Monday, February 7, 2011

Stuff Happens

Avulsion - ah-vul'-shun - noun: The forcible tearing away of a body part, either by trauma or surgery. Why is that defined here? Stay tuned...

There are many joys to owning a small business - among them are no time clock to punch, no lousy coworkers to tolerate, the freedom to take a nap on the work table when the mood strikes you, and many other things. (See below.) There are also many pitfalls, particularly in our new and downsized economy. There are no regular paychecks unless you have enough sales to meet payroll, and there's nobody else with whom to share the unpleasant tasks like cleaning the bathroom, shovelling snow or calling past due accounts. And, when things go wrong or stuff breaks, there's nobody else to deal with it. You gotta do it yourself.

The compressor died on Wednesday morning; after five years of faithful service, it sheared its piston and went from being simply loud to sounding as if it were going to explode. Since it powers most of the tools in the workshop, production came to a grinding halt. On the bright side, we bought a lovely new compressor a few years back, but it was never installed because it's much larger than the space we had allotted, and it's REALLY FREAKIN' HEAVY! Heavy enough so as to be difficult for two people to carry up the stairs, so it has been sitting in the storage unit, waiting to be appreciated. We bit the bullet and installed it Thursday morning, and work continues. On an exceptionally positive note, the new model is what's known as a "silent compressor" - designed for use in dentists' offices where a device that's louder than a snowblower will scare the patients away. This baby is about as loud as a refrigerator running. Fantastic!

Last bit of the "stuff happens" post - when you work with tools every day, eventually you have an accident. Christine and I are used to minor cuts and dings, since we work with glass and razor blades all of the time. However, occasionally something happens every once in a great while that sends you to the Emergency Department - it's the Law of Averages, I suppose. Yesterday my left thumb had an altercation with the table saw - a freak injury that was a result not of my own carelessness or stupidity, but because of a large flaw in the wood that I was cutting, forcing it to kick away from its intended path through the saw. My left hand was supporting the wood on the outflow side of the blade, and the kickback drew my hand back into the saw. I was incredibly lucky for two reasons: first, the blade was only about 5/16" deep because I was just enlarging a rabbet in some moulding, and second, because I was on the far side of the blade, its motion kicked my hand away from the saw, rather than into it. So I was dealt a glancing blow, rather than one that could have potentially amputated the digit. A visit to the ER and the eminently skilled Dr. Kyle Weber got me cleaned up and bandaged - the wound is an avulsion, as described at the beginning of this post. Nothing to sew. Scary, and it will leave a nasty scar, but I'll retain full function with my thumb and it will heal completely so long as I keep it clean. On the bright side, I should be good now for another ten years, since that's about how long it's been since I visited the ER with an injury. Yeah, I know it doesn't really work that way, but I can delude myself...

Out of respect for those with weak stomachs, I'm including a picture of the sexy new compressor, rather than one of my thumb.

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