Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

My Colossus Exploded and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt.

On December 6th at 3:35AM my Purple/Yellow Colossus exploded.....yes you read that right.

I had to get a bit of distance between then and now before I could post about this.  The week that this happened had to be one of the worst weeks of my life.  Here's the low down........

Monday....go to work to find that a power outage at work and as a result I had to deal with (I.T.) problems that resulted, not the worst day but a good start to a bad week as it took a couple hectic hours to get fixed up.

Tuesday....my little dog "Chia" whom I had had since she was six weeks old died....she had just turned sixteen the week before.  This coming just five weeks after the death of my 20.5 year old Chihuahua named Romeo.

Weds......more severe electrical issues at work which caused the failure of a battery backup device and the attached server.....total loss of the server hard discs.  Email and file server down!

Thursday.....server recovery mode all day.

Friday......more server recovery mode, all day again, and finally the end of a stressful work week (server back up and data restored).  

     Friday night I figured I needed some liquid wax motion to destress.  Came home from work and turned on the Colossus which had not run since last Spring this would be the first run for the cold season.  Oh, and FYI the lamp was in the master bedroom on my side of the bed.  My wife and I went out to dinner and we had a late evening on the town.  I came home at about 11pm the lamp was flowing and just beautiful.  I went to bed with the lamp running and planned on running it all weekend.

Saturday (3AM) wake up for a bathroom run.  The lamp was flowing great, I sat there on the bed and watched it for about 15 minutes and dozed back off.  3:35AM "BOOM!!!!!!!" suddenly we are awakened by the loud sound of the Colossus globe exploding, a slight concussive effect was even part of the event.  Oh, and I cannot forget to mention the sudden rush of 11 gallons of hot water and hot wax going EVERYWHERE!!!.  The lamp contents went across the floor covering about a 175 square foot area and all over the side of the bed, and under the bed and beyond.  Well, shit now we're up for the day!!!!  

The Clean Up:

Step one make coffee, lots of coffee!!!   Then to clean up this epic mess we had to basically move out of the room for two days.  My house has stained and sealed concrete floors and I can promise you that the wax and surfy water covering the floor was slicker than cat shit on linoleum.  I slipped and fell more than once during this event.  If we had carpeting in the room the room would have needed to have new carpeting installed without a doubt as the wax left its yellow stain on everything it touched....and it was permanent....as you will see in a bit.

I was instantly devastated by the loss of the lamp and just frigging confused as to how this could be happening.  The lamp had not run in at least seven months, it had the Lava Lite provided Phillips light bulb and had been fine for the last run the previous Spring.  Never-the-less, I decided to try to make the best of it and since our home is carpeting free as I cleaned up the wax (scraped it up with a metal pizza peel) I sat it aside.  It took us until about noon to get the wax and fluid up and have the floor be safe to walk on.  We had to get out a heavy duty wax stripper (liquid wax remover) to help get up the Colossus wax and have the floor be clean.  We had to reseal the concrete the next day and move furniture back in.

Well, the wax stained the wall paint on the wall near the lamp's location, we had to repaint that area of wall but we have plenty of touch up paint so no big deal.  

Well, while we cleaned up the room I noticed that our home's alarm system started to act up too and was giving off this annoying beep that it does when it needs a new backup battery or when one of the sensors is out.  I figured it was just par for the course as this week from Hell was still going full blast.

