Monday, December 12, 2005

Circuit breakers

HWME has a PhD in mechanical engineering from a very good Italian university. I don’t say that to brag, PhD’s come a dime a dozen in my family, when my little sister announced that she was not going to go to graduated school, my father said, “Finally someone who wants to work!” But his PhD, and the fact that all his friends have a similar background, is important to the story I am going to tell you. My father came to visit. He has no mechanical skills whatsoever, he is a MD, but he is fascinated by mechanicals “toys”, like all boys. HWME has acquired a fairly large collection of toys tools during the short period he claimed he wanted to take care of the backyard himself. He has come to his senses already, and we have a gardener now, but not before buying all kind of toys tools.

So, my father really liked this electric bush trimmer. HWME told him not to use it, please, and pointed him toward the big scissor – I do think they have better technical name, but they look like big scissor to me. So, as soon as we were out of the house, my father grabbed the big electric trimmer and proceeds to trim the bushes, and while using, he managed to cut the cord. No, he did not electrocute himself, we have good “whatever they are called that shut the circuit off while your father tried to kill himself". Circuit breakers, I guess. In Italy they are called “life savers”, and my father is the reason for the name I think. And my grandmother, who used to cut wire with a scissor and tie them together, and then wonder why it was not working. But, on her defense, she grew up in a very poor village in south of Italy with no electricity and running water; I don’t know my father’s excuse.
So, after the circuit breaker went off, the lights in the back yard were not working anymore, same circuit. So HWME took a look at the panel and said that we needed to call an electrician, because a fuse was blown or something, need technical assistance.

A friend of his stopped by, PhD in mechanical engineering from Stanford, looked at the panel, and said, yep, call an electrician.

Another friend, MIT graduated, PhD from Princeton, same diagnosis.

Then on Friday I called Jimmy, the guy who fixes things around our house, and cleans the roof and the gutters. I called him for the gutters, but I told HWME to have Jimmy take a look at the circuit breakers panel. So Jimmy, who I do not think ever went to college, look at the panel, looked at HWME, and then said, “First you have to bring the switch all the way to the right to reset it, and then to the left”. And he proceeded to do it. Clicks, click, done, the lights are working again. He did not charge us for it.

Education is so over rated.