Sometimes the things that make a place seem crappy or nice are very small. Once the living room was painted I replaced the electrical outlets with nice new ones. The old outlets were just one more manifestation of the wealth of wrong that permeates the house like some fetid disease.

Every time we plugged in a fan, a delicate balancing act ensued where you tried to gingerly step away and not have the plug simply fall out of the outlet. “Why not simply spread or narrow the prongs on the plug, so it holds?” I hear you thinking. I mean, I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the first thing most people do when confronted with a plug that won’t stay in. Suffice it to say that indeed occurred to me as well and despite all manner of bending, it simply hung out of the outlet as though the plug felt dirty for being put into such disgusting places, and was merely trying to escape.

Old outlet

The outlet had been painted at some point or three, it was connected with fabric-wrapped corroded copper wire, and of course the polarity was backwards. After removing the old, broken thing, it disintegrated like a vampire exposed to sunlight.

Properly wired

The new outlet, one of the Decora-style Levitons I’m a fan of, literally makes the entire room feel newer. Now, the fans gleefully remain plugged in to its slick, tamper-resistant, hot-and-neutral-correctly-wired, properly grounded new outlet.

New outlet

It’s the smallest thing imaginable. Five minutes to install, less than three dollars for both the outlet and the vinyl, crack-proof cover, and yet such an amazing effect.

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