Saturday, August 15, 2015

Fire in the hole

I woke up at 1:00 AM this morning to the smell of burning coming through the air ducts. 

It had been eighty degrees F and very muggy when I went to bed.  The house was buttoned up and the AC was running.

We had a thunderstorm rolling through and I was in that state of partial wakefulness that sometimes accompanies the continuous sound of one volley of thunder crashing into the receding rumble of the previous volley. 

It had not started raining.

Then the smell started pouring out of the HVAC ducts.


I don't write much about my oldest son.  He is walking his own path.

While he lived here, one of the things we did to make life mutually endurable was to let him move his bedroom into the basement.  The idea was to give us both a little bit of breathing room.  The only downside was that he had to walk through my reloading room to get into his room.

One pound containers used to dispense to the powder measure.
One day I smelled the distinct odor of smoldering in the basement.  I asked my son about it and he disavowed any knowledge of how that might have happened.  It was driving me nuts because the smell was coming from my reloading room.

After a week of grubbing around I finally found the source.  Somebody had flipped a cigarette butt out of my son's door.  It had hit the wall behind the reloading bench and dropped behind it.  Falling, it lodged into the pages of a manual for a CVA muzzleloader where it had smoldered long enough to char 1/3 of the manual.

I know that my son had friends over the night it happened.  One of them probably asked if it was "OK" to smoke, and my son, being the hospitable sort that he is decided the house rule of not smoking in the house did not apply to his friends, said, "No problem."

The friend, being a fastidious  gentleman and a person of refinement flipped the butt out the door so as to not "dirty" my son's apartment.

Those who reload know that small amounts of smokeless powder sometimes leak out of the powder measure's mechanism or there is spillage.  Good reloading practice prohibits the use of vacuum cleaners....sparks, static electricity...a bag filled with propellant.  Use your imagination.

Cleaning up with a whisk broom is not 100%, at least not with me.  Tiny amounts of powder collect at the bases of tools, in cracks and nail holes in the bench.

I shudder to think what would have happened if the cigarette butt had landed atop the reloading bench.

Did I mention that the reloading room is situated directly beneath my bedroom?


So you can understand that I am very sensitive to the smell of fire inside the house.

Kubota had his friend Wild Willie over.  His bedroom door was locked.  I knocked.  He answered.  I explained the reason for my visit.  He sheepishly said that he had burned a small piece of plastic.

But it did not smell like burning plastic.  It smelled like K-2 (an odious combination of synthetic canniboids, spent hops, camel dung, sweat socks and disposable diapers that is ostensibly marketed as "incense").

Confronted, Kubota pulled out a small packet of pipe tobacco that must have been packaged in 1968.  He and Wild Willie just wanted to see what it was like so they lit some off.

Dire consequences were promised if it ever happened again.  In particular, (Son + Friend) = Bad Decisions.  (Son + Friend) - Friend = No Bad Decisions.  They could see quite clearly how I would solve my problem.  It was simple subtraction.

Windows were opened.  Fans were placed in them.  We ventilated the house.

Nobody slept much last night.

1 comment:

  1. Ahh. Teenage boys. The collective IQ diminishes in a logarithmic fashion in relation to the number of them in close apposition.


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