DIY Blows.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

At least today, it did.  My mom and I decided today would be the day to patch the hole in the kitchen wall where the idiots who owed the house before us cut corners and just put the old Formica countertops onto the bare studs, rather than doing it properly (on top of drywall).  They also used, if you'll pardon my French, a shit ton of caulk which got good and stuck to the walls over the last 30 years.

But we overcame.

Gross, right?

Cut the dry wall to fit and use a dry wall rasp to sand down the edges for a perfectly flush fit.

Use 1 1/4" coarse thread dry wall screws (if you have wood studs like me) and screw the dry wall into the studs.

Smooth joint compound ("mud") along the edges of the old dry wall and the new dry wall, apply a strip of paper dry wall tape, apply more mud.

We have to let the mud dry for 24 hours before we'll sand it down and put on another layer, followed by more waiting and drying, followed by more sanding.  The goal is to get it smooth and level, so that when I put my subway tile backsplash up, there won't be any wonky unevenness on the wall.

Since we were DIYing, I took it into my head to change out my electrical receptacles (aka outlets) and my switches.  This is where things took a turn for the worse.  I should have just patted myself on the back for the dry walling and called it a day.  

First, I switched out the dimmer switch in my dining room.


After uploading this photo, I realized I had cracked the faceplate.  You could really only see it with the flash of the camera, but I now knew it was cracked and simply could not leave it alone.  Eff.  I have since replaced it.  Thank God I bought a ten-pack of faceplates.

Since the dimmer switch went well, I decided to tackle the GFCI switches in my kitchen.  This is where I lost my temper, yelled the f word four times in a row, and screamed at the top of my lungs (I'm pretty sure I heard an echo).

First, I shut off the breaker for my kitchen.  But, thinking safety first, I used the little voltage meter to make sure there was no power running to the outlets.  Well, there was.  So I went back and shut off all the other breakers and checked again.  Still powered.  So I shut off all electricity to my house from the breaker box outside.  Finally no power.  Unfortunately, I also had no AC.  Gross.

I get to work and nothing goes right.  The stupid copper wires wouldn't hook around the screws like they were supposed to, and the screws kept sliding back into the receptacle, so the wires couldn't hook on even if they felt like it.  I finally got the one receptacle wired in and thought, Well, the other one can't be any worse.   


Whoever the idiot that did the electrical work in my house crammed the electrical box so full of capped wires that I couldn't get the receptacle back in the box.  Plus, the last one had taken so long that the sun had gone down and I couldn't see.  My back also started to hurt from bending over to work with the wires.  This is the point that I screamed and dropped the f bomb.  I also called my mom and bitched to her.

Then, because apparently, I'm a glutton for punishment, I decided to try my hand at replacing the ugly back light switch in the hall.

Yes, some idiot put BLACK switches in my beautiful house.  WTF?  I don't think they even make black light switches anymore.



What you miss in these photos is that during my electrical work, I decided, Wait!  I'm so smart.  I'll free up my flashlight hand by lighting candles so I can see to screw in these tiny screws.  Yay me!  
Except my fire alarm is battery operated.  Yes, that's right.  I set off the fire alarm.


After that, I called it a night, turned the lights back on, and started blogging/checking e-mail/trying not to feel so murderous.  Except now I sort of want to try to replace another light switch.

Definitely a glutton for punishment.


  1. Bless your heart! I am very impressed that you even know how to do these things! You go girl! I would have been cussing and throwing a fit, just like you, but the changes you made were brilliant!

  2. You go lady!

    Mrs. Kindergarten

  3. This cracked me up, though I'm sorry you had so many challenges! I'm impressed though, I don't think I would have the guts to mess with anything electrical!


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