html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: What one man hath nailed, I <i>can</i> put asunder.

Monday, September 03, 2007

What one man hath nailed, I can put asunder.

I am taking a quick break, to prepare and eat what may be my last meal. I am at peace with this. Burning Man was good, but I don't live in the past. Right now, I am at my sister's house, working on stripping the garage down to studs. I like this work.

I like this work for a bunch of reasons. First, I like it because I am finding out that I can do it. There are pieces built into the wall, and it will be cheaper if we take them out, and no one else is here. So I try banging on them and prying them, and it works! I've taken out everything that isn't big. I am so glad that no one else is here. I like working slowly and seeing what I am doing. Turns out that a lot of stuff is NOT intricately fastened in very complicated ways, but simply nailed into the wall. I could do that, if I had to attach something to a garage wall. I am also glad that I am the only person here to do this because if someone else were here, I would probably yield the task to him, and then I wouldn't find out that I can do it. I also disassembled an outlet. That was not so hard.

Since I have removed everything else, all that is left is the electrical porcelain piece with the wiring and the terminals. I will start momentarily. I am pretty sure it isn't live. Really fairly sure. I called Anand, who tried the outlet and the light socket and is sure they are dead. But he didn't check the porcelain piece itself. He also asked why I don't carry that lovely voltmeter he bought me. I remember Dennis commenting that the electrical was dead. I called my sister, who remembers the home inspector and the builder saying that it is not live. I asked her if she was sure enough to kill her sister, and she said to stand in a bucket of water, so it happens fast. She said to call her after, but I pointed out that she would be home in an hour or so, and that was soon enough to find out if I am dead.

Anyway, I want to get started on taking that down. Slow intentional destruction is interesting! If you don't hear from me for a while, like a couple hours or days or something, I am dead from electricity. It is sort of a shame, since I am so young and have so much left to share with the world. (You should work that into my eulogy. And say something about how I wasn't scared, of construction projects in life or of facing death itself.) My possible last meal was tasty and now I'm headed back out to the garage.

UPDATE: Not dead! It was all suspenseful, wasn't it?


Anonymous Mitch said...

Taking things apart is so much fun.

Live fast, die young, leave a pretty corpse. "She was so brave, so full of life and crunchy granola. She is survived by her 1 and 1/2 week old bicycle, Princess."

I have to say that all of my first-hand encounters with household current have been non-lethal. They may have something to do with my superpowers, though.

4:17 PM  
Blogger susan said...

Okay, it's been five hours. When do we start worrying? Don't be dead, Megan!

7:49 PM  
Anonymous D said...

good, good on you to do it yourself, because then you get to see how it's put together.

And lady, I also hope you were writing for dramatic effect... care and long life go together, and you always assume a fixture is live until you yourself test it. This I found while demo-ing a laundry room, and discovering that the 220 was wired illegally to the pole and not through the panel. I pulled the mains but it was still live... gloves can be a very handy fashion accessory...

cheers ;)

8:03 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Anand was right. Why aren't you carrying your voltmeter?

Honestly, when doing that stuff, carry it.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Live fast, die young, leave a pretty corpse.

I'm not sure that an electrocuted corpse would be especially pretty ...

8:28 PM  
Blogger jens said...

You know how that one book said you could get the true meaning of the Bible by skipping most of the words...

It works with your blog posts, too!

....nailed....stripping ...down ...studs. ....pieces ....banging ...big....slowly....nailed hard....

Phew....I have to take a cold shower now!

9:40 PM  
Blogger dcw said...

It's not like you're in Europe in anything. It's only 110 V.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous joel hanes said...

If there's no recourse to working on live circuits:
- wear rubber-soled shoes
- do everything one-handed, with one hand behind your back
- use tools with rubber grips

2:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have your sister do it. I mean, we'll feel sad and all, but in a detached sort of a way.


3:49 AM  
Blogger I don't pay said...

It surprises me somewhat that you've never done these things, although I doubt my children have either, certainly not my daughter.
I was under my parent's bed, touching a wire the first time I ever felt the jolt. I ultimately benefited from my father's non-involvement in most repairs, as I was free to do what I could, and didn't have someone around to judge and do it better. My son and I put rails on our porch, replacing the old on Sunday. I tried to make it as cooperative as possible but probably didn't give him as many opportunities as I could have.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bah, you don't need a voltmeter, you can tongue test any electrical leads.

Back when we were building our house in Illinois, my dad wanted to do some of the work, to save money I guess. It actually rains in Illinois, so basements fill up with water while they build. So, we were there to work one day, the only power in the house was from the electrical box in the basement that had an extension cord plugged into it.

Someone had dropped the extension cord into the basement, so I had to climb down there and get it. My dad was in a bit of a bad mood, I told him I wasn't plugging anything in down there standing shin deep in water after having just pulled the cord out of the water. He got mad and yelled at me to just do it, so I did, and got zapped.


1:09 PM  
Blogger JRoth said...

Crucial missing detail: what was to hav been your last meal? I suppose it wasn't something too elaborate, since A. you didn't really expect to be facing death (or you would have had that voltmeter), and B. it seemed at least 60/40 that you'd live. But still: what was it?

11:54 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Oooh, one of my favorite summer meals. Saute a diced tomato in olive oil, salt and pepper. When the tomato is cooked down a little, crack an egg (or two) over it, fry the egg. Very, very yummy.

You can do fancy bread and cheese if you like. But just the cooked tomato and egg are very good.

1:59 PM  

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