We decided to have a little get together in the garden to kick off the renovation last Sunday. We thought this would be a good time to show everyone what we are up to and at the same time “crowdsource” some solutions to our design and technical problems. Unfortunately, the house had other plans. We came in on Saturday morning to do some minor demo and found that the power was off. It did not seem to be a fuse problem. Slightly more disturbing was the fact that after a week of rain the cellar was pretty damp. We had never seen it before like this. There was no standing puddles but there were plenty of spots on the floor that were wet to the touch. Ground floor above the cellar also smelled musty and damp. We called Con Ed and by the end of the afternoon they were in our cellar cursing at the state of our medieval electrical system. It’s not unusual for technicians and inspectors to gasp when the see it for the first time. The electrical wiring consists of years and years of amateur ad hoc patches on top of the original 1920’s cloth insulated cables. Bettina kept the Con Ed guys entertained with jokes and questions. Eventually they fixed the problem by laying a new
“gap” cable between the (internal) meter and the panel. The old one had shorted because of the rain water.
The next day the sun was out. We aired out the house and began cleaning up. By 3 o’clock we changed just in time for our first guest to arrive. Bettina and I gave some mini tours of the house and chatted with our neighbor’s contractor in between serving lemon thyme infused prosecco. The party was a hit. Our guests were charmed by the house. It was a terrific pick up for us!