Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thursday Quitting - part 1

On Thursday, I quit. Just plain QUIT. Gave up potting and decided to become a vegetable instead. Too many problems, too much work, nothing ever goes right..... don't make any money anyway....  might as well just give up. Grow vegetable marrows, maybe. BE a vegetable marrow, maybe.


Well. First thing I did on Thursday was load my larger kiln for a cone 06 firing.Went to push the button in on the kiln sitter to turn the power 'on' and it wouldn't catch. The kiln would not come on. Now, the plastic had come off the button a week or so ago, but it didn't seem to matter so I hadn't worried about it. After all, just about everything else on this kiln is broken too. It's old and has had a lot of use.

I took the little panel off and tried to see what was wrong. Since the panel wouldn't move very far from the box, this meant lying on my back on the concrete floor and squinting up at a mess of little springs and clips only inches from my face, wearing, of course, bifocals. Couldn't see anything except that kiln sitters are more complicated than I thought. Tried again with reading glasses and a flashlight and learned was that there was no room to manoeuvre a flashlight in there. OK, so I spent 10 minutes moving the kiln shelves away so I'd have more room and tried it again. Now I could see the mechanism, but darned if I could see anything wrong.

This was so not good news.

Thought I'd tidy up a few more greenware mugs and think about it. Doing the third mug, I bumped #2 and over it went and of course smashed. Hard to think about how a kiln sitter might work when you're annoyed with yourself for doing something so stupid as to bump a greenware mug over.

Then I tried to loosen the incoming power cable enough to allow me to pull the kiln sitter dealie farther out so I could see it better. The bolt on the cable clamp was rusted solid. WD-40 to the rescue and more greenware cleaning while I waited.

Got the bolt to loosen. Turns out the insulation on the cable won't allow it to move anyway.

Considered how hard it might be to fix the wrecked kiln I bought the other day and which has been clogging up the only walking space left in my garage. It was clearly dropped at some point and has a lot of chipped bricks but the elements all look practically new and the switches and kiln sitter ditto. Obviously, removing its kiln sitter and replacing the one on the old kiln, which was my first thought, would be next to impossible. Every connection would have to be re-done and the elements on the old kiln are, naturally, old, and thus fragile. Not really an option.

Could I set up this wrecked kiln and get it to work? I could perhaps cut small pieces of firebrick to prop up the elements where they are currently unsupported and see if it would work. It might, but it might not. What are the chances of a kiln that has been moved several times actually working? Not to mention that the lid can't be attached due to the dent in the wall..... but I could just lift it on and off.

Trouble is, that commits me. Once I disconnect the old kiln, I'm committed to making this other one work. You can't twist wires apart and back together too often and this kiln is wired in. No plug, just wires twisted together with little plastic caps on. And did I mention that the electrician who installed the box on the wall put it in upside down? Not that it really matters, but I can't get the cover on, which annoys my local electrician. He won't help until I get that fixed, and if I call any other electrician my name will be mud or worse.

Can I order a new kiln? Well, yes, but it won't come for a few weeks, and I need to fire a mess of stuff by next Friday. The Market opens a week Saturday and I need to fill lots of shelves and I'm also doing a little local sale that I really want to look good at, the same day. The Studio is full of stuff waiting to be fired, and a couple of loads in the 10-cube would get most of it done..... but the 10-cube is d-a-y-d.

Remembered I'd forgotten to pack and ship a teapot the day before and must do it. Customer bought a teapot, took it home, unwrapped it, dropped it on her tile floor, crunch. Send new teapot asap, please. Oops. That was yesterday.

Supposed to set up at the Market on Saturday and need a new floor covering. I have been using a piece of indoor-outdoor carpet, but I hate it because it picks up and holds on to, every little fluff, dust, mud or what-have-you that wafts by. And with a thousand or more people going through on the average Market Day, that's a lot of fluffs, dusts, muds and what-have-yous. I've been checking at various cheap flooring emporiums the last few weeks and none of them had any linoleum-type stuff in colours I can stand. Usually I can find a nice remnant but not this year. Will have to use that blasted carpet thing one more year, I guess, but not happy about it.

Fiddled with the kiln sitter some more. All the little bits underneath seem to move freely, why won't the button catch? Alright, it doesn't seem to go in far enough either. Maybe there is something caught inside. How can that be? It's all sealed. Tried to remove the little box which has the 'works' from the panel. The screws turn and turn and turn and turn and..... don't come out and the box doesn't come off and it's sealed anyway. My neck hurts too much to continue, so go back to cleaning greenware.

Forgot to scratch the Studio name on the bottom of some of the flat pieces, and now I have to do it with them dry, which is always harder, grrrrrrr.

Sprayed the kiln sitter springs and such with WD-40. Hey, what do I have to lose?

Didn't help.

Go in the house and have a cup of tea to calm down. My accountant calls and wants to do my income tax today. Do I have all my papers sorted and totaled, ha, ha, ha. Tax is due Monday so it has to be done. We'd arranged for him to do mine last of all his clients because I needed more time to scrape up the money I'll owe. OK, he'll come a bit later this aft and I'll get the papers ready for him after lunch.

Back to the Studio. Get down on the floor again, flashlight in hand, and peer up at the darn thing some more, trying to apply logic. What moves what and why and when.... ah, that little plate moves up, which then....

Suddenly, I'm in the pitchy dark. No super-cheerful voices from the radio, no hum from the overhead lights.

The power is off.

We are having a violent windstorm. What with worrying about the kiln, I haven't really noticed but the wind has come up something fierce. The trees are whipping around, leaves and even gravel from the driveway are blowing around, my dog is trying to hide between my feet, it's dark and ominous out. Clouds are moving so fast it gives me a sick dizzy feeling. 100-foot tall pines are bending at 45 degree angles. As I stand there in the open Studio door I see my wheelbarrow skid across the garden and my canoe lift and roll down the bank, fetching up against the back of the house..

Clearly, this was no 5-minute storm. The power was not going to come on again anytime soon. I was not going to be able to get the kiln working and I was not going to get my work fired in time and it did not look good for the Market opening day and the little Sale.

So I quit. Resigned. Gave up potting. Decided to get a job at McD's. Or not.

What would you do?

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