Thursday, January 30, 2014

Baaa-d Company

See what I did up there?  I'm so clever.

I had a sock crisis this week that I am still trying to resolve.  It involved my being daring enough to try something new for the legs, and then paying heavily for my temerity.  So much for my plan to knit one pair of socks each month of this year.  Do you realize how discouraging it is that it is only January, and I am already falling behind?

This will be me, only w/out the elaborate headdress.
To make matters worse, I'm falling prey to all sorts of insidious peer influences lately.  Due to my dependence on knitting as the only way to stave off my feelings of existentialist angst (and the nagging suspicion that I should be doing some housework instead), I've been hanging out with others of my ilk who insist on luring me into other time-consuming hobbies/obsessions.  Just yesterday evening at Knit Night, for example, one woman practically FORCED a drop spindle into my hands and instructed me in the fine art of spinning thread from wool.  I had barely gotten the hang of this when another woman tried to sell me her "extra" table loom.  Man, she's like a weaving pimp.  And we won't even talk about the offers to attend weekend retreats devoted to any number of fiber arts.

Oooh, but look, there's one in Chicago this August!  Take a gander at the classes offered - Mobius Mysteries Untangled, Seams Made Simple, Sweater "Boot Camp" - who could resist?  Looks like I will have to, though, as this particular extravaganza would set me back $400 plus hotel and travel.  I don't understand how knitters, who tend to spend all their spare cash on every enticing skein of merino that comes along, manage to afford these retreats.  Oh, yes, they have jobs and all that...and I guess they don't waste all their money on evicting bats from their houses...but still, upwards of $700 for 3 days of knitting?

Hmmm, I wonder if the kids really need to eat this summer...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The XY Chromosome Strikes Again

Well! I just read about a groundbreaking study conducted in Norway that tells us the following heretofore unknown fact:


Married?  Moi?
Forgetfulness is more common in men than in women

Could have knocked me over with feather!  Apparently, according to researchers, men tend to forget dates and names more frequently than do women.  They said, and I quote, "...The results of this study were unambiguous."  I guess they had to spend lots and lots of money finding that out, because for sure no one knew that before.

I mean, aside from every married woman ever...

[This post is for Larry, who only pretends he remembered our anniversary earlier this month. Thanks for the card and the flowers, but sorry, honey, I know the truth.  That stool pigeon of a teen of ours let you in on the secret right before the stores closed.]

[Forgetful man image: Science in our World]

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jack-Booted Thugs

I've pretty much had the weekend off from any childcare duties, because Larry took Brian and the girls with him BOTH DAYS to help deliver flyers for the mulch sale sponsored by Brian's Boy Scout troop.  Considering that the annual mulch delivery extravaganza sucks a whole weekend out of my life every year, I believe that this is fair payback.  The girls are actually quite helpful - they sit in the car and roll up flyers, while the boys stuff the flyers in everyone's mailboxes.

Mailboxes - ay, there's the rub. 

Larry was stopped by a post office vigilante this afternoon in a very price-y neighborhood, where the boys had been nefariously tucking their flyers between the mailbox flags and the mailboxes at the end of each driveway.  Flashing his official post-office cop badge, this gentleman informed my husband that he was breaking the law by allowing flyers to be placed in what are apparently federally-regulated mail receptacles.  It seems he stopped just short of handcuffing my husband and leading him away to prison in front of his wide-eyed children.  Larry groveled and apologized and was let go with a stern warning, however, so our offspring didn't have to experience a real-life version of The Railway Children.

I'm sorry, dearies, but your father is a criminal.
Sheesh.  Forget Edward Snowden's complaints about the NSA, this is what government overreach looks like, people.  Where does it end?  Will they start confiscating Girl Scout cookies next, under Michelle Obama's healthy-eating initiative?  Will I have to hide behind a bookcase in an attic to eat my beloved Trefoils?  As David intoned, "First they came for the Boy Scouts, and I did nothing..."

