Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Day In The Life Of A Residential Electrician

I'm working this Fall and Winter as an electrician.  The Shaw family, is most basically on the male end - a family of electricians.  In Kaufman County Texas, the surname "Shaw," is virtually synonymous with "electrician."

My Dad and his brothers wired damned near every large apartment complex in the greater Dallas and Fort Worth Metropolitan area....and I helped out some in all that myself.  When I was a child, my father's "Shaw Services" wired nearly every home in the booming (then) towns of Crandall and Combine.  I played a part in that too.  My uncle Bobby Shaw wired and still wires a large amount of the fine custom homes in Forney, Texas - which was one of the fastest growing towns in the entire nation for a while.  Yes, of course I played a small part in that too.

Mostly, I'm an hvac service tech, but I am also a bit of an electrician, and when economic times are not so poor as they have been since the Obama administration disappointed us all, I'm a good guy for selling automobiles and such as well.

So anyway, as stated, I'm working the Fall and Winter as an electrician, and I'm doing so with my Dad's youngest brother.

The economy sucks, but in Texas, folks are still building some very nice custom homes here and there, and my uncle is the "go to guy" Master electrician for some boutique home builders.  Basically, we have to go to wherever the work is, and so sometimes, we have to do some travelling.

Last week and this week we've been working far from little Kaufman, Texas - and in Red River County, pretty gosh dang close to Oklahoma.  This is about a two and a half hour's drive from Kaufman.

(I'm not getting paid for windshield time)

Early on this morning traversing some rural farm to market roads in my Uncle's "Harley Davidson" edition Ford F150, two very large white tailed deer ran across the road in front of us.  These two were the size animal that were you to hit them, you'd do serious damage to your automobile, and the facts are, one could land in your lap.

White tail deer do lots of jumping, you know...and I've had them nearly jump over the hood of my own pickups at times, and I thanked God above for not having one come through my windshield!

A Hot Sauce Texan and a Whitetail deer - yeah, totally added the photo because of the Hot Sauce!

Anyway, I've been seeing a LOT of the Whitetail lately, and today is Halloween, tomorrow marks rifle hunting deer season here in Texas....the deer are out, and they are REALLY moving about just before dawn.

As I was saying earlier - the economic situation sucks, but here in Texas, we still have some work, and a lot more than most other states.  I could talk about how awesome Texas is for days and days, but the fear stream media seldom has much good to say about the place....most often, I hear from persons in states with nothing much in the way of an economy...bashing Texas.  Go figure!  LOL!

We've been working in far off Clarksville, Texas - and today I saw some backroads beauty that was nearly breathtaking.  I literally wished out loud I'd had a camera for it....the HUGE trees lining either side of a lonesome farm to market road were too stunning for my pissant literary skills.

(This is a photo from Clarksville, Texas - the best one I could find similar to the lovely terrain I saw today)

We had not just one, but two jobs out in the "Clarksville area," you see, we're talking very sparsely populated rural farmland here, and total beauty.  The people living in such areas never much have to worry about crime, or anyone bothering to pass overmuch judgement in regards to their habits or the looks of their homesteads.  People can basically do what they want and enjoy the scenery and the privacy in rural Texas.

The first place we stopped we had to install some plugs on a power pole - the concrete slab for a new home was poured over the weekend, and we'll be "roughing in" or "pulling wire" there sometime next week, or the week after.  We got to talk to the land owner, and he was a retired manager from the water department in the city of Plano, Texas.

It is well over two hours drive to Plano, Texas from where we were - but the cost of living in solitude and beauty without neighbors of crime concerns, was worth it to the man for over 30 years.

A simple matter...we wired it in hot.  An electrician is similar to a plumber in that they both handle routing for things no one wants to touch...and for very good reasons.

Everyone needs both plumbing and electricity in the modern on grid world.

Next up, the custom home, and some hard labor.  Basically, I had to take a sledge hammer and drive a six foot copper rod five feet into the ground for the homes grounding rod....ya gotta have a "ground," so current can "go to ground" for extreme safety purposes.

I totally worked out my "guns" with the swinging of a big sledge hammer and the very slow progress of driving a copper rod five foot into the clay.  I LOVED it too.

There was a crew of folks laying wooden flooring in the home, and so they had our electricity on despite it not having had the grounding rod installed yet.  When I hooked the central ground from the breaker panel to the grounding rod, it was HOT!

Yeppers, got "bit" today by some good voltage.  It works better than coffee, and both often tend to leave a strange taste in one's mouth.  Ah well, I ain't dead yet :)

After that, I did some other stuff I do not wish to bore even myself with, and then I had to cut some holes in the masonite eaves for to drop some wiring and install some boxes from which light fixtures shall hang....masonite just doesn't cut well with a round "hole bit," and a hammer drill.

I literally ...burned up a motor in a Milwaukee brand hammer drill ...I ruined the drill.

I told my uncle, "I'm afraid I'm going to burn up your drill motor!"

He replied, "You couldn't possibly burn up that drill."

Well, I did ...the drill is dead....but we were doing the deal all wrong anyway - as "plan b" involved a simple Ryobi 18 volt cordless drill, a wood bit, and then the matching Ryobi 18 volt sawzall.

Even though I burned up a Milwaukee hammer drill trying to drill a light box sized hole through a masonite eave today....the thing was ancient, and I still consider Milwaukee brand tools superior to other competition.

Happy Halloween, folks :)

1 comment:

  1. Yes it is hard. I don't know what the answers are other than educating the people. They don't know about the toxins and dangers.. they only know that something is worth money sadly.