Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Free Dog Story, and Why It's All Angie's Fault

2:30 am, Monday morning, December 5, 2017

I abruptly awoke from a peaceful sleep to an immediate keen awareness of my surroundings with the distinctive sound of a dog wretching.  I was lying on my side on the port side of the bed facing outboard.  The source of the alarm was somewhere between 3-1/4” and 3-3/8” in front of my forehead.

“What the hell was that?!” Angie hollered.  Evidently her fight or flight mechanism had been triggered too.


And there staring before me on my pillow, so close that I could stick out my tongue and lick it, was a pure white slimy pile of dog puke.  If you took a serving ladle and glopped out a full scoop of Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, and then added one more full scoop, that would be about the size and shape of the goopy glob that shared my pillow with me when the light was flicked on.
This photo shows the perpetrator of the incident, aka Reese the Dog. Contents of stomach not visible.

We had just washed the sheets that evening, and as my wife will tell you the absolute WORST household chore you can ask me to do is put the fitted sheet on the bed.  No matter which way you start you always put it on 90 degrees off of the correct orientation, and as soon as you’ve fit one corner you can be sure it will come flying off towards you when you try to stretch the next corner on.  I absolutely hate it and will throw a temper tantrum every time the task is before me.  So having gone through that nasty awful process I was a little more vested in the state of our freshly cleaned sheets when I saw my painstakingly hard work from a few hours ago threatened by a festering white gelatinous pile of doggie upchuck.

And that’s why my instinct was to immediately plunge my hands into the puke and stop as much of the liquid within from seeping into the pillow case, the precious soft lusciousness of the pillow within, and the sheet and mattress directly below.  I saw it like that scene in Aliens, where they discover that the alien green blood is so acidic it eats through the metal grated floor, down to the next level and through its metal floor, and on and on burning a hole through the building’s never ending layers of structure.  If my hands melted away in fiery acidic doggie stomach contents, damnit, I would save my sheet and pillow case that I fitted all by myself and not without maybe a little complaining.

Bear in mind that one second before this my hands were comfortably shoved under my pillow, resting and dreaming of the amazing work they had recently performed from the arguably impossible task of fitting the sheets, so I think it’s important to describe the sensation from their perspective due to this instinctual yet poorly thought out move that was forced upon them.  Warm.  Extremely warm.  A lot of wet. Certified and definite kind of wet you’d expect from most any orifice of most any animal.  Really really soft but not in a good way like when you touch fleece or a baby’s foot.  Soft, like……….well, like whale blubber if you put it on pulse mode in a blender for about 30 seconds.  And the reason it was so soft, my eyes discovered as they looked upon the dripping horror that I had cupped in my hands, was that most of it was synthetic pillow stuffing.

I think I carried it to the toilet.  I’m not sure because now I was wretching.  I was making those disgusting dry heaving sounds, about to puke myself from the texture and the smell of the contents in my hand.  Apparently this was very amusing to Angie, who by now had yanked off all the sheets and was getting ready to throw them in the washer. (it's amazing how fast we can act in a dangerous situation heightened by the desire to go back to bed)

Now, I didn’t intend for this to really be a story about doggie puke.  I meant it to be a life lesson about the differences between a husband and wife, a man or woman, because I’m not saying this situation was the fault of anyone in particular but now that the event was more or less over it’s typical of me to rewind and analyze the root cause of the situation.  Here’s my logic:

Had there been no pillow to tempt the dog to partake in joyously ripping it to shreds and enjoying its succulent fluffy innards to begin with, this incident would surely have been avoided.  Upon further investigation of the scene of the crime, it was noted that the pillowy victim was found in the spare bedroom.  In particular, the type of victim is very interesting.  It was not a nice big feather filled pillow designed with a clear purpose of supporting a human head during its slumber, but was actually the kind of pillow that serves no purpose whatsoever other than decoration (if that’s a purpose). 

Now, the standard length of a king size bed is 80”, and depending on how much you fluff it, a standard head-supporting functional pillow measured longitudinally or parallel and in-line with the human body is about 16”.  If you use two pillows, one sort of nested over the other, that would probably take about an additional 10”, so that adds up to 26” and should leave 54” of bed exposed when it is properly assembled prior to getting in it.  This is what a man pictures when he thinks of a bed that is made.  Notice there is no decorative pillow stuffed with synthetic fluff, aka a large doggie treat, in this assembly.

