After several frustrating attempts at getting various fencing supplies out to the Acreage, Hubby and I caved and acknowledged that we really do need a truck. So far, friends have been very kind in helping us get the things we need out here, but most of our friends are not from our immediate area, and we have to wait for them to be passing through in order to use their vehicles. The Co-op Agro Centre will deliver, but they charge basically a dollar a kilometer, so whatever we get delivered had better be big, as it’ll cost us around a hundred bucks. That is not really the preferred option, since we were planning to do the house renovations, fencing, and barn roofing as we could afford it, $200 here and $500 there, but it makes no sense to do that if your material delivery makes up a third of the material cost.
Once we recognized that we needed a truck, we started saving up for one. We had seen some appropriate vehicles advertized locally – our plan was to go for our usual: a fairly cheap older model, preferably ugly as sin, but in decent mechanical shape. I hate to be the first to scratch the paint on a vehicle, and this truck is going to see some heavy use. A good friend of ours, a mechanic, even sat down with us and helped us find some good options, and offered to test-drive vehicles in his own area on our behalf. We figured we’d saved enough for purchase price plus insurance, as we started the hunt.
Then, last weekend, the stove bit me.
When I say bit me, I mean, sent a jolt of 220v up my right arm, totally unprovoked. I had set the kettle on for a cup of tea, and it had boiled. I reached over to turn the burner off, and whammo! I dropped the kettle (luckily without spilling boiling water all over myself, and went to lean against the wall and cradle my arm and whimper for a minute. I got a funny twitch in my right eye, and my heartbeat did a few swoops and skips, but I was mostly okay. The stove, however, clearly had to go. Hubby went downstairs and turned off that breaker, and I finished making my tea.
Of course, the stove, being quite probably older than Hubby or I, was actually hard-wired to the breaker box, and could not just be unplugged and moved. Noooo, we actually had to get a professional in if we wanted to fix it.
We had actually purchased a new stove back in March or April, when we ordered the new fridge – those darn delivery charges made it more economical to buy a stove we knew we weren’t going to use for months, rather than getting it delivered later. It has been sitting in the corner of the kitchen, quietly accumulating stacks of papers and holding up various half-finished projects. While I would rather have been using it the whole time (you would not believe how filthy the old stove was), that little wiring problem promised to be just a little too expensive to be worth it, at least until we had a few more bucks saved up. Then, of course, life intervened…
On Monday, I started calling around for an electrician, and the first place I called assured me that they could get someone out the very next day…for a price. Hourly rate for the travel time, to be precise, plus mileage. The fellow I talked to was very pleasant, though, and I liked that he did not talk down to me, despite me clearly not knowing much at all about electrical, and being a gal, to boot. I booked an appointment.
Tuesday morning, the workman arrived, and he was also pleasant and personable, with the added bonus of being able to explain what he was doing in little words for the non-technical. There were concerns that the wire running to the old stove would not be heavy enough to support the new stove, and that would have added a hundred bucks or more to the bill – apparently copper is expensive, these days – but luckily, we did not have to replace any wires. He had a nice, shiny new outlet wired into the wall in short order, then, I told him that I would like quotes on a couple of other things, while we were at it.
I know the panel in our house is ancient, probably dating back to when Rural Electrification actually made it here, likely in the early sixties, though it is also possible that it dates right back to when the house was built. Since then, someone installed a light fixture here and a dryer plug-in there, and added a bunch of circuits to the panel, without adding enough breakers to manage them. As well, the service is 60 or 70 amp, not nearly sufficient in a time when 100 amp is considered to be standard. I asked the electrician for a quote on fixing the incoming service and replacing the panel, as this place is unlikely to sell without that being upgraded. He took a look, and told me he would mail a quote later, though he suggested I be sitting down when I look at it. Ouch.
I also took him around the yardsite, and asked him what it would cost to bring down all the wires running to various buildings, then re-run proper service to the barn. He went around with a little tester, and discovered that there is actually electricity to a bunch of buildings that I thought were not working anymore, plus he discovered a wire just laying on the ground (formerly running to one of the garages) that was also hot. I am so glad I asked him to have a look around, as Hubby was planning to mow that area, with the metal scythe, later this week. My little 220v jolt was unpleasant enough, I can’t imagine what hitting a main wire with a metal implement would be like. The electrician fixed that one up right away, and said he would send a quote for the rest of the work later. I would love to get a light or two in the barn, and maybe even a plug-in, though I expect that will be out of our price range for the immediate future.
At any rate, we got the bill today, though not the quote for fixing that stupid (dangerous) electrical panel. I’m thinking we’ll have to start over with saving up for the truck…