Monday, July 25, 2011

Climbing the Walls (Part I)

[Author's note:  Check back tomorrow for the next installment...  It's kind of a long story].

A few months back, a friend from work asked if I could make her a Kevlar quilt.  Kevlar is the fiber they use to make bulletproof vests, so I was a tad curious as to what she had in mind.  I’m an organic chemist by trade, but the friend in question is not, so I didn’t automatically assume she wanted me to extrude a sheet of polymerized phenylenediamine and terephthaloyl chloride units. Maybe she picked up a sample at the army surplus store and thought a bulletproof blanket would be cool?  Or, caught a glimpse of its chemical structure and simply liked the pattern?  I suppose one could mistake that for a bunch of tessellating hexies…

The skeletal and 3-D molecular structures of Kevlar (

I asked her what she had in mind.

“I need…” she started to answer, but then scooped up her iPhone and began tapping away.  I stood there for a moment, assuming she would finish, but she kept tapping and clicking and swishing her finger across the screen, until my curiosity (impatience?) got the best of me.

“You neeeeeeeed…” I prompted, watching her finger scroll through a chain of photographs on the tiny screen.  She finally stopped, looked up, and said in a definite “Your-Mission-Should-You-Choose-to-Accept-It”  kind of voice:


Now, Dawn is a great kidder, but she’s also much smarter than I am, so I can’t always tell whether she’s serious, or if she’s joking and I just don’t get it.  So, I mumbled a non-committal, “Uh-huh,” followed by a thoughtful, “I see,” and stared kind of blankly at her for a few moments.  “From what, exactly?” I ventured, hoping she’d crack. 

“From these!”  she smiled, turning the phone in my direction.  “Bwah-ha-haaaaaaaaaaaah!”

River and Rebel

“Yeah,” I nodded.  “Ferocious.” 

Dawn had lost an elderly pet cat to illness a few months before.  She brought these two little guys home from the Humane Society a short time after.    River and Rebel, presumably named, I suspect, for reasons best not to divulge in this particular forum.  J
She said they were great fun, mischievous and busy, but that they were ripping her to shreds.  Never having owned a pet before (except for Charlie, the goldfish I won at the school penny carnival that my sister poked to death on Valentine’s Day, 1984), I wasn’t sure what she meant, so she showed me.

[Wait…  You didn’t think I was going to show you a FLESH WOUND, did you?  Seriously, one of my pet peeves.  Had to un-friend a friend from Facebook because she insisted on posting progress photos of her mother’s gangrenous wound therapy…  Honestly, people…  I haven’t spoken to you since high school.  Did you really think that was going to get me to the reunion this year?]

Where was I?  Oh, right...  The flesh wound.

Her forearm was pretty scratched up, but it was her legs, she said, that caught the brunt of it.  “They’ve taken to using me as a launching pad,” she said, “And, I was hoping you could make me a lap throw for protection.”

“Happy to!”  I replied, always excited for a new project.  “But, not of Kevlar, right?”  (Just to make sure).  “That stuff stops bullets.  I’m pretty sure it can stand up to my Kenmore.”

 “No, no…” she answered.  “I was hoping you could use denim, instead.”



Because that would be better.


  1. Too funny!
    Denim *might* work -- sounds really hot right now though. The only protection/repellent from ours is a closed door, but they just see that as a challenge & would probably try to dig under the floorboards.

  2. Ok, I'm ready for part 2 now funny lady!!

  3. Waiting in anticipation, Lynne.