My parents had a gas lamp in their front yard. It was one of those older lamps that stood in the middle of the front yard that ran on natural gas, and had the 2 mantles that you had to replace and re-light every once in a while. It worked fine for years, but it eventually had problems, and they decided to replace it with an electric lamp. They called Sears who came out and installed the brand new electric lamp. It had frequent problems. It was always going out, burning up wires, burning out bulbs, melting the lamp socket, etc. They called Sears out several times to fix. Sears was at  my parents house fixing it about once a month every month for a year until it was no longer under warranty.

I was about 14 at the time and after Sears would no longer work on the lamp, they asked me fix it. After fixing it several times, and still having problems, I told them that I should just start from scratch and do the whole thing "my way". They agreed, so I went out and bought all the stuff. I re-ran the underground cable, replaced the transformer, the photo-eye, the lamp sockets, and basically re-did the entire thing. I even hand-made the part to hold the lamp sockets. After the better part of a day I was finally done, and it worked perfectly. I adjusted the photo-eye that evening (so it would only come on when it was dark) and my mom gave it a final inspection. Her conclusion was that it was too bright. It was the same brightness as it was before, and I used the same wattage lights as the previous lamp (that Sears did) but that explanation did not help.

The next day, I went out and installed a variable-resistor so the brightness of the light could be controlled. She was finally happy. It worked flawlessly for the next several years just needing a light bulb replacement every 18 months or so. Several years later, I moved out, and a couple of years after that, my mom called me saying that the light was having problems. I came out to look at it, and the first thing I noticed is that it was not the same parts and wiring that I installed. I asked her about it, and she said that she had it replaced a few months prior. I asked her why - did it quit working? She said it was working fine, but she thought that the work I did so many years ago "was not up to code" so she had someone come out and redo the whole thing.

I couldn't believe it. Everything I used and did, was perfectly safe and rated for what it was used for. It worked perfectly for so many years, and she had it all ripped out and replaced. I told her that she was on her own, and that I would not fix it again. It has never worked since.

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