Tuesday, April 5, 2011

" Electricity. Friend or Foe ?"

I just had to ask this question today and my answer was a resounding, YES!!! Of coarse electricity is my friend.We've had it for years and I really rely on it.

Seriously I can't think of anyone who doesn't like it. It's very handy and makes us all so comfortable and happy. I will admit though that the cost of it has me reeling at times but I just try to cut back to do what I can to help lower that monthly bill.

That monthly bill can be a huge thorn in our sides. I know I am not just speaking for myself. Sometime I find myself getting down right angry about it's cost but then we may as well throw in the cost of everything today instead of singling out electricity.

On the other hand I have also thought of electricity as my foe. I would like to think of myself as being of an age and generation that could, if need be, survive without electricity. Let me just fall back in time a bit to explain.

The year was approximately 1970. I was 12 years old and I was a talker. Some of you will remember when our telephones were attached to the wall. I don't think that squiggly cord could ever be long enough for me as I would pace back and forth talking to whatever friend I would be talking to at that time. 

I would talk for hours on end. There was so much subject matter back then to talk about. School, teachers, other friends, Boys. The usual girl conversations for hours on end.

I remember one particular gab fest ( That means talking a lot, for those of you who haven't heard of this term. ). This time I was actually sitting at the kitchen table just chatting away. I had a bobby pin ( A small metal pin used to keep hair in place, for those of you who have never heard of this.)  in my hand that I was playing with at the time. Now here comes the really stupid part. As I was talking and playing with the bobby pin, I stuck it in the electric socket that I was sitting next to !

I got a little shock and remember thinking, "Why the heck did I do that?". I knew what would happen as my parents did teach me the dangers of electricity but I did it anyway. I didn't do it on purpose and I walked away from it but I never forgot it. I suppose my mind was very deep in the conversation at the time. 

That was the day that I learned that electricity could also be my foe. As my husband would eventually learn of this story he also learned to have a bit of fun with my fear. He is very handy and knows how to do electrical work safely. Yet each time he works with electricity he suckers me. Even when changing a light bulb. Whatever the electrical chore may be, even when I KNOW that the power is shut off, he likes to wait for just the right moment to let out a "Shocking scream" only to manage to scare the bejeezus out of me !

By the way he almost always gets a smack in the arm from me for this cute little joke he likes to pull on me. You would think by now I would be used to his little electrical pranks wouldn't you?

Since I was twelve I hadn't had any bad experiences with electricity thank goodness until today. 

For years now I have been collecting old license plates. Yes it probably sounds silly but there are memories of old cars, my son's first pick-up truck that he worked so hard for, my mom's "Cats" plate. The car my husband owned when we first met and fell in love. Yes it's all so romantic!

Since I had recently cleaned out the basement while spring cleaning all winter long, I decided that I would finally hang these old plates in the hallway that leads down to the basement. That had always been my plan for them, it just took me twelve years to act on it.

I first had to find the right size and type of nails. I looked at the little picture hanging nails but the heads were too small. I looked at the carpet tacks but they looked to short. Then I remembered that we had a box of common nails. About an inch and a half long with a good size head. Perfect ! Or so I thought. 

I was measuring and nailing on the west wall and had three already hung. This is pretty cool, they looked good up there. Still had about ten more to go though. I turned on the stairs to face the east wall, the wall that the back door is on, and started to measure and hang.

I had two hung and started to nail in the nails for the third plate. The first nail was a bit hard to get in but after one more good hard hit with the hammer, it was positioned right where I wanted it. The second nail went in easy enough. Great! Now lets hang that plate.

I put the left side of the plate on the left nail and then proceeded to put the right side of the plate on the right nail, when all of a sudden I hear a "POP" and see a small flame come out of the nail whole!! What the...?

Honestly I don't understand how I didn't get shocked. My husband said that God was really watching over me. What apparently happened is I had hit the electrical wire that runs from the back door light into the basement. The rest was a bit unclear. I know that I took the plate off of the wall but did I use my hand (Which would have been stupid) or did I use the rubber handled hammer? This part I don't remember.

