Fiat (Flickering) Lux

Narrator Voice: 
For those of you following along at home, when we last caught up with Mrs. Spit, she had easily and simply installed smart light bulbs, a smart security system and smart plug ins. She was going around telling everyone that true, the smart thermostat was a bit tricky, but if you were just willing to live with a minute possibility of a low voltage shock, and you were able to completely ignore the user manual, you could easily install a smart thermostat.  
Let’s just pop in and see how she’s doing, shall we? 

Script Notes: Mrs. Spit’s voice emerges as the camera steadies on her. She’s even wearing a plaid shirt. Her hair, is . . . well, it’s not a good hair day. 

Mrs. Spit’s Voice: 
Ok. 3 tools, 15 minutes. I can totally do this. I’ll even read the instructions first. (Rustling paper). Flip breaker. pull off switch plate. Match neutral wire. Wait. 


Narrator Voice: 
It turns out that there was a Lutron switch PD-6ANS-WH and a PD something else. Mrs. Spit needed the something else. She really should have paid a bit more attention on Amazon. Looks like Mrs. Spit is going to need an electrician. 

Script Notes: Next we see Mrs. Spit in a suit. She’s sitting in front of her laptop at the office, typing an email. On her screen we see the sentence “I’m working from home tomorrow. The electrician is coming to install some neutral wires. Fingers crossed that we don’t have to cut holes in the plaster!”

Narrator Voice:
It was clear that Mrs. Spit had really bought into the dream of being able to shout “Alexa, turn off all the lights”. This is important, because that dream is going to be harder to achieve than anyone thought. 

Script Notes: Camera focuses in on Mrs. Spit sitting at her desk in her office. She’s a bit chilly, since they’ve cut power to the house, and it’s a bit dim, because it’s a Canadian winter day. Her spirits seem to be good, although it’s a bad hair day again. The screen splits. One side shows Mrs. Spit writing an implementation plan on her laptop. The other side shows electricians. One is in the attic. The other is on a ladder.

Electrician 2 Voice:
wow, you have to see this. I had no idea they could do that. I’ve never even seen wiring this old. I had no idea you could *ever* do an open air splice. 

Electrician 1 Voice:
Yeah, it’s an old house. Knob and tube was common. The splice is kinda a problem though. Let’s put it in a junction box. 

Narrator Voice:
And there went the first bit of Mrs. Spit’s contingency. Throughout the day they worked. There was banging. There was whirring. There was a bit of swearing. At one point there were 5 light switches half wired. Mrs. Spit just kept breathing and working. 

Script Notes: Move to camera shot of Mrs. Spit texting a friend, on the screen we see “well, it looks like a mad invasion of gerbils with the dust and the wood shavings and every smart light in the house is blinking. So there’s that?” 

Electrician 2 Voice:
Ok, we are all done. I’m going to leave Electrician 1 here to finish cleaning up. 

Mrs. Spit Voice:
Great, thanks so much for doing this. He’ll make sure I have power in my office again? Then I can pair all of the lights and it will be done. 

Narrator Voice:
It seems something had happened. (Insert sad and expensive sounding music here). A breaker, a breaker that seemed to control well, pretty much everything it seemed had given up. The electricians headed back downstairs. They called out to each other. The lights would come on, flicker, go off. On again, off again. Mrs. Spit started unplugging electronics. This went on for 2 hours.

Electrician 1 Voice:
Ok, I’ve installed a new breaker. You now have power again. 

Narrator Voice:
But it was not so simple. As Mrs. Spit turned on the bathroom light, which was not a smart switch, all the smart lights started blinking madly. 

Electrician 1 Voice: 
Uhhh .  . . 

Script Notes: Freeze frame on Mrs. Spit’s horrified face. 

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2 Responses to Fiat (Flickering) Lux

  1. a says:

    Well, if there’s one thing I learned from growing up in a house built in the 1940s…there is only so much you can do with that kind of electricity. Better to be a luddite – until you move or do a complete overhaul of the system.

  2. Dear God. I’m pretty sure this was NOT meant to be a comedy, but…..

    I can send my husband right up. He is pretty handy with wiring, and has replaced a lot of knob and tube in a lot of houses.

    And perhaps, I’ll just tag along because I’ve always wanted to meet you. 🙂

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