The other day I picked up a basic lockable cabinet thing to store some collectibles in. It wasn't anything fancy just a big metal box with a door and a lock. In all honesty it should have been totally fine just like that. I put all my stuff in, locked the door and all was well.

Thing is I hate leaving well enough alone. I decided that it would be nice to have some lights inside that would turn on so I could see all my shit in there!

So I went on Amazon and found a set of lights. This set had a motion detector that would kick the lights on automatically when it detected motion. Pretty neat, but hey, there is this other much cheaper set of lights that just has a manual toggle switch. Hey good enough for me, save me some cash and I don't need anything fancy. Boom ordered and installed.

But I couldn't stop thinking - maybe those motion detecting lights were made for a reason? I mean who the hell wants to flip a switch on and off? Maybe I should have just gotten those damn motion detector lights.

So I did what I always do when an opportunity like this presents itself. I pulled out my bin of electronics shit and took stock of what I had. I had a few NodeMCU ESP32s devices from another project I had done where I had picked a few extras up just in case. Oh and hey, here's a reed sensor from a pack of those I bought when I built my Home Assistant garage door automation and what do you know I have a ton of random Zigbee outlet switches!

Armed with a burning curiosity and a bunch of random crap I set off building out a ESPHome integration that detects when the door is open or closed based on the reed sensor and updates Home Assistant. That state then triggers a Node Red automation to turn the Zigbee outlet on and off. I even added an automation to send me an alert if the door is ever opened when I'm not home for some reason. Amazing!

Honestly though, did I really need to go through all that effort? I could have probably just bought the motion detector lights and called it a day. Where is the fun in that though? There's just something so empowering and exciting about taking an idea, arming yourself with a bunch of simple components, and building something totally new from it. Taking something from an idea into actual reality.

That sense of wonderment and curiosity is something I hope I never lose.

I see people post on sites talking about how they don't care anymore. They would rather just go out and buy something already made and just be done with it but I grew up in a time when the internet was still in it's budding stages that inspired people to explore and be curious. To see people lose that makes me sad.

If I ever lose my curiosity I might as well just be dead.