Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Nefarious Plot

I have discovered a Very Frightening Thing.

Those who know me would never describe me as a conspiracy theorist (Please ignore the bomb shelter, arsenal and years food supply. They're for personal use only. I swear).

All that notwithstanding, I have stumbled upon a discovery so shocking, so frightening, so terrifying in it's sheer scope that I hesitate to mention it. Of course then I'd have nothing to talk about so forget I said that part about not mentioning it.

Ready? Ok, here it is.

My dogs drool heavy water.

That's right, heavy water. The stuff needed to make nuclear weapons. Right here in my dogs water bowl.

How did I make this monumental and world altering discovery? Let me explain.

I have 2 brain damaged Black Labs. Of course saying your Lab is brain damaged is a little like saying the sun is hot. They just naturally go together. Labs. Brain Damaged. Redundant.

Anywho. These 2 dogs go through water like a dying man in the Sahara. Oh, they don't actually drink it but they instead do a messy imitation by plunging their faces into the bowls while making lapping, slurping noises and somehow managing to swamp the floor and surrounding walls to a height of 6 feet. So much so that we are required to refill their bowls approximately 17 times a day. With much mopping. I always wondered why.

I wonder no more.

It was during one of these interminable bowl refills that I made The Discovery.

When finished "drinking" they made a crucial error in their nefarious plans. They left some of the "water" in the bottom of their bowls. When did this go from a simple case of excreting a substance necessary to the construction of weapons capable of destroying Hoboken, New Jersey to a plan for world domination? When I caught Trooper giving me the stink eye when he caught me making The Discovery.

It was pretty disgusting to look at. Some water mixed with floating bits of kibble, cookies, grass and various unidentifiable bits that Labs just naturally try to eat but can't quite seem to get out of their gums. Then I looked closer.

Don't ask me why I decided to take a closer look at this noxious mess, I don't really know. Maybe it was divine inspiration. Maybe it was my keen interest in broadening my mind. Maybe I was just bored.

In any case, take a closer look I did. And what did I see? I saw a clear substance floating in the bottom of the pan. Similiar to but heavier than water. You see where I'm going with this. Clarity struck me like a groin kick from an angry prostitute in stiletto heels (Again, please don't ask). It was obviously that fabled substance of story and song, Heavy Water.

My hands shook as the realization sunk in. My dogs drool Heavy Water. How? Why? I was dizzy with questions. It may have been the cough syrup but whatever. The point is that I was dizzy.

What to do now? Did the dogs know that I knew. I didn't know if they knew. Or that I knew that they might know that I suspected that they drooled Heavy Water. Would they kill me quick or just lick my face until I died of radioactive dog cooties? I can't begin to tell you how frightened I was. Well, I could but the Nyquil was starting to kick in about then and things got a little fuzzy for a while there. But I'm certain I was scared. Quite certain.

The happy looks on their water drenched faces didn't fool me for a minute. They were riveted to my every action. Almost as if they were watching me to make sure I didn't make any sudden moves toward the cookie jar.

I decided to go the casual route. I only pretended to pour the water down the drain while what I really did was pour it into a glass I had left in the sink. It had some dried milk from a few days before but what the hey. Any container in an emergency as my old Pappy used to say. Pretty peculiar guy, that Pappy.

I then carefully rinsed the pans and filled them with normal tap water. About this time is when I noticed Trooper (aka The Muscle) giving me the stink eye. It was unmistakeable. Stink eye. Right there in my kitchen. Chrisi (The Brains) pretended casual indifference but there was definitely a "look" between them. A "now we're gonna have to kill him" kinda look.

I feigned a casual indifference while leaving a water trail across the floor as I carried their pans back to their spot in the kitchen. Both dogs quickly scampered over and very carefully inspected each one, taking turns and going back and forth many times. Satisfied that there were no traces left of their special drool, they wandered off to sleep. I think that Heavy Water production must be draining. That would explain the daily 22 hour "naps".

