I took the compressor to see the doctor today. The compressor, you see, has been ailing. As it heats up, it starts to bind, the lights dim, and breakers eventually blow. Unfortunately, the compressor is also quite big and heavy, full of oil, and not supposed to be tipped over, my car has a trunk that won't open wide enough to hold 43" of upright compressor, and the doctor's a small engine repair shop 3.6 mapquest-miles away, so getting it to the doctor is something of an accomplishment.
My first thought was to hitch it to the back of a bike and tow it. Which is not as crazy an idea as it sounds. The compressor has wheels and route's mostly flat terrain. The wheels, though, are small, and there's no shock absorption, so the first good bump would probably shear them right off.
Plan B was to take it in the car, which meant draining all the oil, laying it down in the trunk, and hoping the trip in the prone position wouldn't break anything else.
When you drain oil, you need something to put the oil in. Glass jars work great because the oil can't attack them, so I went looking for glass jars. And then realized that, in a fit of insanity, I'd recycled all of them. No ancient bottles of salsa or jars of pickles in the fridge to cannibalize, either.
The second problem is protecting the car's trunk from any possibly leaking oil. But in an extension of the aforementioned cleaning insanity, I'd thrown away the old plastic shower curtain that could've lined the trunk. D'oh!
Fortunately, the cleaning insanity stopped at the door to the workshop. There I found a couple empty compressor oil containers and an old container of motor oil. Now, when you drain oil, you want a container big enough to hold it all, because switching in the middle can get really messy. So I transferred the motor oil to the compressor oil containers and then drained the compressor oil into the bigger motor oil container. The shop also provided old cardboard to line the trunk and soak up any drips. One wrestling match later and the compressor was at the doctor's office. (Which was full of all manner of machinery -- they were welding the back of a truck back together when I got there -- a good sign.)
The moral? Be wary of the urge to clean. You never know when you might need some of that stuff.