Posted by: Marie | November 24, 2014

(963) A little mystery in the air

Post #963
[Private journal entry written on Saturday, September 15, 2012]

Well, I got to flirt with a whole crew of cute firemen today . . .

This morning, as I was getting my studio set up for the day’s lessons, I heard some people come in downstairs. I knew they weren’t any of my students . . . and the print shop isn’t open on the weekends, so there shouldn’t have been anyone down there . . .

Turns out . . . it was one of the employees of the print shop and he was with a guy who was cleaning a spot on the carpet in the shop’s retail space. I guess something had happened that created a bad stain . . .

Having determined there were no unauthorized hoodlums ransacking the joint, I headed back upstairs to my studio. When they started running the cleaning machine, the racket was very loud in my studio. Fortunately, they finished the cleaning within about five minutes. They were packed up and gone before my first student arrived.

When I finished my first lesson, I walked my student to the top of the stairs. As my student was descending the stairs, I heard an alarm sounding in the print shop’s retail space. So, I headed down to investigate . . .

It was the carbon monoxide alarm . . .

Hmmm . . .

I wondered how concerned I should be . . . if something bad was happening, it could get worse over the weekend . . . however, if it had something to do with the carpet cleaning, it would surely get better as the weekend progressed . . . although I couldn’t imagine what cleaning chemicals could be generating carbon monoxide . . . very strange . . .

(291)

Photo by Martin Chen

Now, the fire station is a block from the print shop, and the print shop does all their printing, so firefighters are at the print shop on a very regular basis. And a couple of the fire fighters run deliveries for the print shop on their days off. Additionally, the print shop owner volunteers a lot of time, energy and other resources to the fire department. Also, several of the firefighters’ kids have been my students, so I know several of the firefighters well . . .

All that to say . . . I knew I could call over to the fire department on their non-emergency number and they would be happy to unofficially help me out with whatever was going on with the carbon monoxide detector . . .

So, I called over there . . .

A very nice firefighter whom I did not know answered my call. I explained the scenario. He instructed me to take the monitor outside in the fresh air until it quit beeping, then, bring it back inside. If it started beeping again, he said I should call back and they would come over and check it out.

I took the monitor outside and left it in the fresh air for about 15 minutes, which caused it to quit beeping. Then, I brought it back inside and plugged it back into its usual electrical outlet . . . it remained silent . . .

About 90 minutes later, as I was finishing up my last lesson of the day, I heard the alarm go off again. So, after my student departed, I called back over to the fire station . . . the same nice guy answered the phone . . . I asked him if they were in the middle of eating lunch (it was lunchtime) . . . he said that they had just finished eating . . .

I asked him if it would mess up their plans for the day if they came over and checked things out . . . he said they would be glad to do that and that they would be at the print shop within a few minutes unless they got dispatched on a call before they made it over to the shop. I said that I’d stay at the shop until they arrived . . .

Well, they showed up within 10 minutes and pulled up right in front of the shop in their fire truck. Thank goodness they didn’t come with lights and sirens . . . but, when they got out of the truck, I could see they were in full turn-out gear, and that they were using their breathing apparatus . . .

It did feel rather strange to greet a crew of Darth Vaders at the door in my everyday outfit, breathing ambient air . . . oh well . . . I guess they were outfitted for a rescue in the event I passed out in front of them due to carbon monoxide poisoning . . .

They came in with their carbon monoxide meters and walked all through the building . . . they even went down into the crawl space where the furnace and the water heater are located. Despite crawling around all over the place, the only place they could find significant readings was in the area immediately around the carpet that had been cleaned. They were baffled . . . what in the world could be generating carbon monoxide in that particular area . . . ?? They opened the doors to see if bringing fresh air would cause the levels to drop . . . it did . . .

The commanding officer told me that levels of 200 or higher would cause someone to become very sick, very quickly. The numbers they were getting in the area of the cleaned carpet were around 40 or 50 . . . not enough to make me sick immediately, but it could make me sick if I stayed in that immediate vicinity eight or 10 hours (the levels in my studio area were only slightly elevated, not enough to make my students and me sick) . . .

He said that, if I were going to stay in the building, I should pay close attention to how I was feeling, and that I shouldn’t sleep there because I might not wake up . . . I assured him I had no intention of sleeping there . . . and that I had been planning to head home as soon as they left. So, he suggested I open all the windows and let the building air out, then come back later in the evening and shut everything back up, then see if the alarm goes off again during the night or tomorrow (Sunday). I told him I’d do that.

They packed up and I thanked them for coming . . .

I called the print shop owner (who also owns the building) and left a message about all that was happening. Then, I called the employee who had escorted the carpet cleaning guy in the morning and left him a message . . . and I called the other print shop employee whose phone number I had . . .

She answered . . . and she told me that cleaning the carpet in the print shop requires special chemicals and a special machine, and that special machine is gas-powered . . . they can only use it on the weekends when no one is in the building because of the carbon monoxide it generates . . .

Oh . . . well, that explains things!!

So, that means that the studio ought to be fine for lessons tomorrow if I air out the building this afternoon . . . at least, I hope so . . .

(034)


Responses

  1. It surely would have been nice if the print shop had thought to inform other occupants of the building that, despite appearances, they would not in fact suffocate and die.

  2. What David said.

  3. Yeah . . . that would have been very nice . . . but then, I would have missed out on the adventure of flirting with men in uniforms . . . one of my favorite pastimes.


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