It All Started With a Fan

The Coronavirus Home Improvement Chronicles – Part 1

We went to the home improvement store to buy a fan.

Our kitchen fan was a gross, ugly disaster. I broke the glass globe a couple years ago in a childish attempt at a pirouette that my nearly 40-year-old body had no business doing. We had been staring at the lightbulb and filthy white blades for far too long and now we had too much time on our hands, especially during the weekends.

We started making a list of all of the things that needed quick replacement in our house. My husband had moved his office out to the garage so we needed a new lock for the garage. Then we thought about the lights in the kids’ bathroom that kept burning out, clearly signalling an issue with the electrical, so we added lights to the list. We left the kids at home and went on a precarious trip out, careful to touch only the things we needed and avoiding as many people as possible. We were ready for some simple changes to our house.

With the need to secure the garage, we immediately installed the new door lock, with a keypad and a security app that we could download to our phones. For the first time in nearly five years, our garage was confidentally secure.

Then we moved the work upstairs. Ever since we had moved into the house, we had struggled with the vanity lights in our kids’ bathroom, the scariest moment coming when one of the lightbulbs exploded all over the countertop. We considered that the electrical within the lights themselves might have been impacted by a lightning strike a couple years ago, so we decided it was best to just replace them. Once we pulled them down, we discovered that each lightbulb was individually wired, which seemed to be way more electrical pull than necessary for each fixture. We installed the new LED fixture (during which my husband gave our daughter a tutorial on installing electrical), and we felt considerably more comfortable with the bathroom situation. It also made the bathroom exponentially brighter, which both kids have appreciated.

Then we finally moved on to the ceiling fan. The biggest challenge with the fan was the fact that it wasn’t in the center of the room. Jeff dug into the original spot (which was clearly marked in the ceiling) and discovered that there was a space to put new hardware to hold up the fan. Jeff went back to the store, got what we needed, and we worked together to install the fan and light, which now has a remote control that sits next to the light switch.

We figured the handful of tasks that we brought home would keep us busy for a little while, something to distract us from the fact that we couldn’t take the family out of the house and all we had was our work, school, and fruitless attempts to keep us busy. We knew it was wishful thinking, but we optimistically believed we would be satisfied.

The problem, we would soon discover, wasn’t that we had finally completed minor home improvement projects that had needed to be completed since the time we moved into the house; it was that we had found sudden momentum and an unexpected amount of time at home. As I worked from our kitchen table and frequently walked around our first floor, things that had seemed like minor irritations were suddenly unbearable eyesores. We would be making return trips to the home improvement store, masks covering our face and hand sanitizer at the ready.

But before we could start ripping bigger things out, we needed to finally make a bed.

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