No, I’m not talking about the excessive amount of coffee I may have drank this morning but rather about the fact that we now have working lights and outlets upstairs. It felt like I was on an assembly line by the time I screwed in the last outlet, but everything is all juiced up now. Except for most of the sconces, which I’m leaving until the end. I can easily see myself whacking one with a piece of trim, so it’s safer to wait. It is the most exciting feeling to walk up there and be able to flick a switch or be able to plug something in in any room. For the last 16 months, we’ve had to coordinate a maze of extension cords, all fed from single cord snaked up from the basement. And before that there was no power up there at all, a byproduct of our “let’s just gut the upstairs now, so we can save a bunch of time” decision we made back in 2004. I still have to say that was the right choice, because if we had moved even a single piece of furniture up there, this project would NEVER have gotten started. Yesterday I taught Chloe the most important lesson about working with electricity turn off the power first! Always. I have had a really bad habit throughout my adult life of thinking I can work with live wires. Actually, now that I think about it, like all psychological problems, it started in childhood. When I was maybe 7 or 8, I cut through a the (still plugged in) wire of a lamp that I wanted to rewire for a fort in our basement. The steak knife I was using looked like someone had taken a bite out of it. And a week later, I tried to “repair” it with a little toggle switch I found over at my grandfather’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that the wires weren’t supposed to touch! Needless to say, my mom was pissed (and scared) both times. Anyway, back to the present…while I’m very careful at first, it’s way too easy to get distracted and forget that it’s live. And when you’re working in a tight box with 3 and 4 way switches, it’s pretty likely that you’ll get lost in thought as you visualize the circuits and try to figure out which of the two wires you forgot to label is the right one. The end of the story is pretty predictable…Chloe got to see some “fireworks,” as one of the hot wires fused itself to the grounded part of a switch. And I should be embarrassed to say that I did this twice! When you’re working upstairs, the circuit breaker box seems so far away, although that’s a pretty poor excuse. Apparently I fried the switch, because it would work in only one position after that. After replacing it this morning (with the power off), I have renewed my vows to never do this again.