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Day 4 One of the great things about this project is that its a great excuse to buy tools. I've never been much of a tool guy before, so its all new territory for me. My relationship with hardware and this sort of work is the same as my relationship with bowling, baseball, and skateboarding. I really have no capacity for any of them, but I don't let that stop me. If you've seen me bowl, or run the bases, or skateboard, you will be laughing at this point. I never took shop class in school. My father, while being a handy guy himself, apparently realized early on, and correctly so, that carpentry and tool skills are not passed on genetically. He built a 2 story shed behind our house, as well as bookshelves, magazine racks, etc, but I never really learned much along the way. I expect that the idea of his eldest son at the helm of a powerful, rapidly moving sharp anything would drive my father to drink. He could obviously see that I was too pretty for manual labor. If you've seen any picture of me at any age, you'll be laughing very loudly by now. So this week I bought my first drill, shown here. Read the feature list out loud and feel intimidated. Rapid Max Twin Charger. Locking Carbide Chuck. Die Cast Gear Housing. Die Cast Overmold Clutch Ring, 24 Position Clutch. Heck yeah. Some day I'm going to know what all these things mean, but its big, heavy, and loud, so that's good enough for me. I am really enjoying doing the electrical work so far. I had to wire up and install some power outlets last night. The official term for an outlet is "receptacle," but that sounds more like a spitoon or a sample cup you might get at the doctors office. Lineman's pliers are a very gratifying tool to use. You can feel the weight in your hand, not worry about losing your grip on things, and generally just feel powerful. Its as if you receive your pliers from the Lady of the Lake herself, signifying your divinely ordained place in the universe. I believe that if every male was given a good set of lineman's pliers on his 18th birthday then all war would cease. These young men would feel affirmed in their masculinity, with nothing else to prove. They would be strong in their arms, and would then give themselves over to productive, noble pursuits like rewiring my kitchen. One of the great challenges of electrical work is mastering the fish tape. The phrase "pushing rope" is applicable here, although its more like "pushing rope up the inside of a wall, turning the corner into the ceiling, and praying that it will somehow come out the 2 inch wide hole where you just removed a light fixture." It is about more difficult than it sounds. I'm sure that properly trained electricians must spend at least three years secret remote mountain locations studying with a fish tape shaman until they can bend it to their will. "When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, grasshopper, on the other side of this wall and bring it back through the ceiling, then you will have achieved fish tape enlightenment," or, for you Matrix fans, "there is no fish tape." Is the verb form here Fish Taping? Or Tape Fishing? They both sound wrong. I am so tired. The work is such a nice change from my desk job that I don't notice the time until after midnight, and then by the time I finish cleaning up and getting home, its well after 1:00AM. Thank goodness for my day job so I can come here and get some sleep. Every day we have to decide which jobs need to be done now, which can be patched, or cleaned up, and done later, and which ones we should just ignore altogether. For example, the kitchen counters are so ugly that if you tried to make a bowl of Raisin Bran on them the milk would curdle. They are rotting flesh colored and covered in a strange boomerang design. Some things in old houses can have a certain nostalgia to them; they become retro, and cool again. The counter is not one of those things. It was ugly the day it was manufactured, and its ugly now. Certainly something needs to be done, but we aren't sure what yet. We could paint it with Formica paint, which I hear is noxious stuff, or replace it with another cheap counter top. The counter is not even with the sink and the other counter at right angles to it, so if we are going to replace it, then why not replace everything and make it level? And since shimming the counters to level them all together is so much work, why not just tear the whole thing out and get new counter tops? All of a sudden a $100 project that would take one evening has become a total kitchen remodeling, costing upwards of a thousand dollars. In the software development business we use the term "scope creep" to describe a project that slowly expands, like Alka Seltzer in a seagull, to become much larger and more involved than the original request had ever been. In home repair I believe the appropriate term is "you need more ventilation when you paint otherwise you are going to end up broke for the next 15 years because the fumes are making you delusional." Its funny how different industries have their own lingo, isn't it?

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