Monday, March 21, 2016

I Possibly Took it Too Far

Last July, we conducted a bit of a facelift on the master bedroom.  We scraped the popcorn ceilings, painted the walls and some furniture, installed a new ceiling fan, added some artwork, and sewed new curtains.  I picked up the ceiling fan at Lowe's, and was lucky enough to get it on clearance.  We had seen it before and really wanted it for the space, but the price was way too high.  When I saw it marked down 65%, I was thrilled.  It truly added a modern elegance to the space.  My husband prefers modern, and I adore shabby chic.  So this fan was a nod to his end of the spectrum, while the elegance allowed a connection to the traditional elements of the room.

I hate to admit this, but the light on the fan went out about 4 months ago.  The fan continued to work, but the lights stopped working all together after flashing for about a week.  Yes, I've been living in a bedroom with no light for 4 months.  We've gotten used to feeling around in the dark and dodging the edges of furniture.  If we turn on the hallway, bathroom, and closet lights, we can see well enough to get dressed.  We have to add the light of the TV if we plan to iron.  I'm busy, but not so busy that I don't have time to swap out a light fixture.  Our descent into darkness has been more of a stubborn refusal to admit that perhaps the amazing clearance price was due to the fact that this model is defective.  I've just been hoping that if we wait long enough, the light would just fix itself.  It has not.  It will not.  

About a month ago, my husband couldn't ignore the darkness any longer.  He pulled out the ladder while I made strange excuses for the fixture.  

"It must be the bulbs.  It must be these new bulbs too.  Lowe's keeps selling me bad bulbs!"

"There must be a short!" 

"Should we change the switch?"

"I think the house needs rewired!"  

After twelve years together, he has gotten very good at ignoring me, so he proceeded to "fix" the light.  After he was finished, neither the the light nor the fan worked.  Disaster.

Here we are a month later.  No light.  No fan.  No more denying this is a problem.  Yesterday, we worked together as a team to troubleshoot the problem. We started small, and moved to big.  We checked everything we knew to check.  We even used a voltmeter.  It felt very official.  Luckily, we still have the old fan from before, so we hooked it up.  It worked, and the light worked.  So, my theories, just like that, were dissolved.  It had to be the light fixture.

Convinced there was no solution, and ready to part with my perfect fixture, I decided to take it apart.  I was just so curious how the entire device worked.  We removed every screw, every clip, every bolt.  We used a hammer and chisel to beat the motor open so that I could see the guts of my dearly departed fixture.  After plenty of observing and what can be compared to an autopsy, I felt satisfied and ready to move forward.  My beautiful ceiling fan truly was gone.

We visited Lowe's and Home Depot last night, but I just couldn't find a fan that was as perfect as the now decommissioned one lying on my bedroom floor.  We paced up and down the aisles, but nothing came close to what we had dissected.  I kept reminding my husband how much better I liked the old fan.  He was so patient, and understood that grief is a process and cannot be rushed.  We went home and slept in the darkness of our grief as well as our unlit bedroom.  

Today, we returned to Lowe's to see if anything might be more appealing after some time of mourning.  High on a shelf in the back of the lighting section, he discovered a hidden gem.  A fan quite similar to our perfect fan.  I was thrilled!  We found a lovely man and asked him if we might have that one, but he quickly barked that we could not!  It was reserved for display!  The man explained that all of the current ceiling fans were going to be clearanced and replaced with an entire new set, and that was one of the new fans awaiting the swap.  I was devastated.  I explained that we had a perfect fan, a beautiful fan, but that it no longer worked.  I described its symptoms, and told him how we had laid it to rest.  He asked a question that made me heart skip a beat

"Did you check the factory dimmer?"

The what?

"The factory dimmer?  New fans come with a dimmer built in that controls the wattage.  If you use the wrong bulbs, it lowers the wattage to prevent a fire.  They go out all of the time.  Just remove it and bypass it.  It's easy and you won't have to buy a new fixture."

I swallowed hard.  Why did I take the fan apart?  Why did I take the entire fan apart just to see how it works?  I think I possibly took it too far.  In fact, I know I took it too far.  I know this because my husband and I spending the rest of the evening like Dr. Frankenstein and his wife, carefully piecing this monster back together.    

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