[Groop] I Grooed-Adventures in Home Improvement

Gary Grossmann garyg5678 at live.com
Tue Apr 20 14:09:27 PDT 2010


Groo Changes a Light Fixture (or How to Turn a 30 Minute Job into a 4 Hour Job) 
One day Groo decides to change a ceiling light fixture.  Shockingly (No pun intended. Well, maybe a little.), he remembers to turn off the power to the room.  He then takes off the old fixture, which has one white wire and one black wire.  “I am a good ceiling light fixture changer, Rufferto. I will attach the ceiling white wire to the fixture white wire and the do the same with the black wires, just as I have done in the past.”  But Groo is soon confused.  His new light fixture has two white wires and two black wires.  And Groo sees many wires up in the little box in the ceiling.  There are three black wires and three white wires and one of the white wires is attached to two of the black wires and it is all very strange to Groo.   (Rufferto thought bubble: “Groo, why don’t you forget about those other wires and just attach the two white wires from the new fixture onto the one white wire from the ceiling that the old fixture was attached to and do the same with the black wires.”)  But Groo says “I do not want to make a mistake.  I will separate all of the wires from each other and then figure which ones go to the new fixture.”  
Now, of course, Groo is even more hopelessly confused and has no idea which wire goes where.  He tries to remember how they were hooked together before, but when he turns on the power, only half the lights on the circuit come on and the ceiling fixture will not turn off!   So he goes to the hardware store closest to his house and asks the grumpy man on duty: “Hey, you hardware store employee person, what should I do …” and then explains the situation.  The grumpy man tells him to put all five white wires together and all five black wires together.  This sounds strange even to Groo, but the grumpy man is a hardware store employee…Fortunately, the house Groo is in has breakers and not fuses so there is no harm done when Groo tries to turn the power on after doing what the grumpy man suggested.  
I must now alter the narrative somewhat.  Because if this was really Groo, the house would have burned down by now and Groo would have either pummeled the grumpy man (on purpose) or burned down his hardware store (accidently) or both.  But to paraphrase that great line from “The Princess Bride” unlike Groo, who is completely stupid, I am only mostly stupid.  I went to Home Depot and was directed to Master Electrician Bill, who told me everything I needed to know to connect the wires properly while not electrocuting myself or burning my house down.   So, fortunately, no harm was done other than wasting an entire afternoon.  The End.  
Moral:  Just because a lot of your wires are disconnected, doesn’t mean you should disconnect all of the wires in a light fixture box.  
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