November 12, 2003

I am da bomb!

Almost literally.

Yesterday I needed to take care of some emergency plumbing in the house. One thing you need for that is one of those little propane torches, which is cool, because it's an excuse to buy another toy. :)

I remembered that my father-in-law had given me a torch kit years ago, one that he had owned forever. All it needed was the torch propane tank, and I knew the hardware store had those. So I bought one while I was there getting plumbing parts.

Turns out I didn't need the torch since no copper pipes were involved. So after repairs were complete, I pulled out the torch kit and looked it over. It needed some cleanup, which I did, and it was time to try it out. I went out into the backyard and screwed on the nozzle and attached the whole thing to the tank. At the base of the torch part, near the top of the tank, is a wheel you turn to open and close the tank. So far, so good.

I turned the wheel and heard the hiss of propane. I tried the little scratch-sparker but it wasn't working right, so I reached for plan B, which was my long fireplace lighter. One click of that and *fwoof*, I had torch!

Well, not exactly. The nozzle assembly was so old that it leaked from every crack and crevice and opening, so what I was holding was a giant fireball. I stood there holding this thing while my hand singed, wondering how I could reach into the flames to shut off the propane again. I was holding a pressurized tank of propane that was enveloped in fire. Oh boy.

I threw it. Not far, just about 10 feet into a bare patch of dirt where the garden used to be. I immediately closed the back door, because even a glass door is better than nothing when the damn thing explodes, plus I didn't want the dogs to come out just then. I knew that if I went to call the fire department, it would take way too long. Thank God I had raked leaves a couple of days ago.

Finally I did the only thing I could think of, I got the garden hose (it was right there) and turned the water on full. I didn't know if I could put the torch out, but maybe I could keep the tank cool enough to keep from exploding. I imagined standing there like a fireman for hours, waiting for a neighbor to come out into their back yard or a kid to wander by out back that I could flag down. I wondered how long it would take for the tank to empty.

No worries. After a bit I managed to drown the entire flame. Another minute of spray to cool everything down, and then I turned the propane off, disconnected everything and threw that torch kit in the trash. It wasn't my father-in-law's fault. And now I get to buy a brand new torch. :D

Mmmmm, hardware store...

Posted by Ted at November 12, 2003 05:37 AM
Category: Boring Stories

Mmmmm, hardware store...

You sound like the gf...:)

Posted by: Victor at November 12, 2003 07:53 AM

I congratulate you for having the forethought to test the thing outside!

Posted by: StMack at November 12, 2003 11:17 AM

I'm not a complete idiot. I just play one on the internet. :D

Posted by: Ted at November 12, 2003 12:03 PM

Another exciting adventure from the series "Things Men Do When the Womenfolk Aren't Home to Stop Them"...

Posted by: Susie at November 12, 2003 12:03 PM

Just slightly more exciting than my dead modem. :)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at November 12, 2003 08:54 PM

I'm goin' (yes I'm) goin', I'm a-goin' to the
Goin' to the (hard) ware I'm goin', really goin' to the
Goin' (hard) I'm goin' to the (hard) oh yes, I'm goin' to the
Hardware store

Would you look at all that stuff ...
They've got allen wrenches, gerbil feeders, toilet seats, electric heaters
Trash compactors, juice extractor, shower rods and water meters
Walkie-talkies, copper wires safety goggles, radial tires
BB pellets, rubber mallets, fans and dehumidifiers
Picture hangers, paper cutters, waffle irons, window shutters
Paint removers, window louvres, masking tape and plastic gutters
Kitchen faucets, folding tables, weather stripping, jumper cables
Hooks and tacks, grout and spackle, power foggers, spoons and ladles
Pesticides for fumigation, high-performance lubrication
Metal roofing, water proofing, multi-purpose insulation
Air compressors, brass connectors, wrecking chisels, smoke detectors
Tire guages, hamster cages, thermostats and bug deflectors
Trailer hitch demagnetizers, automatic circumcisers
Tennis rackets, angle brackets, Duracells and Energizers
Soffit panels, circuit brakers, vacuum cleaners, coffee makers
Calculators, generators, matching salt and pepper shakers

Posted by: Pixy Misa at November 12, 2003 08:57 PM

Wait a minute. That's it? You were able to put out the flame with a garden hose? What kind of a household project is that? Where's the large ball of blue flame that torches the entire fence and takes the neighbor's rare, Mesopotamian Plumquat tree -- and her cat "Fiddles" who sleeps in it -- with it, while leaving behind a gummy black residue that tars the whole north side of the house? And only two trips to the hardware store? This project can't possibly be complete. I'll expect part II to be forthcoming.

Posted by: Kurt at November 12, 2003 11:52 PM

Pixy, what was that? LOL

Kurt, sorry guy, I'm competent. :D And it was three trips. If it helps, I've still got to reset the tiles that I had to remove to get at the shower/tub fixtures. That's another trip right there.

Posted by: Ted at November 13, 2003 07:06 AM
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