|Thursday, July 16th, 2009|
11:59a - Unsolved Mysteries
(I got interrupted!)
A friend and I tried to test the electricity to the brand new garbage disposal when it ground to a halt the second time I used it. I had put the unused stems of celery, still attached at the base, into it. She crawled under the sink clear to the back wall and unplugged the cord, I passed her one to an old lamp that worked fine in the bedroom, she plugged it in, and I hit the switch. Nothing.
Therefore, I contacted an electrician. He asked if I'd tried to get it going myself, as he didn't want me to have two service charges needlessly. I dutifully told him about cranking the teeth around to a new position and hitting the reset button, so he put me on the list.
He showed up this week, complete with test light. Power to the switch, power to the outlet under the sink. I got the same light we'd used to test the outlet with. It lit very brightly, immediately.
Looking up at me, he frowned. I stared at the extremely bright light. It had been very little light when I'd tested it in the bedroom before bringing it out last time.
"I think I know what happened. Reaching into the top of the lamp, I tapped a piece of metal. The light went off. A second tap got the dim light, then another got a normal strength light.
His face cleared. Pulling a screw driver from his pocket, he popped the top and selected the right bit, then removed the hook up plate and checked the way the disposal was wired.
"It's correctly hooked up." Applying the test light, he continued, "But dead."
"Second service call. I was afraid of that."
To be sure I said the right thing, he suggested I make sure that the repairman knew that we suspected the unit was dead and would need to be replaced. Thank goodness it was still under warranty!
The next day, a different technician came out and crawled under the sink. The first thing he did was reach up and hit the button. IT GROUND, sounding horrible.
"L did that yesterday, but nothing happened," I explained helplessly.
Pulling out the elongated S shaped tool, he twisted, then reset the mechanism. I hit the switch, and it again growled. He changed the water from straight up to the most extreme cold position, but the sound did not change to "clear running". He kept up a running patter during this operation. "You'd never believe what I've removed from garbage disposals. Screws, bolts, nails, rocks, chunks of cement, children's toys..."
"It still has something in there," he decided, shutting it down. Peering in with a flashlight, he could see nothing. He fished a strangely shaped pair of pliers out of his kit, then went "fishing".
He quieted as he worked. His position was awkward, holding the flashlight in one hand and operating the forceps with his other. I offered to hold the light for him. "Basically, once I insert, I'm blind down there. It's hard to see in there, anyway.
My inventor brain kicked in. What he needed was a goose neck flashlight with a long enough neck that could be twisted into the proper positions, then inserted to light the bottom of the drain and the teeth. If we can build goose neck lamps strong enough to hold a light bulb, why not a smaller one that would fit into a drain? Maybe a test light size, but up the wattage a bit? For all I know, one already exists, but is cost prohibitive.
Triumphantly, he pulled out a thin nail with a delicate head. The entire thing was less than an inch long, the tip sheered off. It was about the diameter of the led inserted into mechanical pencils. I DO NOT have any nails that size or length in the house. I hang quite substantial things on the wall, and have much longer, sturdier nails to do it with. I wondered if a celery crop was planted on the site of a former building, would tiny bits of debris grow into the stalk the way fence wires grow into the trees as they age? I remembered the trunks with wire through their middles where it had been affixed to a sapling that now was a majestic tree in my fence lines. Bet hitting a nail chopping celery would do just wonders for the sharpness of the blade. What if someone bit down on an imbedded nail as they were eating a chunk?
"May I keep the piece?
Wordlessly, he handed it over.
After he left, I tried to find it so I could tape it to a card and mail it to mother, safely tucked inside where it would not gum up the postal machines... I couldn't see it on the dark counter or wooden table. Where had I put it?
I'd just changed the trash sack liner in the waste basket. There it was, highly visible against the light colored liner. I fished it out. Obviously, my right hand has no idea what my left hand is up to.
current mood: relived
(comment on this)