Typical cross section of a “made” bed using “The Logic Technique.”

But this is not the configuration we have in our spare bedroom, because as the man of the house the layout of the bed is not my jurisdiction nor do I have any authority over the bed arrangement or any of its assembly components. This assembly by tradition must fall solely on the hands of the woman of the house.  So, without the helpful guiding hand of logic, it seems the new $150 comforter on the bed must be vigorously and entirely covered with $750 worth of pillows so as to conceal its pattern and decorations, however worthless they apparently are as they must concede to the amazing floral pattern and unmatchable joyous art of the multitude of pillows above.  Going back to the longitudinal dimension of the previously described inferior yet logical arrangement (which you’ll recall left 54” of useable space on the bed) this arrangement allows for a mere 8” of exposed, useable space on the bed.  It also requires that you set your alarm clock for one hour prior to your perceived bed time to allow sufficient time to clear the bed of decorative pillows and allow oneself ample space to sleep comfortably.  Therefore, it is clear that the root cause of the problem of being awakened by dog barf on my pillow in the middle of the night is in fact the decision to have a surplus of decorative edible fluff-filled pillows, which in turn caused temptation by the dog to disembowel the said decorative pillow, allow the stuffing to fester in its belly until proper digestion of the contents within could be regurgitated in a glorious manner at 2:30 am precisely in the location 3-1/4” to 3-3/8” from the forehead of the man of the house.  In short, it’s all Angie’s fault.

Typical cross section of a “made” bed using the “I Want My Dog to Eat a Decorative Pillow and Puke on My Husband's Head” Method.

Although no paw prints were found to suggest Kona the Dog had any involvement in the incident, it is strongly believed that he played a role as accomplice or perhaps even selected which pillow was to be "hit" and therefore masterminded the whole thing.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Esteemed Tricredible BAGUBA Award

Happy 10 Year Anniversary to the Tricredibles! To celebrate this awesome accomplishment I thought I’d write a piece involving a great tradition that our team has. 

Nobody ever wants to get hurt, but if there ever was an incentive to fake an injury the Tricredibles Triathlon Team have it in the esteemed BAGUBA award. Credit for the invention goes to Carl Bonner, who came up with the concept loosely based off of a similar award he remembered from his high school’s wrestling coach. How he knows that I’m not sure, since word is he lettered on the cheerleading team. But anyway, the coveted annual BAGUBA award started in 2009 and stands for Beautifully Athletic Guy (or Gal) Uninhibited by Adversity. The criteria to qualify are simple: 

1. You need to get injured or really sick. The worse off you are the better your chances. If it doesn’t set you back riding the pine during the triathlon season for at least a little while you need to get more injured or more sick. Try harder. 

2. Overcoming the injury or sickness is okay, but you score more points if you go on and participate in races even though you aren’t fully healed yet. 

So it requires poor genetics, a little bad judgement perhaps, and not just a small amount of stupidity basically. 

Carl hand crafts the awards himself. Various (mostly) bike parts are cobbled together to resemble the winner’s exact likeness and then mounted on a plaque. No two awards are the same, making them rare collector’s items the moment they pass hands from the presenter to the recipient. Traditionally, the award is presented during the annual Tricredible Christmas Party to celebrate the closing of another triathlon season. Here’s a list of the distinguished BAGUBA award winners over the years: 

2009 Bob Morrison 

Bob trained for Ironman World Championship Hawaii while undergoing chemotherapy! Bob probably qualifies every year for a BAGUBA more than anybody because he’s just that much tougher than us but we gotta spread the love around at least a little bit. 

2010 Phillip Rowan 

Phillip’s favorite thing to do on a bike is come up with new ways to come off of them. That year he suffered a wreck during the Thursday Night World Championships. With stitches everywhere and nerve damage he still was up racing triathlons within a few short weeks. Phillip could have been a BAGUBA award winner for his various crashes in 2011, 2013, and 2014 as well. All of which resulted in various broken bones with shiny new metal hardware to put himself back together again, but we got tired of him falling off his bike on purpose just to start a collection of BAGUBA plaques. 

2011 No Winner 

I think we didn’t have a Christmas party that year and the award was neglected as well. Shame on us. 

2012 Bert Kelly 

With a stress fracture in his foot, Bert wore a boot for 6 weeks leading up to Ironman Florida and ran it anyway unbeknownst to his doctor. 

