In this issue:
- Cadie(14) Writes about a winter walk
- Rundy(22) Writes about changing a light fixture
Today was one of those beautiful days when the sun is actually shining and the icicles are dripping. I can never stand to be cooped up in the house for too long, and it’s especially bad in winter, so despite the cold and the snow I go for walks outside as often as possible. Besides, such a day cannot be spent inside; the blue sky just begs me to come out!
The original plan was for me to go outside and take a walk in the woods, taking pictures along the way. As it turned out, it was quite a feat just to walk up our hill! The snow was very hard to walk through, because besides being deep, the top layer of it had frozen over.
You could almost walk on top of it. At first the snow broke apart like ice when I walked on it, but then as it got deeper, I’d sink down through the snow suddenly every now and again, all eighteen inches of it. I never knew when it was going to happen, and it became like a game to try to stay on top of the snow as long as I could. Every time I went down, there was a delightful crumbling, sinking sensation. Then you had to pull your feet out of the deep caves they had made, hoist yourself up onto the snow, and continue to clamber clumsily up the hill–until you fell through again.
The pattern of the snow on the hill to my left (our main hill splits down into two side hills as it goes down) caught my eye. The snow was draped elegantly over a long hump on the hill, and the trees down by the empty pond where I was cast dramatic shadows on the hill. I was going to go up and try to take a picture of it, but the snow seemed determined to keep me from getting up there. It yanked at my feet, pulling me this way and that.
Then, when I got to the crest of the hill, there was a queer sensation of feeling like I was on the verge of falling backward down the hill! I felt very high up, as if I was on a platform, and I had to balance precariously to take a picture. I tried to take a picture of the little tree to my right, but just as I was about to, the snow yanked one foot down, so I was holding the camera crooked. I thought it was all very funny; the snow seemed to have a mind of its own, and almost angry I made it up the hill. The challenge made it fun in one way. The hill seemed to be laying there imperiously, daring anyone to come across it. But after a while, the constant falling through the snow started seeming grating, like an alarm-clock continually going off just when you’re about to fall asleep.
I stopped and looked at the scene around me halfway up the hill. The sun was on the verge of disappearing behind the hill opposite us, which made everything look especially dramatic. On that hill there was a pattern of deep blue shadows interjecting into the whiteness of the hill; streaks and splotches of it in some spots, and settling more heavily in pools of shadow in other spots.
But our hill was being lit up by the sun, and it looked broad and majestic. All across it was a sea of ripples in it that the wind had made, in an ever-continuing pattern, and here and there were pools of pearly-looking snow that gleamed in the sun. (I wasn’t sure what made the snow look different there; maybe the snow starting to melt there?) It looked graceful and eloquent, following all of the curves of the hill in one broad expanse of rippling snow. In one spot on the hill it rose up and down in waves.
I never did take my walk up in the woods. But even with all the struggle and hassle it took just to get up the hill, I was not sorry I came out.
Comments, questions? Write to Cadie at firstname.lastname@example.org
How Many Does It Take to Change a Light Fixture?
Note: This peice was originally published on February 16th a Letters From A Silverware Thief. You can find other writing by Rundy at this website.
Changing a light fixture is supposed to be one of those simple easy things. How hard can it be? Well, in our defense, it depends on what light fixture you’re trying to replace, and what house you’re working in. In a very old house fixing anything is difficult, and sometimes it can seem downright impossible. Replacing a ceiling light fixture, in our case, falls into that category.
How many people does it take to change a light fixture? Insert your punch-line here. We could be the butt of many jokes, if you find humor in catastrophes. But–honestly–it isn’t an indication of our lack of ability that it takes three men to change a light fixture. It just shows the difficulties of electrical modifications in a house that is older than indoor plumbing.
So, you see, when we set about changing the ceiling fixture in the kitchen a two or so years back, things did not go well at all. One problem followed after another, involving the fact that the wiring had degraded so we were forced to rip a section out and . . . well, by the time we finished installing the new light fixture we had a gaping hole in the kitchen ceiling.
Yeah. Just for changing one light fixture. Talk about a simple little project turning into a big nightmare.
It was for this reason that Dad really didn’t want to replace the dining room ceiling light fixture. If replacing the kitchen light resulted in a huge hole in the kitchen ceiling, who knew what doing the dining room light might bring about?
With this boogey-man of possible catastrophe waiting for the unwary fixer-upper, the dining room went without a ceiling light for many years. We set up a small stand lamp on a book shelf and ate under its meager light, occasionally talking about how someone really ought to replace the dining room light. But it always seemed easier to eat in the bad light than to venture attempting to fix anything.
Then I decided I was sick and tired of eating in the dim light. Dim lighting is depressing. The long winter nights are bad enough–poor lighting can make them miserable. Night after night of this and I finally had enough. I decided I preferred a hole in the ceiling with some good light. Plus, visions of unmitigated disaster don’t cause me to pause like it does Dad. So I asked Dad if he cared if I replaced the dining room light.
He decided it was safer if he did it.
So, today we replaced the dining room light. Viewed against the background of the incident of replacing the kitchen light, today was a pretty good success. We didn’t end up with a gaping hole in the dining room ceiling–we have only a very small hole, that you might not even notice unless you look. (The ceiling plate covers up a lot.)
Does this success mean the project was easy? No. It took three of us three hours to mount the new lamp fixture. Lachlan ran about finding supplies and tools and generally holding things while Dad wired and I helped. Our ceiling has lath laid over with sheet rock–basically one ceiling laid on top of another–and the electrical fixture box is of old design as well. So we spent our time wrestling with a small hole in the ceiling whilst standing on the table. Getting a new-fangled lamp to mount onto old-fangled hardware is a taxing experience. It requires ingenuity and a good deal of trial and error. We took things down and compared them.
Then we put stuff back up, and found out that something wouldn’t work. So we took things back down again.
Meanwhile, both Dad and I are waiting with almost breathless dread, expecting something to go terribly wrong. Nothing went terribly wrong. It was with a sense of unbelief that we saw the light work when the circuit was switched on.
The dining room is now well lit, and only now can we truly begin to appreciate how badly lit it was before. It is much more pleasant. My only regret is that we didn’t do this sooner. But who could have known after the kitchen?
Comments, questions? Write to Rundy at email@example.com