Monday, September 10, 2007

Kayak update, and what to do about Brave Sir Hogarth?

With the weather being what it was, and my aforementioned issues with the game of football, I put some hours in on the kayak project. I've finally finished what I've taken to calling the "veterinary phase" of the project: working on the inside deck-to-hull edges through the deck hatches. Anyone that has read any of James Herriot's wonderful "All Creatures" books will understand the reference to veterinary work when you consider that I've had to reach waaayyyy up inside the boat through the somewhat tiny deck hatches. It's messy work, and initially was pretty frustrating until I learned a few tricks. For example, when putting fiberglass tape soaked with epoxy all the way up to where I could just barely reach, fiberglass threads at the cut end of the tape would stick to my gloves. When I'd pull my arm back out, the threads stuck to my gloves would pull the tape back away from the edge of the deck-to-hull seam. I finally took to putting a small strip of masking tape on the cut edge of the fiberglass tape to keep those darn threads in place. As usual, I finally got it down to a science just in time to be done.

The thunderstorms that came through over the weekend showed that Brave Sir Hogarth, who has of late exhibited an irrational fear of thunder, has gotten even worse. He used to be content with hiding under Co-pilot Egg's bed (which, considering his 85 pound size, was no mean feat, nor was the post-storm extraction process, truth be told) but now insists on hiding in the basement. I blame those damned "What to do in a Tornado" public service announcements he's heard on TV for that. We don't want him down there since he abuses the privledge by eating up all of the dead bugs, and that can't possibly be good for him.

We have a door at the bottom of the basement stairs, and we keep it closed so he can't get in. Well, when the thunder started (and he can hear it long before we do, so he's now acting as a form of an early warning system) we found him cowering at the bottom of the stairs, scrunched into the space between the door and the cat's litter box. I'd let him stay down there, but I'm afraid he might develop the nasty habit one of my previous dogs had, which was to snack on the contents of the litter box. Never having been a very bright dog, she could never figure out exactly how we knew she was doing that, as she'd stare at us with a (literal!) sh!t-eating grin, kitty litter and unmentionable contents stuck between her teeth (she was a terrible flosser).

So, Brave Sir Hogarth was required to ascend back up to the great room, and was blocked from returning to his bunker by means of a child gate across the stairs. After a particularly robust round of thunder, though, he tried to squeeze himself through the banister, which construction code being what it is, was a near impossibility. Frankly, I'm at a loss. I Googled around the internet looking for home remedies, secretly (albeit futilely) hoping to find a testament (and therefore, tacit approval of the method) to the calming influence of a cold beer on canine over-sensitivities, but found no such help. I can't have him trying to tunnel under the house through a layer of Berber carpet and plywood either, though, so it looks like a trip to the vet to buy some doggie sedatives. Of course, with my luck being what it is, he will immediately develop an aversion to having pills crammed down his throat.

At least he won't be slurping down all of my beer, though.

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