I was still pretty FREAKED OUT ( A term used in the 70's meaning scared.) at this point but figured I had better get that one nail out at least! So I took my rubber handled hammer in hand, looked at my shoes to make sure they were rubber bottomed, said to my self "Oh God!" and as quickly as I could, yanked that nail out of the wall!

I checked the light and the circuits to see if I had blown anything and I didn't. Now the fun part. I have to call my husband and tell him what happened. He was pretty freaked out himself and was not happy that he wasn't home. Once he knew I was alright his biggest fear was that there may be exposed wire in the wall that could catch fire. 

After he got me settled down (I was about in tears)
and we hung up, he called my son. Frank came over and took the piece of wood off of the wall and checked the wire. He knows electricity very well too. He rewired his entire old house himself. Frank said that all I did was put a small indentation in the wire and checked the whole wire that ran horizontally along the wall to the basement. He said that it was amazing how I missed this wire by a hair, with 5 out of six nails! They were that close to the wire!

Needless to say I stopped hanging license plates today. I told my husband that I had no idea that the wire would be there. That's when he said that he had told me never to hang anything below a switch or socket. If he did, I don't remember. There's a surprise! 

When Kate came home I asked her if she knew this and she said "Yeah dad told me that." At least she remembered this important little tidbit! Well lesson learned I suppose. And as I sit here typing on my computer with my lights on, I would have to say that electricity is my friend. But friends can turn on you if you aren't careful!


Rebecca said...

Oh, my! I'm thankful nothing worse happened!

(And in your telling of this tale, I've learned another thing or two about you - like the license plate collection...)

I hear the rates are going to take a pretty hefty hike up soon. I think our big housing project this tax year will be insulating our attic better so that we can hold the heat and coolness in the summer, etc.

Lois Evensen said...

I'm glad you are OK.

I must admit that the idea of hanging the old license tags is pretty cool! (cool = 70's term for being being pretty nifty, or, is it spiffy?)


Anvilcloud said...

Shocking post! haha

I am surprised you can hammer with arthritic hands. Must be in a different place than mine.

Rob-bear said...

So, you've learned that electricity can be a shocking friend. Like your wonderful friend who sometimes does something surprising — even shocking — that you weren't expecting.

The important thing is that you're still here! Now, no more of these re-volt-ing projects, eh.

Margaret Pangert said...

Hi Diana~ I love the way you write a story: it doesn't matter the subject. What I love even more is the close, loving family that you have created, coming from a place of love.
You and I are lucky that we have such handy men, rarely having to call an electrician, plumber, landscaper, etc.! LOVE

Eileen said...

Your Guardian Angel was working overtime!

And that is why I hardly attempt even the smallest home improvement project on my own!
And when Ray is working with electricity around this old house, I get freaked out too. When I was about thirteen we had wires smoking in one of the walls here from electric curlers that I had plugged in, my parents had to get an electrician in to re-wire, and another time I got such a shock from plugging in the iron down in the basement, so, like you, I have a respectful fear of electricity. I couldn't live without it of course, but I don't like having to rely on something I find so dangerous.
Glad you are safe and sound, friend!

I LOVED your Birthday post to your son, beautiful tribute!
Happy Belated Birthday to Frank!

And a piece of me is sad that they are moving from that old 'bank' house. You know how cool I think that place is!
But the thought of a new beginning for them is so exciting too, and I wish them all the best!

And I love the relationship you have with your son and your daughter-in-law. God Bless you all!

And those beautiful grandchildren! I can't get over how mature looking Sarah is now! And Jack is just the cutest! I want to scoop him up!

And I love your hair!
And I love you!, E

bjk said...

Glad you're okay! When I was in first grade I almost grabbed a downed live wire - my older brother stopped me just in time (by our teenage years I think he really regretted it. LOL)

I love looking at collections of old license plates.

