Home Improvement (but not with Tim Taylor)

This is a home improvement update, but not with Tim “The Tool-Man” Taylor, although my hammer is a Tim Allen signature series, for what that’s worth. Why does my hammer have a little brass-colored insert that is printed with the signature of an actor who played a home construction guy? Does this make sense?


The basement now has four new outlets on a new circuit from the breaker, supplying 20 amps for Kim’s machines. This was the part I was expecting to be hard, but ended up being pretty easy because it was a 100% new wiring run that did not have to deal with any legacy cruft. While it was easy, conceptually, there were a number of smaller snags. If I were to do this again, I would have gotten larger junction boxes because 12 gauge wire really does not want to yield itself to being bent nicely into a small junction box. I actually had a short to ground at one point that, fortunately, the GFI outlet properly detected and popped before even flipping the breaker.

There were several occasions when I had to call Kim down to be a spotter. “There won’t be fireworks and I won’t get zapped, but in the unlikely event that there are sparky fireworks and I do get zapped, here’s a wooden broom handle to knock me away from the wires.” While I do possess a bodybag that my EMT little sister gave me for Christmas a few years ago, I’d prefer not to have to actually use it for its intended purpose.

Tomorrow, I will probably attack the lighting situation. This one is a bit more dicey, as I need to reverse-engineer the current lighting’s wiring and figure out if I want to (or even CAN) graft into the pre-WWI cloth-covered wiring (ehhh…not so much), replace it outright, or run a new circuit alongside it.


I now have an actual server closet! I suspect that while it is unique to have a server closet in a turn of the century house, I am probably not the first person to do this (given that lots of local businesses are in converted houses), but I am probably the first on the block. The server closet is literally a closet, but does not contain actual servers. It may or may not have been manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts. It has a shiny new power outlet for a gigabit switch as well as a smallish patch panel for CAT-6 cabling. Right now, the only room wired up with proper CAT-6 outlets is Kim’s office The rest of the house has long-ass network cables running across the floor, laying in wait to trip the unsuspecting. Wireless is nice, but too slow when moving DVDs worth of data across the house.

I spent part of the evening making short patch cables. Because of this, I have a newfound appreciation of any sort of automated machine that manufactures network cables. Trying to get all of the wire colors to stay in the right order when crimping on connectors is a pain in the butt. Also, I discovered that the cutting blades on my crimper (there are three of ’em! Count ’em!) have no real shielding or protection. They’re quite sharp, though, and can make a very clean cut very quickly–in fact, fast enough that the nerves that should say “hey, this hurts” don’t have enough time to react. Such cuts bleed profusely. And hey, remember those sprinkler toys from childhood that were “snakes?” Effectively, they were a hose that, under pressure, squirted water everywhere. That was the Betadine bottle in the bathroom as I dropped it while trying to clean the cut. It got to squirt out all over the place and leave a wonderful rusty-brown-iodine-colored mess…on the sink, on the walls, on the floor. The only thing it did not actually spray on was the thing it was supposed to get on: me.


Nothing to report. We have mortar, grout, sealer, a new wax ring for the toilet, and quite a few other things. We do not have the actual tile itself.

Posted in: Dear Diary

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