[Railway Children image: GPB Television]

Om Sweet Om

Still cold here. I guess that has something to do with its being January and all, right?

I made a real New Year's resolution this year for a change - I vowed to start attending yoga classes again.  I was driven to this by the fact that every time I walk or stand or sit or lie down, my hip seizes up and presses on my sciatica, which makes my leg go dead.  Then I start walking funny, which makes my back hurt.  Apparently 50 is the new 80 around here - I'm gimping around on a bad leg and groaning every time I have to get up or down from the couch.

Larry insists it's sexy.  He's nobody's fool.

This totally isn't me.
So I'm trying to go to yoga a few times a week, plus I am experimenting with some yoga videos I found on Amazon.  The problem with yoga videos is that everyone talks and acts like a sort of yoga robot on them.  The one I am currently using (from Yoga Journal) looks futuristic, in a 1960's Star Trek sort of way.  Humanoids in yoga pants, if you know what I mean.  Very flexible humanoids with perfect posture...

Also, I hate the way all the women in these videos have waists.  I miss mine terribly.  And everyone (in the videos AND in class) has such cute outfits - why can't I find me one of those?  Believe me, I've tried.  I walk into Target or Kohl's, determined to purchase a colorful form-fitting, sweat-wicking spandex something-or-other, and I walk out with yet another pair of black leggings to wear with some lousy-fitting t-shirts I have at home.  Every single time.  WHERE DOES EVERYONE GET THEIR CUTE EXERCISE CLOTHES?

And who knew yoga could be so stressful?

[Yoga Journal image: Yoga Anatomy]

Friday, January 24, 2014

Did Someone Say Downton?

Wow.  It's COLD here. But I didn't let that stop me from taking the two youngest girls out on a lengthy walk this morning.  Strength through suffering, and all that.  Also, they bicker less when their mouths are frozen shut.

Now we are hunkered down inside while I keep guard over the thermostat. I'm not going to let one, albeit lengthy, cold snap drain the college funds, for heaven's sake. Kids today...

Downton Abbey fans?  Anyone?  Let me remind you that Jenny and her daughter Lillian provide a witty synopsis of each episode right here on Lillian's blog.  Worth reading for the picture captions alone.  Go!  What are you waiting for?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tilting At Windmills

We had 3 more missing-glove crises here today.  These kids are trying to break me, I know they are. Despite all that trauma, we managed to go ice skating AND sledding AND Costco shopping by 2:00 this afternoon. I've gotten really good at Costco, I'll have you know. Even accompanied by 3 kids (one of whom insisted on price-scanning everything HERSELF), I managed to spend $118 in under 20 minutes.  Larry will be so proud.

Then I came home and met a friend for our weekly 3-mile walk, which might sound like sort of a stupid plan in 20-degree weather, but which was really quite smart compared to our original plan to walk at our usual time early in the morning, when it was all of zero degrees out.

ZERO DEGREES - what the heck does that mean, anyway? Does it mean there was no temperature whatsoever?  Let me tell you, no temperature is COLD.

I'm starting to confuse myself.  Anyway, today was also notable in that I pulled on my jeans first thing in the morning (and, yes, one leg at a time, just like the rest of you), unlike, say, yesterday morning when I walked around in my exercise leggings all day pretending that I was actually going to get around to exercising.  I was living a lie, people. I'm not proud of it, but there you are.

This, then, is what I learned: exercise clothes don't make you feel like exercising. They also don't make you feel like cooking. Or grocery shopping. Or anything else halfway productive.  In fact, all they make you feel like doing is lounging around on the couch and messing with your knitting projects.

Or maybe that's just me.

Well, I'm off to find a really good sale on waterproof winter gloves. I figure that, if I buy 3 identical sets for each girl, I won't have to feel bad once a glove goes missing.  Odds are, this won't work any better than the matching-stuffed-puppies plan, but at least I will know that I gave it the old college try.

