Monday, September 25, 2006


Wow, it seems like forever since I've posted anything to my blog, but it's only been three months. I guess not much really interesting has happened. Is my life really that boring? I'm preparing for a wedding, which is to say that I'm sitting back and making my wife-to-be do all the work because I don't want to get anything wrong, but that's not really all that exciting. I am looking forward to seeing all my friends again, but as far as I'm concerned, I already feel married so that day isn't much more than paper work in my mind (I know, not terribly romantic, but hey, I'm a guy, it's my nature).

The only thing that has been of much "excitement" lately was that I almost burnt down my second (detached) garage. On Saturday I turned on the lights to look for a tool and one of the ballasts in one of the fluorescent lights hummed loudly, then popped, then burst into flames which went shooting out and along the ceiling for a few inches. I quickly rushed to turn off the lights and then ran into the house to get the fire extinguisher as smoke oozed out of the light fixture.

After returning with the fire extinguisher, and being relieved that there was no fire, I examined the inside of the fixture to find that it had been wired in a most unworkman like manner. No ground wires, wires that were too long, wires that were too short, loose wire nuts, and no strain reliefs for the wires coming into the fixtures.

The ballast appeared to be something out of the 1960's, perhaps procured from a local dumpster. It doesn't surprise me, since the previous owner appeared to be the "resourceful" type.

Now I have to figure out what to do about it. I certainly need to do some rewiring of the fixture, if not all of them. I think I can get to the wires above it from the attic space, but if the ground wire is cut off everywhere that might mean rewiring the entire lighting of the garage, which would be no small feat. I found replacement ballasts in the attic, but I'm not sure that I want to use those as they appear to be roughly identical to the flaming one, so I'll probably try to buy a new one, or ten (there are a lot of lights in that garage). All in all, more work that I have to do. That's the problem with owning a house, the work never ends.