Saturday afternoon....needed to go to town and wash wax infused towels because those towels were not going in our washer!!!  We also needed to get a battery for the alarm system (or so I thought).  We were starving too so we decided to grab a quick bite to eat while we were in town.  I get the new battery, then we go to a local fast food joint and order a late lunch.  The restaurant staff were really slow and it took close to twenty minutes to get a few tacos and a coke.  Well just as they call my name and put my tray on the counter for me to pickup some old guy cuts in front of me, snatches the tray from my hands as I pick it up, and then he scurries off.  I tell the girl at the counter that he grabbed my tray.....she says "no, I'm pretty sure that was his".  Nope, he rummages through the food, bites into a taco and comes back up and angrily says "you got my order wrong". I look at this guy and say "no, you stole my tray and you should have to eat that as it should not go to waste".  Well, the clerk takes the tray and they take off the partially eaten taco and try to give me back the other items that while uneaten were opened by him and his wife.  I'm thinking "really? what the Hell else can happen this week?".  Well they decide I'm right and the order should be completely re-made (another 10 minutes) I finally get the tray of tacos, etc and go back to the table with my wife.  I sit down and just as I go to take a first bite my wife's phone rings and it's our neighbors calling.....the alarm system is going off and one of the other neighbors has called the cops.  "Aw F***" is what rings through my head as I tell my wife I'm headed back home to deal with the situation.  She stays at the restaurant and has her lunch.  I get home as the sheriff gets there and they check out the house....I've already told them that it's a malfunction but they just gotta look around.  Well, they were decent guys and they understood when I explained to them what was gong on.  We chat a bit and as they leave and back out of my driveway they back over my mail box knocking it to the ground and damaging the back of their vehicle.  HOLY CRAP!  Really???!!!!!   I go back to get my wife and maybe eat my lunch...nope cold, soggy tacos I gave up and just trashed them and went back home.

The new battery did not fix the alarm problem and I was a bit stumped, then I checked our phone lines and they showed to be busy without a phone being off of the receiver base.   I looked about for the problem and discovered that when the Colossus blew a tiny bit of wax had gotten into a phone jack that is behind my night stand, it completed the circuit making the line appear busy and the alarm system was going bonkers because it had been hours without a dial tone.  The Leviton brand phone jack was fried and I had to replace it....no biggie just a few bucks.

Sunday  spend the afternoon building a new mailbox stand, digging a new hole and getting that fixed so we can have mail delivery for the coming week.  Oh, and I pray hard that on Monday it's a new week and that Hell Week was over.

Well I called Lava Lite that following Monday just to tell them about my experience and see if they could shed light on what could have happened....no light was shed.  I also sent them a bunch of pics thinking that maybe it would help down the road if they decide to do a Colossus again.  Oh, and I wanted to see if they would help me replace the globe. Now I don't feel now (or then) that I was due a warranty replacement because this lamp was well past its 90 day warranty.  But I had been at Lava headquarters earlier in the year and saw a couple empty globes there and a returned globe or two as well.  I wanted to buy an empty globe so I could get the lamp going again.  Sadly that did not work out and I could not get an empty globe.  Lava L. did offer me to file an insurance claim for damages....but not to replace the damaged lamp just anything that the lamp might have damaged.  Well there was some minor repainting to do, a few bucks for a new phone jack and the bedspread had been ruined by wax staining it.  However, it was not an expensive ($70ish) bedspread and we had used it for a year or two and frankly I'm just not that petty.  There was one other casualty as I had dropped a white T-Shirt on the floor next to the bed when I went to sleep and it too got covered in yellow wax.

In the end I had a really CRAP Week at work, lost a beloved little dog and my favorite Colossus.  The gain....a newly yellow (tie dyed looking) T- Shirt and salvaged Colossus wax and Colossus coils.  Yep that's right all that wax I scraped up, I melted it and strained it three times through progressively smaller sieves and used it to refill my Princess....seen here:


I told you guys that the Princess got "Chinese Wax" and that the source of the wax was a "Shocker".....well is it?

I guess when life serves you Lemon colored wax you try to make Lemonade Wax out of it and refill another lamp. LOL

I didn't know if that wax would work after it had been on the floor and filled with lint, bunnies, etc but I just had to try.  I managed to get three good quarts of Colossus yellow wax out of this catastrophe.  Two quarts are in use in the Princess and the third is on reserve for another day.  Oh, and the T-Shirt, you can bet your ass that I am wearing that....probably the world's first fully Colossus Wax dyed shirt!

Here are a bunch of pictures of the whole fiasco, etc:

Lamp Before:

The aftermath:


The mailbox down:

What Came out of it


Cleaned up wax!  

In the end

A Yellow Shirt!