Pramoda Meduri said...

Hi Di..Lesson learnt for me too frm ur experience; nice that u r ok. even i tried out such crazy things at home in my chidhood..noting happened though!!

:).. take care.i hope everything is fine with you and ur cute family :)

Pranavam Ravikumar said...

Lovely written. Even I learned from your post. My thanks & wishes!

Amity said...

Hi my dear Di,

Thanks so much for sharing those nice and entertaining tidbits of a very hands-on homemaker...:) I could see you are enjoying fully those simple matters yet worthy home endeavors...:))

I guess it is just having the right attitude in everything we plan and wish to do...:)

About electricity as friend or foe, I got lots of stories about it...and you reminded me too as I had also experienced living with non-electricity before, when i was yet a kid...it only came in the 80's for us here in the province.

Life was simpler then...you listen to the radio powered by a battery..:)

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful life!



HalfCrazy said...

Hi there!

Of course all of us loves electricity. I can't imagine life without it. Half an hour of no electricity irritates me! Last month, our air conditioner broke down. When the bill arrived, almost half was shaved off from what we were supposed to pay. So yeah, that is a big help.

Good thing you didn't get hurt. Maybe you shouldn't really move around the house and nail those car plates without your husband actually around. Haha!

I'm in pretty good terms with electricity.

quieten said...

Wow- that was pretty scary! I don't "Do" electic at all. Scared to death of the stuff! I have to turn off the breakers just to change the lightbulb. *giggle*
Thank hubby for me for his little tip as I never thought about not hanging things near switches/outlets.
Glad there was no damage. Now you have to let us all know where you end up placing the rest of those license plates. Huggz

HalfCrazy said...

Hi Ms. Diana! About your comment in my blog..

Thank you so much for all the kind words and wisdom! I am trying many things but as of now, I am looking for a "buddy" who's willing to try things with me, no matter how crazy they can be!

I hope I get lucky one of these days and find something I really love. That way, I know where to focus, as well as to keep trying cos I wanna be immersed in a lot of things like that. Haha! Thank you for taking the time to give advice. <3

Erik's RV Blog said...

Houses in my area require conduit so you'll know when you hit it! I have put a nail through a drain pipe coming from upstairs before, that was fun fixing!

Glad you didn't get hurt!


Jacquelyn Stager said...

I had no idea where you were going with this post about electricity. Oh. My. Goodness! I'm so glad you are ok...hope there will still be a way to hang the rest of those plates! Sounds like a really cute idea.

Thanks for stopping by to visit me today. I'm trying to get caught up on blog reading.

Oh, and yes, I am old enough to remember phones that plugged into the wall, bobby pins, and the meaning of "freaked out"! LOL!

Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

I remember those old Black Phones that had the rotary dial and was stuck to the wall. I also remember Party Lines and there would be at least 6 different families on the line and one had to listen carefully to the ring to see if it was ours or theirs.

Glad you are safe Di, I remember the time I had some old Christmas Lights (The Threaded Bulb kind) strung out in my bedroom. I removed one of the bulbs and they all went out. I then put my finger in the socket, that was the last time I ever did anything line that.

Then there was the time I was working in the theatres. The fuse that controlled the movable masking burned out. I was running a CinemaScope film (Wide Screen) but the masking was closed for the previous flat movie.

To get the masking to open I had to change the fuse. I got one of the managers to come and hold my flashlight in the darkened space behind the Screen where the masking motor was. I should mention here he always liked to come into my booth and Spook me when I wasn't looking.

I decided to get even this day. I had an insulated fuse changer/holder gizmo so I knew I was safe. I decided to make a Hissing Sound like I was getting shocked when I was removing the fuse.

The manager jumped back and let out an oath that could be heard over the movie. I laughed my head off at the thought. Needless to say it was awhile before he decided to spook me again.

You have a wonderful day Di, glad you are safe.

jules said...

