[Worldtrippers home] [Mountaintop home]

May 16, 2009
An electrical plan (Russell walks, Gail dances)

Dirk and Gail discuss what needs to be done to finish wiring the house

As we have been reporting for some time, the current critical path in our mountain home construction is the electrical wiring. Wiring must be completed and approved before we can get our occupancy permit (and home insurance and a mortgage refinance).

Unfortunately, our original plan – relying on Gail’s step-brother Jim, a licensed electrician – has fallen through due to health and scheduling considerations on Jim’s part. We have been able to stall for awhile. Our inspector has found other things to sign off on during our regular inspections… but at some point, it will come down to the electrical. Gail has drywalled one side of each interior wall… but the second side can’t be drywalled until the wiring is approved.

This late in the process, we decided that it would be too late for us to try to learn everything necessary to complete it ourselves. Having run out of other options, we were willing to bite the bullet and hire a professional electrician. Our friend Dennis tried to put us in touch with some electricians, but most of them would prefer to scrap everything already done and start over.

A better solution was literally right under our noses. One of Russell’s long-time friends, Dirk, is a software engineer who is already happily semi-retired. We actually get together with Dirk about once a month for dinner. Unbeknownst to us, Dirk has actually done rewiring for several friends’ homes over the last several years. Even more unbeknownst to us, Dirk had been waiting patiently for us to invite him up to the mountain house to help out. We finally had a conversation about this, and Dirk was more than willing to come up and manage the rest of the electrical installation.

So on Friday, May 15, Russell, Gail and Dirk all caravanned up to the mountain. Dirk hit the ground running, helping Russell to transport, unload and stack more than two dozen sheets of OSB that Gail had picked up on Craigslist (future subflooring).

Dirk atop a newly made stack of OSB

Russell and Gail had wildly different agendas for this trip. Russell was here to begin a 12-day, 160-mile walk to celebrate his 50th birthday. After spending Friday night, he departed on Saturday morning – literally walking down the road and off the property with a backpack and walking poles.

Russell departs on his 50th birthday walk

(You can read about Russell’s big walk on his separate blog here.)

Meanwhile, Gail and Dirk embarked on a different adventure, tackling the electrical wiring installation. Dirk immediately took charge, demonstrating his expertise and experience. He brought some incredibly cool gizmos, including a handheld device that would “beep” whenever a circuit was successfully completed. He helped identify and label all of the “home runs” (master wires that go all the way from each room to the breaker box). And he continued to pull more wire. The overall result was that Gail spent the weekend doing “happy dances.”

Gail and Dirk pull wires near the stairwell

Dirk's electrical work freed Gail up for other tasks, including prepping some second-hand floorboards for future use

Dirk was still hard at work when Gail departed late Sunday morning. He estimates that with one or two more long weekends, we will have the bulk of the electrical installation completed. With summer approaching, we can easily manage this. There is literally now a “light” at the end of the tunnel!

When we last left Dirk…
He was still busily (happily?) pulling wires


[Worldtrippers home] [Mountaintop home]