Monday, June 8, 2015

Shockingly adorable wiring and a sudden shortcut to the cellar....

When we bought this house we knew the wiring was ancient. We didn't realize it was quite this....jury-rigged. 

Last week, when we were tearing out the kitchen counter, we had a couple wires protruding from the exterior wall.  At that point, the only electrical that was working was on the second floor, the first floor power was connected to the power meter we had had disconnected.  We traced this wire and found it was coming out of the back of the meter that had been disconnected.  Since we couldn't figure out where this wire was going Peter decided he would just cut the wire.  At one point I said,  "do you think we should cut off all the power first?"  But then we both traced the wire once again and found it was coming out of the back of the disconnected meter.  Peter said he would go get his insulated cutters "just to be on the safe side".  He got the wire cutters, leaned down......and cut a live wire. Fortunately, he was fine, other than a sudden acceleration of his heartbeat.   But that made us realize that we cannot make any assumptions about this wiring. That even though a wire is coming out of a disconnected meter....don't assume it isn't hot. 

today I am thankful for insulated wire cutters....

So, it was time to do some electrical work.  I learned several things that day, one....if you don't have a junction box, never fear!  You can always use an extra outlet!

electrical 101
Isn't this the way everyone wires their house?  A couple outlets come in handy....

One of the things we have to do prior to the appraisal is remove the upstairs kitchen and set up a working kitchen kitchen on the first floor.  Since the upstairs kitchen cabinet wasn't moldy, just ugly, we decided to bring it downstairs and use it for the downstairs kitchen.  There again, easier said than done.  The cabinet had a tile counter-top that was secured by inaccessible screws and the back splash was firmly glued to the wall.  Then, just to make it a little bit more interesting, the tile floor was laid over the edge of the cabinet and mortared in.  Whoever worked on this house previously was a great fan of the 'ol' glue and screw method'.  Surely they were pilfering from a job site, who in their right mind would pay for this many screws!  Finally, we go the counter top off and pried the cabinet from the wall.  

The next step was to get it down the stairs.  I thought it would be easier for me to wrangle it down the stairs as Peter guided it from below.  It was a bit heavier than I thought.  In order to control it I had to tip it further and further back on the dolly.  Pretty soon I was laying on the steps, the cabinet on top of me. Peter was saying "just bring it down another step now....", not realizing I was basically flat on my back.  There I was, gasping for breath, bravely saying  "go ahead, just slide it down my body and I'll try to stand up when this is over...."  Actually, it wasn't quite that bad but I don't think I'll ever make a living moving large, heavy items downstairs.  Unless it is as a comedic, how-not-to instructional course. 
beautiful kitchen cabinet relocated to downstairs kitchen
former upstairs kitchen, converting into bedroom for now

We continued to work in the kitchen, removing the rotten stuff, freaky wiring and assorted pipes that don't seem to be connected to anything.  Peter was trying to loosen a particularly stubborn pipe when he asked if I could lend some "ummph". 

I positioned myself opposite of him and pushed on the pipe wrench as he pulled. 
The next moment I was falling, lurching to the side, scraping my arm down that nasty back wall and almost landing on my bottom.  My left leg was through the floor, dangling into the cellar.  But it went through the rotten flooring at an odd angle and was wedged under the flooring.  I was about 2 inches off of the floor, I couldn't lift myself or pull my leg out as it was firmly stuck.  But I also couldn't sit down because my leg was at an angle that it felt it would snap if I lowered myself by another inch. Fortunately, my husband's first impulse was to help, to rescue me.  Later, he probably wished he had a picture of me halfway between the kitchen and cellar but lucky for me, his first thought was not to dash for the camera!  Peter had to break away more of the floor to take the pressure off of my leg, once he pulled more of the floor loose I could sit all the way down and ease my leg out of the whole.   I was actually pretty lucky. my leg was only scraped and bruised.  Not broken, not punctured by the many rusty nails in the rotten flooring. 
my undignified descent into the cellar

Before installing the cabinet in the kitchen we took out the plaster and lath in that spot.  Behind the lath there is a cute little cubby hole that is under the stairway landing.  I asked the kids if they wanted to have it as their sleeping area, so far no takers.  I am thinking I can utilize the area later on when we are in Phase 3 and this room isn't a kitchen any longer. 
cubby hole under landing
We also found the back of the chimney, that got me thinking too.  Now I have to go back to my plans for Phase 3 and see if I can rework this wall to expose the brick. 
brick behind the kitchen wall

Once the lath was off we could also see the back of the drywall used on the stairway.  I love that is has a design on it!

My dad took pity on us and came up to help out.  I'm sure he thinks we have completely lost our mind taking on a project like this.  I believe he called us "brave".  We have heard that a lot lately.  Oddly, it  generally doesn't sound like a compliment. 
my dad was also charmed by our wiring

built and painted a "castle" a.k.a. keeping occupied while the parents work

digging up three of the satellite dishes, did I mention the hundreds of feet of cable wire?

Ainsley drew me this picture one day.  I had to take a picture of it because it is so "her".  In her world the sun is always shining and we always live under a rainbow!

Wythe built our old house out of Lincoln logs.  As he said,  "it even has the curve in the driveway..."

Although it is getting harder to schedule play-dates I'm so thankful for the ones we have had.  My kids get to spend time with their buddies and I get to talk with my friend.  So therapeutic. 
Wythe and his buddies looking at "space books"

'til next time...

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to read your comments...