Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

My Photo
Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Lessons Learned

Well, not so much.

First the good news. J-man sold a couple of his sculptures! Two steel lawn dragons. He also is working a small commission for someone else: One of his funky sun faces, along the lines of Elvis Lives, pictured below.

Elvis Lives. (Steel)

Anyhow, we decided to use the money to upgrade equipment. The current air compressor can't keep up with the plasma torch, so after much shopping, the man decides on a beefy new model.

New compressor consists of a black, metal, five-foot tall tank, topped with about a foot's worth of motor. It comes attached to a wooden pallet and requires the folks at the hardware store to use a forklift to load it on the truck. I immediately dubbed new compressor Darth Vader.

At home, we're fresh out of forklifts. And our truck is a very tall, four-wheel drive monster. So we rig a ramp using 2" x 8" x 12' bits of wood: two that run from the truck tailgate and to the ground. Hmmm. Wobbly. Apply some redneck engineering utilizing metal car ramps and cinderblock to reinforce the structure.

We get in the truck bed with ole Darth, and J-man gets it on a dolly. There are no handholds, so in a rare bit of foresight, I wrap one of the nylon tie-downs around the top of Darth and use it for leverage.

We maneuver it to the edge of the bed and decide to slide it down the ramp, sans dolly. The friction, we reason (thinking primates), will slow its journey down the ramps.

"I hope it doesn't topple over," says husband.

"Nah, the angle isn't that steep," I say, confident.

So we push Darth onto the ramp; husband is farther down ramp to slow its momentum. "I hope this will hold my weight and the compressor," worries my tall, but skinny guy.

Famous last words. Structural failure.

The ramp collapses, taking J-man and Darth with it.

Fortunately J-man is wearing his spiffy new steel toe shoes. Also fortunate is that the energy transfered to the collapse softens Darth and J-man's landing. But Darth lands crookedly and starts to topple. We both imagine the motor and its components hitting gravel. Aaaaiyy!

I still have a good grip on the tie-down and (for once, I'm usually worthless), manage to save the day. I have enough leverage to slow its fall and J-man actually stops it.


I imagine the scenario if we hadn't stopped the fall of Darth:

Us: "It doesn't work."

Hardware store guy: "There's a huge dent in the motor."

Us: "Huh? It came that way. You sold us crap."
Next up, rewiring another 220 plug with breaker for Darth. This could get interesting.

Happy Sunday,

Pat Kirby


Graphics and Content Copyright © Patricia Kirby 2005