Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Did it Myself, Charlie! Saved a Bundle!

Danger is knowing just enough to get the job done. Here's a quick one:

What do you do with that prehistoric service cable that once powered the old electric range? Hmmm (Louie is scratching his beard, his mental wheels spinning furiously). It's 75 feet of copper. One might recycle it and make a few bucks. Then again, we might "repurpose" the thing. It's all electrical, right? Just remember to cut off the spare wire in that NM cable, use duct tape to make it nice and neat. Now with 50 amps to play with, the microwave, toaster, refrigerator and washing machine will finally work all together!

Sorry,  the picture should be clearer. I took it sitting in the dirt in a crawl space with lots of loose wire ends hanging from the joists overhead.

"Are these wires still live?" I talk to myself a lot because I don't have any friends and I'm the only one who really "understands" me.  "Nah - no one would be that careless," I reassured myself.

Then I saw this atrocity and froze in place. The blur you see is my uncontrollable shaking due to a realization that the exposed wire just three inches from my forehead was probably still on. I lost my roll of electrical tape somewhere 17 feet back as I crawled on hands and knees, away from the light, fresh air, freedom and Oreo cookies.

Sometimes I really hate my job, and when I get home, I kiss the four kids because I'm so glad the day is over and we can watch old Disney movies together. I can take a shower. Too many electrical workers don't get to do that when the day is done. Then I yell at the brats for not taking out the trash, mopping the floors, and fixing that damned leak in the roof. We all laugh. Seriously, though, my life is dangerous enough,  and I think it's only fair that one of them shows a little appreciation, gets up there, or empties the trash, maybe. Louie will fix the roof -  if I can find him.

For those not sure of what it is they're looking at - the yellow things are modern wires used for what I like to call a heavy-duty circuit - that's 20 amperes, maximum. The brown "stick" they're duct-taped to is an ancient cable once used to power an electric range. It was still attached to a 50 amp circuit breaker at the other end - just a little too big to protect sweet little 20 amp wires. I know the genius who came up with this idea cut off the grounds because the old cable didn't-have-one.

I'll fix this. But there's still lots of work to be done. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. When life gives you lemons, the world is aurulent and pussilanimous and we make beverages from it (honestly - I would not drink any of them). Pickles are sour. I like garlicy pickles and disobvious, hackneyed phrases, don't you?

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