Sunday, May 23, 2010

Progress and Anti-Progress

1. In which I teach my daughters valuable lessons about being a woman in the modern era

Quote of the Day:
I have not yet begun to procrastinate. ;)

I didn't write that.  My daughter sneaked in while I was out for a graham cracker and she typed that on my blog page and she had the nerve to put one of those little winky faces after it.  I would have deleted it, but it sums up my m.o. perfectly, and so I didn't.

Daughter Here: Thanks Mom... just for that you get a lot of winky faces ;););););) lol:D

(Damn.  I went for another graham cracker and she did it again.)

"I would have, but I didn't" could probably have been the heading for this blog, except that it's not exactly inspirational.   But it perfectly sums up my week.  For example, yesterday I would have ridden my bike to Nate's baseball game, but I didn't because it was supposed to rain.  Too bad for me. El Husbando reported seeing a grand total of three raindrops yesterday, which I guess makes it a day when it would have rained, but it didn't.  I would have finished both my sweater and my sock, but I didn't actually do much knitting during the week. I would have finished more work, too, except that I didn't actually do that much work in the first place, so I didn't finish anything.

I had also planned on hosting a fabulously empowering teaching moment for my pre-adolescent daughters, but I didn't. It went kind of like this.  Last Saturday was the spinning guild meeting.  I was running a little late in the morning (see the quote of the day, which kind of explains a lot of the difficulties in my relationship with Time), so El Husbando zipped off to take Nate to his baseball game and I was supposed to follow in a few minutes with the rest of the crew.  I made lunches and packed up spinning wheels and fiber, and I was vacuuming a chihuahua's worth of dog hair out of the car when I noticed this: 


I am a modern and independent woman of the new millennium, and I like to believe that I can do just about anything. My most cherished fantasy belief is that, as long as I have an instruction manual,  I can do most jobs without help or even prior relevant experience.*   Pretty high on the list of Things I Think I Should Know How to Do is changing a tire, and since I also want my girls to believe they can do anything, I was giddy with the sense of impending growth opportunity when I found my flat tire.  I put on my best confident mother voice and said "Girls!  Let's go learn how to change a flat tire!"  Isa grabbed the instruction manual and Emma grabbed the camera and then they climbed the dirt pile to show how empowered they were.



And that's about as much progress, mechanical or social, as we made.  Half an hour later, the tire still looked like this:


I did manage to locate and remove the jack from the car.  It was cleverly concealed behind some beat up plastic trim panels, where it had been relaxing undisturbed for the last eight years.  But I found it and, after a little fidgeting and the strategic employment of some magic words that I know (the kind that would have made a sailor -- or even a golfer-- blush), I also figured out how to get it out of its little hiding place.   After a few false starts (during which I may or may not have removed a few bits of plastic trim that, as it turned out, had nothing to do with storing the jack or the spare tire), I also located the spare tire under the car. Under.    How am I supposed to get it out from under the car?  Trust me, I followed all the instructions.  I found the winch mechanism and plugged the jack handle into it and I turned (the handle, not myself).  I turned and I turned and I turned, and after all the turning, there was a metal cable hanging down under the car, but the spare remained immovable. So then I winched the whole thing back up again and decided to give it a second chance.  Still no luck.  After repeating this for a while, it occurred to me that I was getting nowhere.  So I decided to give the spare some time to think about its attitude while I tackled the lug nuts. I remembered very clearly hearing El Husbando say "if you ever have to change a tire, loosen the lug nuts before you jack up the car,"  and I just could not wait to tell him how I had finally followed his sage advice.  I took the itty bitty jack handle and I put it on one of the lug nuts and . . . nothing. I pushed.  I pulled.  I stomped (and only missed the jack a few times) and even stood on that obstinate bugger, but nothing would budge, including the jack handle, which was conveniently stuck to one of the lug nuts. So I went back to the spare, which still was not feeling like a team player, and that's about the point when steam began pouring out of my ears.  I was not going to see my son play baseball that day, I was in grave danger of missing the guild meeting too, and this was one of the rare Saturdays when I actually felt like going some place rather than taking any excuse to stay home and knit. 

