Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My dad always said, "Don't play with electricity. It's shocking."

When we last saw Kirby, she was cleaning up mouse poop.  Lots and lots of mouse poop.  She had no idea mice could chew through Tupperware.
My dad made sure I got a sense of humor.
My husband made sure I got electricity.

Those who have houses built before the post-war suburban sprawl know what it's like to deal with rooms that don't have the modern conveniences.  I'm not talking about stuff like indoor plumbing or air, I'm talking about electricity.

When we first moved to Brandywine, there was stuff like this

A phone jack inconveniently located under the kitchen counter, where it isn't really usable unless you have one of those hang on the wall phones, which I haven't seen since Washington Street.

photo courtesy

So our phone set-up looks something like this:

...because the electrical outlet is over on the other side!

(Like a good portion of the 'updating' in this house, they got it horribly, horribly wrong.)

But the most amazing thing about this house was what you couldn't see: the wiring. (First of all, I will admit I don't know $hit about wiring.  I am not to be trusted with anything that could be even marginally dangerous.  What I am about to tell you has been told to me by experts.   So it could all be scurrilous lies, but maybe not.)

When I took the piece of plywood down (with my bare hands!), not only were there mice, but there were wires.  Lots and lots of wires. (Okay, maybe three.  It sounds more dramatic to say 'lots and lots.')  And when the cable boy left and my husband came home (at which time we still had no cable, dammit!), he looked at the wires.  (My husband loves two things a whole lot: electricity and plumbing.  I am third.)  He got out an array of man stuff and he started doing things with the wires.  I was bored (hello?  It's just a wire.  I'm going to Panera and schnab some wifi!) and about thirty minutes later he came in the kitchen, all agitated.  Apparently, those wires were live.  And not connected to anything.

Even Kirby the electrical idiot knows that it's not good to leave live wires dangling inside of walls.  Something bad could definitely happen if you do that.  But DL was on a mission.  I think he wanted to rip out each and every wall with his bare hands and see if there were any more live wires dangling.  I reminded him that we had spent a skillion dollars on the house, and why not just take our chances?  After all, we were insured for fire, but not for his stupidity.

As we have made changes to the house, DL has made sure to check the wiring.  In many cases, our discussions have gone something like this:
Kirby: Did you hear that crackle noise when I flipped that switch?
DL: No.  Did it make a noise?
Kirby:  I think so.  Put your ear closer.  (DL leans down, Kirby flips the switch.)
DL:  Get the flathead.  Let's take the switchplate off. (Kirby leaves and comes back with the screwdriver, pleased that she now knows what a flathead is.  DL removes the switchplate.)
DL: (sniffing) Yeah.  I can smell the electricity.
Kirby: That's not good, is it?
(DL ignores her in his rush to get all the proper man stuff so that he can update the wiring.  Kirby just hopes it doesn't involve ripping out walls.)

 Part 2 of the Brandywine saga was at Finding the Funny.  These ladies are great!


Andrea said...

So the mice knew not to chew the live wires perhaps?

Susan said...

Wish you could see the big grin on my face!

Danni Baird @ Silo Hill Farm said...

Oh my just goes on and on! I love that you can keep your sense of humor and blog about it, which is quite entertaining to the rest of us!

Bliss said...

Better the smell of electricity than burning flesh. Get that stuff updated.


Curt said...

i realize you have already done the mouse poop duty BUT I still want to ask you to doa seach o cleaning up rodent poopand pay special attention from any vectra depts. There are some really important safeguards to be taken..dangers lurk seriously...

Heidi @ Decor & More said...

Holy cow! The mouse poop was bad, but live wires? Feel like I'm watching an episode on HGTV! 'Cept you're way funnier... :-D
Keep it coming!!
xo Heidi

miss flibbertigibbet said...

My father-in-law helped us when we were wiring the house. He's worked in electronics his whole life and was about 70 at the time. He was teaching me to wire an outlet when I got shocked...I schreeched and dropped the outlet. He turned and looked at me and said "it's just household current, it won't hurt you"....I had to toughen up, obviously to work with this elderly guy! Funny story, but you can't mess with electricity! An unfunny story....just before church many years ago I was prompted (thanks God) to go into the garage and saw FLAMES coming up the back of the washing machine! I was the only one home and had to put out the fire and then was afraid to leave in case there was smoldering embers. If I had not gone out there we would have lost our house. Fix your stuff....

karen@somewhatquirky said...

I wish my husband loved electricity more than me. Plumbing not so much.

Linda @ it all started with paint said...

I shiver just thinking about the live wires dangling inside our 100+ year old walls. Even my electrician hates coming over here and working ... hmmm ...



Patrick Odea said...

I have a bonaire cooler set up just like that but more for the safety of the kids in the house than for the mice. ;)

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