About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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A person almost always burnishes his reputation by shutting up: I learned that as a boy.

— Garrison Keillor



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 12/14/2018

Totals
Posts - 2538
Comments - 2589
Hits - 2,103,042

Averages
Entries/day - 0.45
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 372

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 10:38 PM Pacific


  09:45 PM

(For those not of sufficient vintage to recognize the title, see here.)

When Erica moved into her house a couple of years ago, we did a fair bit of work to it, including some electrical stuff. This fell to me, so I was the guy who got to deal with the electrical panel. At some point I took the cover off and looked around. Mouse turds, corrosion. Hmm.

We wanted to put in a new circuit, but I had some trouble finding a breaker for that panel. Finally I went to McLendon, our local big hardware store (as opposed to big home center) and talked to the guy at the electrical desk. "Oh, those," he said, when I described the panel. "You have corrosion, right? They're bad quality. In fact, the company went out of business." But he found some breakers, which were holy-cow-expensive.

Ever since, I've been thinking about that panel. Now, we never lack for a list of home-improvement jobs to do at either of our houses, and among them is some wiring in Erica's kitchen. But really, the right thing to do here is to replace that darn panel before running even more circuits to it and not incidentally, having to buy more of those expensive breakers. Recently we were putting up Christmas lights at Erica's, and golly, it would have been handy to have an outdoor outlet. But no way till that panel was replaced.

So I, um, prodded things along a bit by calling the electrician and arranging for them to have a look and give Erica an estimate.[1] I talked to the electrician Thursday; they showed up Friday morning to scope out the job. It took the guy just a few minutes to render judgement. To reinforce our already bad opinion of the old panel, he noted that the breakers in those boxes also sometimes fail to trip. Jeez, a fire just waiting to happen.

After the estimate on Friday, crew shows up this morning (Monday). Some good news, at least; the supply into the panel is good and the grounding rods we put in a while back were probably ok for code. When I left this morning, they had already yanked the meter and were busily disconnecting old circuits.

Erica had to stay late at work today, so I left a little early to swing by the house and make sure everything was ok. The new box was in place and the juice seemed to be flowing. Inside the box, they'd done a nice job labeling all the circuits, weird as they are, and there's plenty of room to add new circuits. So I guess over Christmas break we'll be doing a little wiring at Erica's.


[1] Since Erica's birthday is soon, this was referred to as "an early birthday present."

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