A happy Crestworth Rocket / Princess with wax donated from the Late P/Y Colossus:

My Precious Chia:

I now am trying to close the dark chapter that was 2014.  I really did have a kind of bad year last year and am looking forward to a better 2015.  I hope to pick up another yellow Colossus (Humongo) some time this spring/summer.  With 2015 being Lava's 50th Anniversary maybe there will be some cool new lamp or two to help make this a great year!


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Comment by Aladdin 2 Lava on February 5, 2015 at 9:30am

So sorry to hear about your beloved dogs Critter... as for your bad week, to quote from one of my favourite movies... 'American Beauty'... "Its All Just Stuff"

Lamps can be replaced and work issues will be resolved !!!

Onwards and upwards Matey  :)

Comment by Johnny on February 5, 2015 at 9:20am

OMG WHAT A FRIGGING MESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wondering why it would have gone like that, i could understand if it was freezing cold then sudden heat but in mid flow seems odd, maybe a small crack in the glass and pressure blew it, never the less thats dangerous

Comment by Dr. WHAT?! on February 4, 2015 at 11:28am

Jesssussss dude! Thats just crazy and how LL handled that was a bunch of horseshit, what if that would've killed someone? you'd bet your ass they'd be held responsible. Guess that's what happens when you have them made cheaply.

Comment by Critter on February 3, 2015 at 2:02pm
Thank you Chelsea! You are right I have been trying to stay chin up about that whole week. Thankfully the events are about eight weeks gone now and it is easier to think back on it all and laugh a bit. So far the weeks since have all been fine.
Comment by BeanDrop on February 3, 2015 at 1:25pm

Hi Critter! I’m Vox’s (Nick’s) wife Chelsea. I’m deeply sorry for the loss of your precious doggie, the colossus globe and all the unfortunate events of the week. What an awful week!!! You are right though, you will have great series of stories for those darn “whipper snappers” some day. I’m blown away by your optimism and humor. Hope this week goes better!! We are sending you good thoughts your way!!

Comment by Critter on February 3, 2015 at 8:55am
Thanks Jim, I am glad you were there to vent to when the week was going down. Oh and I still have the stained bedspread it made a nice bed for the remaining dogs. It did help to post about it too I waited a bit to do it so I could post in a more mellow manner. LOL
Comment by Jim on February 3, 2015 at 8:06am

Nice write up Bill - glad you were finally able to share this with the rest of the community, as I'm sensing it was somewhat therapeutic to essentially have this blog as a "release".

Its shameful how Lava Lite handled this.  I know it, you know it, Susan knows it - they could have connected you with a replacement globe.  They have zero regard for the heritage of their company and lava lamps in general, and if they are never releasing the Colossus again, why hold onto remnants?  While its borderline unethical, I would have soaked them on the insurance claim.  How much does Bill make at work?  Bill's hourly rate X how many hours it took you to clean up this mess.  Even the mailbox was tangentially related to the lamp explosion (shorted phone line), so I would have put them on the hook for that too. 

Should have left the stains on the bed spread and explained them away as jizz stains.  You would have gotten the admiration of visitors to your home. 

Comment by Loren on February 2, 2015 at 6:41pm

I can;t even believe it!

I'm sorry...for ALL of that!


Comment by Critter on February 2, 2015 at 1:28pm
Vox, I cannot begin to describe the startling jolt that the explosion caused. Even my wife, who I swear could sleep through a thermonuclear event, jumped straight up and out of bed. It was mind blowing.

Now that this even is in the past a bit I kinda smirk when I picture myself at 90 years old saying "well this one time I had an 11 gallon Colossus Lava Lamp explode....." And of course I'll be talking to a "whipper snapper" as I fondly reminisce. So in time it too will be a good thing.
Comment by Critter on February 2, 2015 at 1:21pm
Thank you Carol. You are so sweet. We gave Chia the best life a dog could possibly wish for as we do for all of our dogs but I always want more time with them. As far as the lamp goes it is what it is and I made the best out of a big, bad mess. With this even being a couple months behind me I am doing fine and I figure the odds of another week that crazy are really small.


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