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Tag Archives: HEPA filters

HEPA Filters Do Not Work Miracles

I brought in the first HEPA air filter on the third day.  That lonely machine chugged away keeping the air somewhat breathable while custodians and building services struggled to discover where the stench was coming from.  One man thought maybe a sewer line ran under the building and had broken.

By the end of the week, the stink was outpacing the HEPA filter. I started buying more until there was four humming away losing the battle. Now, I had a noise problem too. With the HEPA filters humming away, most of the kids couldn’t hear me, and I couldn’t hear them—maybe a blessing in disguise.

We abandoned the classroom and fled to the school library (see school libraries quietly rock) leaving the workers behind to solve the problem.

This tale of a tail will conclude with The Guilty Dead—the last post for this smelly story.
The first post for this tale of woe was Teaching is a Smelly Art.

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Innocent Math

On the second day, I started to suspect that the smell might be coming from the math class next door.  Since math was a “pure” subject, I didn’t think it could smell but …

Then the math teacher fled with her students.  She had immigrated from Vietnam and didn’t weigh a hundred pounds, but her students were terrified of her—accent and all, which might explain why the Vietnamese defeated the Japanese, the French and America while fighting wars with China before and after all the others. I’ll tell you some of the creative things she did to maintain classroom control another time.

When she left her room, she stuck her head in my room and stared at me with an accusing, killer look that all teachers who survive must develop. The white strip down my back grew longer.

This tale of a tail will continue in HEPA Filters Do Not Work Miracles—the next post.
The first post for this tale of woe was Teaching is a Smelly Art.

 

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Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 4/4

What the workers left behind caused my sinuses to run a hundred mile marathons accompanied by a bombarment of sneezing.

I went to the VA doctor and he prescribed medications that didn’t work.

As the days passed, the sneezing went volcanic—like Mt. Saint Helena blowing its top.

One time, I sneezed so hard, I blew the 3M mask off my face—so much for a mask that’s supposed to protect you from every gas and WMD plague Islamic terrorists can brew.

Upstairs or outside, I was fine. However in my home office, I was a goner.

“Blam, blam, balm,” my nose exploded like rapid shots from a fifty-caliber submachine gun.

I could have opened windows, but it’s been raining for weeks. The sky has been overcast. The air breezy and cold.

Then the sun came out and I let the outside in and the sneezing stopped—I’m crossed my fingers and knocked on wood. I’m afraid to close the windows, but night will come and with it lower temperatures. I feared that whatever industrial poisons haunting my once tranquil office space might return.

As I update this post months later, I’m happy to report that the sneezing ended that day.

Return to  Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 3 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

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Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 3/4

I could have moved, but I didn’t want to disconnect all the cables and cart the computer equipment to another room for a few days—something (I soon discovered) would have been impossible without checking into a hotel.

If the school district where I worked for three decades would have let me, I would have rented a space in a nearby strip mall and taught my students away from the  sick buildings.

But back in my home office, even with a noise suppresser over my ears, muted sounds intruded and the last place I wanted to be was in that chair writing about China, the Vietnam War or writing about being a teacher in the tortured American public schools.

I stuck with it for several days as my suppressed anger fueled by PTSD started to simmer and fume.

It was a relief when the workers finished. I thought I was going to have the tranquility back where the only noise would be the click of the keys as my warmed hands flew across the keyboard meeting my Blogging goals.

But the workers left something behind.

Continued in Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 4 or return to Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

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Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 2/4

When I left the office to find a moment of peace, I covered the computer and printers with a bed sheet. The noise reminded me of combat but worse, because I was nineteen and then twenty when I was in Vietnam—noise did not bother me as it does now.

Concrete dust floated through the air and my sinuses and lungs rebelled, so I put on a 3M mask with two pink HEPA filters attached.

The last time I wore a mask like this was when I was teaching.

I searched the garage and found a noise suppresser to slip over my ears and it helped mute the pounding and drilling.

I looked like an explorer on Mars or a survivor of trench warfare struggling to write while the frigid air froze my fingers.

The crew had arrived to bolster the foundation against future earthquakes that might never arrive. Even if a hard tumbler did visit, I doubt that all that work would hold our sixty-year old hillside house together. It still might slide down the hill into the middle of the street blocking traffic.

Continued in Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 3 or return to Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

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