The power of a new dimmer switch

It was an "I'm gonna get around to installing it" agenda item with no need to rush


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By Arlene Jones


It all started because I found a bargain at Goodwill — one of those expensive Lutron dimmer switches that normally retails for around $35 at the local home improvement store. It was just what I needed and the price of $2 was definitely in my price range.

The brand-new dimmer sat unopened on my dining room table for weeks. It was an "I'm gonna get around to installing it" agenda item with no need to rush.

As I lounged around after Christmas on vacation, I began making a mental list of all my New Year's resolutions that I could make and keep. One of the first resolutions I made was to do something to my house every day so that by Christmas 2016, all would be in order. That also meant I would have to "stop putting off for tomorrow what I could accomplish today."

I found the circuit breaker and disconnected the power to the old dimmer switch. I think I had it installed about 20 years ago with a chandelier I purchased. It was one of the older models with an on/off switch at the bottom and a slide knob above it that controlled the brightness of the light. It was probably state-of-the-art back then, but the newer model I found at Goodwill had "rocker" switches and could be pre-programmed for just how bright one wanted the light to glow. I installed the new switch and was about to post my handiwork to Facebook when the picture of the old switch taken with my cellphone camera showed more than I had bargained for. Not only was the old switch dirty, the surrounding walls looked kind of grimy, too. As I sat back and recalled how long it had been since I had last painted, I recalled that my son was in grammar school at the time. It had to be at least 15 years since I changed my walls from peach to green. It was time to paint again.

I drove to Menard's with the intentions of painting the living and dining rooms a sage green or some other shade of green. I took my green curtain toppers with me so I could match the color of the paint to contrast against the color of the curtain. As I perused the various shades of green, I held the curtain next to each card to see what color "popped" for me. The color that popped wasn't green. It was the color of a Kraft caramel. I bought four gallons and beginning on New Year's Day, I began doing all the prep work to begin to paint. I washed the walls, filled the holes with spackle and scrapped the peeling paint off the ceiling. I put painter's tape where I didn't want paint to go.

I love to paint and am pretty good at it. I began painting and the joy of watching the wall color change brought back memories of the prior time I had painted along with the realization that this would be the last time in my life that I would personally climb up and down a ladder to paint the walls. I am getting older and the job of doing that kind of work is better suited to someone younger.

I was able to finish painting all the walls in just over a week's time. Painting is a "no rush" job, and I was making sure the majority of paint ended up on the walls and not on my floor or furniture.

This was my third paint job since I have owned this house and it all happened because I installed a better dimmer switch.

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