Friday morning when Jenn flipped the light switch in Penelope’s room she heard a pop. When I got home that evening I removed the globe from the ceiling fan. “Fix it daddy” Penelope said, staring at me from the doorway. “I am sweetie”. I unscrewed the first bulb. I was dismayed to find a candelabra connector. Not the kind of bulbs I keep on hand.
After a trip to Home Depot I was back to fixing it. I replaced the bulbs and flipped the switch. Nothing. “Maybe it’s the switch.” I thought. That could have been the pop Jenn heard. I could swing by the store on Saturday and pick one up.
Saturday afternoon I had the switch. I cut the power to her room, removed the old switch, and put the new one in. “Fix it daddy!”.
“I’m working on it sweetie.”
I flipped the breaker and went back into her room. I flipped the switch “on”. Nothing. That’s when I got concerned. I killed the power to her room again and got my tools. Piece by piece the fan came down. Penelope stood in the doorway and watched. I couldn’t believe she was interested. I could think of a million things I’d rather be doing if I were her. Putting together puzzles, watching Curious George. Something.
With the fan down I flipped the breaker back on and used my line tester. I tried the black to neutral and white to neutral on both lines. How could they all be dead? Maybe it was the tester. I stuck the black prod into an outlet and the red prod on the screw holding the plate to the wall. The little indicator glowed red.
“We may have to hire an electrician.” I told Jenn. I kept thinking we’ll buy a ceiling plate to cover the hole. We don’t want cardboard taped to the ceiling when our social worker visits next Monday. Can’t imagine that looking good.
I couldn’t stop thinking about fixing the light. And Penelope’s expectations. Someone once told me daughters look at their fathers as if they are Superman. Will my life influence Penelope so much that she will measure every man by the “daddy” ruler? Maybe… Here I am, with a chance to show her at this young age her baba is able to “fix it”. What I really want her to take away is not to finding someone who can “fix it” but that she can “fix it”.
Growing up I knew how to do one “fix it” thing; change the oil in a car. I spent the rest of my time reading, listening to music, or watching movies. When I started driving one of the conditions my mother had was I change the oil. I didn’t like it but it was better than not driving. Randy, my step-father, took me out and showed me how to do it. At the time it didn’t even occur to me that people went to shops and paid someone $10 or $15 to do it. I’ve never paid someone to change my oil. I’m not a mechanic by any means but I can perform some of the basics. By doing the routine maintenance on our cars I appreciate them more.
I hope Penelope develops the same appreciation a lot faster than I did.
Sunday morning I went into Penelope’s room. I should have been thankful to see my daughter but I kept thinking about the ceiling fan. My resolve was just about gone. Before I taped cardboard back over the hole in Penelope’s ceiling I decided to give it one last try. I flipped the light switch to the “on” position and got my line tester. I tested the black wire. Nothing. I tested the white wire. Nothing. I tested the second white wire. A red flicker appeared in the tester as the completed circuit lit up the red window.
I had no idea why it was working. I was just thankful. With the fan in place, the globe reattached, and the breaker switched on I flipped the light switch in Penelope’s room and felt a little glow in my heart at having accomplished
this little miracle for my daughter. And gratitude I would not be calling an electrician.
“It’s fixed” I yelled from her room as I set Penelope’s room back in order. Jenn told me later that when Penelope heard me say “It’s fixed” she threw up her hands and said “yippie!”.
At nap time I put Penelope in her crib while Jenn left the room. She turned off the light, something Penelope normally does. Penelope started slapping the bed and cried. “You want to turn off the light?” I asked her? She sat up in her crib. I picked her up and brought her to the switch. I turned it on and Penelope immediately flipped it off. “Daddy fixed it” I said. She hugged me as I carried her back to the crib.