My hands hurt.
My hands hurt because this reader and writer has been working with her hands. I have cuts and band-aids on the majority of my fingers. Swiping the iPhone has become an increasingly difficult task. But I've also gained confidence. I have trimmed windows and laid tile and I now know the difference between mortar and grout.
The last step to the kitchen remodel was to hang our new light fixtures that I bought eons ago. I made an appointment with Mr. Sparky, an electrician chain. Mr. Sparky quoted us $1,400 to replace working light fixtures with working light fixtures.
"The handyman I spoke to said he would do it for $200," I stammered.
"Yes, there is a market for handymen," Mr. Sparky replied. "Do you have a working smoke detector?"
Abraham--dear, sweet Abraham who doesn't know when people are being rude to him--chippered that yes, we do have a smoke detector.
"Does it have a new battery?"
"Well--" Abraham began.
"Yes," I interrupted. "It works great. And you just insulted us, so you can get out."
Mr. Sparky grabbed his tool box. "I hope you know a great architect who can rebuild your house after it burns down."
WHAT. I slammed the door on him. I cannot believe I invited this company into my home to have them treat me this way. I challenged him on his price and his go-to response was to tell me my house was going to burn down? Your house is supposed to be your safe haven from the outside world, and this company just trampled all over it. We are in our 30s--we will need electricians for about 60 more years--and Mr. Sparky just ensured that we will never use them or recommend them.
I was outraged. "WHO DOES THIS TRADE SCHOOL HIPPIE THINK HE IS?!" I shouted at Abraham. I ripped open the box to the track lighting. White wire connects to white wire. Black wire connects to black wire. Mr. Sparky can shove his $1,400 bill up his asshole.
"Please calm down." Abraham pleaded with me. "I don't want you messing with electrical work."
"I CAN DO ANYTHING I PUT MY MIND TO!" I was both antagonized and cocky. "I'M SMART. I CAN BE A DOCTOR OR A LAWYER. I CAN HANG THIS LIGHT FIXTURE."
"Just wait an hour before you start."
"STOP TELLING WHAT TO DO. I CAN DO ANYTHING I WANT."
I put the light fixture together. I flipped a breaker and dragged a small step ladder into the kitchen. I unscrewed the ceiling fan and started disconnecting wires as Abraham watched nervously. White from white. Black from black. I noticed the grounding wire was never connected to the box; I was already smarter than the person who installed this fan 20 years ago.
And then there was a blue wire. The blue wire was not in the single YouTube video I watched. And this blue wire was connected to the pull-chain that controlled the fan setting. The only way I could figure to detach this blue wire was to break the little plastic box it was inserted into. That or cut it with wire cutters, which we don't own.
Then I got a headache. I was hungry. It was 2 p.m. and I had cut the power off to the kitchen. I put those plastic toothpaste caps on all the exposed wires and flipped the breaker back on so I could make soup.
And that is the story of why we have had zero lighting in our kitchen for the last 5 days.
"Can we call the handyman now?" Abraham gently asked. "Or do you still want to do this yourself?"