Saturday, Jan 20, 1996
Santa Clara is a boomtown, but there are a few original bungalows from the 1940's and 50's. This is one of them, cozy, white, in good repair. I love these little houses - in California, these are antiques. It puts me in a happy mood just to touch them, to open a wall and catch a puff of dust that has been trapped between studs since the first showing of It's a Wonderful Life.
My job: install two attic fans.
Lucille, the owner, is a white-haired woman with hunched shoulders who walks with a cane. I'd told Lucille I had to stop at another job first, but I'd try to be there "about ten." I arrive at ten-thirty. Lucille says I caused her to miss her aquasize class. Bad boy.
I must squeeze through a tiny opening, then swim through dusty insulation with 18 inch clearance lugging tools and junction boxes - an itchy, sneezy, nasty job. Some insulation falls from my clothes to the carpet. Bad boy.
I go up and down a ladder, in and out of the house because the corroded fuse box with fraying wires is on the exterior in the back yard where her dog tries to bite my ankles. Lucille says every time I open the door it causes heat loss. Bad boy.
On one trip to the back yard I step in dog poop and track it into the house. Very bad boy.
I tell Lucille she needs to upgrade her electrical service entrance and install circuit breakers. She shakes her head. Bad contractor, looking to take advantage of an old lady.
In a constrained space under difficult circumstances, the fans are installed flawlessly: good wiring that nobody will ever see.
She'll never hire me again.