Oh, dear. Hick has a new project in development. Of course I am quite positive this Hick-rigged device will result in my incineration. But let's not put the cart before the horse...
We have a beagle named Tank who is getting on in years. He's 49 by the canine calendar. No longer a svelte rabbit-runner, the breakneck flying leaps off the porch have taken their toll on his joints. He whimpers every time he gets up to walk, and when the other dogs bump him or lash him with their waggers. Hick thinks Tank has arthritis, and doesn't like to hear him in pain. Here's a picture of Tank when he was but a pup. A pup making deals with the devil:
Let's remember we're talking about Hick, here. Does Hick want to take Tank to the vet to get some doggy arthritis medicine? We know it exists, because Hick's old-man friend used to take the pills prescribed for his dog. But no, Hick is not interested in getting painkillers for Tank. He has said several times this winter, "Well, I hate to do it, but I think I'm going to have to take Tank and have him put down."
"What? He's a dog. Dogs hurt. They get a thorn in the foot, they limp. They get in fights, they have cuts to heal. They tangle with a porcupine, they have needle ouchies. You don't put a dog down just because you think he's in pain. He gets around. He lays in the sun. He follows your Gator down to the cabin. You think Tank would rather be DEAD than ache when he moves?"
"Well, I guess you have a point. But I could never shoot him. I'd have to have Buddy up the road do it for me."
"You're not going to shoot Tank."
"No. I'd pay to have him put down."
"He's not that bad! Maybe he's just a whiner. He still eats. He gets off the porch. He runs around with the other dogs. Just slower."
Now that we've had a warm snap, Tank has stopped his whining. In fact, this morning at 2:30 a.m., he felt fine enough to stand right under our bedroom window and bay at all manner of imagined intruders and woodland fauna. He's acting like his old self again. Guess that "putting down" business was a bit premature.
Tonight Hick came in from looking for The Egg (which is quite elusive, it seems, having had no hen fruit for a month, then 20 discovered in a secret stash Monday, and now nothing again) and sat down to reveal his new project while I washed dishes.
"We have a heater that I took out of that old water bed. I think I'm going to sandwich it between two pieces of OSB board, and make a heating pad to put in Tank's dog house."
"Uh. No. No way am I going to have one of your contraptions on the other side of my bedroom wall, on the wooden porch of our wooden house, for you to incinerate me as I sleep. I won't even leave a lamp on all night. Why would I want a waterbed heater between two boards ready to combust the minute my eyes are closed?" That's not just electricity-ignorant Val talkin'. Genius called tonight, and I told him the plan, and he said, "That's a TERRIBLE idea!" We're sending him to college to be an electrical engineer, you know.
Right now that proposed water-bed-heater-wooden-pad plan has been tabled. Hick thought for a slim moment that he would just put a regular heating pad in Tank's dog house. "Nah. He would probably eat it."
One thing is certain. I am not going to complain to Hick when my knees are aching.