Second Time's A Charm

Monday Van and I went camping again. This time the weather was really superb, quite a proper San Deigo evening. This time I went to the Sweetwater Reservoir. This campground is relatively close to my house which is probably it's main compelling feature. Unfortunately it's a bit too accomodating for the snowbird land yachts and although I've been to much worse campgrounds, this one had a bit of that parking lot feel. There was a nice grass section that is uncharacteristic in this region and after I had set up my tent on it, I was warned by someone about the nocturnal sprinklers. Of course! I should have thought of that. Oh well. Van and I had a nice evening outside, the way evenings in this area should be. With that I could say that the mission was accomplished.

I decided to use my North Face Tent since I was fairly certain that it would not be raining. (That's right, my expensive Expedition 25 from TNF is completely pervious to water! It went from being waterproof to being useless in less than 6 months, and although I'm still alive, TNF refuses to honor the lifetime warranty.) In the middle of the night, I started to notice that my throat was beginning to hurt. I thought that maybe the fumes of the tent stored for so long were not so healthy. The next day I woke up and my throat still hurt. This was a bit mysterious, since the previous and only other time my throat felt this way was when I had suffered arsenic poisoning by drinking water out of a new vessel designed to carry water. I actually didn't know this at the time and complaining to the manufacturer didn't help, but eventuatlly the manufacturer sent a recall notice admitting that arsenic poisoning was possible.

Once I got back to work, I was thinking about how my throat really felt exactly like that time I had arsenic poisoning and I was trying to figure out what was going on. So I naturally turn to wikipedia and I found this in the main page on arsenic:

"Although the use of CCA [chromated copper arsenate] lumber was banned in many areas after studies showed that arsenic could leach out of the wood into the surrounding soil (from playground equipment, for instance), a risk is also presented by the burning of older CCA timber. The direct or indirect ingestion of wood ash from burnt CCA lumber has caused fatalities in animals and serious poisonings in humans; the lethal human dose is approximately 20 grams of ash. Scrap CCA lumber from construction and demolition sites may be inadvertently used in commercial and domestic fires. Protocols for safe disposal of CCA lumber do not exist evenly throughout the world; there is also concern in some quarters about the widespread landfill disposal of such timber."

Ah ha. Very interesting since the wood I was burning in my campfire was from demolition debris. I am very careful not to ever burn anything with paint or glues on it and I certainly would not burn obviously pressure-treated wood with its greenish tint. The wood I was burning, however, was dimensional lumber made from some very fine old growth pine tree, probably Douglas fir. The reason to not just reuse the wood was that it was riddled with termite bores. I had wondered if perhaps the wood had been the problem. I was thinking that after many iterations of "tenting", where the entire house this wood was a part of was covered and pumped full of poison, the wood could have become toxic. If it is arsenic, the good news here is that if it doesn't kill you, it seems that the body clears it away pretty quickly. So that's probably not going to kill me.

Then on the freeway on the way home from work, I looked up from my book and, since I was near the front of the bus, I looked out the front window to see a box about the size of lawn tractor sitting in the freeway. The bus driver was just able to miss it. I had a flashback to an incident on that same freeway where I was driving and suddenly came upon a box the size of a queen-sized bed.

I've really had enough of freakish potentially-fatal events getting a replay!

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