Going green is an earnest business. So why do I find it comic? For starters, those cheery “ten easy steps you can take today.” Did they say “easy?” Is it always easy for you? For me, those steps are darned bumpy–I come up against one outlandish problem after another. So this blog isn’t for those who breeze through the ten tips. It’s for the rest of us who find what the cheerleaders have swept under the rug. May we muddle through together.

I’m starting from square one. I even have old style toilets, for Pete’s sake. So I thought I’d better start easy. My first project is to get rid of my energy hog incandescent bulbs in favor of energy savers. What could be easier?

I’ve read the cautions: no fully enclosed fixtures, no outdoors use, no dimmers. [2011 note: I find you do need to check your information from time to time. Now the FAQs from GE and elsewhere and my local hardware store guy are saying no fully enclosed recessed fixtures inside and nothing but fully enclosed fixtures outdoors.]

Hey, I think, I’m not actually using the dimmers in the kitchen’s hanging fixtures. That’s eight bulbs right there. The store salesperson says if I set the dimmer switch to full on and then don’t move it, I’ll be fine with the CFLs. This is a lighting specialist. I carry out 48 of them. bright white ones.

So I swapped out the bulbs in the kitchen–this is ladder work–and stuffed a disk of cork in the dimmer groove to keep the dimmer from engaging. Well, it seemed like a good idea. Failure. A nasty buzz, the dimmer fighting with the CFLs. And getting the cork back out, oicks.

Okay, no problem. With my community ed course on home electrical DIY, I figured to swap out the dimmer switch. I take off the cover. Oh, how about this? This is some serious wiring scheme–the box has three switches, two of them dimmers, and all the wires are black. I had to get advice just to get the yards of wires stuffed back into the box, even after I cut the length of one. Tip: shove with the butt of a hammer. Sometime when I have an electrician over I’ll complete this. . .

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