Three years of looking at these ugly recessed fluorescent ceiling lights. Vintage 1964, I think not. It’s a hit or miss whether the lights come on. Too many mornings flicking the light switch, and nothing happens. The pair of them randomly come on when they want too. I tell myself a lot of stories….

It can wait.
until the pandemic is over.
until the kitchen renovation.
It’ll be too much work. Dust everywhere! and
don’t mess with the electrical.

Maybe it was moving the clocks back. All I know I am dang tired of cooking in the dark. Deciding to ACT, I get out my drill, turn the circuit breaker off and get to work. We find there are only two screws holding each light fixture in place. Groaning the heavy 60-year-old light fixtures give way while fiberglass insulation rains down on us. I cover and tape the gaping ceiling holes with cardboard, while the capped electrical wires dangled from the ceiling (you can’t put live wires in a ceiling without a junction box). It was ugly and messy (pictures below).

Next day I head to the BIG Box store for a junction box, a sheet of drywall, trying to engineer how to create a wood cleat to secure the new drywall pieces up on the ceiling (that kept me up at night). Walking the aisles, carrying my wooden cleat I see two big boxes sitting on the floor marked “drywall repair clips.” Feeling like I’ve won the lottery, here’s the answer to my dilemma. Ripping open one of the boxes with my keys I buy two packs of exactly what I need. We’re in business!

After nailing the junction box to the joist in the attic and securing the electrical wires- all the time hubs saying “do you know what you’re doing?” Dear Husband helps me secure the drywall patches in the ceiling. The drywall clips impress both of us.

Hubs then heads out of town to the Gator Football game. One bucket of drywall mud later the drywall patches are taped, mudded and then 24-hours later sanded…mudded again, and finally sanded. I was even able to match the existing skip trowel plaster finish on the ceiling with a wet rag. Ordered these LED lights from Amazon (recommended and inspired by a DIY mom Instagram account who ran her own electrical). Ran a chalk line on the ceiling to make sure each new recessed light lined up, measured and marked four center holes for the new LED lights with a drywall screw.

The electricians came Monday morning…took less than 90 minutes and now I have lights in the kitchen on a dimmer. No more cooking in the dark. Cost for the project: Lights, electricians, drywall and such under $400. Hubs says the new lights make the kitchen look very happy.

The point of this story is what are you tolerating? What’s here asking for change? How much are you holding? Last summer I handed my kitchen renovation blueprints off to a remodeling guy… the job was too big, so he sent it to his builder friend. I caught Covid, then the builder’s estimator got Covid and well no pricing arrived. I texted the guy in September to see if he was still interested. We got on the phone; I answered his questions.

He asked, “who did the drawings and specs?”

“I did”…. long pause….and then he replies “well you know what you’re doing.* Would you be willing to do spec drawings for our clients?”

“Sure I’m open to that….” I never heard from him again. Ghosted.

I tolerated these old lights way too long. I’ve tolerated men in construction who felt intimidated by me way too long.

I told myself a story about what couldn’t happen, rather that what I could make happen. I knew as soon as those old light fixtures came down, the movement was a good thing for the me. A good thing for the house. This week I called Paul our handyman, and we’re working out a plan to take down the wall. I’m doing a happy dance!

Movement. Creates. Momentum.

I am grateful for my awareness and have much to share about the last two years of uncovering and awakening. How trauma informed my choices and my creativity… how trauma shows up in your creative process (it’s not bad or good- it just is) and why you may be stopped at the gate and/or called to pivot.

Here’s a snapshot of how the work unfolded. We have light!

* If you’re new to my world I hold both an interior design and residential contractor’s license for the state of Florida. The contractor’s exam was one of the hardest tests I’ve ever sat for with a high failure rate. 34 years ago I took the contractor’s exam eight months pregnant and passed. I know how to do interior remodeling…. and that can intimidate some men in construction. Design-build is my thing.