Safety first (or something like that)

My live-in plumber and electrician moved in this past weekend, and it’s a good thing he did as I nearly burnt down my house and/or electricuted myself to death* on Sunday.

In an attempt to cut back the random weeds that surround the house (and scare me bc of their proximity to my foundation), I took some clippers and started snipping off the thumb-thick stalks of a dangerous (to my house) looking plant thing on the corner of the house and the porch.

Snip. Snip. Snip. BOOM!

(artist’s rendition)

Technically less of a boom and more of a mild spark shower, but terrifying to the person holding the metal clippers (thank god for foam handles).

I snipped through a live wire that was coming out of the house and was tangled into the bush – a large, messy coil of wire that this tree-thing had grown up around/through.


With no cap on the end.

Live, uncapped wire that had been sitting out in the elements so long that it blended perfectly with both the house and the woody plant. Live and uncapped for at least 3 years!**

Anyway. I snipped, it sparked,*** and my shiny new live-in electrician*^ fixed everything.

Arrow: where I snipped into the wire, resulting in sparks and scary
Circle: the end of the live wire – no cap!
All: the giant coil of wire that was randomly hanging out inside the bush

Elliot checked to see if it was still live (it was), and then headed to the basement with a very shaky me to see if it tripped a breaker (it hadn’t). So we traced the wire back to the panel; it took a minute or 5 to follow it to the right breaker so we could turn it off. He cut it off where it broke off from the in-the-house wiring (no more live wires outside!), actually capped the end, and then flipped the breaker back on. And nothing blew up, so it was a huge win.

Meanwhile, trying to untangle the bunch o’ wire from the shrubbery proved to be much more difficult and at that we failed miserably. Where fingers failed, snippers prevailed (but without the sparks and smoke this time).

Moral of the story, don’t ever do any lawn work ever.

Or, inspect every branch with a magnifying glass and a multimeter.

Or, have your electrician/plumber sibling move-in to help with sparky emergencies.

And maybe invest in a heavy-duty first aid kit and defibrillator.

* For real, I think. Though the killing me would be more likely than the burning of the house.
** But probably more like 10 years.
*** Lots of sparks.
*^ AKA, my brother, Elliot.

One thought on “Safety first (or something like that)

  1. First, I would have wet my pants. And since water (personal and otherwise) does not play well with electricity, I would have most-likely vaporized on the spot. Eventually, my mysterious disappearance would be studied in a Discovery Channel documentary entitled “Whatever Happened to That One Guy Who Used to Write a Blog?”

    Second, during my own trimming and tidying adventures at Bonnywood, (running with scissors, if you will, albeit large ones) I managed to cut an important wire that proved rather critical in the proper functioning of the air conditioner. And I cut it twice. In the SAME spot, on separate occasions. I was forever shamed by Partner. At least until the lawn guy ALSO hacked at the same bit of wire, plunging us into sweltering heat once again. Of course, throughout this three-peat ordeal, we never took any steps to reroute this wire to a less-tempting location. It’s still there, quivering…

    Third, somewhere in my archives, I have a multi-part tale of the time I almost perished in our master-bath shower, a sordid saga that also involves errant electricity. I’ll see if I can dig that out for future sharing on Bonnywood…


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