Friday, August 27, 2010

I like my bacon smoky, not my compressor....

There are just certain things that we all take for granted every day. We sort of assume that the refrigerator is keeping things cool, we expect that the oven will make things warm, and we don't spend our nights worrying about whether our compressor is going to catch on fire tomorrow.

I hate fire (strange, for a potter) and am extremely suspicious about anything that is likely to burst into flames. I've been known to wander out to the workshop in the middle of the night in my nighties if I wake up and smell something unusual. I have good reason to worry... had a couple of incidents that really made me wonder if I was perhaps not paying proper homage to the fire gods or something.

One time, at the big model horse show held by Sheryl Leisure called "Jamboree", I was giving a workshop on glazing. It was either pins or Boxing Shires, can't remember which. Anyway, Jamboree was held at the Pomona Fairgrounds, in a giant Fairgrounds building. I had asked about plugging in my little kiln... (his name is Sumer, by the way) and they pointed me to a sort of janitors closet that had a steel sink, a few mops, a tile floor, and... a plug. So, that's where I set up the kiln. When the workshop was over, I filled the kiln with the little glazed items, and the last thing I did before they locked the door to the fairground building is turn on Sumer. Little Sumer. All along, clicking along in that little closet in that big old building.

In the early morning hours, suddenly the hotel (which was next to the fairgrounds) was awakened by sirens, and all of the power went off. The entire hotel... full of Jamboree attendees... the whole fairgrounds... sirens wailing in the distance. What did I immediately think of? Poor little Sumer! Had he caught fire? Had he shorted out the building??? OH NOOOOOO..... My second thought was, "Sheryl is going to KILL ME!!! Heart beating, I panicked... what in the world am I going to do?

A few minutes reflection, and a look at the sun coming up, and common sense came to the rescue. Sumer had shut off hours before, and indeed was probably quite cool.

We found out later that it was actually a car accident that had taken out a power pole.

Scared the pee-wadden out of me, though. (It's a family word...but click the link for a possible meaning... who knew??)

Anyway, incidents like that do make you realize that electricity, heat and fire are all very good drinking buddies and like to play pranks when they hang around together too much.

So, today I headed out to the workshop early, because a horse needed just one more touch up of color. Just a leeeetle bit. Not more than ten minutes of spraying. The compressor began to act funny... clicked on, then immediately turned off. off.... went out to look at it (since it is noisy, it lives in a little Rubbermaid bin behind the building, that has ventilation and a hose that goes to the workshop airbrush station) Looked fine. Went back in and tried again, and it did the same thing... then I heard a long, low screeeeeeech and I headed back out to the bin. Sure enough, it was smoking and smelling like burnt rubber. DAMN!! BLAST!! Turned it off, ran in to get the son, and we took it out to where it wouldn't cause any harm if it suddenly burst into flame. Which, of course, it didn't.

(on the left is the naughty Husky compressor, on the right is the new Emglo)

So off I went to Orco (I call it 'the hardhat store' because it has contractor tools) and came home with a good, dependable Emglo. This is the kind of compressor that I had for ten trouble-free years. The stupid Husky is headed for repair, and then will be the back up compressor. Naughty Husky. Go sit in the corner. Bad boy.

Anyway, after that bit of excitement, back to work this weekend. And both kilns are firing tonight...

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