It’s 7:00am on a Sunday in the middle of Ohio. Snow is carried by cruel gusts through the gaping industrial garage doors of our building, collecting briefly on the steel toe of my boot before vanishing – taking with it one more calorie of heat from my body.
I’ve got 750 gallons of water/glycol, a sticky gluey solution, to pump from heavy 55 gallon drums into an empty labyrinth of pipes and hoses: the circulatory system of our machine. Our transfer pump is tired. I have to prime the pump and all the connecting hoses just to coax the suffering motor into pushing liquid. I pour cup after cup of glycol into the fluid reservoir from a weary paper gas-station coffee cup. It’s impossible not to spill. Ice cold Glycol runs down my arms, soaking into my sleeves. It has a sweet cotton candy smell to it, but will oxidize into oxalic acid if ingested.
I pause and think back to elementary school. Back then, I wanted to be a paleontologist. I had great dreams of digging and discovery. The Apatosaurus was my favorite; these days I think if asked I’d pledge allegiance to the Stegosaurus. It’s silhouette is simple, iconic, and immediately recognizable.
In fact, I’m wearing a Stegosaurus t-shirt under my lined Carhartt jacket and Under Armor hoodie.
The glycol hasn’t yet soaked through to my t-shirt.