Today was the Veterans' Day holiday, and of course it was a holiday at the Naval Academy. So instead of teaching, I decided to be productive and take care of several outstanding issues:
1. Oil change & tire rotation
2. Secure the glass front door and install the glass part (replacing the screen that had been in the frame since Mike helped me put it on back in mid-October)
3. Replace the remaining light switches and faceplates (from original beige to new white) that were held over from the last round of painting finished last month.
So I printed my $10/off coupon, made an online appointment for 7:30 a.m., and headed out to Firestone. While up on the rack, they noticed that the back brakes were out of alignment and suggested that I have my coolant system flushed (I declined, at $89.00, and it's winter), battery connections cleaned (I accepted, at $19.99), and spark plugs replaced (I declined, again at $89.00, because it's part of the Honda-recommended standard maintenance at 100k miles). One hour 30 mins later, I paid the bill (which actually came in less than $100, unlike I was anticipating) and headed over to Home Depot to buy the faceplates, light switches, and one outlet replacement.
Got back around 9:30 and set to work: replace the light switches first, then the outlet, then put on the faceplates. After struggling to get the copper wires out of the holes in the back of the switches (why there needs to be a different tiny hole where you're supposed to jam something really small to get the wire to "release" I'll never know), I managed to get into a rhythm, and by 11:00, everything was replaced and looking good. I proceeded to saw up extra shims (to put inside the exterior door frame, so that it'll secure to the wooden door frame) and finally install the glass door. I'm not installing the spring-loaded "catch" (you know, the part of the door that causes it to close behind you) because those annoy me. If I want the door to close, I can manage it myself, thank you. I guess if you have kids, those come in handy. I always seem to end up on the wrong side, though, usually with my hands full and a scraped ankle or Achilles' tendon (as the stupid glass door springs shut on me before I manage to get in). So no automatic closer for my front door! Sawing up the shims took a little longer than anticipated, and I had to caulk around the door and nail on a piece of rounded trim, but finished up around 2 p.m. I turned around to turn on the hallway light, and realized it wouldn't work, likely owing to something I'd done wrong in installing the light switches.
Turns out (after 30 mins of Google searching, and going back in and uninstalling the "switch" to look at it), I had eagerly installed "interruptors", not 3-way switches, so none of my three-way lights worked any more (neither basement nor hallway). An hour of fighting with my one actual three-way switch (turns out I bought it by accident this am at Home Depot... by "fighting" I mean multiple iterations of trial-and-error to figure out which wire was the "common" wire and which the "traveling" wires), and I got one of them installed and finally working. So back to Home Depot to get a refund on the $8.42 worth of 'interruptors' I mistakenly bought this a.m. and to buy real 3-way switches. Now it's 4:30 and I'm finally finished: all switches and faceplates installed and working! Here's a photo of me trying to get the hall lightswitch working (and another photo of the finished product).
How did you spend YOUR day?