I would like to think that, if we had a competition for most odd weekend, I would win. I mean, it’s one thing to, say, dance all weekend, or help someone move, or go to a great party, but when you tell people, “I went up to Wisconsin with my little brother to get some kilns for my mother.” that sorta trumps everything. I already explained in my last blog post all about the whys and wherefores of this trip, so I won’t go into all that again. I will say that it was quite an adventure getting these things home. These things are big, and heavy. Plus, since both of them were up on those little metal legs, they weren’t very stable. We considered taking them off the legs, but the one in the front also had a motor protruding from the bottom which would have made it even more unstable (plus probably also destroying the motor). The Young Queen’s father lashed the kilns together and then tied them down to the seat bracket in the floor, and things seemed to hold together pretty well on our test drive from the factory where he works back to the house.
Unfortunately, when we tried the long drive back home to Ohio, things didn’t go so well. As long as we were going in pretty straight lines over flat, highway surfaces, everything was fine. When we tried to go off the highway (like to get gas or dinner), the combination of tighter turns and uneven surfaces (like going from a street to a parking lot) made especially the back kiln rock alarmingly no matter how slowly and carefully we tried to ease the van along. Still, we made it to Indiana (you should have seen me driving through Chicago as if the van were made of eggshells) before disaster struck.
We had stopped at the Valparaiso exit for a bathroom break and to switch drivers. We also inspected the load, and moved the legs of the back kiln back onto their boards. Then as Boy-O gingerly started to ease the van out of the parking lot, we heard a massive CRASH, and looked back to see both kilns tipped over. Boy-O pulled over into a Starbucks parking lot, and we inspected the damage. The front kiln had gone over and pulled the back kiln with it. It had separated at the bottom from the metal plate that held its motor (although the electrical lines between the motor and the controls was still intact) and was only restrained by the rope tying it to the other kiln from tipping completely forward against the seat I’d been sitting in. Two of the legs of the back kiln had come off the boards and were now sticking through the slats of the pallet, and it too was sliding off its base.
Fortunately, since the front kiln was now separated from its motor, we were able to pull it off and take the legs off too so it sat directly on the floor of the van. We got the legs off the back kiln too, and then discovered that the pallet was part of the problem. Because the floor of the van rises slightly in the middle, the pallet had been rocking back and forth across the rise, exacerbating the kiln’s instability. So we pulled the pallet out from underneath that kiln so now both of them were sitting flush on the floor. Then we tied them to each other again, and lashed each one down in at least two places. It was quite the sweaty hour (maybe hour and a half?) getting all of this done. I’m deeply grateful I had Boy-O along. If I’d been by myself, there would have been nothing I could do but sit there and wait for rescue. After we got everything moved around we were able to finish our drive home with no problems. I don’t think the kilns shifted another inch.
Of course, we don’t know what damage the tipping might have done. Mom was intending to have a kiln expert come look at them anyway, since The Young Queen’s father couldn’t guarantee that the kilns worked, or that they were in good shape. It would be sad if, after all Mom’s work cleaning out the basement to prepare a place for them, plus Boy-O’s and my labors to get them home, not to mention TYQ’s father’s generosity, the kilns didn’t work. Still, it was a gamble Mom was prepared to make, and I was happy to go if only for the chance to see The Young Queen again.
We got home late, late Saturday night, and I slept in on Sunday. A little while after I got up, I got a call from Boy-O. He, The Absent-minded Professor, and Rosie were making brunch, and he wanted me to come over and bring the frying cheese I’d gotten in Wisconsin with me. The factory we got the kilns from specializes in cheeses for various ethnic cuisines, including a Hispanic cheese that you can fry in a pan. It gets a little gooey, but it doesn’t melt, and it’s very tasty. Apparently Boy-O had been very impressed with it when The Young Queen’s family served it at lunch, and wanted to have the rest of the family try it too. So I headed over, and had a great brunch with my family. This is the Absent-Minded Professor’s last weekend at home for a while, so it was especially good to spend a little time with him. He’s headed off on a private retreat at The Abbey of Gethsemani this week, from which he’ll head straight back to school for the new semester. Mom had rotator cuff surgery week before last, so it was good to see how well she’s recovering from that too.
Speaking of family, please continue to pray for Aunt B. Although she’s been home from the hospital for a little while now, she continues to have problems. Last week she was at her usual Tuesday morning prayer group, and started getting double vision. She reached down to pick up her glasses from the floor, and fell out of her chair. She was taken to the ER, but the doctors don’t have an explanation for her dizzy spells. It’s possible that she’s having a bad drug interaction (the spells seem to come about an hour after she takes her morning meds), or it might be the lingering effects of her deep inner ear infection. We’re not sure what it is, but it’s worrisome. So please still pray.