Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cutting The Cord

This past summer the unthinkable happened.

I was trimming Mumsie's forsythia with my electric hedge clippers and bzzzzttttt.

I cut the cord.

Now, this was not the first time I've cut the cord, no siree. In fact, my sister Julie and I used to email eachother after doing yardwork in our respective cities when we successfully did not cut the cord.

This, however, was the first time I cut the cord without Dad around to fix it.

But, as Julie so eloquently eulogized, Dad taught us how to fix things, and taught us how to figure things out. Maybe those hours and hours I spent with Dad in his workshop when I was a kid -- watching and helping -- counted for something. And I have been through this once before when Dad wasn't around -- Mistah and I were in Oregon, in 2003 by the looks of it:

Our Westy's electric system got overheated and our plug-head (that's the technical term) melted and I called Dad and he talked me through replacing the plug-head with a new one.

Thankfully, I took notes:

So, a few days ago I set about replacing the plug-head on Mumsie's cord with enthusiasm and confidence. And a camera.

To start, we need these two things. A new plug-head, and a pair of plier-things that cuts the rubber around the wire, but not the wire itself. Ingenious.

First we cut the cord all the way through. No, I am not left-handed, but I can't take a photo left-handed, not on our camera. Actually, I never thought of that. How do lefties take photos one-handed? They actually physically couldn't on our camera. Unless they held the camera upside-down.

Anyway, I can't take a photo left-handed, but I can fake cutting a cord left-handed.

Voila! Cord cut and orange rubber outside coating peeled off to expose 3 lovely little components. Green, black and white, just like Dad told me 7 years ago.

Another fake lefty shot
Next we have to get the green, black and white rubber off the meat of the cord -- the pith of the whole operation, as it were -- the wire.

And look! My plier-thing even has a gauge, so if we mistakenly cut through the wire itself, like I did the first time, we can adjust it so it can cut only the outside rubber part, and not the crucial inside wire. Ingenious.

You with me so far?

Now we need a screwdriver. Since this is a Dad-centric project I decided to use one of the screwdrivers I recently got from his shop. Sigh. I love having some of Dad's tools, but I really would have preferred he kept them himself.

Ooh, The Claw. I like the sound of that.

Now we rest The Claw upon our knee while we pretend to unscrew the plug-head top. Where is my photographer??

That's the inside. Isn't it pretty?

Okay, now we have to get the 3 wires, wrapped in the big orange coating, through the bottom part of the new plug-head.

Oh dear. Perhaps we should have pushed that bad-boy through first, while it was still all in one piece.

No worries. Successful push-through.

And now we twist each little bundle of wires, and bend them, so all three of them together look like a claw. Well, to me they do.

Now we screw the claw-shaped wires under the appropriate-colored screws (while triple-checking notes from 2003) . . .

. . . and viola!
Man, I just love the way that looks.

We connect the top of the new plug-head to the bottom of the new plug-head, screw it together, and . . .

. . . oh look! Mistah's home!

Perfect timing. Because it would be entirely too geeky to take a self-timer of myself holding my fixed cord. And clearly I am not a geek.

And now? The moment of truth.

But Mistah thinks that since the Sangean has back-up batteries, it would work even if the plug didn't.

Fine. We'll try something with no batteries.

Mistah assembled a shower chair for his Mumsie at her house the other day. Mumsie was on the phone with her sister in England and Bill said, "Tell Sylv how handy I am, putting your shower chair together."

Mumsie said to Sylv, "Billy wants me to tell you how handy he is for putting together my shower chair..... Oh yes, I know, he's a good helper...... But if you want anything really complicated done, you've got to ask Ellie."

Thanks, Dad.


Pickles and Dimes said...

You. Are. Awesome. I am totally bookmarking this page because we own an electric hedge trimmer and every time I've used it, I've come *thisclose* to cutting through the cord.

In fact, the next time I'm in a hardware store, I'm just going to buy a new plug head to keep on hand, because it's really only a matter of time. :)

Your Dad would be so proud of you.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I *so* would have bought a new extension cord. You da man, El. and mistah is no slouch with his shower chair assembly, but he probably shouldn't quit his photography job.

great post!



Me, You, or Ellie said...

They do to me too, Ellie. (Look like little claws, that is.)

Very impressive -- both you're handiness with the cord AND with the self photos. I only saw your foot one time!

And what's up with Mistah's skepticism? Just a bit miffed about the Mumsie comment, I guess? lol.


Captain Dumbass said...

I'm bookmarking this post so I can come back to it in the future.

Springer Kneeblood said...

I'm going to have to ask you to do that again. I missed one of the steps and now I'm confused 8=). Your dad did a good job...he'd be proud!