For its age, the shed is overall in decent shape. The termites chewed up some of the framing over the years, and two window panes are cracked. It also has about 300 miles of spiderweb up in the rafters, but that doesn't bother me much. (The far scarier thought is what the world would be like WITHOUT spiders).
In any event, I've been hoping to spruce it up a little bit and so called over my good friend Pat, a handyman extraordinaire. As we were going over some of the work yesterday, we discussed putting in a new light fixture. I told Pat that I'd had an electrician out to look at it, who'd said the wiring setup in the shed was clearly a vintage job, but basically sound.
Not three minutes later, Pat was poking around the upper portion of one of the walls where the termites had done their worst damage. Right next to that area were some rounded holes that clearly had been chewed out by squirrels. Pat pulled away a board to get a better look at the damage, and we saw that the insulation for the primary electrical wiring running out of the breaker panel (which was hidden from site ONLY in the area behind the board) had been chewed on by a squirrel down to the bare wire. In fact, it's pretty clear that chewing that wire was that squirrel's last earthly act. The positive and neutral wires were completely exposed for four inches, surrounded by sawdust and squirrel nest detritus--nature's finest kindling.
"That might have been interesting," I said, "waking up in the middle of the night and wondering what that crackling sound in the backyard was."
"And all that flickering light," said Pat.
Then we turned off the circuit breaker.