do. Okay, tell me again why I’m married? Oh, yeah, somebody has to lift the heavy stuff… 😉

Next project: replace ceiling light in studio. It’s not heavy. Maybe I’ll just do it myself. Stay tuned…

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