Part 3: They Did WHAT?!

I posted about the electrical in our bathroom already but I didn’t really post about my reaction when I discovered this nice tid bit about our house.

Our bathroom light fixture was dying a slow painful death and I mean 2 out of the 3 lights worked and it was a hideous looking standard builder’s grade light.  I knew what kind of light fixture I wanted something simple, that provided a lot of light because the bathroom is really dark and something fairly inexpensive.  At the time we picked the light we were only changing the faucet and the light fixture and the wall color.  I matched the light fixture to the faucet and was very pleased with what I came up with.

The walls were done completely finished and all I wanted was light in the bathroom so I could see if I missed anything.  I removed the old light fixture and discovered this:

Bare wires coming out of the wall.  Yes I did paint around it.

Bare wires coming out of the wall. Yes I did paint around it. 

I showed Julie (my mother-in-law) the progress in the bathroom and she mentioned in passing, “Where is the box?”

Me:  “What?”

Julie:  “Amanda, where is the outlet box that the wires are suppose to be coming out of?”

CRASH!  Booga had knocked the kitchen chair over and was chasing Reeva around the house.  That night after karate, bathtime, bedtime for the kids I finished painting and wanted to get the light up in the bathroom.  I read the instructions and it looked easy enough hook up the wires and put it in the outlet box and you have a light.  I have installed many light fixtures over the years but I always read the directions first, electricity needs to be respected.  I got everything hooked up and it dawned on me wait where is the box that everything goes in?  I looked took the flashlight and tried to find the box, there has to be a box because that is against code not to have wires in a box.  I then tried to install the light without the box, the old light was installed without one (probably why it shorted out) I could get the box tomorrow because I had very little light in the bathroom.  At this moment when it didn’t work I lost it I had the urge to take the hammer I had in my hand from trying to find the beam and hit the walls with it.  I didn’t but I was tired, frustrated and felt like it was one big damn conspiracy and everyone was in on it – the faucet, the sink, the vanity, the light, the walls and the bathroom was laughing at me.  I sat in the middle of the floor and had my breakdown because the light wouldn’t work and I knew at that moment the bathroom was no longer up to code which also means the other bathroom (and god knows how many other lighting fixtures in my house) are not up to code.  Being very close to being a certified building inspector in the State of Georgia I could not in good conscious leave it the way it was.  I took the light down and decided I needed to stop for the night before I took out my frustrations on the unsuspecting wall with the hammer (it would have known what it did).

The next morning I called my dad the following is our conversation:

Me:  Dad there is no outlet box how do I get the light up?

Dad:  There has to be a box you need to look harder.

Me:  Dad the wires are coming out of the wall.

Dad:  You can’t hang anything without a box.  Look for the beam.

Me:  Um… the wires are coming out of the beam.

Dad:  What?!

Me:  From what I can see the wires are coming out of the beam.

Dad:  You need an outlet box.

Me:  You think?!

Dad:  (Laughing hysterically by think point) Go to the store and buy one put it in you may have to put a hole in the wall.

Me:  (sigh) Okay.

Before we went to the store I wanted to see what was behind the wall so I cut a hole in the wall:

Yes that is my electrical wires in my house going through a beam in my bathroom.

Yes that is my electrical wires in my house going through a beam in my bathroom.  That other lovely wire is the wire to the other bathroom.  Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?  I also sent this photo to my dad who in turn showed everyone at the mill he was at.  I am glad I was able to bring so much joy to so many that day.

The one thing that blew my mind in all of this what they did with the beam took longer and more man power than the outlet box would have.  We went to Ace and got an outlet box it was cheap $0.79, we also got spackel for hole and a couple other things we needed.

Giant hole to install an outlet box.

Giant hole to install an outlet box.  The hole got bigger because the nails would not move.  I am short and lacked leverage (remember this for later.)  After about 30 minutes that bad boy was nailed to the wall and ready for the patch.

My wall patch

My wall patch before sanding.  My dad and uncle hate patching walls so I always did it, they are also huge perfectionists meaning huge amounts of sanding are involved.  I had to leave the wall set overnight so I could sand in the morning.

Painted ready for the light

Painted ready for the light.

Remember the comment that I was a tad too short for installing the light box?  Well when I started screwing the light into the box the pressure needed was separating the outlet box from the beam.  By this point enter another breakdown because the only fix I could think of was replacing the wall and I didn’t want to do that.  Jeff said “Step back take a break for a while.  I don’t see we couldn’t screw through the box to the beam, two screws one top one bottom.  My response to him was “Where were you yesterday when I was doing this?”  Once we got the outlet box screwed into the wall the light went up with no problem and as you can see it worked.

Jeff very proud of his accomplishment (so was I we have light!)

Jeff very proud of his accomplishment (so was I we have light!)


There are several things I would have done differently on this one not call my dad (okay that is a lie), two not paint my walls until I took down the light fixture, three screwed the outlet box into the beam, four drank way more beer while tackling this project and five brought the walls down to the beams and replaced the whole damn thing (but at this point we hadn’t hit the floor yet so it wasn’t necessary).

One thought on “Part 3: They Did WHAT?!

  1. Pingback: Part 7: The Big Reveal | Who Are You Calling Crafty?

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