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Unexpected side work

By uthus2000 | uthus2000 | 25 Apr 2020

I never know where side work is going to come from. I'm really not that interested in doing much of it anyway. I'm not rolling in cash or anything like that. I've been blessed and have been able to start laying some side for trying times.

A couple of nights ago Gammy and I decided to order a pizza. Nothing fancy. Just something from one of the chains that most everybody has in their area.

When the delivery guy got here, he handed me the ticket and a pen with which to sign. The pen didn't work so I whipped out my Sharpie and scrawled out something illegible.

I made some remark about being an electrician and always having a Sharpie handy. John, the driver, wanted to know what we charge for looking at writing problems. I told him that if come by and we'd go from there.

When I got to John's place about 11 this morning, he was waiting for me on the porch. I guess he was anxious to get this thing done. Or maybe he was just happy to have somebody - anybody - come by. It's a terrible place in which we find ourselves.

We went down in his basement and he told me his problem: his dryer was blowing fuses and had been for about a year.

I opened the sub fuse box feeding the dryer. Everything seemed okay but I could tell which fuse kept blowing because of the discoloration.

I made sure power was off to the circuit and started checking connections. Everything was good in that box so I checked the main. Everything was good there.

I put those boxes back together and checked the dryer itself. Those connections were good and there was no indication of overheating.

The only other thing that I could check was the receptical.

I pulled the cover and tugged on the wires. One of the wires seemed a little loose. When I tried to tighten it, the gate that holds the large gauge wire in place popped open. Aha! There was the problem.

I put the wire back in, closed the gate and locked it in place then tightened everything back up.

I fired the dryer up and John came downstairs. I told him what I'd done and we stood around for a few minutes talking to make sure the circuit would hold.

I learned that John had gotten a divorce 6 years ago and that he found out that he had colon cancer the same week. He had expended his insurance some time ago and was now paying for treatments out of pocket. He works two jobs to pay the bills. He said that the monthly payments really suck. I'm sure they do.

He asked what he owed me.

"Nothing. I just tightened a screw."

"I have to pay you something."

"OK. Whatever you think is fair."

He pulled out some cash and handed it to me. I thanked him and we went out on the porch and talked some more.

He's thinking about selling the house and moving. His kids are grown and don't want the house. It's just him and the dogs. And memories.

I wish John the best. I wish that I had better things to say to him. I wish that I had said the better things to him. I hope I haven't missed the opportunity.

Image credit:
"Fuse Box" by arbyreed is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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I'm a beekeeper electrician in a great small town in a terrible state.


Small town life and observations in the mid-west.

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