Light It Up! Light It Up!

Category: Daily Diary

Wes and the boys were working hard over the last few days to fix the electrical situation in our living room. A living room which I have not lived in since November 2006. So, we could call it a non-living room. A limbo room. The Room of Exposed Joists and Brick and Mess.


So, what finally did jump start this frenzy of work in the front room after this mess had lain dormant for so long?

A few months ago, the delivery guy from Semiramis (the baba ganoush is to die for) hauled our dinner order to the back door--again--and confronted me on the back porch.

"Those guys who left that work undone for you? In your front room? What is the story there? That is terrible. You should make trouble for them."

Gently, I explained that "those guys" was, in fact, me. And that I was going to make trouble for myself very soon. I promised him. A whole heap of trouble. Right after I ate his fantastic Lahm Meshwi and baba ganoush. I was very definitely going to take myself to task.

Eh, those guys already know I'm crazy.


And then, there was Halloween this year. When one of us had to sit on a folding chair passing out candy to little children who were too scared to come up the front steps. What they could see through the front windows looked like a dungeon from their worst nightmares and they didn't want any part of it.

A chatty dad made casual conversation from the sidewalk.

"Doing a little work on the house, eh? Well, you should write it all down and take pictures. LOTS of pictures. You'll want to remember it when it's over."

Excellent advice, sir, I thank you. Yes, you can be sure that I will remember all of this very well when this is all over. If it is ever over. As will hundreds of our friends, colleagues and acquaintances. We will never, ever forget this decade.

The push that got this train moving again was getting past the wood windows and lead paint abatement adventure of Aught Seven combined with final agreement on HOW to light the room and with WHAT. Plus, we had finally saved up the money to pay an electrician. Which, in hindsight, might have been a good idea BEFORE we did the demo. Lesson learned, my friends, lesson learned.

So now our nimble electricians were threading cables through the plaster walls and putting together electrical conduit and making everything safe and up to code. They were beautiful.


As beautiful as two electricians in sweatshirts holding wires could be. I love these guys, but Rechelle had Jake Gyllenhaal working on her porch and who can compete with that???

Though I have to say, their approach to getting new fixtures behind 95+ year old plaster was downright surgical. Can Jake do that?


As always, mad props to Wes and his crew for being the most talented, thoughtful and helpful electricians that we know. We are finally one step closer to getting that living room back.

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Isn't Chicago one of the places where you can't do your own electrical work? Might be a good time to insulate those outside walls, it's getting a little cooler. Can't wait to start on our living room...

Yep, that's why we have Wes and crew. We can't do our own electrical or plumbing. Only licensed contractors who can secure permits and pass inspections when needed.

I'm not terribly upset about it because major electrical and plumbing has always made me nervous.

Can I make a request? A close up of your circuit breaker box. Is that what is in the background of the one picture?

Even though 802.11 wireless is key, one thing you might consider at the same time is when they are pulling wire is some Cat 5e ethernet and coax. Nothing like a hardwire running at 100 or 1000Mbps - especially if you are doing some high-definition video over the LAN. Like if Aaron wants to show a video of Grace in three different rooms simultaneous. Ya never know - it might happen!

Hey Ken. That's actually not a breaker box, it's a structured wiring panel. We are indeed pulling cable throughout the house for that fact it's a bundled cable that includes coax, Cat-5 and even fiber. :-)

I really need to post an update on that project...I pulled most of the home runs THREE YEARS ago and am only now starting to finish them off.

I wasn't aware Chicago prevents you to pull permits if you wanted to DIY... for once I feel fortunate to be in Oak Park.

Also, I'd be interested to see/learn more about the structured wiring too. I've ran CAT5, coax, and speaker wires throughout our home during our second floor remodel, but it was very unstructured, and since I tried to cross any electrical lines at right angles to prevent cross talk, it will probably hopelessly confuse some future homeowner! Would be nice to see how it should be done. ;-)

Hooray for light!

It's amazing the difference little things like light and running water make.

Oh man Aaron. You better post something quick or I am gonna kick in the door and investigate myself. That is very cool. Now I am embarrassed to even talk about my "poor man's structured wire" set up.

Have you guys decided how you are going to rebuild/finish the fireplace wall? Can't wait to see your ideas.

You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I've been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you're an inspiration to me and i'm sure many others!

This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work :)

I love the way you write and also the theme on your blog. Did you code this yourself or was it done by a professional? I'm very very impressed.

You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I've been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you're an inspiration to me and i'm sure many others!

This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work :)


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