greatbear: (aerial me)
[personal profile] greatbear
It's been a bit since i last tapped away at this old blog thingie. Today was a nice day, and I couldn't stay cooped up in the house. After taking the dogs around outside for their morning rituals, I limped my way down to the garage to begin whatever necessary work I've been putting off which I feel I can manage to tackle, given my limitations. I began by rearranging the outdoor power equipment as well as dragging out of mothballs a generator that has been parked inside for about ten years or more. This generator burned out long ago, and the cost of parts exceeded that of a new generator. I finally decided to modify the thing and bough an entire, new generator head (the part that attaches to the engine that actually generates the electricity. while doing this, I also took some of the other equipment out of storage that will be used soon, like the lawnmowers, tractor, etc. I discovered the battery in the tractor has finally given up the ghost. The big rototiller needed some carburetor adjustments. The aforementioned generator, unused for all those years started up on the first pull. So I had lots of little engines running outside in front of the garage, where the nice breeze and warm sun urged me along. Life was good. Or so I thought.

It's not easy for me to do these sorts of things these days, when five years ago it was something I did practically on autopilot. I have to take things slow, and moving all the equipment feels astonishingly heavy and immovable now. But I managed, and I got my partial fleet of stuff running and at least tuned up. The wind being what it was, and the strange air currents that seem to make all the leaves collect in front of the garage as well as blow them all over inside when the doors are open also seemed to make life difficult for me to keep from getting exhaust fumes in my face. After a while I had already had enough for a while and headed up into the house for a little break in the easy chair and a drink. Not soon after I sat down, I started shaking. Badly. It was getting tough for me to keep my balance, and I felt about to black out. I moved into the studio where the window was open and the breeze was coming in. I contemplated calling Jeff, but after a while things slowly started to clear up. I believe having four engines running at the same time and having the wind spilling over the garage concentrated the fumes more than dissipated them, and despite also having the big exhaust fan on in the garage, I was working in the middle of a fair amount of carbon monoxide. After a couple hours I was mostly my old self again. Jeff came home while I was still a bit out of sorts and I told him I didn't feel well, and he admonished me to not hesitate to call any time I am in need of help. Then the ironic part hit (there always seems to be an ironic part with me). When I started telling Jeff the rest of my day, he saw on the news of a MD family that was killed from carbon monoxide, from a generator. I've never had this sort of thing happen with me before. I've worked on hundreds, if not thousands of engines in my life, and I always take precautions like proper ventilation, not running stuff in enclosed buildings, even having CO detectors. The Starting of the Engines of Spring is a yearly ritual I've engaged in for decades. Oil gets changed, blades get sharpened, tune-ups done, and often I will have a dozen engines running at the same time. It's a gearhead's version of A Joyful Noise. But today was the first time I had any ill effects from it. I barely picked at dinner, my appetite, already a constant trouble, was shot. I waited until after it got dark to go back out and put everything away. It appears most of this week has rain in the forecast, so that will probably keep me from doing more work. But I plan to keep going, as if nothing happened. Except I will keep the noise down to only one or two engines at a time, and one big industrial pedestal fan.

Date: 2015-04-07 12:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Holy crap, Phil!

Good thing you realized that you weren't feeling well. It doesn't take much for the oxygen to get limited in an environment like that--it was probably a combination of the space, and different air patterns. We have notices all over the place at work about keeping doors open when futzing with liquid nitrogen or dry ice. I usually hold my breath when digging out dry ice pellets from the cooler outside of my lab. It doesn't take that much time with you face over the cooler to realize that you're not getting any oxygen!

Hope you're feeling better today.

Date: 2015-04-21 12:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah,those fumes will get you every time but there is nothing better than that first whiff of exhaust when you fire up a motor that was dead until you worked on it. 2 stroke is even more intoxicating ! But,my favorite is that first whiff of lacquer thinner in the morning when I squirt paint.Instant BUZZ !
Edited Date: 2015-04-21 12:32 pm (UTC)

Date: 2015-04-22 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I recall the smell of Testors model paint mixed with glue fumes as a kid. Ahh Summetime buzz!

Date: 2015-04-07 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(yikes) Glad you're ok...stop that!

Date: 2015-04-07 02:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
When you start all this sexy gearhead talk, I get a little light headed myself...

Date: 2015-04-07 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well THAT was scary. I am glad you recovered from the CO2 incident.

Date: 2015-04-07 06:00 pm (UTC)
ext_173199: (Shock!)
From: [identity profile]
YIKES! I'm glad it wasn't any worse, though it certainly sounds bad enough!

Date: 2015-04-07 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I barely picked at dinner, my appetite, already a constant trouble, was shot.

Maybe you've discovered a new weight-loss program! Perfect, except for, ya-know, the no-oxygen part.

Date: 2015-04-08 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooooh, sorry you had an issue with a lack of oxygen today. Glad you are recovered OK from it for the most part.

As has been pointed out, not just by you, take it easy there big fella!

Date: 2015-04-08 03:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yikes! So relieved to hear that you recognized what was happening and got out of there in time.

Missed you here ....

Date: 2015-04-08 04:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It is no wonder that they call Carbon Monoxide the silent killer. I am glad that you realized what was happening in time!

Date: 2015-04-08 03:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ugh, how scary is that. I'm glad you weren't in there longer.

and yes, get a good fan.

Date: 2015-04-11 04:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your ongoing motivation to do all of these tasks is a wonderful thing; something that I wish I had. I'm glad you were okay. Something I'm learning these days is that if I start thinking I had better call my husband... I had better call my husband.

Date: 2015-04-11 12:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, shit... glad you're okay. Garage ventilation is our friend.

For some reason, you made me think of the old air-cooled VW's we had growing up. I remember 'that smell' ... the oh, so distinctive one a VW produces... when you start one up in a garage.
Even with the door opened, I remember when my dad starting up the '63 to head off to work in the morning, the smell would permeate the family room and kitchen which were adjacent to the garage.


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