 2013 Mike Colombo, Bruce Richter (1st ever tie) 

Mike broke his collarbone in a crash during a training ride. Still not completely healed, he went on to race Ironman Louisville anyway. Thinking it was just a torn meniscus, Bruce did Ironman World Championship Hawaii on a bum knee. After painfully limping for 16 miles of the marathon he came home to find out it would take a series of surgeries and other people’s parts to fix all the damage that was within. 

2014 No Winner 

Everybody was too healthy that year to get one! I’m sure some people tried to fake an injury or two, but the judges were not fooled. 

2015 John Caracoglia 

John rode 100 miles on a training ride and the next day passed out. When he came to a doctor was suggesting he needed a pacemaker. After completing a required rest period John jumped right into the Medoc Marathon. That’s swinging for the fence! 

As of yet, we have not had a female BAGUBA winner. Speculation is that (1) women are far too smart to race on damaged limbs and (2) the prospect of Carl sculpting female anatomy with bike parts is a little disturbing and probably won’t be very accurate. But the tradition lives on as we eagerly anticipate the crowning of a new BAGUBA champion for 2016! So, be safe, train hard, and if that doesn’t work for you maybe there’ll be a shiny new trophy for you at the end of this year!

Here's mine from 2013. The Hello Kitty bandaid on the right knee I thought was a nice touch.

Here's Phillip and his BAGUBA.  Carl captured the details of his head perfectly in this sculpture.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

One Last Ride

The last moments I got to spend with my friend Dave Mirra were on a bike ride we shared the Saturday before it happened.  It was kind of chilly, and I had delayed my morning ride until the afternoon to take advantage of higher temperatures.  Dave and I are the same when you do that – it totally gets you out of sync and it’s easy to end up skipping the workout completely.  We hadn’t ridden together in quite a while so I texted him to see if he’d join me.  Honestly I thought if he had said no I probably would have skipped it altogether.  The window was closing fast on my motivation that day, and I felt like I wouldn’t have the gumption to do it at all if he wasn’t up for it.  He texted back that he could go but not for a couple more hours.   “I could do 3 but that might be too late.”  For a half a second I thought it was and considered asking for a rain check and just going on my own straight away.  I’m so glad I didn’t. 

“OK 3 will work.”

When I rolled up on his driveway he was ready to go, aero’d out like always with that supercool custom black P5, disk wheel, and his old fallback Kask aero helmet.  And a great big smile on his face.  “Bruuuuuuuuuuuce! I don’t know, man, I’ve gained a lot of weight.  Do I still look like a triathlete?!”  I told him he could maybe pull it off.  Heh.  I knew he hadn’t ridden in a while.  We rode side by side catching up, talking about the races we wanted to do this year, just having a chill ride and enjoying being on our bikes together again.  We used to play a game called Heart Rate Wars where we’d ask each other what their HR was periodically during the ride.  The lowest number wins.  Dave made it up, of course.  Typical Dave.  Usually, we’d be within a couple beats of each other.  I had told him when we left his house that I wouldn’t call him out on it this time, but he still wanted to play anyway.  For once, I put the smack down on him!  He just laughed it off talking about how out of shape he was but swearing he’d get it back.  

He was so calm on that ride now that I think back on it.  It was just a relaxed conversation with a relaxed pace.  Dave normally is a notorious “half-wheeler,” always sticking his bike out just a hair further than yours letting you know he was open to going faster.  You didn’t dare do it back to him or it was immediately game on!  But on this day it was different.  Just two old buddies riding together enjoying each other’s conversation and enjoying a nice sunny day on their bikes. 

Whenever we would have a good ride (or swim or run), I could always count on an encouraging text from Dave shortly afterwards confirming how happy he was to have shared the workout.  I wondered if he’d do so this time.  “Thanks for the push,” I read from his text later while on my couch.  “Wudntadunnitwiddoutya!” I texted back.  I got my last “lol” from my great friend Dave Mirra after that.

I’m so glad we shared that ride together, and all the ones before that.  These are the memories I hold on to and will always remember with a happy and warm heart as I press on.  Dave wanted me, and all of us, to strive to be the best we could at whatever we put our heart into.  “Don’t live off of old accolades, Bruce, make new ones.”  How will I live my life from here on?  Making new ones.  

Thanks for the push, Dave.  Thanks for the push……

Dave Mirra