Oh my! That had to be so scary!

Jenny said...

So glad you are OK and didn't burn down the house!

It's a big price we pay for electricity, but just think what our hair would look like without it:)

Please be more careful!

Anonymous said...

Happy you're ok and have electricians in the immediate family!

Nick said...

"I will admit though that the cost of it has me reeling at times .."

sure you're not talking about raising kids?

The Bookworm said...

I do remember when the phones were attached to the wall, and I used to talk all night too...lol.
I received a little shock like you too, but mine was from touching a small wire in a light switch socket. I'll never forget that zap!

Thank goodness you're ok Diana, it could have been worse! Hubby was right, someone is definitely watching over you.

Bernie said...

Di I was sure I had commented on this post but don't see it here. I am so glad you are okay. I use to be frightened of electricity and my gas furnace but since Woody died I had to learn to deal with it and the fear has left me. The first time the pilot light went out in my furnace I was so scared.....I looked it up on the Internet how to light it....I know now I can do what I can and what I can't then I'll break down and hire an electrician. I am so glad you are okay....hey I just checked my read and your post isn't there. I popped over here from another site. Have a
great weekend my friend....:-)Hugs

Eileen said...

Just stopping in to give you some early best wishes for a wonderful Birthday tomorrow!

I know I'll be busy tomorrow (Jayden has soccer in the morning, and we have food shopping to do after, and then company in the afternoon), and I'm afraid I won't get on the computer and I'll miss my chance to give you Birthday greetings, so I decided to stop in for a visit tonight.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DI! I hope it's the best because that's what you deserve!
I'm so happy we met, and I'm so happy to have you for a friend!

Ginnie said...

Anything to do with electricity scares me. You were VERY lucky with your license plate adventure!
On another note, I keep forgetting to tell you that your blog template is very original and fun. You have a very creative mind!

Eileen said...

Whoo-hoo! I made it! And with a few hours to spare!
I hope you had a great day surrounded by lots of family, lots of fun, and lots of love (and lots of cake too)!

Sharon said...

Oh, that had to be really scary! I have a healthy fear and respect for electricity. Hmmm, my DH never mentioned the nothing below a switch or plug, but I never had the occasion to. He's an electrician and has been "shocked" many times. I was shocked once, simply plugging in the blueprint machine. Ouch! The electricity came into a finger and went through the top of my hand, I had a lump for quite some time!

I do like my electricity though, I hate when it goes out!

Arlee Bird said...

I wish I didn't use so much electricity, but I sure wouldn't want to do without it. I guess one has to be careful where they drive nails, but in your case who would have thought!

Tossing It Out
Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

Garnetrose said...

Our bill has skyrocketing and we are using less electricty or trying to. I just saw on the news were a utility worker died when he accidently cut into a wire. We had a friend who was working on his washing machine and it got shocked and it nearly killed him. So it is a force to be reckoned with. I am glad you were not hurt too bad when you were shocked.

Tranquility Speaks said...

Surviving without electricity 60 years ago was probably possible because the weather wasn't as freaky. Summers weren't very hot, winters not biting cold. People would sleep with the sun down and would be up with the sun. I would honestly want to experience that again :)

I've learnt a lesson from your lesson :) Thanks Diana :) Love you loads :) Take care!

Barb said...

How did I miss this post, Di - you almost electrocuted yourself! I was just thinking how cute those license plates probably would look going down the basement steps. Now what? Have you just had a birthday? Hope you celebrated your Life!

Maria said...

Hi Diana!
After reading your post, it brought back my own "electric" memories! I also read the comments... smiling about how so many of us have similar memories! I did some "electrical" work years ago without knowing that I should flip the switch to cut off the electricity... I was just "adjusting" the box to put the plate back on... well... I'll never do that again either!

Glad you're okay and can wish you a happy Sunday!
*God bless you, Diana!
Have a beautiful Palm Sunday ~ Maria