October 12, 2022
Although the official astrological start to summer in the northern hemisphere is still three weeks away, the Memorial Day weekend just concluded marks the beginning of warm weather activities — beaches officially opening, fountains being turned on, etc. When I was I boy, the first weeks of June were a particularly cruel time to be kept inside a non-air conditioned building trying to complete the year’s studies. It has always been a treat to open the overhead doors in the shop and enjoy a bit of fresh air while working. Even in a city where security concerns require collapsing gates to be fitted on those open doors, there is something refreshing about letting the outside into an industrial environment. Some distractions come with the good weather; occasionally we had to shoo the kids away, but more often the trouble came from the local fauna coming inside the building. On one occasion some out-of-state squirrels hitchhiked into our shop inside some used equipment and were prevented from leaving by the very territorial neighborhood squirrels. After a week of dealing with them scurrying around the suspended ceilings, eating employee lunches, and leaving droppings all over the building, it was necessary to oust them. I had high hopes that a crew of experienced shooters would make short work of the varmints, but apparently deer hunting was not the best training. I ended up having to deal with the last of the rascals myself with a bit of scrap lumber. The most entertaining shop wildlife encounter also ended tragically for the intruder. We had an important project ready for assembly with a large group of customer experts present to observe. The place was spit shined. Bleachers were constructed for our guests. The parts were cleaned to aerospace standards and the entire assembly area was covered with tarps. Even the weather cooperated so the overhead doors were opened. Assembly reached a critical point and the spectators left their seats to get a closer look at the internals of the prototype. No sooner did the designer point out the high level of cleanliness achieved than the pigeons hit the fan. Literally hit the fan; two of the “feathered rats” flew into the building and got shredded by the overhead cooling fan’s blades. Feathers and bird guts rained down on everything and everyone. So much for our near “clean room” preparations!