Sunday, July 10, 2016


I woke up a little late on Saturday. Which was okay, because I needed the morning light. So, while I waited for the dawn, I ate some toast, took my pills and had a cup of coffee.

As soon as it was light outside, I set up my painting station and worked on the other side of the fan blades. I got three coats on and they look as good as they are going to get.

Back inside, I did a load of laundry and ran the dishwasher.  Then I started assembling my tools. I loaded everything  into the step stool.

Sidebar: I had my electrical tester in my hand (I used it taking down the fan and left it on the table). But, I thought , why would I need this? So, I set it back down.

Then I shaved, showered and got dressed in my crappy work clothes. I put the step stool and the step ladder in the back of the truck. I put the fan components in three boxes and loaded them in the cab.

I headed out around 1:30 p.m. I made one planned stop at KFC. I bought a bucket of chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw, biscuits and a half gallon of lemonade. Then I headed down I-96 to Vicky's house.

Sidebar #1: She's been sprucing the house up for her Mother's return, BTW. She got a used dryer from Courtney and I assumed she would have some of her family there installing it. That's why I bought the food.

Sidebar #2: She had told me that the ceiling fan in the living room had quit working. Since they have no air conditioning, that was a real problem. I told her I had the one in the kitchen I no longer wanted and she could have it.  I asked her at the time what color the old fan blades were and she said white.

I was about halfway there when the low fuel light went on. Dammit! So, I got off the freeway and searched a bit for a gas station. I finally found one and filled up my tank.

Unfortunately, I was relying on my phone rather than my recollection and, for some reason, it took me into Cork Town, then down Vernor to Mexican Town. Which wouldn't have been a problem, except they are resurfacing Vernor. So, there were barrels, hot tar and big trucks everywhere. I couldn't even turn onto her street so I had to make a loop and get there another way. But, I got there and parked.

Sure enough, her Dad and two brothers were there. So, I gave them the food, telling them I knew she wouldn't feed them! They laughed.

While they ate, I got to work. Her brother's had gotten the lights off the old fan, but couldn't figure out how to get the motor off. But, been there, done that, so I got it down. I took off the bracket and started to assemble my bracket.

Sidebar #1: It's a 10-foot ceiling, so the step stool was useless. Her brothers had used two bar stools to stand on, so I was glad I brought the step ladder.

Sidebar #2: The old fan blades were almond, not white!

I got the bracket reassembled and then tried to install it. But the electrical box there was much tighter into the plaster and one of the screw hit it. I ws going to just gouge out the plaster, but her brother asked if he could help. He worked on it for a long time while I sat and sweated (it wasn't that hot outside, but the house was an oven).

He finally got it and I took over. Now the hardest part is trying to get the wire nuts back on. So, Vicky climbed up on the stools and held the fan motor while I tried to wire it in. The problem is that the house wires were only about one-inch long! So, it took a while. But, we finally got it! I put in the two screws that hold it to the bracket to keep it in place and we both collapsed on the couch, sweating.

But there was a problem. One of the screws was too long! I had it in about a half inch and it stopped. So, I got a smaller one and tried to replace it. But that one wouldn't go all the way in. WTF?

So, her brother tried and it wouldn't work for him either! He had to leave for work and her other brother and father left, so it was up to me and Vicky.

We tried and tried. But, no dice. Something was stopping the new screw. Then we tried putting a light bulb in a socket and turning it on. The damn light didn't work! The fan motor worked, just not the lights.

Sidebar: If I had taken the electrical tester, I could have diagnosed it, dammit!

We put on four of the five fan blades. I was embarrassed because by that time, my right arm was shaking so badly I kept dropping the screws. Finally, Vicky said, "John, your hand is shaking too much. Give me the drill and you hold the blades, please." So, that's how we did it.

Sidebar: We left one off, so there was room to work on the screw that wouldn't go it.

We decided that the only solution at that point was for me to get the tester and another screw and come back on Sunday.

So, we went out back and sat outside in the shade. I drank a tall glass of lemonade while we sat in a nice breeze and talked. It felt good to get out of that hot house!

Finally, I said I should get going. I left my tools and the stepladder. She asked me if I wanted to take the rest of the food home (they left me a piece of chicken). They also left all of the mashed potatoes, gravy and coleslaw. All they ate was the chicken and the biscuits.

My bad! I forgot my target audience. Puerto Ricans are not big on potatoes or coleslaw. If I'd brought rice it would have been all gone!

I went the old familiar way back home.

But, then I remembered that I used the last of the cat treats! So, I went to that little grocery store on Joy and Beech Daly. But, they didn't have any! So, I bought a little can of Whiskers (or something like that) seafood delight cat food.

When I got home it was around 6:00 p.m. I opened the can of cat food and damn near threw up. It smelled awful! But Caley seems to like it.

I took a rinse-off shower and changed into shorts and a t-shirt. I went out and hooked the hose to the soaker hose in the vegetable garden and watered it for an hour.

I warmed up the chicken and some of the potatoes and gravy. That and the coleslaw made a nice dinner.

I threw the rest of the uneaten cat food in the trash and took the bag out to the trash can. I had to get rid of that smell!

I didn't see anything interesting on live TV, so I watched a couple of taped DIY shows.But I went to bed before 9:00 p.m. I was beat!