EBM Article October 2022

In October 2022 the topic of the article was the risks of labour and labour factoring in electrical construction. In the courses I teach it is a big part of the conversations and the course material. Here is the link to the article. https://www.ebmag.com/materials-labour-and-associated-risks-the-estimator-october-2022/

First Article for EBM – May 2020

I was thinking about the articles I have been writing for Electrical Business Magazine. I dug up the first article I wrote, The True Cost of an Estimating Mistake. I was surprised to learn that is published in the April/May Edition of 2020.

Here is a link to it. The True Cost of an Estimating Mistake

I enjoy writing the articles because I am able to share the knowledge I have gained as an Electrical Estimating Instructor and from my own experience as an electrician.

A Rainy Drainy Halloween

It had been raining since around dark. As the evening went on it rained steadier and harder. I had been sitting out since about 5:30. There hadn’t been many trick or treaters around. I still had a bucket full of chocolate bars. I was doubling up on them when I handed them out to get rid of them (and I had a snack or more as well).

Most of the tricker treaters were polite. Most of them were small. Some were teenagers. The big ones were in a hurray. The little ones were fun. The big ones had no adults with them. The little ones did. Sometimes one adult, sometimes two.

It was still early but the number of tricker treaters had dropped off dramatically. I had been sitting and waiting for about twenty minutes and no-one had trick or treated our house. I was picking up my cushion, turning off my lights when I heard this little lispy voice say “Twick or tweat” I turned around and there was a tiny blonde haired blue eyed little angel standing there. She was soaking wet. She held up her little bag and I turned to reach for some chocolate bars.

As I bent over I was hit from behind hard enough to knock me to the ground. I was stunned from hitting my head. Groggily I rolled over. Two sharp points dug into my neck piercing deeply. As I was losing conciousness I felt like I was being drained. I passed out.

When my eyes next opened I was drained and hungry. The little angel was sitting on chair staring at me. She whispered “Happy Halloween”. I stared at her. She said “Are you hungry?” I could barely nod my head yes. She said “Let’s go trick or treating. Halloween can be draining for some. You had a rainy drainy Halloween. Now you need a treat.”

We go trick and treating together now. Our little family is growing

October 31st, 2022. Sitting on my porch on a rainy Halloween, feeding a few vampires, goblins, ghouls and super heroes.

Five Random Words

Todays writing challenge is to take five random words and use them in a story. I started my list of five by looking out my office window. The sun was coming up.


The Searcher

I drifted down the trail like the mist surrounding me. The dampness of the woods was seeping into my body and chilling my soul. Sunrise did little to dispel the surrounding gloom of the woods or my spirit. Lost in thought about the search it took me awhile to realize I was also lost in the woods. I didn’t know the area and I had been searching since dark. I was cold, wet and tired.

I backtracked a bit until I found my boot prints on the trail. As I stood there thinking I heard a sound behind me. I turned quietly and listened. I could hear something in the trees not far from me. Something big was moving around. It was breaking branches trying to get to the path I was on. Crunching footsteps followed by what sounded like big sighs. I circled around to where the sound was coming from. I saw a large animal. Loosening the rope from my shoulder I crept up on it. I didn’t want to startle it and cause it to run or turn and charge at me.

I slid up behind it and dropped my rope over it’s neck. Speaking softly to it I worked my way around to the front of it. The poor thing was exhausted. It was stuck between to trees and couldn’t move. It had been there all night. With it pulling and me pushing we got it’s head free. As I looked her in the eyes I felt all was right with the world.

Heading out of the woods into the sun warmed field I led the cow back to the farm and its owner. Another search had ended successfully

Random reasons to send a greeting card…

Letter in the mail

Who says you need a reason to send someone a card? I send cards with brain teasers because it’s fun.

Here are 12 reasons to send someone a card in February to have some fun and cheer someone up and who knows… it might make you feel better too.

  • February 2: National Tater Tot Day
  • February 3: National Carrot Cake Day
  • February 4: National Homemade Soup Day
  • February 5: National Shower with a Friend Day
  • February 7: National Fettuccine Alfredo Day
  • February 9: National No One Eats Alone Day
  • February 10: National Umbrella Day
  • February 11: National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day
  • February 15: Singles Awareness Day
  • February 17: National Random Acts of Kindness Day
  • February 22: National Cook a Sweet Potato Day
  • February 28: National Public Sleeping Day

The Latest Batch of Brain-Teasers are on their way…

I just finished mailing the latest batch of brain-teaser cards. It was a great way to take a break from the seriousness of the workday and the latest Covid updates.

Letter in the mail

I have fun doing it because I get to be creative and help people have some.

Have you signed up yet?

Why not?

  • It’s fun
  • It’s free
  • It makes you think
  • There is no obligation

Want to sign up?

Go here…Brain-Teasers

Oh no… more brain-teasers!

What do you call a haunted chicken?

Hey, I thought I would do a quick update. I just sent some more brain-teaser cards in the mail.

Before you ask…YES Real cards that go in a real mailbox!

I’m tired of the usual mail I get and thought I would create something fun for people to get in the mail.

I’ve realized I’m a little old fashioned because of some things that I have experienced over the last year or so. I get messages and chats with videos in them and I don’t always open them or finish them. I like reading more than watching because it gives me time to think about the message.

I would rather read a book than watch television.

I would rather read an email or posting than watch a video.

An interesting thing about email I’ve noticed is that if it doesn’t capture my attention by telling me a story it goes to the bottom of the pile.

Something else I’ve noticed is that at work my boss and I communicate by email several times a day. They are very short email.

Well I went a little off topic there…

If want some brain-teasers delivered to your physical mailbox let me know.


A Shocking Tale…

Motor Control Centre

I became fascinated by electricity when I was a child and tried to understand it. It started with me plugging some Christmas lights that our dog had chewed up. In those days the lights were run in series and if one light went out they all went out. Full voltage and current fed through each light.

What happened was…

Our dog chewed up the string of lights. His teeth cut through the insulation and exposed the copper wire. In many places the copper connected with copper from different sections of the wire. I plugged in the string of lights and was thrown across the room by the electrical shock. The sparks from the open wiring speckled me with little black dots. The current coursing through my little body hurt.

When I was 17 I joined the Canadian Navy as a Marine Electrician. It was a fantastic career because of what I learned about electricity and because I got paid to learn. I enjoyed working on the ships. The logic of fixing and maintaining the different electrical systems was challenging.

I left the Navy after 12 years but stayed with ships and worked as an electrician in the dockyard. We were getting the last ship ready to head off to the first Gulf War. On the last day I was working in an awkward position and hurt my back. The pain of the injury was nothing like the pain of hearing the doctor say over a year later “You can’t be an electrician any more.”

I had to change careers but in all the different things I did I always felt a pull back into the electrical trade. I heard an expression once… “You can take the boy out of the trade but you can’t take the trade out of the boy.”

A few years back I had major back and neck surgery leading to another career change…

I took a course in electrical estimating. It was fantastic because it got me back into the trade. I now teach the courses I took. sudermanestimating.com

The upside of it is I get to combine my love of writing with my knowledge about estimating. I have articles published in Electrical Business Magazine in a regular column, Estimating 101. Here is an article I wrote for the May 2020 edition.
Is Your Estimator Making This Mistake