When I was a little girl, I did what a lot of kids do out of interest and curiosity when the opportunity arises. I took a hairpin and stuck it in an electrical outlet. I wasn’t a fast learner in a lot of life’s experiences, mostly because of my incomparable stubbornness. I figured if something didn’t go my way the first time I tried it, I’d do it again until I got the outcome I wanted.
However, the shock I got was a pretty immediate and lasting learning experience. I never did that again. I also learned that the cute and sparky little fellow that represented our power company had a mean streak. And one heck of a bite. For years, we all remembered the day that Reddy Kilowatt bit me.
Here it is, over fifty years later, and I am having electrical issues again. We have known for a long time that our wiring was outdated and not up to code. We had an electrician tell us several years ago that we needed to rewire the entire house. Okay, we knew we would get around to it, someday. But we didn’t worry about it too much, until the day I watched as flames shot out of a neighbor’s fuse box. So, the electrician had a point.
Enter, Mr. Sparky. No, I’m not kidding. That’s the name of the company that we hired. Actually, I hired them to do two small jobs. That changed when he opened our fuse box. The two small jobs evolved into a major (and expensive) project. He showed us what the problem was, and where we had already had two burns. Again, visions of flames shooting out of the neighbor’s fuse box and the power of Reddy Kilowatt flashed in my mind. It was time to git ‘er done.
It took three visits and a team of electricians to get the work done. At least I had an idea of why it cost so much. On the second day, they started changing the old outlets and pig tailing the wires. Whatever that means. One of the electricians saved an outlet to show us what it looked like. She told us, “This was a bad one.” The top half of the top outlet was black and the plastic had melted away. It looked like Reddy Kilowatt was messing with me again.
Anyway, Mr. Sparky took charge of my childhood nemesis. He got control of that zippy little rascal, reigned him in and got him hog tied. Or pigtailed. You get the idea. The important thing is that the work is finally completed, and my home is safe. It was an expensive home improvement project that no one can see, and only we can appreciate. But it beats flames shooting out of your fuse box. And at least all of the new wall plates look pretty.
Funny, I was writing this post while Mr. Sparky was putting the final touches on the new wiring. I had finished the story and noticed that I was having a problem saving it. It seems Mr. Sparky had cut off the power to my computer and I lost the entire post. I think Reddy Kilowatt was the culprit, just letting me know that he still has some power over me.
I saved the burned outlet. I might have it made into a necklace. Or maybe I can use it for the grown up version of show and tell. I will keep it as a reminder to enjoy a major home improvement project that no one can see. And as a gentle reminder to listen the next time some one tells me I have a problem with my wiring. I’ll apply the life’s lesson that I learned as a child. Which is that just because Reddy Kilowatt is cute, he still needs to be respected.
At this point I have to put a plug in for Mr. Sparky, so to speak. They do a great job. So, if you are in the Denver area and looking to have some work done, keep them in mind. Their team of electricians are very professional, respectful, friendly, always on time and clean up after themselves. Even better, one of the electricians was a girl. That in itself made Reddy Kilowatt shake in his hot little yellow boots. What more could I ask for?
So, that’s the story of the day that Reddy Kilowatt met Mr. Sparky. It looks like my old nemesis had met his match. It wasn’t exactly a match made in heaven, but at least sparks aren’t flying.
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP