I consider myself fortunate to have my mother living in the same town. Her home is just five minutes away from mine by car. Every now and then she asks me to help her with something, and as I like to think of myself as a 'handy woman', I will quickly say "yes", grab my tools, and drive over to her house. So she decided that because she likes to read in bed, she wanted to mount(1) two lamps to her bedroom wall, one on either side of the bed. Thankfully there wasn't any complicated electrical work to worry about. The lamps would actually plug into the socket(2/3), and their electrical wires would run neatly down the wall, hidden inside a tube. Simple. So I turned up, full of enthusiasm, ready to figure it all out. As I laid out all the different parts of the lamps on her bed, I realized that the job would take longer than I had expected. The end of each wire had no plug. I would have to attach a very simple, flimsy version that came in a plastic bag, and hope for the best. "Where's the drill Mum?" I asked and she pointed to a tiny appliance in an open box. It was a little drilling tool that is used for crafts. Hmmm. "What about the phillips heads and screw drivers?" Again, she motioned towards two little things that she had used to open paint cans. "Oh no," I thought. I didn't want to drive home to get my tools, so I searched around in her cold, dark garage and found several things that would work. I started putting bits and pieces of the lamp together, each time reading and re-reading the instructions. My mum sat opposite me in an arm chair to observe. It was a bit irritating actually as she questioned and commented on everything I did, adding sweetly, "Can I help you with anything darling?" I would just look at her with slight annoyance, as I needed to concentrate. I did manage to drill into at least one stud to support each lamp, even though the hardware that came in the bag was quite light and thin. I worked away, putting the puzzle together, and finally stood back, proud, with a smile on my face. "There you are Mum. What do you think?" She got out of her armchair and stood with me at the end of the bed, looking at one lamp and then the other. She remained quiet. I looked at her, and she said, "Are they at the same height?" My heart sank. I was annoyed again. I tried to see them at the same height, but I realized that she might have been on to something. I grabbed the tape measure and measured the height of each from the floor. She was right; the one on the right was one inch lower. "Bum!" I said loudly, and started unscrewing the lamp. I re-measured, and remounted it, and then double checked. There, now they were the same height. My old mum had been right, as usual. Another job well done, well almost.
1. 'To mount' is used when putting up a picture or something on a wall or a stand (like a statue).
a. When I worked in the art gallery, we would go to people's houses and mount their new pictures.
b. The sculptor mounted his latest work on a big stone block in the square.
2. Okay, here is some vocabulary to do with using tools and mounting objects on walls.
a. A stud = the large, vertical wooden post inside a wall or ceiling.
b. Phillip's head = the tool used to screw in a screw. It's end looks like an X
c. A screw driver = similar to a phillip's head, but it's end looks like - .
d. Socket = the electrical outlet that you plug a plug into.
e. Hardware = all of the screws, nails, and other metal pieces that a piece of furniture needs.
f. A drill = the electric tool that makes a whole in the wall or in wood/ metal. It is also the verb.
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