Why I’ll never be an electrician

Full disclosure: I am not a do-it-yourself kind of girl. I’m more of a hire-a-pro-because-it’s-much-more-cost-efficient kind of girl. That’s what makes this post hilarious, even if only to me.

After spending 3 weeks in my T@b, I became aware of some things I wanted to fix or change once I got home. First, I was just aware of them. Then I started to get irritated by them. Then I was kind of obsessed.

Liquor and bear spray “cabinet” cover

First and most importantly, or at least most usefully, my makeshift liquor cabinet and bear spray cabinet because, for reasons unknown, they seemed to go together well. It is really a bench that used to be the base of the bed. I ripped out the rest of the bedframe but kept this cabinet because it houses all of the electrical stuff.

The space is covered only by a piece of plywood that I had to remove when I wanted access, like to grab a bottle. The more I access it, the tougher it becomes to open and close.

So I learned about piano hinges. I put two on to be sure it would be steady and voila!

They work perfectly!

I need a short wooden box with dividers to replace the cardboard box that currently holds the liquor and bear spray but for now, success.

This is where trouble starts, when I start to get cocky because I managed to screw in a silly hinge.

USB outlet

Ok, now things start to go south quickly. I know absolutely nothing about electrical things and have never tried to mess with that kind of stuff.

But again, cocky. On my trip I realized that I need USB ports more than I need electrical outlets so I bought this. It replaces an outlet so I can charge 4 things at once. Genius, right?

Like any good DIYer, I turned to Professor YouTube. Sounds easy: cut off power, remove outlet, switch wires to USB outlet, and put it all back in. Piece o’ cake.

The original outlet that works perfectly fine.
I got it out, realized the new one isn’t the best choice, and now can’t get the old one back in. That stupid ground wire is taunting me.

If you know an electrician in the Matthews or Badin, NC areas, please send me his info. I admit defeat on the outlets.


This sad little thermostat and the furnace it controls were incredible in the tundra of Canada and Montana. However, toward the end of the trip the thermostat needed some encouragement and that made me nervous. Jiggling it worked but the T@b brain trust on Facebook collectively agreed that a new one was in order.

The warrior

This task was a breeze! I removed the old one, learned about anticipators (?), and connected the new one.

Ta da!!

And IT WORKS! My pride on this repair is ridiculous because it couldn’t have been easier. But it’s my first electrical repair and there’s hot air now pouring into my camper!

I still need to deal with my damaged kayak and then install some shelves and other storage stuff but so far, so good!

3 Replies to “Why I’ll never be an electrician”

  1. Holler if you want me to walk you through getting your outlet installed. FaceTime might be best.
    As far as adding USB outlets, may I suggest installing another style that would run off your 12 Volt trailer power. That way you can charge your stuff while boondocking. Jenn could probably walk you through it too. If you 2 made it through bad weather, your friendship should be able to handle an outlet!


      1. Saturday evening or Sunday early afternoon or evening again? Right after lunch Sunday is probably best for me.
        Depending whether you are wanting just to put things back together, or add more stuff, you may want to get some supplies and tools together prior. What do you have in screwdrivers, pliers and wire strippers? Text is easiest, since we will be facetiming during the work session. Is Babs at your home, or do you have to travel to some remote storage location?


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