Sunday, November 8, 2009

Friday's the shop and on the job

Hey y'all,

As I finished up email Thursday night, I glanced at the clock with drooping eyelids... "0100 hours, gonna be a short night".

Seems like the alarm went off at 0430 as soon as I closed my eyes, but I needed to get a couple of hours in at the shop before heading to the fire department for a shift. I'm actually pretty productive in the early hours; the phone doesn't ring, no one stops by, and there's nothing to see out the window so daydreaming is kept to a minimum :)

I started stripping off the decals on Jim's Fox fork that is to be painted in a Jolly Rancher scheme to match his Bigwheel. Who'd thunk it would take over an hour to pull off some decals and their residual stickiness. Let me tell you, if you are getting an new 2010 Fox product, the decals are gonna stick in there for the life of the product ;)

An X-acto knife, weeding tweezers, and a lot of Goo-be-gone and elbow grease finally left me with a pile of scraps...
With the decals all gone, a quick mechanical breakdown, solvent wash and some 600 grit paper will get these babies ready to head to the booth. Yep, that's right, I do not strip off the powder on the forks before painting. Here's the reason why. The magnesium legs that are common castings on fork lowers have a physical property of "off gassing", where the material constantly emits a gas. To paint these, you need to use a specially formulated primer that creates a vapor proof barrier. If you do not, a liquid paint job will develop a bubbled type of appearance rather than laying smooth. Powder coats will tend to have a shadowing effect, being darker in some areas than others. As Fox already has a non-permeable base down, I'll simply mechanically and chemically prep and build off of it. The tolerances are such that I can keep the layers thin to avoid any post paint interference.
Once I got Jim's fork on the way, I started to blast a few rigid forks to be sprayed up this week...Dario, Michael, and Miguel, these three are yours and the last that I am doing until I can get the build list caught up.
Satisfied with some work completed to set me up for next week, off to the FD I went, arriving at 0630. I had just met with the other shift commander and began to accept the command for the day when the alarm sounded for a garage fire. We stopped, looked at each other, and both decided to go. The benefit for me is that my typical position requires me to organize the fire scene from the exterior at the command vehicle. With another Command officer on scene, I got to revert to my true love, playing inside the fire.

There is no high attainable that can compare to an interior attack on a structure fire. The feeling of crawling into a dark structure full of adrenaline, incredible heat pushing you to the floor, every instinct in your body telling you this is wrong, but pushing forward regardless. Soon the very air around you is dancing with tendrils of light and flame, rolling over your head as it crosses the ceiling and licking ever closer to you, eagerly consuming every material in the room. It's then that you are in the zone. It's almost magical to watch, intoxicating with the flood of endorphins, and seems a shame to open the nozzle until reality hits you in the face and you realize, Damn, it's fucking hot in here! Within seconds of adding water to the mix, the room falls pitch black, the heat changes to a severe suppressive force, full of moisture and steam, and your focus changes to quickly getting some ventilation to reduce the temp and pressure... too cool.

I was fortunate enough to play at the garage fire which flashed on us, but then luck was on my side when less than a minute after going available, we were sent to a house fire just a few streets over. In the front door with the line to do it all over again, oh yeah!

Here's a shot of the house just after knocking the fire down courtesy of the local and the rest of my kick ass C shift crew are somewhere on the second floor right now...
You can read the excerpt here if you are so inclined...

As much fun as it is playing on the inside, the downside is the rest of the work. Salvage and overhaul, investigating, clean up of the equipment and then hours of paperwork. The crew and I finally finished up with everything about 1830 hours, 12 hours after I came in. Breakfast and lunch had passed us by and the day was not yet half over but I was shot. Being a Friday night with warm weather in a college town, the prospects of getting much rest were not looking good.

Needless to say, I was pretty worthless in the shop yesterday. Christi was out of town for the day so I ran kids to ice skating and swim team practices, prepped a few more bars for shipping, then took the afternoon off to run the dogs at the knob and do a bit of street luge with Kalten, Emmy, and our friend Tim Long on Flickenger Hill; a nice long straight run that gets you up to about 30-35mph, a good rate when you are an inch and a half off the ground.

Gonna hit email today and see if I can get some more web page revisions done. Oh, also got two sets of the vintage dropouts completed, so I'll be finishing Steven's project this week, finally!



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