Modern Marvels

My animals are costing me sleep.   For several months, my old cat (Zorro) has been hanging out downstairs, avoiding YA’s dog (Guinevere).  Then about a month or so ago, Zorro decided he would really like to spend time on the radiator in my room.  At night.  But he’s afraid of the dog and I don’t blame him; when she gets woken up suddenly she lunges at him.  She’s never actually touched him but I wouldn’t want a 50-lb shepherd mix lunging at me in the middle of the night either.  Zorro is quite vocal about this whole scenario and this has led to me getting out of bed, turning on the light and standing between the two of them while Zorro moves from the doorway to the radiator (although once Guinevere is fully awake, she doesn’t really care what Zorro does).  Once often twice a night.  Occasionally more than that.

One of the things that I know about Guinevere is that she is afraid of pretty much everything. If I put a 5” box in a doorway, she won’t jump over it, even though I know she can; I’ve seen her practically levitate 4 feet in the air in the backyard when she thinks she might get a rabbit or squirrel.  I thought if there was a way to have a barrier between the two, then Zorro could come in at his leisure, Guinevere couldn’t get to him with her lunge and hopefully I could get more sleep.

Since assuming I can train a cat is problematic, I didn’t want to go out and spend a bunch of money on gates or tunnels before I knew if I had proof of concept.   So I collected up some cardboard boxes and built a little wall that goes from the door to the bed.  It’s just cardboard and duct tape so not pretty at all and right now I have some shoes stabilizing it in the middle section.  The theory is that I can fold it up during the day and just take it out at night.

So far Zorro is not impressed and I think the contraption is confusing him a bit. I’ve been using treats to urge him on, but a couple of times, once he got about halfway, he just turned around and went back downstairs.  The good news is that I was correct and Guinevere won’t even consider going over the barrier.  Only 2 nights so far, so I’m still hopeful.

What major engineering feats to you admire?



25 thoughts on “Modern Marvels”

  1. We had a pet gate in the basement that opened like a door for us to pass through. That meant we could leave it up permanently. The spaces between the rails were wide enough for the cats the walk through, yet the terriers couldn’t, and it was too tall for the terriers to jump over. We kept it even after our laat terrier died for the occasions our son and dil visit with their Westie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I heard a joke about that, Renee. As I recall it was about the surprise engineers had when the firm with the winning low bid to construct the Chunnel was submitted by Abie and Joe, a company employing just two workers: Abie and Joe.

      Abie explained that simplicity was the key to his low-cost bid. “It is simple, really. I’ll start digging on the English side and Joe will start in France. If all goes well, we meet in the middle.” Skeptical experts asked how the two tunnels were going to meet in the middle, given all the complicated problems.

      “It should be simple enough,” said Abie. “But, he, if we miss, now you got two tunnels for the price of one. Where’s the problem?”

      Liked by 3 people

  2. My erstwife and I once bought two puppies. Pukka was a yellow Labrador. Brandy was a springer spaniel, Fearing the damage the puppies might do to the home we rented, I built a barrier to confine them to the kitchen during the day when we were at the university.

    When we got home the first day, Pukka was in the kitchen but Brandy was in the living room, having gotten past the barrier. I improved the barrier, making it higher. Brandy managed to get over the higher barrier. I improved the barrier again. Days later, Brandy beat it again. I gave up. Since Brandy was doing no harm to our home, we didn’t need to keep her in the kitchen during the day. The barrier came down for good.

    I wasn’t smart enough to get the point at the time, but this incident foreshadowed the relationship I would have with Brandy for over fourteen years. Brandy’s will power was ferocious. I could control her, mostly, whenever I asked her to do what she already wanted to do. When she had a different idea, Brandy generally prevailed. God, I miss her!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Human body has amazing engineering, which you recognize when it breaks down.
    Been thinking of this lately: the classic barn was quite a piece of engineering, which the non farmer does not see. for one thing, the forces it must withstand to raise hay into the left. The machinery and field to barn/sale operation was ow ell meshed. Barn cleaning systems, watering cups in the stalls, milking operations. The stanchions, etc.

