January 30, 2011: No Power

Today is the “no electric” day as the electricians come in to rip and replace pretty much the entire house.  Souder and the electricians arrived very early.  Lots to be done.  No slacking off here!

There was a bit of work done, leading up to about noon, that was done with the power still on.  So we were able to do some basic stuff around the house in the morning.  Mostly, though, that involved a trip to Home Depot and then getting ready so that we could go out for the day.

We left the house just as they were shutting down the power for the day so that they could begin the real work which involved installing the new breaker box (one with a main, how cool is that) in the new wiring closet at the back of the new office space.  This is not cheap work but boy did it need to be done.  This house was not safe at all.

I talked to the electrician and he thinks that the bulk of the issues in the house are the result of some idiot or group of idiots doing horrible things to the house after the house was built.  Some of the issues are likely the result of the original builder but the level of disaster here is not, necessarily, indicative of a matching disaster likely to be discovered next door when we start looking at that electrical.

Dominica I went up to Plano to meet up with the play group that we were meeting today.  We met at the McDonald’s on Jupiter which was actually a location that I was familiar with.  Bizarre considering that it was Plano and I’m almost never there.  The McDonald’s was really nice but the play area had the heater broken and while it was nice outside it was blasting heat in there so it was easily in the high eighties!  Pretty warm for young kids to be running around.  Liesl was quickly all covered in sweat.

We had a nice time and Liesl liked playing with the few kids that were there.  Only a couple of people showed up for the meeting because, supposedly, so many people were sick.  So around two thirty we left there to drive down to Mansfield.  Liesl was pretty tired after all of the running around, playing with the kids and climbing through the play area so she just fell asleep in the car on the forty minute drive down to Mansfield.

We had a good time, as always, visiting with the family in Mansfield.  We do wish that we could get a house closer in this direction but with where I work it just does not work at very well for that.  It would be a really long commute in rough traffic for me and it would mean that I would never get to come home at lunch like I often get to do now.

While we were at the birthday party we were getting semi-regular updates from Souder about the status of the work going on at the house.  We learned that more and more of the house had to be torn apart to make way for the necessary electrical upgrades and that around every turn there was another disaster discovered.

When we left the birthday party it was dark out and still there was no power on at the house.  It was almost seven thirty when we got home and the power remained off for probably another hour or two.  These guys are really working some long days.  Everyone was wearing head mounted lights and trying to get around that way.  It was starting to get chilly in the house too.  The temperature really dropped throughout the day.

There were not able to get the power fully back on for us tonight – no heat, for example.  But they were able to get a few lights, the refrigerator and the hot water heater hooked up to get us through tomorrow morning.  They think that the rest will be done tomorrow, though.  So fingers crossed.

Tomorrow morning we are planning on an early morning run to Home Depot with Souder to stock up on electrical outlets, switches, motion detectors and the like so that the electricians can do all of that while they are in there as well.  Since they already have to rip everything apart they might as well put it all back together with brand new, working stuff.  Everything electrical in our home is a complete disaster right now and had to be addressed sooner than later so, while this was not quite when we had planned to do this stuff, it probably makes the most sense and it will feel great to have these items addressed.

They had to rip out all of the cabling running from the breaker box into the house today which is a ton of cable.  What is great is that all of the cable was switched out from aluminum to copper.  Better efficiency and safety now.  They had to remove the appliances even, like the fridge and the ovens, to be able to wire them back up.

We have a lot more breakers now than we had previously and our electrical is being split up a lot more logically than before.  While doing the wiring they discovered things like that the entire kitchen, atrium lighting and the tertiary bedroom were all on the same circuit!  That is not good at all.  All of my office equipment, in the farthest room of the house, was connected to the same circuit as the fridge!?!  That’s just crazy.  Who does that.  And that atrium electric is awful with at least one of the lights constantly shorting out.

I can’t wait to get in and start using my new office.  In many ways this is very exciting.  The people who sold us this house really would not recognize the place at all.  We have done more work in the past week in this house that I would venture that they had done in the last ten to fifteen years at least.  Maybe more.  We can’t find evidence of anything, really, in the house that was really fixed within that time frame.

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