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August 27, 2012 / Andee Frizzell

DIY

I love doing DIY home improvements. I’m kind of crafty, have affection for power tools and a flare for the dramatic.

My most recent home demo/ remodel involved changing all the light fixtures in the kitchen and hallway of my apartment. Now the re-wiring of the electrical didn’t frighten me but the fact that I had, during previous re-incarnations of my space, absentmindedly painted numerous coats of paint over the main electrical fuse box; which in layman’s terms meant I wasn’t able to shut off the main source of electricity while I did the re-wiring. That was a little disconcerting.

I am a clever, intelligent woman (depending on who you ask I guess) and I figured that if the light switch was in the OFF position then the power was, OFF, no? I decided it was probably wise to also take some extra precautions as well so I bought a pair of rubber boots, a set of three sized yellow rubber kitchen gloves and I called my friend Steve.

I told Steve his only requirement was to sit on my couch, phone in hand and dial 911 if I barbequed myself. Donning my rubber boots, I slid the smallest sized kitchen gloves on and placed a small plastic foot stool under the kitchen light. I checked twice that the switch on the wall read OFF and I took the new light fixture out of the box.

For anyone familiar with electrical wiring, there are usually three wires, one red, one black and one grey for the grounding wire. Unless of course you live in a building built before color, like me, and all three wires are grey. (This is proof that black and white photography was documenting the way the world actually looked before color.) I was paused, not only by the colorless wires but also by the fact that the light fixtures I had purchased at the Mobile Liquidation World for a mere $5.99 had no instructions in English or to be more precise, the instructions seemed to be written in Egyptian hieroglyphics and the fucking thing had wire arms sticking out of it, like a metal centipede.

I looked over at Steve, who was sitting on the edge of my couch with his shoes on and his phone clenched in one hand, flashing the numbers 91 as his thumb hovered over the digit 1.

“I’m going to need you to hold this up for me.” He grimaced. “All you have to do is hold it up high enough for me to splice the wires together. Please…”

He reluctantly agreed but only on the terms that he got a pair of kitchen gloves too.

So, with me standing on the foot stool, Steve holding the electronic caterpillar, both of us wearing latex smelling neon kitchen gloves and rubber soled footwear, I tested the wires. (This means I was to touch the two wires together quickly and if there was a spark, the lines were live, and I was…dead.) At the moment the two wires connected, Steve’s eyes bulged right out of his head. His face drained of any and all blood and he looked as though he was about to pass out. We were pretty much face to forehead as I was only marginally taller on the foot stool. I yelled into his hairline, “Steve? Steve? What’s happening?”

He barely, audibly, squeaked out that he was being electrocuted. I looked at the two wires, that weren’t even touching, disbelievingly. “You can’t be. There’s no current.”

In an instant his eyes, which were rolling back into his head, fainting spell style, swam into focus and he looked right at me. I saw a thought formulate and reason settle into his awareness.

“Oh, shit!” he gasped, “My phone. My phone is on vibrate and it’s in my front pocket. I must have gotten a call. I thought my dick was being fried!”

Looking back, I should have given him a Trojan…for safety purposes.

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7 Comments

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  1. Eugene / Sep 2 2012 7:12 am

    Thanks for letting me know about your endeavors. I will be an avid follower for sure. Great stuff, write how you talk when you tell a story and world will be entranced as I always am when I get to see you in person. There might not be enough internet for all your stories though!,,,,, your pal,,,,,,,,,eug

  2. Carolyn Woods / Sep 9 2012 8:37 pm

    Hi Andee, really enjoyed hearing this story from you at the Chicago Con. (Remember Jennie and I, drinks in the bar and plotting our next move against UPS? Hope all is well. Really enjoyed seeing you again in Chicago and hope you will be there next year! Carolyn

    • Andee Frizzell / Sep 9 2012 8:49 pm

      Thanks for following the blog Carolyn!! We are now in a long term relationship, over a couple of drinks you have to hear me tell the same old stories again and again!! Hope you enjoyed it the second time around!! Speaking of rounds…I’m pretty sure I owe you one…Chicago, same time next year?

      • Chris / Sep 19 2012 5:52 pm

        I love your stories and could listen/read them over and over 😀

  3. Chris / Sep 19 2012 5:51 pm

    Oh my, I laughed so much at the end!
    I know what you mean about colorless wires, they are common in older buildings. We don’t use those colors here nowadays, but in the older buildings I’ve seen the wiring might be gray or black.

  4. erikavanbriel / Oct 5 2012 8:15 pm

    Omg! Tears rolling down my face! You make my day! I miss you! Darcy just bought me a book that has reviews like ‘blisteringly funny’ and ‘appallingly funny’ or ‘ he will make you laugh until your heart breakes’!
    I was so excited! Yes I love funny books!
    I’m halfway through and haven’t laughed ONES!
    So….A big thank you Andee, you fill the gap in my life! You make me laugh so hard I can’t breath sometimes! Merci mon amie!

  5. Stephenie LaMaina / Mar 4 2013 3:08 pm

    I have actually told this story to others. It is too funny.

    Slam

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