“Any fire?” My husband shouted from the basement.
I peeked over the chair I was hiding behind. “No. No fire.”
“Try turning it on.” He yelled, “But, look away while you do it.”
I reached for the chain, shielding my eyes with my other hand. Like that would protect me form an exploding light bulb. I gave it a tug.
“Hey, hey!” My husband had come up from the basement where he’d spent the better part of the afternoon manning the electrical box. “It works!”
Hanging the new hall chandelier I had made in class ended up being a minor ordeal. I had put it on my husband’s honey do list knowing that it would take two people to accomplish, but I didn’t realize it would turn out to be the feat that it was. It was mostly my fault.
I’d been sitting on this pile of old Chambord bottles for a couple years. They came from various parties and people. Once the neighbors knew I thought they were interesting, we struck a deal. He got the plastic piece around the outside, and I got the beautiful round bottle. I was able to accrue a lovely pile of holy hand grenades. Once, I had to fend off my husband wielding a garbage bag and once I rescued one from the recycling. My husband followed me back to the house, “Emily, what are you going to do with them?” “Make a chandelier.” It was a desperate, spur of the moment thought that was only meant to placate my husband’s concern that I was turning the basement into a flea market. But, as it turned out, it wasn’t a bad idea. Though, maybe not a well thought out one.
We needed a light in our hall anyway. The one that was there was broken and we had been using a flashlight to peer in the linen cabinet for years. I used a light base from another part of the house, a bunch of wire, and some ball bearings. I was short a bottle, so my project went on hold until we could drink through another. Chambord is great in a cocktail, but you don’t need much. It was more of a challenge than I thought. We made cocktails we called “interesting.” Like, a pineapple juice, Chambord, dark rum concoction I named a Bleeding Kraken. It tasted good, but it looked like what comes out of a faucet that hasn’t been turned on for a while. Eventually, I finished the chandelier and proudly held it in place to see what it would look like. That’s when I realized the fixture was wired to use a chain, not a switch. I didn’t design my chandelier with a chain. Back to the workshop.
Then there was the problem with the nest of excess wire hidden inside the chandelier. Once hung, my husband flipped the breaker and POP! Everything went out. The wire holding the bottles in place was touching a live wire from the house. We took it down. Did I mention that it’s heavy? I fixed that problem with most of a role of electrical tape. But, the problems progressed. We put it up and took it down four times before it actually worked.
Now, it hangs securely and lit. I like it. It casts a pretty shadow through the hall. And, I should take a moment to thank my husband for being patient and supporting my elaborate plans, no matter how many times he has to check the breakers.