Our wee house is study in the fine balance between retro and modern. Our various imac/ibook, mp3 players, juicer, and Xbox are nestled into their cozy niches in a very basic 40s infrastructure. No dishwasher (we've been told it may not be a good idea to test the plumbing capacity unless we're willing to entertain the idea of redoing the whole works), no shower (largely out of choice) and until recently only 60Amp electrical service. Now to some of you who have never spent much time thinking about the level of electrical service you live with -- this included me until a few months ago -- 60Amps may seem like a fine number. And in fact, after an initial scare by our house inspector who led me to believe that with that level of service we may have trouble plugging in a toaster let alone our army of modern appliances, I was quite convinced that the situation was quite untenable. And perhaps it was, perhaps we were only one hair dryer away from reaching our full load and blowing the whole deal. But really, we've been doing pretty well at our basic level of electrical service and I probably would not have prioritized changing it. Unfortunately, we didn't have a choice.
You see, when you phone to try to get insurance for your new house -- something you have to have in order to finalize the mortgage that you most certainly need -- they'll be just peachy fine as you list all the various features of your new little domicile (and in many cases list the absence of features: hot tub? no. pool? ah no. air conditioning? in vancouver? no.) until they ask you about the electrical service. Then as you casually try to breeze over everything quickly responding with an "Oh ya, 60Amp service. Yep." They will pause on the other end of the line. Some will even just hang up. And you will find yourself in one of those special mobius loops of modernity in which the past is not so present compatible. For while the old gal who lived here managed to live out to her 99th year on the this level of service, insurance companies will have none of it. They will suggest that you have the service upgraded immediately. Like now. Before they'll give you insurance. Meaning you would need to apply for permits and upgrade the service before you owned the house. When you explain to them how ridiculous that is, they will respond in a robotic tape loop agreeing with you but reminding you that they can't give you coverage until you upgrade and so on, and so on.
And that is when you start to get crabby.
Now were we less fortunate folks, we could have been stuck in an even more unfortunate position, as we would have had to try to wrangle ourselves an electrician in a major housing boom. A feat which is not only difficult to coordinate but extremely pricey. I however, happen to be related to one. Praise the Flying Spaghetti Monster.