“I’m Pretty Sure I Can Wire Around That”

“I’m pretty sure I can wire around that.”


That’s the sort of statement that fits in very well with other Famous Last Word pronouncements of the Tim “the Toolman” Taylor variety.

“Nah, don’t flip the breaker; I’ll work it hot.”

“The can says it’s flammable, but this stuff almost never explodes.”

“Forget the extra jack; I’ll just crawl in under there.”

“Just put in a bigger fuse.”

I’ll admit that a light in my head flipped from green to yellow when I heard myself say those words: “I think I can wire around that.”

The weather was turning cold. We’d already had a few freezes. The plants I cared about were already tucked into my shed/greenhouse.

When I built that edifice, I didn’t know how versatile it would be. It doubles, triples, quadruples as a man cave and occasional magic fairy princess/powerful elf prince castle. During the current pandemic it also serves as a medical test facility. If you enter and don’t smell paint or other aromas from a recent grandchild/PawPaw project finished in the castle, or cigar smoke from . . . well, if you don’t smell some such aroma, you better get a COVID-19 test.

I do love that facility, and, yes, we’ve put it to very good use.

To do its job, though, during this time of year, it needs a little temperature adjustment. Plants freeze without heat. Occupants freeze out without heat.

To be sure I could answer that need, I built the place with a circuit/wiring that will handle more than one heater, etc., along with some power tools. The best heaters I’ve been able to find thus far are of the “milk house” variety.

And. They. Are. Lousy.

But they’re cheap. In every way. You can get one for just a bit over twenty bucks. And I admit, you’ll get a season or two or maybe even a few out of it. The same Chinese (I think) company makes almost exactly the same heater for a dozen (at least) brands.

I need to research this. I think I’ll find that these “milk house heaters” look very much like older, much more expensive, much more durable “milk house heaters” that, perhaps, dairies and farms once actually used.

Did I mention that the new ones are really cheap?

That’s how I ended up with a “milk house heater” bone pile in my garage. Over a few years, I’d stacked up about six dead or dying and utterly undependable units. They’d passed the “bang it hard on the floor and it might turn on” stage and could only be trusted to let your greenhouse plants freeze and then thaw into jelly.

Time for heater postmortems. Conclusion? Every one succumbed to the failure of an incredibly wimpy “thermostat/safety switch.” Good luck fixing one of those that’s fried. Good luck finding a replacement part for a twenty dollar heater. I tried.

Right after the postmortem. That’s when many guys will hear the words coming out of their mouths: “I’m pretty sure I could wire around that.”

Me, too. And, yes, you could. But stop. Wait a few seconds for the safety device in your head to kick in with two words: Bad Idea. Or maybe a name: Tim Taylor.

Sometimes we get away with wiring past safety features. Sometimes it’s fine to laugh at and skip over “lawyer litter” warnings written for fools.

But when our Creator has plainly written words of warning, we’d better read and heed. When the caution light in our souls goes from green to yellow (and even red), we wire past it at great peril to ourselves and others.

Out in my dumpster. Six heaters. All dead. Not parts enough for one Frankenstein heater. I admit it: I tried.



You’re invited to visit my website, and I hope you’ll take a look there at my new “Focus on Faith” Podcast. At the website, just click on “Podcast.” Blessings!

Copyright 2020 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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