And that's when I decided that I don't have to put up with this kind of behavior.  I am not only a modern independent woman of the new millennium, I am a modern and independent woman with AAA coverage and I don't have to break my fingernails and get my clothes dirty if I don't want to.  So I called, and after a little while--during which I sat on my butt and read a book-- the tow truck came. The tow truck guy didn't make fun of me and he didn't look at me like I was stupid for trying to change my tire.  Instead, he looked at the tire and said that it was good and stuck and since it was rusty, it shoudn't be used anyway.  Right behind tow truck guy came El Husbando, who had the presence of mind to suggest that we call the service station and see if it was open (which it was) and could fix the tire for us. And tow truck guy put enough air in the tire to get the car to the station and El Husbando said he would take the van to the service station and wait with it so that I could go to the guild meeting (and this part is really true) because he knows how much I wanted to go.  One knight in shining armor to the rescue.  I'm no longer sure what lesson my girls learned, but they had fun climbing the dirt pile and we still got to go to guild.

2. In Which I Suffer a Stash Reduction Set Back

Sometime over the winter, I decided that my stash of yarn was getting the better of me.  I committed to a Stash Reduction Plan, in which I swore I would (a) buy no more yarn and (b) knit like a fiend until a bunch of the yarn was gone.

I'm over this now. I lasted about two months before I bought a skein of sock yarn.  But then it got closer to my birthday and my sense of Yarn Entitlement grew.  I bought a sweater's worth of premium worsted weight yarn, some sport weight for color work mittens, some cotton-linen blend yarn for weaving, and some lace weight yarn for (get this) a shawl, which is a laughable addition to my fashion impaired wardrobe, but still a pretty cool knit.

In my defense, I am almost done with my Must Have Cardi, shown here on future super model Emma.


I sewed the sleeves in last night and all that is left to do is the button band.  The sweater fits my almost-12 year old perfectly, which means that it is  "form fitting" on me.  I think (hope) the button band will alleviate that a little, but this sweater will probably be reserved for the days when I'm feeling clothing-confident and don't need to hide myself in a giant woolly muumuu of a sweater.

This small dose of sweater success has brought on a bout of Project Entitlement.  For the past two months, I have had only two projects on the needles, a sock and the cardi. I couldn't possibly survive with just a sock project going, so when I left the cardi pieces out to dry, I took my fancy-pants birthday yarn and started my February Lady Sweater.  It doesn't look like much yet, but it will get there.

I went a little overboard, though.


Last week I ordered this kit for making a fancy schmancy colorwork sweater. It is red and it will involve learning some new techniques and it was on sale, and I'm a total sucker for that combination.  It is in line behind my February Lady Sweater and my Rhinebeck Sweater, and I hope that I haven't totally forgotten about it by the time I am available to knit it.

Here (finally!) is a Nutkin sock that fits.  I am 13 rows from completing the first sock and pretty much all of my progress is attributable to the fact that softball games are long and boring. I look up long enough to watch my girls bat, and then I go back to work while the pitcher walks the rest of the team around the bases. As an added bonus, the weather has improved enough that I can still feel my fingers at the end of the game, which has helped me knit faster.


And my last admission for the day:  yesterday I bought half of a fleece.  It is about 3.5 pounds of yummy soft wool from a sheep named Whiskey who lives in Prattsburgh.


I think I might finally have enough projects to keep me busy this summer.

*This--along with my natural tendency to be cheap--is why I insisted on building my own chicken coop last summer instead of buying one.  DIY + cheap can be a disastrous combination, but I am also (fortunately) kind of lazy, which is mostly how I stay out of trouble.  Building the coop is one of the few experiences that was not a painful and aggravating affair, which is not to say that I would be willing to build El Husbando the barn he wants for the cow that I don't want.  But I  do still love my framing hammer.


  1. That is a great quote of the day! Enjoyed the post a great deal. Your daughters look great, whether claiming dirt piles or modeling sweaters. And that sweater is really good-looking, as is the Nutkin. And how nice to have a knight in shining armor rescue you when you get tired of being independent. Great combo.

  2. ROTFL!!! Are you sure you're not me? The stash enhancement, the project entitlement, the "I Can Do Brain Surgery - Just Give Me a Manual" attitude...we were separated at birth, girl!!!

    The cardi and the supermodel are beautiful, and that color looks wonderful on her!

  3. Holy mother of purl, you are hilarious! My mom used to teach me that we didn't need to wait for boys to get things done - we once carried a floor-to-ceiling-tall set of antique shelves up some stairs without their help. I remember being less than happy about it, but I see where she was going. Of course, when I actually got a flat tire, it was mighty convenient that I didn't have a jack, and so a friend had to help me.

    And when you can perform a task like using sticks and string to make something beautiful, isn't it hard not to have knitting-related entitlement?