Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Let there be light

and there it is; right outside my front/side/uh, back? window. First, a little background.

During the big snowfall my big sodium light outside started getting very sporadic. It has a sensor that makes it come on at dusk, not unlike the street lights. A snow laden branch was laying (crooked) against the little piece that holds the sensor eye. The light was bolted onto a cedar tree; about 20 some feet in the sky. First I got out the step ladder and my telescoping tree pruner. With it fully "telescoped" and on the top step of the ladder I was able to saw off the offending branch. Sadly, the light did not come back on. So, I look closer. I notice that the "eye" is cockeyed so get out the telescoping pool net and pole, a bit bigger ladder, and carefully try to re seat the piece. No luck. As a matter of fact it came tumbling to earth. At that point I noticed that it is not just fried, it is melted. While the branch was bumping it at the angle it was arcing electric current up there in that cedar tree. I go to the little neighborhood hardware store, knowing that I will be buying a new light, but just "because." I think I let out an audible yelp when I found the replacement part. I do know that there were suddenly two people offering to help me, who were quite relieved when I told them why I was so vocal. Fast forward a couple of days. My extension ladder will not even come close to reaching that light. My neighbor was out mowing his lawn (I think he is hoping it will bring spring) so I ask him if he has a BIG extension ladder. Next thing I know he is over and up that ladder with new part in hand. It seems that the receptacle for that part was also melted. In fact, there was some pretty amazing lightning coming from that light. (More on THAT in a bit). So, now there is no question that I will need a new light. On firm directions from neighbor I go and get two bags of cement and a new light. He will pick up a post that I will plant two feet under ground. THIS tree is not going to keep on growing until it is unreachable! For the next couple of days I am busy chiseling the wire out of the tree and digging a hole. Saturday the neighbor came and the two of us wire up the new light and secure it to the post and put it into the ground. Night falls. No light. sigh. Next day, Sunday, I pull the truck into the yard and back it up to the post. Then I take my extension ladder and set it in the bed of the truck, leaning it up against the post. I just happen to have a spare sensor eye part, and am really hoping against hope that it will make the light come on. Night falls. Again, no light. sigh. Yesterday I again pull the truck up to the post and set up the ladder. I am going to take the defective light down and exchange it. After all, we KNOW the wire is hot as it tried to fry my helpful neighbor. There is no way I can get the light off the post. Night falls. Again no light. Last night I had decided that today I would go get a new bulb, in hopes that would work. Today the neighbor in shining armour appears with a voltage detector. The wire is no longer "hot." At this point I must stress that neither I, nor my neighbor, had anything to do with how the light had been wired in. I will just say that somewhere in the history of the house the light was wired straight into the meter box. We look at each other and into the box wherein the wire enters. I look at the "lock" on the part that would tell how the heck the line is wired in and to what. The lock at the bottom of the door is one that is put on by the power company. One of those locks that, if cut, will take your picture, dye your hands red, put you in cuffs, and forbid you from ever having electricity for the rest of your life. I can hear the 2001 Space Odyssey song pounding in my head. Nice neighbor reaches over and flaps down the top of the box, rotating it on the lock and exposing the wires. What we find is that there is an in-line fuse. An automotive fuse. The older type: glass cylinder with metal ends, about an inch and a half long. It is clearly fried. A quick trip to NAPA during which time I realize that it likely blew that day that my neighbor tried to play lightning rod. (I had assured him, btw, that I could put it all back together.) So, there I sit, little thin glass and metal cylinder in hand and electrical current that powers all of the Kitsap peninsula. I know which end is "dead" and unfortunately that is the shallow end of the in line fuse holder thingy. I suck in a big breath and insert the fuse into the live end. Sadly, my arm was resting on the edge of the metal box. Yep. It really is true that my phantom pain feels like electrical current. But, darn it, I am going to finish this and not whimper like a little weenie dog over to get the neighbor to save the day. I am thinking...PLIERS! pliers with rubber handles should do the trick. Unless I accidentally brush against the 6 inch box with the metal part, which is highly likely. Rubber...garden gloves! I find one. After all, that is all that I need, and certainly all that will fit in the tiny area that I deem "safe." I did it. Put it back together. Then the long wait for dusk. Tomorrow I bake a batch of cookies for the nicest neighbor on earth. Welcome to my, now better lighted, world.

G2 (I say ta-may-toe, do you say to-maw-toe?)


Grandma Blog said...

Sorry about all your light problem there, but I'm still laughing out loud about the guy mowing the grass. It's only February where I live.

2Grandmas2 said...

The poor man is really needing spring, Grandma. He REALLY loves mowing. He puts his ear muff things on and gets into his own zone. I think a part of him was also going crazy when there was snow on the ground, but only because he was worried if it was going to set his mowing schdule off. You need to know that we live up in the woods (which is why I needed that light) and he has the nicest lawn in the whole town. They have taken it upon themsleves to keep an eye on the two of us single granny neighbors in our little "neck of the woods." I couldn't ask for nicer neighbors.