When Power Tools Aren’t Enough

Are other people driven to tackle home improvement projects anytime there’s a national holiday?  It’s President’s Day, you say?  Well then let’s repaint the bathroom!  You’re hosting a Memorial Day barbecue, eh?  Sorry, I can’t attend.  I’ve got plans to tear apart a hutch and use the scrap wood to build a desk.  So, as per usual, I found myself twitching for a project last Labor Day weekend.

Rocco, my usual wing man, was booked solid due to Fashion Week.  (It never ceases to amuse me when Rocco refers to his work in the tents.  “Sorry Hon, I’m booked that day.  I’ve got Fashion.”  Because if there’s one person on planet Earth that shouldn’t declare he’s “got fashion,” it’s Rocco.  Not that you can blame the poor guy.  It’s not his fault that his lazy wife refuses to buy him clothes other than the occasional pair of jeans from Target or that inappropriately douchey, snarky t-shirt her brother posted on his Facebook wall.  *sigh*)

So I had to tackle mounting [insert tasteless sexual innuendo here] and wiring my bedroom wall lamps without my electrician husband.  But that had never stopped me before, damnit.  I purchase my supplies, dug out my tool bag, opened a bottle of wine, and dove in undeterred.

Why do they always include all that extra hardware with these things?  I mean, how many wall anchors does a girl really need for a dainty, twenty pound light on a swing arm?  Isn’t that what superglue is for?

I learned so much in such a few short hours, Interwebz:

  1. It turns out you’re not supposed to use superglue on anything involving wiring.  No less than three people pointed this out to me after I mentioned my project had taken a most unfortunate turn but that I’d creatively repaired the damage with the magical substance.
  2. Even if your building lacks any sort of central heat or air-conditioning, you can’t just assume that there aren’t huge metal ducts running the length of your wall just below a woefully thin layer of drywall.
  3. Rocco doesn’t own any drill bits that work on metal (or at least he doesn’t keep them in the apartment).
  4. It’s damn near impossible to remove a toggle bolt from inside a wall should you suddenly realize far too late in the game that you need to move a mounting plate.
  5. None of the hardware stores in Hoboken sell mounting plates (though perhaps I should have tried the Romantic Depot, instead).
  6. You REALLY have to have a mounting plate to successfully attach lamps to a wall.
  7. There’s no such thing as “irreparable damage when a mounting plate is involved.
  8. Scissors don’t work on metal.
  9. Kitchen knives don’t work on metal.
  10. Hack saws don’t work on metal.
  11. My downstairs neighbor doesn’t know what a pair of dykes is, nor does he own one.
  12. Also, he has a chain on his front door and he’s not afraid to use it.
  13. Math is hard, Barbie.
  14. If you’re not sure which type of bolt to use, start with the smaller ones first.  A caulk gun and kitty litter are not adequate supplies for patching a wall.
  15. A 10 x 10 room with only one window opening onto an air shaft does not qualify as a “well-vented area.”

I will never, ever admit how I finally managed to adhere the lights to the wall.  Nor will I discuss how much wall is or isn’t still in place behind those foxy new lights.  But I’ll show you my new lights…

Some Assembly (And Creative Problem Solving) Required

So far, Rocco hasn’t mentioned the smell.  I’m assuming that means the epoxy isn’t heat sensitive, after all.  Score for me!  Time to start planning for Columbus Day.


  1. OMG – I didn’t think anyone this day and age knew what dykes were (or even how to use them). I’ve had to learn not to refer to them in public.

    The wall lamps look terrific. And what’s behind the wall stays behind the wall1, so as long as it looks good, its good.

    1(that includes molly bolts that were put in the wrong place.)

  2. Nice work! I find chewed gum will stick things together pretty solidly. It stays under my students’ desks for YEARS.

    (Also, I had very similar bedding until we repainted the bedroom blue. Nostalgic.)

    1. Problem is, I’m not coordinated enough to chew gum and do anything else at the same time. So I would have had to idly sit there for 8.3 minutes while obtaining the desired gum consistency. Also, it makes my wine taste funny.

  3. If you want power tools handled right, call a lesbian. I thought you were on the right track when you asked your downstairs neighbour for a “pair of dykes,” but evidently that means something else.

  4. Impressive! The last time I attempted a DIY project it resulted in BROKEN pipes (as in, busted), a lecture from the landlord, and a $60 plumbing bill.

  5. Bwahahahah….that is fucking epic. I love it when shit goes wrong. I, however, have the proper tools and a town with stocked stores. I will admit to half assing shit….especially if it can not be seen. Also, all epoxy is sensitive to heat….most actually produce heat as a part of the exothermic reactions…..he he.

  6. very fung shui bedroom! all this talk about hardware, shafts, mounting, magical substance, drill bits, power tools and kitchen scissors has me feeling feisty. i’m not saying why the kitchen scissors are included here.

  7. Bug,

    Patti Punker beat me to it. I was getting all sweaty from reading words like mounting, shaft, tools, guns and heat.

    I want my duct tape.

  8. To this day when the DH brings out the tools, saws, etc I leave home. It is scary. He gets fix it crazy…. oh he can fix it, its just the way he does it.

  9. I feel sad on the inside because I feel like I can’t comment on this post with any sort of authority or understanding. I don’t fix or create, I destroy and watch as things decompose.
    My bathroom lights have been blown out for one month and my solution is to carry the Coleman camping lantern in during the night to pee.
    When that dies I’m switching to candles.

  10. I am so so so impressed. There are only a few pictures on the walls in our house because we cannot deal with any tools. I once burned the shape of a screw into my thumb during strike. That’s how clueless I am.

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