Haven’t a clue

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Get a Clue

Get a Clue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No, not me, well not anything to do with my work! I am often surprised at the lack of understanding by many who employ me or have employed me over the years in regard to what is involved in the work I carry out for them. One of the jobs I was asked to do on Tuesday was to replace a few power outlets (sockets) with smart-looking metal ones. The main problems that can arise in carrying out this seemingly simple task range from uneven walls (when fitting thin-faced outlets with snap-on fronts), wiring behind the outlets being too short and a change in outlet design that reverses the wiring connections. Many folk think it is a straightforward thing to change one outlet for another even when the outlets are differently designed. I was faced with wiring being too short to connect the new outlets and also because the terminals on the new outlets were reversed. I had to extend the existing wires, not that easy if the space in the box is at a premium. Who would be an electrician? The real fault lies with the original installer for not leaving sufficiently long wiring to allow repairs or replacements. I managed to do the work despite finding these things. Another job at the same address was to, in the lady’s words, ‘move an existing outlet a few inches’ but without realising what I would have to do to accommodate that request. I had to chisel out for a new box and for the cable to run between the existing box and the new one. I had to remove the existing outlet and connect to the wiring before covering the now open box with a purpose-made plate. A case of having to break eggs to make the omelette, the lady must have thought I could wave a magic wand and the new outlet would appear. She had remarked that she hadn’t realised what would be involved. I take it all in my stride of course. She was however pleased with the result. When I arrived back home I had just sat down to eat lunch when a guy called me to ask if I could do some installation work for him because he was having renovations done at home and extra outlets and lights were needed. When I explained that I no longer carry out major wiring jobs because of my age he remarked that he didn’t think it would be difficult to ‘put in a few extra wires’! I remarked that it would involve chiselling out walls and lifting floorboards as well as installing the necessary cabling. I told him that at my age it would be too much for me to do. It wouldn’t really have been as I am still quite capable but I choose not to when I don’t have to.

Shirley Anne

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