Sunday, August 25, 2013

Two Steps Back

It's been a discouraging weekend.

When they put in the new furnace ductwork, the installers found a live knob-and-tube wire hooked up to one of the junction boxes in the basement ceiling.  Now, I can take a little older wiring in my house, but knob-and-tube scares me.  Especially when the insulation around the wires cracks off in your hands when you touch it.

So, this weekend, Joe and I found the right circuit breaker, flipped it off, and disconnected the wire.  Then, we went upstairs to find out what was tied to the wire.  Turns out that ALL the upstairs lights and all but two of the outlets were all tied to that wire.  Surprise, surprise.  We thought those outlets were properly grounded.  We were wrong.

We left it all unhooked - this way I won't be up half the night worrying about fires starting.

One of the parts that makes me angry (there are several) is that I trusted the home inspector when I bought the house instead of checking the wiring myself.  I'd heard so much about the hidden dangers of houses that I thought I'd go the professional route instead of just relying on what Joe and I would be able to find.  Silly me.

When we had the inspection done, I specifically told the inspector to check the wiring carefully.  I'd had my fill of replacing wires in old houses in my last place, and didn't want to deal with the mess again.  He gave the wiring a clear pass.

Obviously, he didn't take a flashlight to the new junction boxes tucked away in the basement ceiling.  If he had, he'd have seen the new wires going into the box, and the cloth-bound wires coming out.   And, if he'd closely checked the outlets upstairs, he'd have seen that they attached a new snippet of wire to the outlet, so it looked good, and attached the new wire to the old cloth-bound at the back of the box.

As mad as I am at the incompetent inspector, I'm even madder at the unprincipled person who did the hack job on the wiring.  Obviously, those who did the work didn't care at all for the safety of the people who would be living in the house after they finished their chicanery.

And as mad as I am at myself for not catching this mess before I bought the house, I'd rather it was I who ended up with it than someone who wouldn't know bad wiring when it stared them in the face.

My friend Max once said that if you can fix something by throwing money at it, it isn't a problem.  I can fix the wiring by throwing money at it, thus, I do not have a problem.  I have a mess on my hands, yes.  But I do not have a problem.

The bungling inspector, the unethical sellers who had to have known about the issue, the unscrupulous guy who did the wiring - now those people have problems.  I'm glad I'm not them.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Somewhere Safe

Sonoma Coast, CA
Does anyone else ever put things somewhere safe?

I loaned my camera out shortly before I left on my vacation this summer.  The person I was loaning it to had their own SD card, so I took my little card out, and sent the camera off.

Now, this was shortly after I'd moved in, and I didn't want to misplace it (those things are expensive!), so I kept moving it around.  It was in my catch-all basket.  It was in the drawer of the buffet.  It was tucked into the corner of the sideboard.  Finally, I got tired of moving it around and put it somewhere safe.

The camera came back home, and I told myself, now grab that card and put it back into the camera.  But, I got busy with other things, and forgot.

Two weeks later, I was packing for my trip, grabbed the camera, and started looking for the card.  I was convinced I'd zipped it into either my briefcase or the camera case itself.  Nope.  I looked high and low.  I looked in ALL my favorite hiding places.  I looked in the catch-all basket.  I looked in the buffet.  I emptied my briefcase at least three times.  Nope.

Finally, I gave up.  I needed to finish packing and hit the road.  So, I grabbed my backup card - the 2GB one, which fills up FAST with my new camera - and made do while I was on the road.  When I got back home, I resumed the search.  I checked drawers and baskets and under and behind things.  After an hour or so, I gave it up for lost.

About a week later, I was getting out a wine glass, and happened to look into a small pottery bowl I keep on the same upper shelf.  And there it was!  Safe.  very safe.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Back to Work

Bryce Canyon, UT
I have nothing interesting to report since I last wrote.  My time's been spent in rounds of working at the school and at home.

Work's been hectic since I got back in town.  School starts tomorrow, and there's been a lot of work to get done.  Fortunately, I haven't had to do it all myself.  I had summer help to do some of the maintenance work, which is a good thing, otherwise about ten of the hundred computers would be ready to go.  And my partner in crime did a great job of keeping the work on track while I was out, so it was easy to pick up the remaining pieces.

I didn't quite get everything done that I'd hoped, but am having trouble mustering up the energy to care.  It's done enough - classes can start; teachers have their computers back, and the iPads are almost ready to go back to the students.  The missing pieces will be in place by the end of the second week of school.

I can't quite grasp how quickly this summer has gone.  It seems I just got back from my trip, but it's been three weeks already.  There are a lot of things in-progress in my life right now.  I have a lot of projects started, probably too many.  I switch from task to task, making progress, but not finishing anything.  I get close, but don't seem to find the time to tidy up the loose ends.

Joe and I put up the new storm windows today.  They've been sitting in the garage since the end of May - it feels good to be able to cross something off my list.  I swear I could feel the air movement in the house slow as we made our way around with the installation.  And, they look so much better than the old storms with their missing screens and window sections.  The house looks more cared for - and I think it appreciates it.  (take THAT, you bad karma cooties!)