“The biggest task is plugging it in the wall, which in New York apartments can actually be a challenge.”
- The Basics
- Name: Annette
- Items: Ceiling fan light fixture and George Kovaks Lamp
- Project: Replacing a light fixture and setting up a lamp
- Estimated time to complete projects: 60 minutes
- Estimated difficulty level: Somewhat Easy
- Location: Home Depot, West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010
Q: Why don’t you tell me who you are and what you are doing here today?
A: We’re here at the Home Depot on West 23rd Street. I came just for one small item, a replacement fixture, but I’ve come out with two lamps I thought would fit on my bicycle.
Q: The lamps are for your bicycle?
A: I have lamps for my bicycle, but these are for home. This is for my living room. It’s a reading lamp. And this is the one that’s giving me the most problems because it won’t fit in your basket. I will tie it down and trek up to 72nd street and hope it doesn’t fall out.
Q: How far do you have to bike?
A: I’m just going up to West 74th Street. I take the West Side bike path all the way up.
Q: How long will that take you?
A: Probably 15 minutes, if nothing falls off.
Q: Are you an avid biker and proponent of biking?
A: I am. I’ve been riding my bicycle everywhere for about six years now. I even ride in the winter time. This has been a particularly hard winter. It was very wet. I got slimed a lot.
GETTING IT DONE
Q: How do you plan to do this project? Walk us through a few of the steps.
A: I’m very fortunate. I think it’s all assembled. I think the biggest task is plugging it in the wall, which in New York apartments can actually be a challenge to find an outlet near where you want to use the lamp.
Q: Do you do a lot of home projects?
A: I do. Home Depot is one of my favorite destinations, which is a little crazy. I have a closet that I call the Home Depot closet that I accumulate left over bits and pieces from my projects.
Q: What type of projects do you like to do?
A: I do framing. I do painting and patching. I seem to do a lot with lighting. It’s a cheap upgrade, so I switch things around.
Q: Are there any special tools needed for this project?
A: The ceiling fan–I will have to get my tools out because it’s a light fixture that I have to swap out. Take the old one down and put the new one up.
Q: That sounds pretty complicated. Are you excited about that? Confident?
A: Well, I am because the last one was all broken. It looks horrible, so I’ve been thinking about this for a month. I’ve finally got down here. It’s on my list to finish today.
Q: Are you getting help from anyone?
A: My son usually gets roped into holding the flashlight for me.
Q: In terms of safety, what’s the most difficult or dangerous part of this project?
A: Well, I leave the electrical current on, so that I can see if things work, because I don’t actually know all of the different combinations of wires. I tend to leave it hot, while I’m working. I wear tennis shoes. Isn’t that what they tell you to do?
Q: You sound like you’re the Tom Cruise of home repair, doing your own stunts. Let’s talk once more about the fact that you are biking. Does the fact that this is New York City and we’re not big car owners and users limit your shopping choices?
A: It definitely does. I actually bought bigger things when I used to take the subway. I mean, I bought a ladder here once and I didn’t take that home on my bicycle. It was too heavy. I took it home on the subway. So yeah, it does. I was very focused on the size of the lamp. Mind you it doesn’t fit on the bike very well, but at least it’s smaller than some of the other models I was looking at.
Photos and interview by Jai Mitchell