Author Topic: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult  (Read 4689 times)

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Isisnin

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S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« on: October 11, 2013, 11:41:15 AM »
Another damage situation.

At first I was going to post for advice, then I decided my action, so I didn't.  But the other adult (I feel the need to point out that no children or animals were involved! LOL!), just made a comment that brought this situation up.  So I'd like to ask EHellions' take on the situation.

Last week, a neighbor asked me plant some mums for her in her yard.  She doesn't garden, just does  minor maintenance. I garden and have planted things for her before, on her request. 

When I got to her place on the appointed day and time, she wanted to help and asked what she could do. I said I needed to change into some old clothes I brought, and that while I was changing she could put the potted mums were she wanted them planted. She lined them up every couple of feet in front of the shrubbery in front of her house. 

She asked again to help so I showed her how to move the pot aside and scrape the mulch aside thus creating the bare spot of dirt for me to start digging in. We got started and had a a good "production line" going.  Pretty quickly in the first hole I hit a  root (less than 1/2 inch in diameter, if that) and asked her for pruning shears (one of the few gardening things she does is pruning, so I knew she had shears). She brought the shears, I cut the root out of the way and we were back to business.  Form then on, she would rush in to cut any root. 

We were at the sixth, and last hole, when, like she had at other holes, she threw up her hand with the palm facing me (universal signal to stop) and with the pruners. moved to the hole.  She didn't say anything and I didn't say anything. I didn't see anything due to a pile of dirt.  I stepped to the side and stretched.  When I turned back, I was  at a different angle and saw what she was cutting. 

I said "That's an oddly flat root." "STOP!".  She was cutting an underground electrical wire!!

I looked it over and said it looked like only the thick plastic sheathing had been cut.  I asked for electrical tape and wownd twisted the tape around it.  We shoveled the direct back on and that was it.

Neither one of us thought to check the light (her light for the walkway from the sidewalk to her house) then, but the next time I was there (next day or two) she told me that the light didn't work.  Another neighbor had told her that it had been installed incorrectly and that any underground wiring should be within a conduit (special metal or thick PVC tubes for electrical wires, we now know).  She also told me a story about how a year or two ago, another neighbor had changed the light fixture and found that the original electrician had driven a nail directly thru one of the wires  :o.  That neighbor had said then that the original electrician had done a bad job.  She was going to have a friend who is a licensed electrician fix it for her.  She mentioned that she hoped it wouldn't cost too much. 

All I said was something like "Really?  I didn't see the actual wiring cut.  Just the plastic.  I'm sorry to hear that".  I didn't offer to pay.

I'll post the epilogue in a bit,  but for now,  I'll stop here and ask y'all should I offer to pay?







Harriet Jones

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2013, 11:44:22 AM »
Wasn't she the one who actually cut the wire?  Why would you offer to pay for something she did?


MrTango

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2013, 11:45:26 AM »
If I'm reading the OP correctly, the shears were in her hands and she was the one who was about to cut into an electrical wire.

Why would you offer to pay to replace an electrical wire that she damaged on her property?


lowspark

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2013, 11:47:14 AM »
POD.

First of all, you were doing her a favor at her request by helping her with the planting in the first place.
And more importantly, as PPs said, she cut the wire, not you.

So I don't see where you have any responsibility at all for it.

No. Don't offer to pay.

WillyNilly

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2013, 11:48:59 AM »
I see no reason for you to pay. the error as made by the electrician and then by her. You in fact stopped it before it became worse.

If you feel guilty though, I think being around to replant any flowers for her after the wires are all dug up would be very kind.

wyliefool

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2013, 11:57:40 AM »
Seeing as you may have saved her life by stopping her when you did, I'd say you jolly well have no need to pay for the thing to be fixed.