I was certain. My dogs somehow managed to convert normal, "Light" into nefarious Heavy Water by some hitherto unknown Special Labrador Drool Gland. Probably by combining the water with some other, seemingly harmless substance. I suspect the pigs ears.

Later that night, as each was busy munching on their nightly pigs ear (See!!!), I quietly stole back into the kitchen and recovered the evidence. It's in the freezer right now, it's damning milky heaviness taunting me. Are they stockpiling this Heavy Drool? Is this a terrorist attempt to build The Bomb? The insane experiment of some mad scientist? A plot by the Canine Mafia to take over the world?

Or is it just the lunatic ravings of a mind pickled on Benadryl and Mountain Dew?

Man, I gotta get rid of that glass before Lu sees it. She'll freak.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Wherein I Prove I'm A Cheap Bastard

So, I'm back into bicycling. Going out and riding and getting all the benefits of pain and sweat.

Good fun that.

But there's more to it than that. I really don't want to ride around here on the streets so I usually load up the bikes and whoever is going with me and heading out to a nice ridey place. Easy peasy lemon squeezy right?

Not so much.

See I have not one but two trucks. Sweet. Just pick one, throw the bikes in the back and go.

Well, we have two dogs. I say dogs but really they're black labs so they're more like furry pathetic begging machines. "You going somewhere? Can we go? Can we go? Can we go? Please, please, please....." You get the idea. And being that I can't say no (really, if I was a chick I'd be perpetually pregnant and have like fifteen kids) they usually end up coming along.

So, we bought shells for both trucks. I really don't know why we did it for both trucks but I think you might be able to figure it out from the last paragraph (Salesman: you need the new single handle doodad and look, it comes in puce. Me: Ooohhh.).

The shells are nice and the dogs love them, hanging their little heads out and barking madly at passing squirrels.

But. They are a pain to load and unload more than one bicycle into and out of. And I almost never ride alone (Hey, I have a mortal fear of those selfsame squirrels. Why do you think I have dogs?) so there's always at least 2 bikes coming along.

The answer is obvious to anyone with more than 2 working brain cells. Bike Rack. Perfect. Except for one thing.

I'm cheap as hell.

I priced some racks at the local bike stores and REI. I was aghast and I don't ghast very easily. A good one was close to 300 bucks! Used ones on CL were still in the 100 dollar and up catagory.
And did I mention I was cheap?

So what to do? The solution was as obvious as it was potentially comical. Make one myself. I have a welder. I have some scrap. I have skills. Well, I have the fantasy that I have skills which is almost the same thing.

The end result

Another view

I had the hitch left over from an accident where an uninsured driver hit my boat trailer and bent it (My insurance paid for everything. Uninsured motorist coverage is a must these days). I hacked it up and added some square tubing I bought at a scrap yard for 3 dollars. two crosspeices to hold the bike frames, some carpeting to pad everything, a neato little hook at the bottom for a bunji and some black Krylon and Viola! A bike rack. I had everything in the shop except the tubing.
And it works pretty good too

Pretty cool eh?

Is it crude? Yes it is. Is it ugly and cheap looking? Oh yeah. Will the welds make any competent fabricator fall over with an immediate massive coronary on sight? Almost certainly (sorry about that). Is it a little crooked? Uh, yeah, it is.
Does it work like stink? Why yes, yes it does.
I figure I've got no more than 5 bucks into the thing. Proof positive that anyone with a little material, a welder, a high tolerance for ridicule and a misers attitude can make something at least marginally useful.
Of course, I did burn all the hair off my arms because I was welding in short sleeves. And I did pick up that cross peice before it was sufficiently cooled. And I did grind off a fair amount of flesh from a finger that later got infected and quite painful.
I guess in the end this project taught me a lesson even more valuable than the money I saved (Wait. Did I say that?).
Being a cheap bastard isn't for wusses.