Your Friday Construction Update: Gaslights

This week, while swapping out the cloth-bound electrical wiring in our new bathroom for something a bit newer, my contractor paused just long enough to show me this:

Remnants of a long-ago gas light. (Photo: Shala Howell)

That copper-ish colored pipe sticking out of our bathroom ceiling is a gas line (long since disconnected). It would have powered the main light in the bathroom.

Apparently our condo was originally built with gas lights. When they swapped out the gas lighting for electrical wiring back in the day, they simply disconnected the gas and left the pipes in place. Pretty cool.
As my contractor said, “Can you imagine installing electrical wiring right next to that?”

Books & such

We’re still reading, although construction news has taken over all the space I would have given to books this week. I finished up the first Percy Jackson series this week, and showed up for our weekly book lunch only to find that The Nine-Year-Old had zoomed ahead of me to Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero (the first book of the second Percy Jackson series). The Nine-Year-Old made a valiant effort not to pepper our book conversations with spoilers. I wish you could have seen her face when she realized that she had accidentally let an important plot point slip.

My reading assignment from The Nine-Year-Old for this week is The Secret Garden. She is appalled that I can’t remember how the story ends.  She herself has moved on to Septimus Heap.

Enjoy your weekend.

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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