Song: “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder
Waking up worrying several times during the night seems to be the normal thing for me now. I’m a little tired today but it’s not too bad.
My exercises didn’t go very well today. I tried for a while and then gave up, frustrated. I’m still experiencing worry and guilt in varying amounts throughout the day, and it was enough this morning to keep distracting me whenever I’d try to focus on mindfulness or even when I was trying to worry about a particular thing. It’s confusing when I’m trying to worry about something intentionally but other things keep popping into my head with a higher “worry priority”.
I went for my walk again today. Didn’t see a single person, animal, or moving car while I was out – it was strange. Not even a bird. It’s entirely possible I missed something or someone in my haste to get home but I don’t think so.
Did the bathroom fan exposure twice today. It’s taking just under two hours for my anxiety to fall to half it was at its peak, which is a little better than the stove was when I started out doing it. I think the fact that it’s on a timer helps a bit because it should turn itself off after (at the most) 30 minutes. Of course, if the fan seizes up or gets jammed before the timer turns it off, it will stop spinning and will sound like it would if the timer had shut it off. That’s also assuming that the timer will work correctly and turn off the fan when it’s supposed to. The problem is, it only takes one jam or seize for the fan to overheat and start a fire. At the same time, the fan is on a circuit breaker that should trip when the fan stops spinning, and we re-wired the bathroom when we renovated the bathroom about a decade ago because as we’ve opened the walls, we’ve found that the house wiring seems to have been done by a previous owner and a couple of their buddies over a case of beer. So the wiring in the bathroom should be ok, but breakers can and do fail occasionally and cause a fire. It’s also been a while since the fan has been opened up and cleaned, and the accumulated dust and lint can get in the bearings and eventually cause the fan to seize. A thick coating of lint on the motor coils can make it harder for the coils to dissipate heat, too. Lint by itself is very flammable and would start on fire much easier than the fan’s plastic housing. If the fan does need cleaning, trying to brush, blow, or wipe the lint out of it can force debris into the bearings, which could cause extra wear in the motor and cause it to seize. The timer that turns the fan off is electronic, with an audible “click” from the relay inside the timer when it’s turned on or off. Since the timer has LEDs in it, that means there’s probably a regulator and a rectifier in it, both of which can fail and cause sparks and heat inside the timer. The power that the relay turns on and off can cause small sparks between the relay contacts, which can basically weld the contacts into the conducting position, which would keep power going to the fan even if the timer turned itself off. The fan being in the bathroom is also a problem because of the high humidity and possible condensation of the water inside the fan. A fire in the upstairs ceiling would be particularly bad because the house was built in the mid-60s, the wood is pretty dry, and the bottom layer of insulation in the attic is old cellulose.
I know when I turn the fan on, but what bothers me is that I don’t know if the fan has stopped spinning at the right time and for the right reasons. It could be quiet because the timer turned it off in proper fashion, or it could be quiet because something is keeping the fan from spinning and it’s heating up. I have no way of knowing unless I check the fan isn’t making any sound, that the timer is off, whether the fan housing is warped or discoloured, and that the air doesn’t smell of overheating electrical equipment or burning insulation. I KNOW that the chance of anything that I’ve described happening is very, very remote. I know that. The amount of time it takes me to duck into the bathroom and check is negligible compared to the potential consequences if I don’t, though. The time that it takes for a seized motor to overheat and start a fire can vary, so unless I want to get on a ladder, remove the housing, and check the motor manually, it’s important that I check every once in a while for a couple of hours after the fan is supposed to shut off. I took electronics way back in high school and the teacher said that once we turned off our soldering irons we had to keep an eye on them until they had cooled enough to touch (which, fortunately, didn’t take very long). I took a welding class several years ago and the instructor said that if you’re welding around anything that could burn (interior or exterior walls, grass, vehicles, etc), you need to check it periodically for four hours after you’re done welding to make sure nothing is smouldering or smoking. So, there’s precedent that makes it important to make sure that the fan is not spinning and that it’s unpowered. It’s so easy to check, and the thought of causing a fire that burns down the house or – even worse – burns down the house AND spreads to the neighbours’ house because of my inattention or inaction, is very disturbing to me.
I have to stop here – I’m starting to freak myself the hell out. I’m going to see if J would like to watch an episode of Boston Legal. Hopefully I’ll calm down before it’s time for bed.
My sister and mom called today. I looked into new themes for this site but didn’t get anywhere. I got out the microscope today, too: