Sparks in the Dark
Recently I decided to replace a ceiling light fixture with a ceiling fan in my computer room. Instead of turning off the power at the breaker, I just shut off the light switch and got to work. I changed the box and was finishing up the electrical work when a storm passed over outside. The storm darkened the room a bit, but I could still see fine to complete the job. Just then, my wife came into the room to help out. I asked her to hand me some parts and then she said, 'Why are you working in the dark?' Taking matters into her own hands, she instinctively turned on the light switch and sparks flew from my screwdriver. Thank goodness my hands weren't touching the wires. Next time I'll turn off the power at the breaker!
Snow Job Gone Wrong
My wife isn't exactly a farm girl. You know, not well acquainted with running machinery. So I was surprised when she called me at work to say she was going to clear the snow out of our driveway with the garden tractor snow blower. I was quite happy to skip snow blowing in the dark after work.
But when I got home, the driveway was an absolute mess. Weirdly shaped piles of snow were everywhere, along with ruts across the driveway into the lawn—not exactly the bang-up job I'd been hoping for. We plodded through the drifts to rescue the tractor, which was stuck in a snowbank. I climbed aboard and fired it up. My wife got the most incredulous look on her face—she had no idea there was a switch that existed solely to turn on the snow blower.
'Air' on the Side of Clean
During an unusually long hot spell, I finally decided to install the window air conditioner that had been sitting unused in my garage for five years. I lugged it inside and prepared to put it in the window. My wife suggested I clean it thoroughly before installing it. But since it had been wrapped up in the garage, I figured a light surface cleaning would be enough. After straining and sweating to install the unit in the window, I turned it on, expecting to receive a delicious blast of cold air. I got the cold air all right. But the mouse droppings, dead bugs and spiderwebs weren't exactly 'delicious.'
I Can Do It Myself
As my wife and kids were heading to the grocery store, I noticed a roller had come out of the track on the overhead garage door. My wife asked if I needed some help fixing it, but I told her to go on to the store. 'What could go wrong?' I asked myself.
I got out the ladder, pushed up the door slightly with one hand and pushed the roller back into the track with my other hand. Once the roller was in the track, the door started to roll shut, trapping and pinching my finger. Ouch! As I tried to lift the door free with my other hand, the door began rolling and the ladder started to tip. I screamed for help until a neighbor ran over. As he came into the garage I said, 'Don't ask any questions, and please don't tell my wife!'
I Told You So!
Several years ago, my wife and I decided to build a new fence along the property line. My wife insisted that I call the local utilities (gas, phone, water, etc.) hot line before I dug the holes, saying, 'After all, it's just one number to call and the service is free.' Well, I never got around to it and started digging the fence postholes. All was fine until I got to the last post. I jammed the digger down and hit something that felt like a rock, so I gave it another hard thrust. Oops! I could hear hissing out of the pipe and smell gas rising out of the hole. I told my wife and she notified the neighbors and the gas company. Needless to say, I felt about 2 ft. tall as they all gathered across the street looking at me standing by the hole as the gas truck came rushing up the street. I could see my wife staring at me and mouthing the words, 'I told you so!'
Outta-Whack Lawn Mowing
While I was out of town, my wife decided to help out by mowing the lawn. That night, as we talked on the phone, she mentioned that the mower engine had died about a dozen times. I thought that was unusual since it's a new mower and I'd never had any trouble with it.
When I got home, I knew what the problem was as soon as I pulled into the driveway. An inspection of the mower confirmed it. I always kept the wheels at the highest setting. While my wife was mowing, she had hit a landscaping stone in the yard, knocking the left rear wheel down to its lowest setting. This caused the blade to drag through the dirt on one side, repeatedly killing the engine. Every pass of the mower gave the lawn a nice 'cultivated' look.
Plaster?It's What's for Dinner
My parents were turning the attic space directly over the dining room into an extra bedroom. That space had no flooring, which was one of the first jobs they tackled. One evening, they set out our dinner and went upstairs to work while we ate.
Suddenly we heard a scream and a crash and saw Mom's foot come through the ceiling! She'd forgotten all about the lack of flooring and stepped right through the ceiling. She wasn't hurt, but the soup that night was pretty crunchy due to the plaster dust and all.
Scratch and Dent
We finally upgraded to a side-by-side refrigerator that would fit perfectly in the space between our cabinets. But when it was delivered, it turned out that the right side couldn't open all the way because of a projecting dividing wall. 'No problemo,' I said, and I fetched my reciprocating saw to shorten the wall a bit. Well, the saw teeth caught the drywall corner bead and the saw blade jumped—right into the top corner of the new fridge, scratching the heck out of the paint. At this point, the fridge had been in our house for less than 30 minutes, and yes, my wife had suggested that I move it out of harm's way before I started to cut. Undeterred, I finished cutting the wall, where I made the grim discovery of a PVC vent pipe. The rest of the afternoon was spent in a 2-ft.-high crawl space under the house, relocating the vent. It gave me a good opportunity to think about how I had managed to get myself into both a kitchen remodel and the doghouse all over a new refrigerator.
Soap on a Slope
Not long ago, we decided to install a new surround around our shower base. For once, I was going to read the instructions before starting. My wife and I went to the home store and picked out a neat-looking surround with a built-in soap dish. I followed the instructions and even made full-size templates so I could cut the pieces to fit around the fixtures and get everything just right. Measure twice, cut once, right? I slipped each piece in place and fastened them to the shower walls. 'Wow,' I thought, 'this is really going in nicely!' I stood back to admire my work and then it hit me like front-page news. The built-in soap dish was upside down!
The New Fandango
My wife picked out an expensive new ceiling fan. While I was installing it, I noticed a red tag with some printing on it, but I was eager to proceed, so I figured I'd read it after the fan was up and running. I followed the directions and included the extra bracing for the fan. When I was done installing it, I proudly called in my wife to admire it. As I flicked on the switch to take our new fan for its maiden spin, the fan immediately unscrewed itself from the threaded support pipe and came whirling down in what looked like slow motion and crashed to the floor. The fan was a complete wreck, there were ugly scratches in our brand new hardwood floor, and you can guess what my wife had to say! When I finally got around to reading the red tag, here's what it said: 'After the pipe is screwed in, use the locking screw provided to lock the pipe onto the main support.'