Whatever THAT means...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cabin Fever

We just had an 11-year-old melt down here over the fact that HER GLOVES WERE WET and SHE WON'T WEAR MITTENS and dear Lord, this is just the beginning, isn't it?  I mean, I KNOW.  I have already raised one teen girl.  Now here comes the next one, and really, I am not ready.

That tantrum cost her a dollar, I'll have you know.  I'm not messing around this time.

Anywhoo, socks are being knit, scarves are being knit, life is just one joyful knitfest, so long as I forget about the bathroom upstairs that needs cleaned, is all.  Also, some people around here seem to want dinner, and we are running out of both bread AND flour AND milk, but it is way too cold to go to the supermarket.  Says me.

Of course, I am planning to go to Knit Night tonight.  So maybe I am being a tad hypocritical.  Selfish, even.  That's what the cold does to people.  Sauve qui peut!

Maybe we'll watch a documentary on the Donner Party today.  Just a little historical context to make my children realize that, really, things could be worse. Worse than HAVING TO WEAR MITTENS, by golly.  Worse than eating peanut butter on crackers instead of bread.  Worse, even, than having to drink hot cocoa WITHOUT THE MARSHMALLOWS.

Life - it just grabs you by the neck sometimes, kids.  Get used to it.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Not Snowing Yet

Snow is predicted, the gov't is closed, and - so help me - if this forecast is another bust, I am moving to Canada. At least there one can assume a snowy winter.

Take that, global warming.

Someone sent me an email last night reminding me that I had volunteered (apparently in a state of temporary insanity) to help copy edit the magazine put out by the largest homeschool support organization in our state. Was I bored? Did I not have enough knitting to do? Was I thinking to pad my resume for the paid editing job that I will never find?

So, due to my regrettable tendency to pile on, I will have plenty to do today while waiting for snow that may or may not fall.  What with the editing and the knitting and the ritualistic consumption of snow-day hot cocoa and slabs of crisp no-knead bread slathered with butter and homemade jam, I won't even have time to shovel, should the need miraculously arise.

Besides, that's what able-bodied teen sons are for...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Musical Interlude

Well!  Things got busy in this quiet corner of the Internet over the past few days, because Flylady linked to this post of mine that sang the virtues of the Clog Cannon.  Flybabies from all over the world swarmed my humble blog, reading about my plumbing problems, looking in my fridge, and generally making themselves at home.  So, now that things have settled down and it's just us regulars again, let me share with you some music for your Sunday.

It's the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, singing "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor?"  You're welcome.  And now I'm going to waste the rest of the afternoon listening to various live performances by these fellows on YouTube.  Feel free to join me - there are worse things to do on a cold Sunday in January, including spending 2 hours frantically looking for the Girl Scout cookie order sheets that have to be turned in - um - yesterday.

Larry was the one who finally found them.  He definitely earned marriage points on that one.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Unwanted Information

Okay, so the bug guys came back to finish getting rid of the bats, and one guy said, "We just have to fog the attic." And I said, "Why? I thought the bats all left on their own." And HE said, " Yeah, but this is for all the parasites they leave behind."

You know, there are some things I wish I didn't know...

Going Batty

The bug guys come tomorrow to tell me if we still have bats.  I know, you all wish you were me.  In the meantime, our little Susie has developed night terrors and a sleepwalking habit. She will be awake and acting freaked out and crying out in fear and she doesn't recognize us.

Remember that scene in It's A Wonderful Life where George Bailey is in Nick's bar and he sees old Mr. Gower come in, panhandling, and he shakes him by the shoulders and says, "Mr. Gower! Mr. Gower! Don't you recognize me?" And Mr. Gower stares at him and says, "No! No!" in a freaked-out sort of way?

That is precisely what is happening here. And then Larry and I argue (every single time) over whether we should coax her to sleep or wake her up thoroughly to stop whatever is going on. But it doesn't really matter, because we can't rouse her and we can't get her right back to sleep and I lie in bed deciding that she has contracted rabies from an unnoticed bat bite and she is going to die.

