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Legend of the Exploding Chipmunk

I had a great weekend, although I'm more than a bit tired now as a result. On Friday, after she nearly stood them up, Becca took the kids for the weekend. I went to a meeting out on the other side of town, followed by hanging out with Nick for dinner. Laughter and good times ensued. Near the end of dinner, Bob called and told me he was headed up north. He said that he wished I didn't have a thing to do on Saturday, so I could head up. As my Saturday thing had been canceled, I made the snap decision to head up there.

As I was considerably closer to up north at the restaurant, I decided to just go from there.

Once upon a time, I used to take spontaneous road trips constantly. I can't count the number of places I've been because I was able to answer "Yes" to the question "Hey, want to go to ______" with no hesitation. That was two children and one decade ago. Today, I don't have a change of clothes constantly in my trunk. Today, I survive on something more substantial than beer, liquor, and cocaine. It was nice, however, to revisit those days in some small way this weekend. Made it to the cabin at about 1AM and promptly passed out, because weekends at the cabin tend to start EARLY. This was no exception.

At 6AM, I was up for the day. I wandered outside and took a walk on the trails for about an hour or so, then came back in time for Bob to wake up. We had breakfast at Wheelers then ran further into town to rent a bad ass lawn mower with which we planned on mowing Bob's considerable property.

This is a magical lawn mower. It mows the entire lawn in under a half hour, and still has time to do wheelies all over the place, drag race through the trails, do jumps in the oil field, drag another tractor around the property, and spin in circles like an amusement park ride. What level of white trash did I ascend to that I managed to have hours of fun on a lawn mower?

After grilling out some lunch, we collected about 2 Tons (literal, not figurative) of rocks so that Bob and his neighbor could each have decorative stones on their property. This involved walking around a plowed-under farm of around ludicrous acreage looking for the stones that are brought to the surface. I enjoyed hoisting the monstrous ones into the bed of Bob's monster truck, because, I really enjoy moving heavy objects around. I'm sick in that way. What was less fun was walking around on the very uneven ground with my ankle as it is. I keep expecting my ankle to improve, and it just won't. At this point, I can walk around fine with no pain whatsoever, as long as the ground is pretty level, and I have no need to turn my ankle in any way that normal walking doesn't typically do. Even stairs are a problem. It's beginning to piss me off. I'm not used to such limitations.

The upside, was I became the truck driver, which also got me away from Crazy Cousin Joe. Crazy Cousin Joe is fun, because, although I don't really know him, within moments of speaking to him yesterday, I was getting the lowdown on his worthless son-in-law, his mean-as-a-snake wife, his dismal sex life (only 4 times last year, none so far this year), and the fact that his wife is almost assuredly cheating on him, probably with the bowling alley owner. These are things that I don't particularly want to know, even about people with whom I'm close. This was made SO much worse by me being me. You see, he is in this tenuous place in which I don't know him well enough to make jokes with him in a friendly (or mean) way, but I know him too well to make jokes and claim ignorance as to the possibility of offense; the net result was, I couldn't say ANY of the things that popped into my head as he's pouring his heart out... like "well, I guess you won't be wanting to go bowling with us later" and "hrmm, when i was banging your wife last night, she didn't mention the bowling alley guy". Bummer.

Later in the evening, we played a game I will heretofore call "cover my car with the insides of a chipmunk". Bob and I were just relaxing outside, enjoying a pleasant evening like some homosexual married couple (as I'm sure Bob's homophobic self would be horrified to hear it described) when we observed a chipmunk frolicking around my car trying to gain entry. As the inside of my vehicle is an untenable position for the little fella, I offered up my opinion on the subject by shouting "Get away from my car!" Mr. Chipmunk, as it turns out, was unimpressed. He continued to dance and play and, occasionally, disappear into my undercarriage, only to reappear again moments later. I had made, during this time, the offhand comment that I wish I had the .22 handy, as the offending little critter was only a short 50 or 60 feet away. An easy shot for the .22 which was, alas, in the shed right next to the car. No such luck. Shortly thereafter, Bob wandered inside.

Perhaps Bob asking if the varmint was still outside should have been some form of a clue, but it didn't occur to me what was going on until Bob took his first shot from INSIDE THE CABIN with the HM2.

The HM2 requires some explanation. The HM2 is a rim fire rifle that fires a .17 caliber bullet (slightly smaller than a 22) FASTER THAN HELL. How fast? Just short of Mach 2 (the M2 part of HM2), or somewhere near two times as fast as a .22 bullet. This translates into a very, very flat trajectory with very little drop in the first 100 yards. It also translates into a tremendous amount of kinetic energy, as I was about to get an example of.

Bob's lack of familiarity with a scope caused his first shot with the rifle to miss high by a bit, which apparently didn't bother the chipmunk in the least. The unruffled critter merely looked around, seemingly interested in the loud noise, then hopped a bit closer to my car.

"Dude, you're going to shoot out my tire", I complained.

"He's not that close to your tire", he countered.

"You weren't that close to him with your last shot, either", I observed.

"Do you not want me to shoot?", he inquired.

"Umm... just don't shoot my car, okay?", I replied.

His next shot was remarkably more successful, taking the animal about center-mass, 6 inches from my car. This is where the lesson on kinetic energy comes in. Kinetic energy, when applied to a projectile, turns into acceleration. Now, this acceleration is gradually decreased as gravity and friction slowly steal the kinetic energy from the projectile. When the projectile actually hits something, a great deal of that energy is stolen all at once. Since energy cannot be destroyed, only redistributed, the energy stolen changes form. In this case, the energy's new form was a meaty explosion. Long story short (too late) there is chipmunk all over my car, and the chipmunk resembles one who might have eaten, for example, several pounds of TNT then got into a slap-boxing match.

Today, I came back home, picked up the kids (none the worse for wear) and now going to try to catch up on the fairly ludicrous amount of email that I managed to accumulate in my absence. If this update made no sense, chalk it up to my tired state, but I really wanted to get this posted and reply to one of my email senders before my pending nap.