Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hallelujah! I do believe in miracles!

In order to properly enjoy this post you must follow the link below and click on "Melody"...Go ahead, I'll wait...

Hallelujah Chorus

It was a freezing cold afternoon. The sun did little to warm the extremities numb from the excursion to the power meter. However, I was hopeful because of the small victory over the main breaker. A slide to the "OFF" side and then back to the "ON" started the whirring dial in motion again.

We could hear the blower of the heater rumbling in the basement and we returned to the condo. The dial read 41 degrees not surprising considering the power had been out for about 4 days. I stood in the semi-warmth of the window and let some warm air pass over my cold legs...but I had a job to do.

I had knocked out the power Thursday when I presume that I had completed the curcuit by pigtailing the hot and neutral from the same circuit...don't ask. Anyway, instead of the circuit failing the whole house went silent.

Well, now we had the power back and I tackled the beast...3 black wires, 2 white wires & a red wire on a copper post....merry freakin' Christmas. Jeff had "efficiently" (read the sarcasm...please!) removed the existing outlets by cutting them off with wire cutters and then trying to go back and put the wires back where they belonged. This wouldn't be bad except the room is wired with a loop switch that controls the "lamp" outlet at the top of all the outlet sets so there is a red "traveler" and a hot white. Just let your eyes glaze over...I had to learn this stuff from scratch this weekend.

Anway...to make a very long story short I FIXED IT! Once I figured out which black was "hot" and that the light switch completes the circuit (hence the hot white actually goes on the bottom) I was overcome with the spirit of dead electricians of Christmases past and I did it!

Even when at first it wasn't working I moved to the terminal outlet and found that it was miswired (yes, I beat on him again) but did have power I knew what I must do. I pigtailed the porch light to the hot and put them in the bottom outlet, put the red in the top black outlet to the bottom and turned on circuit 11 AND...(this is where you here the angels singing) HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!

I couldn't have been prouder of my little chandelier twinkling in the glow of electricity than Mr. Parker of "A Christmas Story" was of his glowing "Major Award" proudly displayed in the window...it was my "electric sex" as the adult Raphie would say but my lamp doesn't wear fishnet!

Lessons Learned:

Remove one outlet at a time, especially when it's not a clear cut wiring plan that you are used to.

There is usually only one "hot" wire coming into a box. You can find it with the probe testers by putting one end in the metal box screw hole (the ground) and the other end on the end of the black wires. It has to be on but you'll be okay if you if you only touch one at a time and keep the neutrals out of the way so you don't complete a circuit.

Wiring is a lot like Mastermind...only it can kill you! I love Mastermind.

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