Bust A Knuckle

Hard Work & Carelessness, Two of My Good Friends

Everyone who knows me understands I’m a hard worker and I seem to consistently injure myself. Well, recently I’ve found myself injured again from my willingness to fix something. Before I tell you my story, I must preface myself.

For those who don’t know me well, I’m that guy that comes to your party and falls off your deck. Actually, I’ve done it several times, of course at different parties. After a fall you can generally find me on the ground with my entire drink intact—not a drop split. My might think, “He must drink too much”. Maybe sometimes, but generally that is not the case. Falling off decks—is usually caused by someone placing chair legs next to the edge of a deck, not my drunken clumsiness. In fact, my accidents generally happen when I’m working at fixing something.

My good friend Brent has witnessed this many times. Whether it’s getting completely covered head to toe with Chiggers, from trying to fix a bed on the ground—on a island in the middle of a swamp, or loading gear for one of our Burnabout group camp trips, and walking my shin into his extended trailer hitch on his Black Betty Land Cruiser. Nether fond memories, but ones I’ll never forget. The list goes on and on. I’ll refrain for boring you about my past injuries, because I prefer living in the present.

The Culprit

This is my pool pump. Notice how close to the wall foundation it is? Last Saturday, excited for a day off, I woke up to get my day started early. With coffee in hand I headed to the backyard to sip some coffee and listen to morning birds wake. Then I heard the pool pump come on, and then, a few seconds later it shut off. I figured it must have blown a breaker. Sure enough it did, so I flipped the breaker back on and then the pump again. Pop! I heard a electrical short, and it kicked the breaker off again. My stomach cringed since I had just replaced the motor, and it was $350 and hours of no fun.


Where's that smoke coming from?

I thought I’d call the pump shop and see what they thought. It’s been running fine since last summer, so I can’t imagine what’s wrong with my new pump. In the mean time, I need to run my kids somewhere—pause—another day in the life of Todd. When I return, I started pondering over it again and came to the conclusion that calling someone to tell me I have a wire shorting out seemed ignorant all of a sudden. I’ll just find the short. I installed it, so it must be something I did. I remembered the ends of the wires where loosing their insulated cover and I wrapped them with electrical wire to be safe. Well, looking back that’s definitely the opposite of safe. No problem, it’s something to fix. The pool is turning green quick so there’s no time to loose. The first major obstacle was I didn’t want to take the entire pump housing off. It was no fun putting it on, and a repeat didn’t sound any better. On the other hand, the end cap for the motor was merely two inches from the concrete foundation. That will be tricky.

Problem Solving

Here was my chance. If I could find the right tool for the job, I could maybe expose the problem and possibly fix it. After a good 30 minutes of sifting through my toolbox I found the right socket, adapter and ratchet. I loosened the two bolts and the end-cap cover barely had enough distance to slide off. Problem solved—now to find the next problem. I used a small mirror and started looking around. Sure enough, there were those wires I had rigged with electrical tape—reasonably I assumed that’s it. All I had to do was rewire the motor with a mirror, ratchet and pliers, and the run the wires to the power source!


Not much space!

With the problem identified, all that’s required is three 10 gauge wires. Off to the local hardware store and I’m only set back $9, and of course fixing something with little or no money is super sexy to me. It sounded simpler than reality. Unfortunately, it requires 3 hands. One for the mirror, one for the socket, and one to push the wire in place with needle nose pliers. And, during the process, I noticed my knuckles were looking a bit red from scraping against the wall. Oh well, a few scrapes never worried me much. With a great deal of patience, and many attempts, I secured the wires and was ready for the big test. To my delight it worked, and the pool pump motor was back to its purring self.

The Aftermath

After a few hours my hand started showing signs of abuse and irritation. That night it worsened. The next morning it was even worse with frequent reminders of my mishap every time I reached into my pocket for my phone. As I sipped my coffee in the backyard the next morning and starred at my injury and pondered—justifying to myself—injury typically equals reward. In the end, whatever I was doing to injure myself was most likely worth it. When I was a kid it was jumping bicycles over trashcans for the neighborhood record, or trying to conquer the next skateboard trick. When I think back on the hundreds of injuries I’ve experienced in my life, I can’t help to think about how much I have learned and grown from those experiences. Unpleasant as they may have been, hard work and carelessness are my good friends.


The Result

So here’s to not playing it safe. Don’t be afraid to get dirty, break a leg doing something important to you. You’ll certainly have a lot of stories to tell, and most likely, have a lifetime of experiences to draw knowledge and wisdom from.