It all began with the internet going out. Less than a month ago the modem was replaced, but the tech this time thought it could be the co-ax cable. We went outside and he fed the cable through, but when he got to the box he noticed a problem. “Your electrical drop isn’t attached to the house,” he said. Sure enough, he was right. “I can’t replace the rest of the cable until that’s fixed—it’s an electrocution risk.” So I called the electric company. They said I’d need an electrician to secure the conduit to the house, but they’d send somebody out to look. The tech must’ve been in the area because he arrived just after I spoke to our electrician. “Your cable has never been permanently connected to the house,” he observed. “It should be. We can do that, but you’ve got to get an electrician to attach that conduit.”
The funny thing about this is actually two-fold. One is that our home inspector didn’t notice that the electrical cable was not secured to the house (once the tech pointed it out to me it was perfectly obvious). The second is that the former owner of the house claimed to be an electrician. In fact, he runs a electrical contracting business. The electrician we pay has said, on one of his many jobs here, “I don’t think he was an electrician.” I, for one, believe the guy we pay. So now we have to have him come out and secure the conduit. Then call the electric company and have them permanently connect the cable (the house has only been here since 1890, so do a few weeks matter?). Then we call our internet provider and have them replace the cable that’s been causing our internet issues.
We like our quirky old house. It does seem, however, that many owners have neglected various aspects of it. And that our home inspector was a somnambulist. We’re just trying to get it up to code. Well, actually, we’re just trying to get a secure internet connection because three livelihoods rely upon it. Shoddy work has consequences, and caveat emptor reigns. Few things are more basic to modern life than electricity. Or even the internet, for that matter. These things are fragile, it turns out, in ways difficult to imagine. There’s a lesson hidden here, and it reaches back, I suspect, before the taming of electricity.