Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I Need an Outlet.

The very. very. very. last. step of the backsplash was adjusting the outlets. Let's just say that, after tackling this project, I now need an outlet for my frustration.

Theoretically, this was just a little finishing touch. The outlets were already in place and wired, and we'd already had an electrician come out to make the few changes that were needed. However, they were flush to the drywall. After installing the backsplash, they were recessed by a half inch or so.

So close ... and yet so far.

This is a really common problem with a supposedly easy fix. You buy one of these doodads:

That's the technical term.

It's an outlet box extender. You just loosen the exposed outlets from the wall and then slip it over, no messing with the wiring needed.  It sits inside the existing box in the wall, where you can slide it in and out until it's flush with your new surface. Then screw the outlets back in, and pop on the cover plate.

Now, I'm sure this works really well in Fairy Land, where all the electrical boxes are the same brand as the extenders, installed perfectly straight, with exactly the right mounting surfaces behind them, and all the fiddly little holes line up perfectly.

In Hermione's House ... well, you can imagine.

This would probably have been easier if we hadn't gotten mortar all over the screws.

Ok, now just slide that blue box over the outlets. What do you mean it does't fit? It has to! Shove harder.

One down. I need a drink. 

Several hours of shoving, pleading, adjusting, and peering into dark walls later, though, we had it all worked out. It was beautiful! That is, while it lasted...

Pure, elusive loveliness.

Brett flipped the breaker back on. The light on the main outlet turned green, and the test lamp I plugged in turned right on. All was well! Mission accomplished! I took a big sigh of relief, pulled the plug out of the wall and .... the entire outlet box came with it.

Yeah.

If I don't look, this isn't happening.

Apparently in all our fiddling, we'd chipped away at the drywall that was anchoring the box.

After a pause for nervous breakdowns, we discovered that there's a contraption called a Madison strap that takes care of this situation. It's basically a long bar that holds the electrical box tight to the drywall, even if there's not much to screw into. But of course we didn't have any of these, so work ground to a halt for lack of a couple 60 cent pieces of metal. ARG.

For want of a Madison strap, the kingdom was lost.

But Brett rode to the rescue! My lovely husband  made a late-night run to Home Depot, bringing home $1.20 worth of blessed, blessed sanity. I love you, honey.

This still left all the persuading and rejiggering, but we were pretty used to that by this point. And a little while later, WE HAD A FINISHED BACKSPLASH!!!!!

WAHOO!!


I love being able to actually cook in the kitchen again.

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