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Please improve your home improvements

Please improve your home improvements

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Recently, I was told that it was home improvement day. KM said the old ceiling fan in our bedroom had to go. I had already removed the one in the den and replaced it with a new one. That project took about three hours. KM went to a movie that day, to get away from me. She claims I tend to yell and curse during home improvements, which I find hard to believe.

I bought the fan, got it home and set it in the garage, with every intention of installing it the next day, a Saturday. Five Saturdays later, tired of still seeing the unopened Hunter box dustily resting in the same corner of the garage, I picked it up and headed to the bedroom. Three hours or so later it was hung, and, I must say, it looked great; another home improvement project complete.

I was feeling pretty good about myself as I went outside to turn the breaker back on. From there it was back to the bedroom for the test. I flipped the wall switch. Nothing. No reason to panic yet however. It was obvious the chain just needed to be pulled, which I did.

But still no movement, not even a twitch. I pulled on the chain again, then again and again. Still nothing. I hated home improvements, and homes in general for that matter.

Days went by and every time I walked by I would flip the switch as I passed, or pull on the dead fan’s chain, with some small hope that the blades would jump to life and spin just as they were meant to, that perhaps Hunter, the greatest name in ceiling fans, had some sort of regenerative powers that kicked in long after the amateur electrician had thrown in the towel. So I would flip the switch and hope, like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation, but it was never to be.

Finally I grabbed some screwdrivers and began the exploratory project of undoing my failed home improvement, to hopefully find where I’d gone wrong. But I couldn’t see a problem and began carefully boxing up the pieces.

I walked into Home Depot carrying my box. Unfortunately, I had not been able to find my receipt, and told that to the lady standing at the customer service desk.

“I looked for my receipt everywhere,” I told her, which wasn’t altogether accurate, because if I had looked everywhere then I probably would have found it.

“How did you pay for it?” she asked.

“With my Home Depot card,” I perked up, thinking that would surely help, and handed her my card.

“Did you buy this in the last 30 days?”

“Well, no. It’s been a bit longer than that. Uh, I’ve been looking for the receipt.”

She stared at her computer and at last said, “Here it is.” Then she printed out a credit for the dead fan and handed it to me with my card.

“Thank you very much,” I said. “I don’t suppose you’d like to help me install it.”

“Have a nice day,” she smiled.

I headed off to browse through the ceiling fan section. There was a good selection and I began looking them over. It wasn’t long that I spotted the same Hunter I’d just returned, but I couldn’t bring myself to try it again. I finally made my choice and headed back home to try it again. Before I got there I called KM and told her she might want to head to a movie.

Three hours later I held my breath and flipped the switch, and watched as the blades began to turn.

It seems there is a home improvement god after all.

Jay Edwards is a freelance columnist who can be reached at

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