Thursday, October 25, 2012

An electric shock

I figured it would be a simple fix, hardly worth an electrician's time.
So that meant it would also be cheap, right?
We only had a few electrical outlets that were not operating at full power and needed to be fixed.
The bottom half of all the ones in the kitchen and a couple in the family room didn't work.
I always had to be sure to plug things into the top half if I wanted my vacuum to go, my glue gun to get hot or my mixer to mix.
Once we switched to a phone that needed a constant power supply, it became a bother to only have essentially one working plug on the kitchen counter.
I kept having to move the crockpot or the mixer or the wok to another counter or have the phone start to blink desperately as it lost power.
So I called a guy who handed out little magnets with his name and phone number on them at the parade.
I told him I needed some minor electrical work done and guesstimated it would run me maybe $100 for his time and trouble?
(I also wanted to be sure the problems weren't going to end up being something serious that might burn the house down.)
The appointment was made. I was told it was $40 for him to just come and look.
The man came.
He looked around as I told him my story.
"How old is your house?" he asked.
I didn't see why that mattered but I told him 23 years.
"That explains it," he said and proceeded to point out that my outlets were worn out. They simply couldn't hold a plug any longer and it was only going to get worse.
He suggested replacing all of the half bad ones — for $50 a piece.
Oh yeah, and the code changed the year after our home was built so we needed a GFI outlet on the counter to protect ourselves and others from a painful death in case of a short-out. That would be $99.
So now, $300 later, we have all new outlets in our kitchen and family room.
I can go around choosing a place to plug in and get power from any one of them.
It's a trip. I love it. The future looks brighter.
I just didn't realize it was something I should have worked into the operating budget a while ago.

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