Wednesday, August 19, 2015

trouble in the cement pond

My lights have gone out.

The swimming pool at my house has two underwater lights.  When I moved in, only one was operating.  No matter which switch I tripped, I brought only darkness into the world.  With its one-light effect, my pool looked a bit like the Hathaway shirt man.

This week it went totally blind.  The second light stopped working.

I have told you enough of my handyman skills to let you make your own judgment what my first action was. 

If you think I called the pool man, you are wrong.  First, I traced the wiring to see how difficult replacing the lights would be.

The answer is "very."  The light fixtures are hung in the pool on plastic stays.  The wire to the fixture passes through a hole drilled in the side of the pool and ends up at a transformer box that switches the lights on and off.  In my case, the box did nothing.

I remembered that the former owner told me the fixtures had to be taken above water where they could be opened and the bulb replaced.  She said: "Just call your pool man.  He will know what to do."

I did.  He didn't.

Lupe disconnected each unit by unfastening the wires near the circuit box.  But he had no idea how to open the fixture to change the bulb.  He suggested I take the entire apparatus to the pool store.  That seemed to be overkill, but off I went.

Usually, the store would have been closed for siesta, but the woman on the desk was working on a separate business -- constructing piñatas.  She telephoned the owner to return to the store to talk with me.

He had never opened a fixture like mine.  But he gamely removed screws here and there -- and we finally got to the bulb -- only to discover the bulb was in perfect working order. 

Curious, he ran a test on the installed lamp.  It worked.  But when removed the direct connection to the lamp and tried passing current through the wiring, the result was nothing.  Something was faulty in the wiring.  I suspect that is the fixture that has never lit up.

So, I left both fixtures with him to test and repair the wiring, and, if necessary, to order new lamps.  Like many things in my small village, inventory is limited.  But almost anything can appear magically the next day.

Later today, I will return to the pool shop in high hopes that all will be well.  Then, Lupe will return to my totally unlit pool to put the universe in proper balance.

The moral of this little tale is that a quick (and incorrect) diagnosis of any electrical problem may lead to bad decision-making.  I would never have taken the fixture to the pool store.  But, without what appeared to me to be a waste of time, I would not have new lights in my pool.

Yes.  Yes.  I know.  You are all starting a pool to determine the true date I will have operating lights.  But I have faith.  Or, at least, hope.

Mexico seldom lets me down.


No comments: