850 words about the day, and not one of them about a bike ride

I took a lunchtime walk to see some of the flowering dogwoods on campus.

I do enjoy the flowering dogwoods. It was a warm afternoon, a warm day. Summer arrived with a 91-degree high, and just like that the winter is over. And so was the week-and-a-half of spring. Now all is forgiven and forgotten, until Thanksgiving or so. Because all of this is happening.

The shady paths were a welcome part of the walk. One of the fun parts about walking beneath trees is that the light sometimes pokes through from above in the most inspired places.

Most people wait and work for a little moment like that. Me, I just pull out the phone and opened the camera app and there we all were together, for just the right moment in time.

I do enjoy the flowering dogwoods.

This story dates back to March. It goes back farther, but I don’t know when the device failed and I don’t recall when we noticed it it. But in March, I decided to try to fix the thing and after exhaustive on-and-off troubleshooting, I had to admit defeat.

The device was the semi-smart controller for our fancy ceiling fan. What makes it fancy? It has remote controls. We don’t have remote controls. But the fans are remote control ready! And I’ve never been sure why, under anything approaching normal circumstances, a remote control for a ceiling fan was a desirable feature. Also, this ceiling fan has heft. As in it looks heavy. I’ve held it — caught it while standing on a ladder while effecting a previous repair, in fact, — and it is heavy. These things make it fancy, which is how I found myself in an email and phone conversation with a guy from the tech support department of the ceiling fan company.

The wall unit is busted, I told him. I spelled out all of the things I’d tried. He made sure I’d thought of everything. So it’s decided, then, the wall unit is busted. Now, what to buy as a replacement? This company makes a hefty ceiling fan, and has a lot of different styles, but they aren’t built as a consumer-facing company. And if their catalog wasn’t online you could say they didn’t belong in this century. He told me what to buy. You can barely find it in a search. He could not sell to me. They do not deal with customers directly, his helpful phone call notwithstanding. So I had to find a retailer. There are a few in the state. None close by. I called the closest one.

I wish I’d called the second closest one.

After two or so weeks of back-and-forth phone calls with the lighting store, and waiting for the lighting store to have back and forth calls with the ceiling fan company, we finally got all of this figured out. The ceiling fan people in Texas would send this one component to the lighting store an hour away. Can they send it to me? No. Can the lighting store send the little switch to me? Yes. But that’ll cost an additional $75 dollars.

This thing is the exact size of a light switch, which is what it is. It cost $32. But you can — never mind. We’ll just come get it.

The lighting store says the component will arrive in two to three weeks.

Say what you will about Amazon and anyone else who has innovated the home delivery business, but some of the changes they have brought to us have been undisputedly better.

In the third week it arrived. That was last week. The store basically has bankers’ hours, so the little control switch sat on a shelf for a few days, until The Yankee was able to be in the area while they had the Open sign lit.

Now, for all of that, the tech support guy was solid. I said to him, I’m fine swapping out an outlet or a failed switch, but this device has a little more to it, am I going to be in over my head? He said I’d be fine. But if I felt I needed help, to get back in touch and he’d talk me through it.

Tonight the old switch controller thing came out. The new one went in with a minimal amount of fuss or complaint. And, most importantly, I was able to make it work.

OK, most importantly, we didn’t cause an electrical fire. And almost as importantly, the fan and the light now work once more.

There was a third-most important thing, as well. While I had the light switch cover off and after I’d removed the defective switch, I examined the standard switch to the left. Almost six years (!!!) we’ve been in this house and we have no idea what that switch does. And now I know why we don’t know what it does.

It does nothing. The light switch isn’t wired to anything.

What do you do with an extra light switch? What can you do with an extra light switch? Clearly, I need an electrical genius.

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