Also, you had nothing to do w/ the positioning of the plant or the cutting of the wire. All you did was dig the hole where she told you  to. Good grief. What next?  ::)

NyaChan

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2013, 11:59:37 AM »
Nope, you don't need to make any offer to pay.  She is the one who was holding the shears and the only person she can blame is the electrician for not installing it in a proper way that would make it obvious even to her that she was looking at a wire, not a root.  If anything, if she made a comment I would have said, "Wow, I'm really glad I caught you before you cut that wire then."

Winterlight

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2013, 12:16:28 PM »
Since she was the one who cut the wire, it's on her, not you.
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ncgal

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2013, 12:38:11 PM »
 I am failing to see that you did anything wrong.  You did not do the cut, you tried to stop her when you saw what she was doing.  You tried to help by fixing the cut with electrical tape.  You should not be paying for anything.

siamesecat2965

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2013, 12:42:17 PM »
Nope. You didn't attempt to cut the wire, she did. So its on her. You don't owe her anything. And since the wire being there was due to a bad electrical job which was done who knows when, not your problem at all.

TootsNYC

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2013, 01:05:53 PM »
I agree--not your responsibility.

As for cutting the wire vs. the coating--cutting the coating is enough to mess it up.

cwm

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2013, 01:09:06 PM »
I agree with the PPs, you have no culpability here. She was cutting, and you managed to stop her before it got worse. I'm glad to hear that nobody was hurt, and if the worst thing that happened was the porch light not working, all the better. Plus, she found the bad wiring and is getting it fixed, so even better.

MindsEye

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2013, 01:10:23 PM »
Personally, I am just shocked at the inability to tell the difference between a root and an electrical wire!  I have done a lot of gardening in my time, and have dug up a lot of roots and a lot of underground wires/cables, and have never had any trouble telling the difference between the two!

Harriet Jones

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2013, 01:28:33 PM »
If the wire had a thick crust of dirt and you weren't paying a lot of attention, I don't think it's *that* weird of a mistake.   

Isisnin

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Re: S/O Damage .. this time done by adult
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2013, 02:24:31 PM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone.  I have a tendency to feel bad and guilty about any accident that may occur remotely near my presence.  In this case, I did quickly catch myself from offering to pay for the reasons everyone mentions. 

The epilogue is that yesterday I stopped by her place to give her something I had printed out for her.  When I was walking up the walk, the light started flashing.  Neighbor was having some fun doing that to show me that it was fixed.  (FYI, she explained that her friend, the electrician, had put a "metal casing" around the wire to ensure it doesn't happen again.  So I said "Great." then in a joking voice "but still, ain't gonna be no more messing around that area anyways!".  She kinda jokingly grimaced, put her hands up and said "Absolutely not!")

 She was watching Judge Judy and it was about a breakage case between two neighbors.  My neighbor kept saying "It was just an accident!" (about the case on the TV) and I finally said "I don't know what you mean by that."  She said "Well, it's like my light.  Just because I asked you to help me doesn't mean you should pay for it." Huh.  I still don't get what she meant by that. 

But for once, I didn't let what I thought might be a dig at me pass.  I politely said "But the light was a different situation. You decided to cut it and was cutting it when I stopped you."  She said "oh yes! Thank Heaven! I'm just saying it was an accident and I'm the owner so I should pay for it."  I didn't say anything just kinda nodded my head.

Even writing this, her phrasing of why she should pay was kinda odd.  Maybe it was just out of the general annoyance that it happened. or maybe she thinks that I should offer to pay just out of "politeness".  Don't know. 

But thought I'd tell you all the tale  - and double check the etiquette.

I too was surprised that she didn't realize it was a root. When I turned and saw it, about 5-6 inches of it was exposed. It was flat, white and slick to the touch. Roots are round, brown, rough to the touch. She had already cut 4 or 5 roots. Maybe, there had been dirt on it originally, obstructing it and the dirt had fallen way while she was cutting. Also, she has a tendency to get hyper and just kinda barrel thru getting something done.   

At least the wire now has a proper casing.