exploding ærosol can
Wednesday, May 4 2005
At some point I went to Lowes and bought some of that spray foam insulation stuff, which I needed for the completion of my well line insulation sub-project. Back at the house, I exposed the line's PVC housing almost completely, leaving only a narrow ridge of gravel for it to rest upon. Then I drilled a few holes in it here and there and used these as injection ports for that spray insulation I'd just bought. The main purpose for this was to keep water from entering and flowing down the housing, but the foam also provided a little support for the fill I'd be adding.
When I reburied the well line, the main form of fill I added wasn't gravel or dirt at all, it was styrofoam: the peanuts that come with TigerDirect.com shipments, broken pieces of manufacturer packing materials, and sheets of syrofoam normally stapled between studs in certain forms of construction. When I'd put in a good thick layer of this (and included some vertical supports made of treated wood) I covered it all with flat rocks and then backfilled over these with that small-grained gravel that had served as the well line's original (and remarkably effective) insulation. There was so much styrofoam in the trench that I found it difficult to tamp this fill down in any sort of stable configuration; the fill kept coming loose when I'd step in a new place and the flat rocks beneath my feet would shift.
In the final series of backfills, I managed to deplete all the fill piles in the yard. I actually had a little more fill than expected, and I disposed of the remainder behind a half-assed retaining wall I'd built near the top of the steps leading down to the Stick Trail.
In the course of applying the spray insulation, I'd managed to get some on my fingers, where it quickly turned black with dirt. That stuff is almost impossible to remove once it comes in contact with skin, so I did what I always have to do in these situations. I shaved my fingertips with a safety razor while in the bathtub and got rid of nearly all of it.
Later while burning accumulated paper and cardboard waste in the backyard fire pit, I was sure to include the empty ærosol can that had contained the spray foam. At some point in the hot conflagration that can exploded with the impressive boom of a Howitzer, sending Lulu the cat (who had been observing) fleeing in terror. Later when I went through the ashes and found the can I was impressed to see that its metal walls had stretched and distended from cylindrical to ovoid just before the explosion, which blew out the bottom (propelling it only a couple feet away).
Sally (foreground) and Lulu enjoying the retaining wall and unfinished walkway this morning.
The fully-exposed well line.
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