All of the wiring in the Delaney House is knob and tube, and it has all been sitting unused for at least 20 years - so we made the decision to disconnect all of it and start from scratch. The house had a fuse box that looked like it was from about 1910, and the electricity had been cut off years ago - so the first order of business was to get new electrical service to the house.
We had a new breaker box installed, and then waited a month (yes, one month) to get the City of Berkeley to sign off on it, and then PG&E to bring new lines to it (the old wires had been cut as well). We finally got electricity, and I had installed one outlet in the front room - so when we want power somewhere else in the house, we run extension cords.
But today, we finally got some good light. Using the old knob and tube wiring, we fed romex cable up through the walls to the attic, where we put a junction box that will feed all the lights in the house. Then we pulled additional romex to the switches in the front room and the hallway, and I installed the switches and the light fixtures.
Electrical work is one of those things that I seem to understand intuitively. The way electricity flows seems analogous to how water flows, and I imagine the power flowing from point to point, the switches acting like valves. Once it's all done, you throw the breaker, and everything flows - it never ceases to amaze me.
While making the final connections at the breaker box, we noticed there was some little kerfuffle gong on across the street. We never figured out exactly what it was, but it looked like there was some kind of gang activity. Our neighbors called their kids in and told them to play in the backyard until it all blew over - and nothing happened at all.
62nd Street reminds me of when we lived on Haight and Divisadero in San Francisco back in the late 70s and early 80s. The neighborhood is very diverse, and even though there is definitely activity going on that is illegal, the neighbors are friendly and happy to see us there. They have all been very happy to see the boards on the windows being taken down and the glass repaired, and several neighbors have stopped by to introduce themselves and see the progress.
Tom spent most of the day stripping wallpaper in the back room by the bathroom. Most of the wallpaper is gone (only the back bedroom is left to strip), and the house seems lighter already.
Tomorrow, we begin running the new outlets throughout the house. We'll also start patching plaster on all the newly stripped walls, getting them ready for paint. When we have some extra cash, we'll buy a tankless hot water heater and install that downstairs - that will be a banner day, having hot water in the house again!