Mojo recovered…

Engineer.

When you see the word, what pops into your head? Ok, bash out the stereotypical images of dorkbait in flood pants with a “kick me hard” sign taped to the middle of the back. Oh, and lose the buck teeth and “birth control” nerd glasses.  Most don’t have buck teeth.

For me, the word always held power. “Problem solver”, “Clever”, “Creative”, “Useful” are just a few of the descriptors that come to mind.

i used to be one. Trained, through about 10 years of university to engineer materials to solve problems for my corporate masters.  Along the way? i learned skills. Lab work is not for pussies. Plumbing was essential. Vacuum lines and leak detection was an early specialty of mine – working with ultra-high vacuum systems that resembled parts for the space station, i was a whiz at finding leaks with a squirt bottle of soapy water.

Creating and building my own experimental apparatus, i was also pretty damn good with the electrons.  Never afraid of voltage – it’s the current that kills you – i was confident that the test rig i’d slapped together would not result in a shower of sparks and screams when i plugged it into the wall.  Mojo.  Check.

The transition to management started fairly early.  By the time i was in my 30’s, i was spending more time on the phone than in the lab.  “Program Manager” never conjured the same series of words as “Engineer”, but i was good at it.  Skills required?  Communication.  Ability to translate between science and customer requirements.  Seeing the world past the tips of your shoes.  Definitely not sexy.  But i could wear high heels and miniskirts to work…

So i lost my Mojo.  Became intimidated by the trades.  This was mostly manifested in how i took care of things at home.  My husband and i both had the skills, but we started “contracting out” household repair work as our income grew and our time became more precious.  The thought of doing plumbing?  Blechhh… 

Plumbing is messy, but it won’t kill you.  Electrical work simply scared the shit out of me.  When it hit the cars?  i couldn’t even replace the battery on my jeep.  It was a low point. 

But not as low as i hit this summer.  My over-the-stove microwave oven took an electromagnetic shit in June while i was out of the country on holiday.  My solution?  Replace it with our old ‘counter-top version’ from the storage room.  i figured i’d eventually buy a new stove/microwave combination and have it installed.

Slow-forward to September.  Finding a nice sale, i was able to purchase a new set for a reasonable price.  i discussed installation of the microwave with the knowledgable salesman – who told me in no uncertain terms that i could easily do it myself.  It was a simple operation, only requiring a new frame, resetting the blower motors, and hanging the damn thing up…

When i took the old one down, however, i discovered something frightening.  It hadn’t been installed properly.  Rather than put an outlet in the wall above inside the cabinet, the installers had HARD-WIRED the damn thing in… To replace it?  i had two choices.  Install an outlet and do it right, or clip the cord and splice the new one in – violating local building code.

That was September.  i had a clutch of wires sticking out of my kitchen wall – one cleverly labeled “Hot”.  Trying to decide if i had the skills and balls to tackle it, or if i should just bite the bullet and contract it out.  It wasn’t an obvious solution, though.  Not as simple as just fishing the wires into the wall and putting in a box, some sort of re-route was required.  In my mind, i finally came up with a kluge of a plan that would work…  It was now late October.

But i still stared at it some more.  Until i got sick, and booted a planned hiking weekend, giving me tons of free time to take it on.  And took away the “i don’t have time” excuse.  My son looked at it with fresh eyes, and came up with a better “kluge”.  So, with the encouragement and on-site support of a close friend, and about five separate trips to the hardware store it was on…

Did the wiring project in about an hour.  Took a break.  Did the microwave install in 90 minutes.

Fuck.  Just like that.  Mojo: Found.

Now, to tackle some of those more difficult “Lost Mojo” projects… the ones that can’t be fixed with a schematic and a few trips to the hardware store. 

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26 thoughts on “Mojo recovered…

  1. way to take on the electric…You couldn’t pay me enough to touch plumbing and electric. Hubby says everyone has their own job in life..pay them to do it.
    Ummmm..hate to be a naysayer and ask this BUUUTTTT did the microwave work after you were all done?? =}

  2. hisqueen – i used to argue that i was doing my part for the service economy. and i’m sure i still will. but it felt good. and yes, it not only works, but nothing else has started smoking either!

    stephanie – it felt good. for about an hour or two. then i was on to the next thing on my “oh, crap, i really need to do this” list… which isn’t a list, but more of a collection of crap in my head that keeps me from really relaxing much…

    • Bows…..way to go!!!! now come on over and get my vacuum to stop smoking after I suck up enough dog hair to make a whole new dog.

