Saturday, May 18, 2013

A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked. ~ a. nin

Dismantling the windows was quite a task. The old nuts and bolts were very rusty and quite obstinate about coming out. They seemed to be holding on with all their might. Refusing to leave their posts they have known for 57 years. I kept them all in a little bowl and will give them new life in another way. To complicate matters, the nuts were hollow, so trying to hold them with needle nose pliers just ended up squashing them and my fingers. It tooks weeks of soaking in CLR and PB Blaster, but I finally got out every single one. I think each window has about 20 parts. All shined up and polished now :)

PB Blaster is the most amazing invention ever

Have my work cut out for me
Sneaking into my apartment owner's workshop to use the vise to straighten frames

CLR. Lots of CLR.

What happens when you use too much CLR :(

And on the very last, very stubborn hollow nut...

puzzle time

New bolts, nuts and washers. So shiny :)
In order to rescreen, one must remove rivets. My least favorite task yet.

Rescreening! This was so easy and fun!

My new toy-Pop Rivet gun
First rivet. Ok, that was easy.
Yay! New screen #1!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

It's Alive!!!!!!!

Yes!!!! This is a day I have been waiting for for soooo long! Agnes is alive!
So I pretty much had a handle on the inside electricity, I truly think I could have done all by myself eventually. But due to safety concerns and to put my parents' minds at ease, I finally gave in and allowed some professional help. 

Bob has been telling me that he could ask his friend who "knew about electrical things" to come take a look and help. My intention was to do everything myself and maybe have him come by just to check my work. Well, I thought maybe better to have him check my work in progress just to make sure I was on the right track. Yeah, so his friend doesn't just know something about electrical, he has his own business. I was excited and caught off guard when he showed up in his truck. I thought he'd stay for 15-20 minutes, but he ended up staying for hours and teaching me so much! What I had done wasn't wrong, but he showed me some better and easier tricks. Common sense things that you wouldn't know unless someone with experience showed you. Like how to leave the ground wires extra long to twist before you cut one-duh! I felt like I got my own private workshop. What a difference to be able to ask questions and go off responses rather than post on a forum (although everyone on those has always been very helpful) and have to wait or hope you are understanding correctly. I have to admit, it was reassuring to know the electrical was being done right. And still pretty proud of how much I had already learned. And John was an incredible teacher~he showed me and then let me do myself. I was very grateful that he understood.

Me and John. Yay!
John had an abundance of fun little trinkets. So many boxes and compartments in his truck

The breaker box was one of my main concerns

Explaining how to rewire old fixtures

Just the cutest little 30 amp inlet ever!

Step one

I replaced the bulky wire nuts with these-they're orange! That made me happy. John said he calls them wagos, but I heard as legos. So that's what I've named them. My handiwork is getting much neater. I've rewired this outlet 3 times, so I would hope so ;)

Little trick John showed me. Much easier than using needle nose

Fun tool for crimping ground wires

Didn't know you could poke out the holes you needed in an outlet box either. Fun!

Took a little break from the heat and walked through the sprinklers

Random goodies from the garage

John also rewired the garage for more lights and outlets. This instigated a complete clean out and we found this nifty little space I now get to call my own

My little vintage outlet family


So John left and the rest was up to me. I rewired a few more outlets and Bob and I installed the outside inlet to connect to the breaker box. Everything was connected. We checked to make sure there was a fire extinguisher nearby earlier just in case. Then came the pivotal moment. Bob plugged the cord into the outside and I plugged in a lamp. Here goes. I turn on the switch and...NOTHING!! I let out a little whimper. A true Clark Griswold moment. My heart sank. Within a few seconds I thought of the breakers. Sure enough they were off. Went to the switch again and...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that song went off in my head. I had to calm myself to keep from crying. I don't know why I was so emotional about the electricity working inside. Maybe it's just because it's been the most challenging obstacle so far and it actually works. I did it! Not without a lot of help, but still! At least I learned and understood everything. It was such a daunting task. Looking back now, it seems so simple, but coming from someone who knew nothing it was a lot to learn and take on. I will know every inch of her by the time I am done. I already do.

Or maybe it was because up to this point Agnes has been a shell. And now her veins pulse life through her. She has a soul. I saw her light up with life and she was so happy to finally wake up. She is starting to transform into what she will eventually be. Beautiful. From the inside out.

Are you ready? Here we go...!