We don't know what to do about this. Brian sleepwalks from time to time, but he is very cheerful about it and is easy to lead back to bed. Of course, there was that noteworthy incident last May when Larry and I, woken up by someone knocking on our motel room door in Georgia, realized that Brian had wandered outside in his sleep while we snoozed. I think that was the night before Rachel had croup and a raging fever that made her throw up at 2 AM.  

Vacations never seem to be very restful for us.

Anyhow, any sleepwalking/night terrors advice out there? I mean, other than barricading the front and back doors at night - we've pretty much got that part down.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Must Be A Hole In My Pocket

I'm sorry I haven't been around - I just get overwhelmed every time I think about all I have to tell you.  I think my favorite part of last week was when my bug boyfriend informed me that the sounds the girls had been hearing in their bedroom wall at night were not made by mice, as we had assumed, but by bats.

BATS.  Hanging out inside our bedroom walls.  I know.

So, a measly $550 later, we STILL have bats.  It has to warm up a bit before they will fly back outside through the one-way trap door the bug guy's helper installed up there.  Then the bug guys come back and seal the remaining hole and clean up all the bat guano in the wall and in my attic.  Good times!

$550.  That's a lot of money.

Skates don't grow on trees, you know.
Yesterday I signed the girls up for ice skating again.  We have a special time set aside just for us homeschoolers for lessons and free skate; and if you don't think it is awesome to have 2 hours on a regulation-size rink with just 20 other people, you need to think again.  The kids have a blast, and I get 2 hours of knitting time.  But, again, that wasn't free.

Last night, Larry came home and announced he had just received a long-desired promotion.  When he started to mention the amount of his pay increase, I stopped him.  "I already spent it," I said. "It's gone."

I have no idea why he looked surprised.  After all, he should know by now: wives - we'll spend whatever you make.

[Skates image: Lake Winnipesaukee Travel Guide]

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Like Mother, Like Daughter

I woke up this morning to a very clean house (well, the main floor, anyway) and lots of leftovers in the fridge, thanks to our annual New Year's Day party yesterday.  Let's just not talk about what it looked and sounded like around here yesterday morning, prior to the party.  Picture a combination of 4 beleaguered children, one beleaguered spouse, and one formerly-known-as-pleasant mother morphed into the most frightening Marine boot camp drill instructor you've ever seen, and you've got the general picture.  I'm not even sure Larry is talking to me anymore.  It didn't help that I forgot my cardinal rule to never, EVER send him to the grocery store for a particular item, as he always takes hours and then returns with the wrong thing, plus something extra that he suddenly decided I needed.  ALWAYS.

So yesterday he embarked on a search for Gouda chipotle cheese and returned a LONG time later with this weird ball of cheddar cheese colored pink with port wine and covered with slivered almonds.  "WHAT is THAT?" I said, pausing long enough in my 4-hour-long mad pre-party dash to examine his find.

Puke-y looking, right?
My hapless spouse, aided by the experience of 22 years of marriage, intuited that my tone of voice did not indicate happiness.  "Um, the wrong thing, I guess?"  And then, rallying to defend himself, he said, "It looks good."

"It LOOKS like a ball of saran-wrapped VOMIT."

Silence, as both of us stood there sort of stunned by the vehemence of my reaction.  "So," Larry finally managed to say, "you don't like it?"

We did try it, folks - and even Larry had to admit it tasted awful.  But that wasn't the end.  "Why did you buy Carr's water crackers?" I asked.  "We have plenty of crackers."

Look, people, I was BUSY.  There was no time to mince words.

As Larry was trying to explain away this latest frivolous purchase, Susie - who had, earlier that morning, accompanied me to Target to help select crackers she liked - walked into the kitchen, saw the boxes of Carr's on the table, and said, "WHO bought THESE?  These taste AWFUL" and walked out.  Whereupon Larry lifted his hands in surrender and most likely vowed to himself to never, EVER go to the grocery store on an errand again.

At least that's something we can agree on, right?