I woke up at 5 am to a persistent beep-beep-beep.
I wandered all around the house, trying to find the source, but it appeared to be coming from outside. I went outside and immediately realized it was the Skutt kiln alarm. Uh-oh.
The error code on the display read, “Er_d”, which I looked up in the manual: “The traveling temperature was greater than 100 degrees in a segment.” The cause? A stuck relay. Just my luck. Here I was, frantically finishing up pieces to sell at the Studio Tour and now this.
I called Skutt at 6 am and–surprise, surprise–someone actually answered the phone, even though they’re in Portland Oregon and on Pacific Time, same as me. I explained my predicament to Daniel, a very patient technical support advisor. After going through a diagnostic process with me, he verified that the problem was most likely a stuck relay, possibly brought on because I’d failed to shut the lid until the kiln had reached 1185 degrees. I overslept, okay? Daniel suggested closing the lid at 900 degrees in future firings. When I re-fired the kiln, it completed just fine.
That was two weeks ago. I had another successful firing, so I thought I was in the clear. Then it happened again. The good news: Skutt will send me 3 new relays. The bad news: I have to install them. Uh-oh. The only thing I know about relays has to do with races and batons. But Daniel promises to take me through the whole process over the phone. Okay, great. Breathe, Teri. Breathe.
UPS delivered the relays today at 6:30 pm, and 5 minutes later, I got a call from Daniel. Why is he still at work? And is he psychic? He agrees to talk me through installing the 3 relays now. So I’m running around the house on the cordless phone, yelling for my daughter to help me find my only screwdriver, which has mysteriously disappeared. Uh…I had left it on top of the kiln. Next thing I know, I’m unscrewing screws, yanking off wires–labeled, thankfully–and pulling off the Kilmaster computer. When it came to installing the new relays, I hit the wall. Turns out I need a long, skinny Phillips head screwdriver to reach the top screws on the relays. Daniel suggests I call a neighbor to borrow one, but he can’t stay any longer at work, because unlike me, he has a life. For some reason, the fact that Daniel is leaving puts me perilously close to tears. I start talking about my boyfriend who’s shunning me, a neighbor who ran me off the road, back taxes I owe the IRS, and every other bad thing that has happened to me in this week from hell. I just don’t feel I can do this without Daniel coaching me through it.
But I have to. I hung up with Daniel and called my neighbor, Dan–OMG, I just realized they’re both named DANIEL–to ask if he has a long skinny screwdriver, briefly explaining what I was trying to accomplish. He must have sensed my fragile emotional state because he came right over, and ended up not only bringing the right tools, but also finishing up the installation of three relays in minutes. I have never been so grateful to anyone in my life.
The kiln is firing now, with its intermittent click-click-clicking, and I can hear the crickets complaining. It’s 10:30 pm, and I feel like collapsing into my bed, not coming out until it’s all over, but I’ll probably be up on and off all night, checking on it. This sure has been a long week.