  3. daaaaammmmmnnnnnn daisyfae! that rocks! congrats on getting it done, and doing it right. you should be proud of yourself – sweets and alcohol are in order! keep us updated on the next mojo adventure 😉

  4. wow cool, wish i could recover my mojo like that, i am totally uneffinmechanical. i am good with my hands though. maybe if i had to do some gynecolagy or protocology on a young bimbette, hmmm…

  5. excellent that you found your mojo again. that’s good to know that it is recoverable. mine is missing on a few life items.

    now, would you mind rewiring the lighting in my house so i can make the lights ‘dance’ to the music i’m playing?

  6. how did this not include a picture series? I want to see the handiwork!

    I wish I’d taken more before and after pictures of me, alone, painting the outside of my house – for the past 7 months. I’m really still not done, but procrastination requires practice to master!

  7. This describes my husband exactly–hands on engineer turned salesman of industrial equipment. He was always good at the mechanical things, and never really tackled the electrical stuff but our over the counter microwave conked out earlier this year and he installed the new one himself. We didn’t have the same wiring issues, but there were problems. (A repairman had to come…don’t tell anyone I told you that, ‘k.)

  8. ginny – feel free to use it with reckless abandon. i use it when i’m bashing myself for procrastinating… a daily occurrence, it seems…

    littlefish – alcohol? YOU BETCHA! a fine single malt (Bowman) is diluting my bloodstream as i type. Heads up to you, lab-rat-lady: DON’T let the mojo go. harder to recover than retain!

    beaverboosh – i have other skills. i just need to be able to survive on my own. full-spectrum. that’s gotta be me. i’ve made a decision that i’d rather die alone in a room fool of poodles eating my rotting flesh than be trapped. must do my own wiring.

    gnukid – the electrical work is likely to be relatively easy compared to the nasty ‘lost mojo’ in life that i’ve been kicking down the road. how to be normal? SO LOST THAT mojo… i’ll help with the lighting when you’re ready.

    jimmy – i got those, but i need to lose another 20 pounds before they’ll see the light of day. you’re a tough boss. suspect i could learn a lot. where do i sign?

    jenuine – funny you ask about pics. i put them up in facebook album. my only attempt to ‘shake my butt in the end zone’ on this. thought about putting a couple up here, but got dogged by wordpress. may add them to the flikr page… but mostly? i’m on to the next major unfinished project. one of far too many…

    renalfailure – i thought i was in love with Tag Larkin, until i met The Engineer. seriously. i want to have babies with an animated character. is it too much to ask that a man be able to fabricate a sentry gun AND have a giant dick?

    hereinfranklin – when we enter ‘the profession’, it is noble. it is to be “Hands On”. we sneer at the sales/management people for their lack of utility… they ‘sold out’ to ‘the man’. then we realize that we lose our license to bitch about ‘them’ until we try it… step up and be the grown ups. give your husband a hug for me. this was remarkably painful, and i was SO CLOSE to calling for reinforcements about a dozen times along the way. so far? no fires. did i mention ‘so far’?

  9. AGood on ya darlin’ for tackling & fixing the job yourself! I remember back in the 70’s being totally thrown into the deep end as far as ‘simple’ household jobs were concerned. My husband had to go to Saudi to work & I was alone & pretty useless – didn’t even know how to change a plug. It was a good kick-start into learning! Nowadays I’ll do as much as I can by myself, but have to be diplomatic about it, otherwise hubby gets to feeling I don’t need him any more…………as if 🙂

  10. Oh hell yea! You go, sista! When you got brass ones, you gotta clank ’em.

    Fixing external wiring (stoves) is sooooo much easier than internal wiring (brain function). I envy you!

  11. nursemyra – DEAL!

    jayne – i made a choice to be single, and am more afraid of being trapped than i am of being alone. so it’s up to me. unless i can train my dog, which ain’t likely!

    archie – it comes back. maybe with the drink? we love the pictures, so just don’t abandon the blog! i’d miss you!

    babs – clanking away, sister! You get it. Now that i’ve done the easy one – which only took 5 months – i have to get down to my internal wiring. And i can’t contract that part out… you understand wiring, though. Good luck with the latest…

  12. Good job, Daisyfae. Every one that works is a little mojo-builder. But management does often kill it, if you do it right. That’s half the reason I’m changing careers.

  13. chris – sucks away your soul, one pixel at a time, doesn’t it? so hard to recover it, though. i changed jobs in june to try to get my professional mojo back. so far? i’m struggling… just not feeling it. weird. it was what i wanted… and i was welcomed and celebrated as a member of the leadership team. but all i wanna do? fuck off…

    dai – welcome to the park! i hope you can find a way to take ‘unit 1’ out for an adventure… i miss hanging out with my kids on vacation, or just farting around. we get busy…

  14. i’m here late but when i hear the word engineer i think of someone who drives a train. That said if you can come and figure out what’s wrong with my hard wired smoke detectors that are pissing me off i’d be your man servant for at least a week.

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