Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rain every day is also the mother of invention

As we have mentioned before, rain has been a reliable daily occurrence here in Bogotá. Last week, after having to step through foot-deep rivers of cold water in a particularly heavy shower on a 10-block walk home, we realized that something needed to be done.

That something was to make a shoe dryer.

OK, to be fair, we've had one of these at home ever since our good-buddy-since-medical-school Dr. E.W.Trice gave us the Mark III model on a windsurfing trip, where these machines prevent the development of the putrefying stench characteristic of wetsuit booties by Day 3. However, would we be able to find the specialized parts needed to construct one in Bogotá? Is Coach K a genius?

Bogotá is rife with hole-in-the-wall shops of every persuasion. One of these is a great ferretería (no, that's a hardware store, not a ferret shop) not too far from the office. It's about 25x25x8 feet in size, but amazing in its proffered ware and its proprietor.
I first asked if he had any PVC pipe. He said, "Look up. What size do you want"
Of course, he had the right sizes, the fitting, the glue, and the hack saw. However, when I mentioned that I would probably have to go to a computer repair place for the fan, he said, "What size?" After a few seconds, he came back with several, and we chose one.
As we collected parts, he finally asked, "What is up with all this stuff?" or the equivalent in Spanish. Answering back much less elegantly, and describing the proposed machine, you could suddenly see the lights go on, the wheels start turning, and there was no turning back. Pretty soon, he had engineered the whole thing.
All that was left to me was to saw,
and wire,
while Paula studied her Spanish for the day,
and the motorcycle delivery guy brought the pizza to the folks next door, (in the rain)
and before you knew it, we had the Trice Shoe Dryer, Bogotá Mark IV model.
And it worked!
When we were back at the hardware store for something else, I mentioned to the owner that he really should have been an engineer, and that he could have the patent rights for Colombia. I could see the wheels start turning again.

We hope your shoes stay dry, too!

Dave & Paula Henderson

1 comment:

rnichols said...

We love reading about all your adventures, especially about your shoe dryer. You and the hardware guy are brilliant.

Thanks for the entertainment for the night and always!

Bryan and Rachel Nichols