Saturday, April 9, 2011

Why do I do this to myself?

The fence is not back on. As I was whining about the latest string of disappointments to G on IM, he tried to console me by saying he'd still be standing in the living room wondering what to do. I pointed out that he'd be standing in the living room, putting his wallet back up, about $200 poorer, and the fence would be working. I am not a happy camper.

After I showed yall the melted plug, I went to the hardware store and got a new outlet. (Trip 1.)

Well. Here's some pics for Aarene and Jim.

I tied my makeshift fish tape (mason's string) to the cord and pulled it out. Unhooked the cord, hooked up the Romex, pulled really hard for a little while, and realized I'd be totally screwed if the string broke. Headed to Home Depot (2) and purchased a real fish tape and some wire lube (which I totally would've overlooked if Aarene hadn't told me it exists.)


My inner 12 year old boy was deeply amused by it. Heh heh, heh heh. You said... lube. Heh heh, heh heh.

It was cold today so I put on my TOTALLY AWESOME NEW PURPLE HAT! G got it for me at the Sierra Trading Post outlet and I hadn't had a chance to wear it yet! Have you ever seen anybody so happy to be wearing purple Carhartt?


Then I lubed up my stiff wire (heh heh, stiff) and pulled it pretty easily through the pipe (heh heh, pipe).


That was my last great victory and I should've quit for the day right then.

Got the outlet wired up, correctly I think - it's hard to screw them up - then headed in the barn. 100' of extension cord had worked just fine, so I bought 100' of romex. But the extension cord was laying on the ground by the wall, and I tacked the romex up properly in the rafters, so I ran short. I thought I'd be clever and end the 100' piece in another outlet, cause you can't have too many, so back to HD (3) for another 25' of romex, a box, another outlet, and - even more cleverness! a switch.

See, with the Extension Cord Solution, I discovered that I had to unplug the fence to use the saw in the barn. It was mildly annoying. I wanted a switch to switch the fence outlet off and on - plug in the saw, flip the fence switch off, saw stuff, flip the switch back on. It's totally doable. That's why switches exist.

I looked up how to wire it all up on like 5 different sites, and they all agreed, so I wired it up. Ground from the "power" line to the switch ground. A pigtail ground from the switch to the receptacle. Ground from the "fence" line to the receptacle ground.


Black goes through the brass screws on the switch and over to the brass screws on the receptacle. White from the power line skips the switch and goes to the silver screws on the receptacle. White from the fence line goes to the silver receptacle.


Black from the switch and black from the fence line on the brass screws.

I'm pretty sure that's right. It makes sense.

After I took those pictures, I taped both fixtures and went to shove the whole mess in the box. That's when I realized I'd hooked up the power line without bothering to run it through the box. Unscrewed everything. Ran the wire through the box. Hooked everything back up. Breathe deep.

Then I killed the power in the barn, doublechecked it was really truly off at the outlet, and hooked up the "power" line to the last existing outlet. When I turned the power back on, I was delighted to see that the last outlet still worked! I was less delighted to see that the new outlet did not work!

I also realized that the teeny weeny headache I've been rocking for two days is a sinus headache. I decided to quit for the day. Left the barn power off and came in the house. The cable modem was not working.

I figured it was mad because I'd turned off ALL the power while figuring out which fuse controls the barn outlets. Tried all the normal rebooting tricks. Nothing. Stopped to think about it for a minute, then strolled back out to the fuse panel - the barn fuse panel, not the house panel - and calmly flipped the fuse for the barn outlets back on. By the time I made it back in the house, the cable modem was working fine and the internet was back. Nothing surprises me about this house anymore.

I am going to eat dinner then go back out and disassemble the switch thingie and just fucking wire nut the two pieces of romex together in the damn box and call it good. Who cares if you can't use power tools without walking 100' to the fence and unplugging it.


  1. Between the wire lube, your inner 12-year-old boy, and your final solution to the problem, I had to laugh. Lots. But only because I have been there and know how it goes!

    And... maybe you should put your cable modem in the barn? ;)

  2. Been there, done most of that...
    Wiring is really logical, and should be easy. But then often it's not, and it's hard to figure out why. Never heard of wire lube--heh, heh--but seems like a good idea (at the time).

    Just be careful! Plumbing mistakes can make a mess, but electrical mistakes can bite ya!

  3. May I re-affirm that you scare the hell out me?

    I'd be dead by now. Electrocuted and stiff with my arms and legs in awkward frightening positions.



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