We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fun With Wires

Let me start by taking credit where credit is due: I (Jason) wrote the plumber’s poem yesterday. I thought everyone would know that, since it involved sitting around in a bathroom with 3 men for half an hour, but from several emails and comments it seems that some have the impression that Beth wrote the poem. She surely could have written such a poem, but she didn't this time.

In keeping with the theme of “service providers,” I’ve got a story about our favorite electrician that I’d like to share. It’s a bit less poetical than the water story, but still a little funny, I hope.

We’ve had several adventures with electricity in the past year. When we moved into this flat, the kitchen was really dark, with just one small fluorescent bulb to light it up. So we picked some bright fixtures and asked the electrician to come hang them for us. In the States, this would have been a do-it-yourself job for a Saturday afternoon, but when he’ll come do it all for about $5, it’s hard to find the motivation to do stuff yourself.

We got two matching fixtures that have three spotlight bulbs in each. There was just one connection in the ceiling, and two fixtures, so he put them on either side of the existing wires and added a short segment of wire to reach the first one. Then he saw that he was out of wire. I might have gone back to the shop for another foot of cable, but not this guy. He just grabbed the extension cord that he had brought with him and was using for his drill, and he cut about a foot of cable off the end. He used that to connect our lights, then re-attached the plug to the end of his extension cord and went on working.

On another visit, this same guy was hanging a small chandelier in our bedroom. He put it together too tightly and pinched the wires inside it. This short circuit burned out the light switch in the wall as soon as we applied power to it. Once again, he found a way not to return to the shop. In our living room we have several light switches that don’t do anything at all. So he just put the dead switch in one of those spots and took a good switch from the useless spot and put it to use.

While attaching a ceiling fan to the ceiling, he had to install a big hook into the concrete. He drilled a big hole (half-inch or so) and then put the anchor and screw hook into the ceiling. He tightened the first one so tight that he broke it off. So he drilled another hole nearby and proceeded to break yet another hook! Third time’s the charm, evidently, since the third hook stayed up and the fan has held up just fine.

We keep using this same electrician because he’s better than most that we’ve worked with. He even has his own tools and only occasionally asks to borrow mine.

I don't have any pictures of him at work, but I do have a shot of this lovely mass of wires that sticks out of the wall in the hallway outside our front door. I'm sure if there were safety codes here to be broken, this would probably do it!
Tune in tomorrow for "Service Providers: Part 3."

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