Thursday, May 25, 2006

Totally Wired

So mom and dad are here from CT. The plan was originally for dad and I to spend all week wiring the electrical throughout the addition. Unfortunately with the rain last week, Bob The Builder is behind, so we're still missing three walls. Grr. guess we will do what we can.

My Home Depot Mastercard is getting a great workout. Let's see, about 50 outlet boxes, a dozen or so light boxes, 18 recessed light kits, about 750' of electrical wire, a spool of Cat-5 wire liberated from a certain tech firm in the area (thanks Ken), several boxes of switches and outlets, and about a gazillion wire nuts. Oh, and a circuit continuity tester to replace the one my dad blew up when he accidentally stuck it in a live circuit. I know that only makes sense to those of you who know electrical work, so Paul and Ken, enjoy the chuckle.

We've learned a couple of things as we embarked on this effort to avoid electrocution. First, virtually everyone I've mentioned this project stated that the price of wire is outrageous. They are right. a box of wire that used to cost about $30 now costs about $100. Something to do with Katrina, construction in China, and a copper plant closing in Argentina. all I know is it would be cheaper to wire this house using conductive fibers woven from the hair of a Persian princess.

Second, we learned that there's a couple of really stupid electrical codes out there. Take the "arc fault" breaker, for instance. This is a new concept designed to protect morons in the bedroom. Basically in an arc fault circuit, if you plug a vacuum cleaner into an outlet with the appliance already on, it will trip the breaker. this means you have to trudge downstairs and reset it just because you accidentally kicked the cord out of the wall and plugged it back in without shutting the appliance off. To make matters worse, a typical circuit breaker is a couple of bucks, whereas this arc fault breaker is thirty bucks. And code mandates that you must have one for every outlet circuit in the BEDROOM. We have two circuits in the bedroom. Thus, $60 for these friggin things. Why the bedroom, you ask? I have no idea. Can't figure out that for the life of me. Well, after a wink and a nudge from the electrician it goes without saying that after the electrical inspection one might be inclined to return those $30 breakers and replace them with normal ones. Not that I would ever do that, mind you. Of course not.

Third, we learned there's new code for smoke detectors. You must have one at the top of every stairwell, and one in every hallway. they must be hardwired rather than battery operated, AND must be interconnected. This means when one goes off they ALL go off. That makes things real enjoyable when you blast your ear drums making toast.

But so far, we've managed to avoid electrocution.

In other news, the robin keeps coming back. I mentioned him in a previous article as the one creature who benefited from all the rain, by building a nest in our new family room. Each day we've brushed away the nest. Each day he build's another one, as if to say, F**k you! Here's a question. What do birds flip? think about it for a moment....

On a final note, I want to congratulate my wife for spending the most time ever in one vist to Home Depot. She, my dad and I spent 2.5 hours in the kitchen/bath area deciding on a bathroom vanity. And I only caught her with her eyes closed twice. You see, usually she glazes over the instant we walk through that sliding door by the big orange shopping carts. She was quite a trooper today. Some day I might actually be able to send her there to pick something up for me!

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