Fun with electricity, part one

by Michael Alderete on 11/30/2001

Two weekends ago, Rochelle and I were installing the first of four new (to us) period lamps that we bought off eBay, in the kitchen.

I climbed up the ladder and started unhooking the old light, without first turning off the circuit breaker, because there was a fair amount I could do without touching any wires. Then I just got involved in untangling things and forgot the lines were still hot.

When the inevitable spark shower occurred, Rochelle could only laugh. I told her I thought it was time she went down and turned off the breaker.

Her comeuppance came later, when she decided to do the hall lamp herself while I was taking my afternoon nap. It’s a lot slower to do things safely when you do them yourself, because our breaker box is outside and all the way around the house. Apparently for the last step, putting the glass globe onto the fixture, Rochelle didn’t feel the need to do the round trip. From all the way down the hall I saw her react to touching something. I asked if that was a shock she’d just gotten, and yes, it was. This time we both had to laugh.

Glad we have life insurance.

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