Make Sure to Check Everything

To say that home repairs and maintenance can be an adventure around here would be something of an understatement. For the record, “around here”, is a “Westly”: a Sears Craftsman kit house built in 1920 (yes, Virginia, between 1913 and 1942 you could buy what is basically a giant modeling kit that when you put it together turned into a house). The wiring in particular can get pretty exciting, as there are long runs of wire with the old-timey fabric insulation around it.

Some weeks back, the work light over the stove went TU. Pulled off the cover, wiggled the bulb around: yep, dead as a doornail. I figured that at some point I’d pull the fluorescent tube and get a new one. The other “death” was the toaster, which led me, for the very first time in my life, to pry open my wallet and actually buy a toaster-oven. (I noticed early on that folks throw those out not when they break (although I’m sure that some do), but when they get to a certain level of filthy. So yeah, I would pull one out of the trash, clean the hell out of it, and use it. When I found a bigger/better one, that would get cleaned up, and the old one would go.)

There I was, trying to figure out which portion of the very limited counter space would get the toaster-oven. Outlets on both sides of the stove were dead, which was a surprise. At first, I decided to blame the godless Chinese for selling me a defective unit, but then I plugged the thing into an outlet that I knew worked. Sure enough, toast! Yummy!

Then it occurred to me: check the fusebox, and sure enough, that circuit was tripped.

[hangs head in shame] It’s not as though I just got out of school and didn’t know anything. Nor do I come from a family that hires others to fix stuff around the house. To make it worse, who do you think was my father’s chief assistant and all-around gopher? Yep, you’re reading his blog.

Now I have both a regular toaster and a toaster-oven. Yes, there’s some redundancy here, but another family trait is that I resist throwing anything out unless it’s well-and-truly broken and it’s beyond my ability to repair.

But the work light over the stove is working again, so there’s that.


(One of my upcoming projects is to rebuild the ABS on the 1989 Mercedes 300SE that’s out in the driveway. I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to totally screw that up, too.)

One Response to “Make Sure to Check Everything”

  1. Phil says:

    I absolutely love those old Craftsman style houses but yeah, they have some issues with the old wiring and plumbing both.