Chapter Two…The Meat Locker

First, credit where due, son Andy was here visiting, and the name, GuineaPig-O-Meter (now copyrighted and authorized exclusively for use in this blog) is his and his alone.   Not sure that’s something to take ownership of, but, I wanted that to be clear.  It likely says something about both of us that on seeing the new wording in print, we both laughed out loud.  Then too, I hope you noticed the nice “pop” in that meter this week.  I’ll tell you, the folks at UNC conducting the ozone study are no dummies.  They’ve got the old “carrot and stick” thing down to a science.  When I go into the lab, they can work me over “six ways to Sunday,” but as long as they keep handing me a check as I go out the door, I’m their man.

I’ll take you out of suspense right away.  The Destiny cab delivered me to the EPA building on the UNC campus, so there was no evil plot, at least not yet.  After about an hour of pre-exposure tests, I was led into the “exposure chamber.”  If you recall, the chamber is really a converted meat locker, and by the way, the fact checkers reviewed my last post, and determined that I had the manufacturer wrong.  It’s a ThermoKool, not a Zero King, but what a beauty!

I spent 3 hours in the chamber, half the time spent walking on a treadmill, the other half sitting around eating snacks and resting.  Turns out the real torture in the chamber wasn’t the treadmill, or the ozone, but the TV.  I could watch whatever I wanted, but not wanting to mess with it too much I chose CNN.  Man, after watching that for a couple of hours and seeing the same stupid stories covered over and over again, I just shut it off.  Next time I think I’ll go with reruns of “I Dream of Jeannie.”

After the workout in the chamber was complete, they had me eat lunch and then rest for TWO HOURS.  After that, more tests…and more resting.  The highlight of the day was the final test, the sputum induction.  Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?  In this one they had me breathe in moist air in which they infused progressively higher levels of salt.  The purpose was to get me to cough-up my lungs, well “ok,” some of my lung cells, so that they can study the cells.  Not to get too graphic, but well, why not.  Once at each level, they had me stand over a sink, cough my guts out, and then spit whatever came up into a cup.

Now, I’m not going to say that I don’t ever spit.  As a matter of fact, I spit all over the place when I’m biking.  But I gotta say, this is the first time that someone asked me to spit in front of them AND PAID ME FOR IT!  The folks running the study said that they don’t always get lung cells in the spit, so I’m kind of anxious to hear whether or not I was good at it. 

Speaking of being good at it, my junior high school friend, Skip, was the best I’d ever seen.  Once, we were riding home from school on my bike.  I was pedaling and steering, and Skip was riding side-saddle on the bar.  A dog came out from a nearby home and was running along side us about 15 feet away.  Skip said, “Watch this,” and after hawking up a big juicy loogie, he spit toward the dog.  That loogie made a beautiful arching assent and then settled back down with a “spluch,” right on the dog’s back.  We both laughed so hard it was all we could do to keep from crashing the bike.  I know, gross, but hey, it was junior high.

So, to finish up on “test day,” home I went after my day of ingesting, and testing, and resting.  I was so well rested at the end of that day, I couldn’t get to sleep that night!  Next time I’m going to have to prepare better by staying up late the night before.

Tractor News
Had a bit of a scare last weekend.  I took Andy out to Gene’s to watch a test-start of the Pony’s engine.  It took us a number of tries, but we finally got it going.  I had wanted to see if I had fixed an oil leak, turns out I hadn’t.  But while we were running the engine, I had one of the those “aha!” moments, or maybe in this case, an “oh no” moment.  Some loose tumbler in my brain finally clicked into place after I observed for perhaps the tenth time that the gas in the sediment bowl was blue.  Good gravy, the gas tank liner I used to coat the tank’s interior is blue…the gas is blue…THE DAMN LINER IS DISSOLVING INTO THE GAS!

I’d been fretting over this since the weekend, but took action today by calling the manufacturer of the liner.  It’s not often that I get good Pony news, so I was overjoyed when Denny, at Northern Factory, Inc told me that it is perfectly natural for the blue dye to leach out of the liner into the gas and turn it blue.  He says there is no harm done by this.  Woo Hooo!  Our conversation then turned into one of those “small world” things.  Turns out that Denny is Denny Englemann, and he works at Northern’s home office in Willmar, MN.  I said hey, my grandparents lived in Young America, not far from there.  Amazingly, it turns out his grandparents were from YA too.  We had a nice chat about small-town Minnesota, and boy, it sure made me feel nostalgic to hear him talk in that Minnesota voice.  Of course, being as he has roots in the same place I do, I trusted him implicitly, so “case closed,” we’re moving on to other issues.

More good Pony news.  A one inch long connector I needed for the throttle rod had proved mighty tough to find.  Then, a couple of folks came up with it, but maybe sensing my desperation wanted $20 for it.  Crazy!  But yesterday, Maggie Simpson, Parts Detective, called me back and said she’d found the part. And the price…$7.95, that’s more like it.  Maggie strikes again!  Don’t forget, tractor freaks, if you need parts call Maggie at Kuhn’s Equipment.  Contact information on the “Links” page of this blog.

Finally, and to keep cousin Bill reading, I’m including a photo.

While Andy was home, The Princess celebrated a birthday, nevermind which one.  That’s a Princess-approved photo of her with Andy, and with the birthday bonsai plant that Andy gave her.  Aren’t all three of them just precious? 

Have a nice weekend everyone, and thanks for reading.

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