Renovation Realities: The Phillips Job

In honor of my last post about all the home renovation television shows we watch and love at our house, I thought I'd share an interesting project we did on my dad and Wendy's over the weekend that would DEFINITELY qualify us for a Renovation Realities episode.

My dad and Wendy bought a pretty awesome fancy pants Miele coffee/cappuccino/espresso/bunch of other stuff machine and wanted me and Chris to build a cubby and install it in the pass through of their kitchen. So last time we were there we got started on it...

...and yesterday we finished it up.

First, as you can see, we cut into the wall (from the pantry) to assess the situation and figure out what we were up against. It turned out there was an electrical line in the way (easy, we could just rerout that) and some blocking (a bit annoying, but not structural so we just had to get rid of it).

Once we figured all that out, we started cutting into the wall from inside the kitchen to get to work

See that electrical line? That's what we had to move. There was an outlet in line with the hole we cut out right at the baseboards. I won't go into the LONG discussion and discovery about what it took to figure out what breaker this outlet belonged to, but it was a fucking LONG discussion and discovery.

We were finally SURE we had figured out where it belonged. We turned the breaker off, tested the outlet (it wasn't hot), so we were good to go. We planned to cut the wire right above the blocking, run it ABOVE the hole we had cut and create the new outlet for the fancy pants coffee maker just above it and INSIDE the pantry. Chris was inside the pantry figuring things out, and my dad said, "Here Meryl, I'm going to pull the wire as hard as I can to get some extra slack and you cut it right above the blocking." Sure thing, so I grabbed the wire cutters and this is what happened

That's right, FRIED blocking, FRIED wire, FRIED WIRE CUTTERS (that fried so much they burned a hole in the fucking metal).

As you can guess, apparently that wire did NOT go to the outlet right below it. We tested and tested and tested, turned breakers off, used the wire tester, all sorts of shit and we THOUGHT we had it all figured out. As you can see, very obviously, we didn't.

I don't remember QUITE what happened because it all happened within about 1/64 of a second, but I squeezed the RUBBER HANDLED clippers (thank GOD they were rubber handled) with both hands (a no-no, you shouldn't make a through current that the electricity can pass through your heart - that's why people say to put the other hand in your pocket), and cut. The next thing I knew, there were a lot of sparks, a loud pop, and my body reacted quicker than I knew what was happening and I threw the clippers from my hands and into the room next to us.

Chris, my dad, and now Wendy all looked around and were like, "What the fuck?!?!?!" I think Wendy screamed, I yelled, "Ow!" and we were all very confused. I actually didn't get shocked, but I did get some sort of STRONG vibration or something like that because my hands and forearms felt really weird - kinda numb and very hot all over.

Me and my dad were very lucky that neither of us got shocked because it REALLY could have hurt us, or possibly killed us (which was my response to the wire cutters, "that could have happened to my BRAIN?!")

Suffice it to say, I was NOT working on installing the coffee maker the rest of the day. Just LOOKING at the wire freaked me out, my hands still felt a bit funny, and my heart was pound pound pounding for a good hour or more.

Moral of the story: make sure you've REALLY checked that your WIRE isn't hot anymore.

So my dad and Chris finished installing the coffee maker while I worked on other projects

Doesn't it look great though! My dad and Chris really did a good job. And I'm glad we all survived :)

Even writing about it gives me the willies a bit, but it did become a funny story by the end of the day. My dad even said, "well, you are really weird, and you just got some electro-shock therapy, so maybe you'll go back to normal now," to which we all laughed and laughed. I still haven't gone back to normal yet though :) I must need some more :)


Tamara said...

I'm your mommy. THIS IS FREAKING ME OUT. Where does one even begin to comment . . . "I'm glad you're not dead"? The home renovation world (and the rest of us) need you. Stay safe. And next time, obviously, make your dad cut the wire :)

Anonymous said...

That is the scariest close call I ever heard... I'm so glad you're safe and in one piece!!

G said...

This story STILL gives me the heebie jeebies!!

meryl rose said...

Even when it's a roll of romex ON THE GROUND I still get shivers as I cut through it. Oy.