SATURDAY, MAY 28, 2005

The electric is dead, long live the electric!

Last month, the basement was dark, dirty, and humid. Now it is dark, dirty, and wet. In the process of digging it out to prepare for a cement floor, Brian and Bob have hit at least three springs, which turned the first room into a soppy mess. They’ve laid drainage pipe to direct the water out to a hole in the wall, but they have no idea where that drains to. A plumber could figure it out with a camera-snake or an RFID tag, but I figure one hole is as good as another, and I’m not worrying about it.

As for the rest of the basement, we assumed it was a dirt floor because, well, it was covered in dirt. It turned out to be a cement floor, and it is in excellent condition! Now it’s almost livable. (Don’t worry, Dawn already shot down the idea of an extra guest room.)

Today the electrician removed all the old wiring. I missed the excitement, though, when they found (the hard way) that removing the entire electric panel did not necessarily mean the electricity was off. Apparently, Dawn’s dad (or grandfather) jerry-rigged a light post outside and hooked it to a switch in the kitchen, which was not only alive, but short-circuited! Fortunately, nobody was hurt, just very, very surprised. (The electrician told me it and it was drawing 70 amps through 15-amp wire!)

I mentioned a few days ago that we wanted to keep the electric meter on the center pole (where it is now), but for some reason that meant they had to install a 4-foot wide electrical box right in the middle of the farm. That wasn’t acceptable, so we grudgingly agreed to put the meter on the side of the main house. Of course, we assumed it would be a little round meter; when they arrived, they had another 4′ box to install!

We talked to Chip of Charming Forge and he showed us how they mounted it to the back of an outbuilding, so we decided to put the electric on the back side of the privy. (I keep making jokes about “wiring ahead” but nobody gets it.) It will still add $8,000 – $10,000 to the budget, but we just can’t allow this affront to the house.

By the way, in our area, they don’t read the meters anymore — the meters electronically report usage — so there is no real reason to have the meter on the outside, other than that’s still part of “the code.” Pathetic.