    But nothing compared to what it is today. Giant bales and what they accomplish, for one think eliminating the hayloft and thus the barn. Robot milkers. Cows loose in sheds instead of pinned in stanchions, which is wonderful. What one man can accomplish. Harvesting too, but I am afraid of the price we are paying for the chemistry that goes with it.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Many of you will remember the 1950s vintage playpens –
    kind of like an old crib with the bars on all four sides, lowered almost to the ground and on little wheels, When we had a wood burning stove and a toddler, we up-ended one of these, and it made a cage around the woodstove. The bonus was that toddler liked to spin the wheels, which were now at eye level for him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Equipment for toddlers, infants, small children are so much better today. More multipurpose, safer, and still not that expensive if you buy right.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Personally, I think brassieres are an amazing feat of engineering — especially the high quality ones that are actually comfortable. While this isn’t my problem, but for large-busted ladies a well-made brassiere is an amazing feat of engineering — think Dolly Parton. She’s practically wearing a suspension bridge.

    Don’t ask me why I brought this up — probably because I finally had to buy some new lingerie, which I totally hate doing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. For engineering feats that weren’t my idea, I’d have to go with the Washing Machine. OMG, what a lot of back-breaking work that was before…

    I wonder if some of the baboons are at the Rally at the capital. I’d be going to Winona’s if I wasn’t still down with the creeping crud…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Kids-

    I am always amazed at the mechanics of the mechanisms that lower caskets and vaults at the cemetery.
    It’s a perfect piece of machinery that does its job simply and yet comes apart quick and stows in the trucks quick and easy.

    I’m at the theater tonight. Theater lighting has made so many advances since I stated this.
    The computerized light board is a wonderful invention. It used to be the board operator had to have talent and skill and Inwould be fussy about who was running lights. They needed to be efficient, detail oriented, calm and reliable in order to keep track of numbers and sliders and resetting cues and then SMOOTHLY cross fade from one scene to another.
    Now, the skill is the programmer. The board op just has to hit the ‘GO’ button. Just don’t double click.

    I think the cardboard barrier is a pretty slick invention, Sherrilee!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Completely OT. I just finished Bear Town by Fredrik Backman. You all know about my spreadsheet and my one-to-five-star rating system. Bear Town just got six stars. Searing, painful, touching, brutal, hopeful. Couldn’t wait until the end of the year to put it on my top 10 reads of 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Just as OT: my family continues to debate whether the move to MI was right for us. Although we dread the expense, work and challenges of another move, we might end up in Minnesota.

    I continue to be amused by all the little ways MN seems like home and MI just can’t compete. I was skeptical months ago when I heard Michiganders bragging about their awful potholes. Since MN has fiercer winter weather, I doubted MI could produce worse potholes. I was probably wrong. The difference is that in MN they repair potholes, whereas cash-strapped MI just can’t keep up with them. A woman made the news here when she destroyed six wheels in a two-month span. Some streets are so bad that people drive up on lawns to get around dangerous places.

    Oregon, which hates taxes as much as people here do, someone had a cute answer to pothole problem. He would fill big potholes with potting soil, then plant marijuana in them. This led to the streets that actually had “pot holes” in them! When he phoned in complaints to the road maintenance folks, they panicked and sent crews to remove them.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. i’m in chicago this weekend visiting daughter
    train rides abound

    i was taken with how with focus the art institute is pristine and beautiful in every respect walls floors windowsills little things like where the bannister on a stair rail meets the wall
    then to the train station where every surface is skuzzy with drippings and rust that should have been headed off two years ago. if coca cola or subaru or progressive insurance want to create goodwill they could address getting stuff fixed up
    it could be a community building kumbaya movement
    i love architectural choices that choose beauty and design in addition to function
    buildings bridges fencing lights ceiling and floor and wall treatments furniture fashion

    why not choose wonderful?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Have you seen the Ted Talk about building a toaster?

    The fact is we are surrounded by marvels of engineering and they are so commonplace we take them for granted.
    I shave in the morning with disposable razors.I was looking at one of them the other day– a Bic 4-bladed razor and noticing how it is molded from at least two different plastics- one that is hard and rigid and one that is rubbery and both fit seamlessly together with a precision that I suspect wouldn’t have been achievable 50 years ago at any price, let alone in an ephemeral product. I think there are instances of that everywhere and we have come to expect them.

    Liked by 4 people

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