Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I finished the connection, snapped the circuit breaker into position and turned it on. The house went dark and silent. That was a surprise!

I glanced at the east wall of the new utility room that I had just wired for electricity and saw the problem. A jumper wire was inserted into an outlet causing a direct short.

Last weekend I pulled two wires to the breaker box. The wire from the east wall was through a knock out in the back of the box and the wire from the west wall was through a knock out in the front or west side of the box. Logical.

Today I prepared to connect the wire to a breaker but wanted to confirm my memory and that I had the correct wire. I formed a jumper and inserted it into an outlet then used a meter to check the continuity of the wire. My memory was correct.

About that time Julie told me she had lunch ready. I checked the second wire, turned off the multimeter, changed out of my dirty work clothes and forgot the jumper in the outlet. After lunch I returned to work and discovered my mistake when I turned on the breaker.

When I was young I wouldn't have made that mistake.

Jumper wire.
The jumper wire.

As I get older I'm learning to adapt to declining abilities. I'm not as strong as I once was. I don't trust my memory and make an extra effort to commit things to memory or write a note or email to myself. My reflexes and the speed with which I process stimuli aren't as fast. When driving I compensate by taking routes that avoid left turns across traffic.

My hearing is becoming a problem. Last week I was in a conference room that had been reconfigured so the tables were in a large U-shape and the participants were farther from each other than necessary. When someone on the far side of the room joined the discussion I caught less than 50 percent of what was being said. No big deal. Really. Most of what is said or broadcast isn't important. I can get by fine without hearing all of the noise pollution that masquerades as information, music and entertainment. Except...

Except for Julie. To often I'm asking her to repeat herself. That would be frustrating to me if I was in her position. So I'm getting close to the time when I'll get hearing aids to help me adapt for the sake of our relationship.

In recent years I've begun to watch older people. I'm looking for those who age and adapt gracefully so I can learn from them. I'm looking for bad examples, for those who deny a decline in abilities and those who give up without trying to adapt. I want to avoid their mistakes.

When the electricity shut off and I found the cause and told Julie that I had forgotten to remove the jumper she replied "I'm getting worried about you, honey." I told her not to worry because I was cautious enough to check my memory by using a jumper to identify the circuit. Then I realized I had made another mistake. I bought a GFCI outlet for the first outlet in the circuit, the one that will be behind the washer, and forgot to install it rather than a regular outlet. So, I'll change that outlet this weekend before I complete the west wall.

Don't hear any of this as negative. I like my age. I'd rather be 62 then any younger age. I enjoy life more now than ever.

Actually, it's fun watching myself make blunders. Sometimes I find an experience about which to write.

(Footnote: Three breakers failed to trip. The one I turned on, the main breaker to the house and the breaker in the utility building in line between the inverter and the house. The inverter detected the short, set an error code and shut down before a breaker could respond. I found this interesting and logical. The fix was to turn the inverter off and back on at the control panel. Almost as simple as resetting a breaker.)


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Uh huh.

11/12/2009 12:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think that's something, I remember a worker leaving a metal flashlight across a 480v circuit before switchgear was activated and the ensuing fireworks. Management was too cheap to provide the workers with insulated flashlights, so a penny saved became quite expensive.

11/12/2009 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Tim Hodgens said...

Don't forget to laugh!

11/14/2009 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI PAUL ~ Happy Birthday few days EARLY!!!

THANKS for the RAINBOW photos ~ definitely NEED them! U know I don't always think of THANKS when I think of U! Tuesday morning, I walked to a river (NOT GreenR) because a friend wasn't there to keep me from doing so (as previously done out of concern for my mindset). But instead of any thoughts of HARM, I CLUNG to a tree and continued asking "WHY was I pulled out b4?" Can't say I was asking God... doesn't seem nearby! So if you've got my answers.... I'd love to be reminded! ;-?

Meanwhile I'm thinking of Bourbon balls and RARELY getting buzzed off a friend's wine (Wamego KS). As b4, please say a little prayer 4me.

12/03/2009 01:02:00 AM  

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