Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Back with a Vengance

So perhaps you may have noticed a longer-than-usual break here at The Knitting Queen. No reason, really. Between my new job at the bank and trying to manage all the people in this 5 acres of craziness, time has somehow slipped by. I can't say I'm accomplishing much of anything these days. My knitting is practically at a standstill, I seem to read about 3/4 of a book and then move on to the next, and the laundry is in a constant state of needing to be put away.

Stuff just isn't getting done these days. Including my blog. But just when I was beginning to wonder if I would ever have anything of interest to write about again, the mother of all stories presented itself to me this weekend.

We had a bar-b-que this last weekend. Regular old bar-b-que for Memorial Day. Just like all of you. We invited a group of people over for a bar-b-que. My first clue that this wasn't going to go as planned was the torrential rains. It has been raining here for 3 solid weeks, so I guess no one should have been surprised about rain over the entire holiday weekend, but one can always hope.

One of our guests asked to bring her dog. He's a sweet little Jack Russell mix and Nicole didn't want to leave him alone for the long day. We're not really "dog people" and, while we don't really have a dog friendly place, it also didn't seem hostile to dogs, so we told her it would be fine on one condition--Max would have to stay outside because of our indoor cats. So Max was having a grand time running around the yard, chasing rabbits, playing ball with Eric...the perfect guest.

After a bit, Benita and her family arrived. These are people I had never met and they had never been to our home. At the moment we opened the door to them, I'm thinking what is that horrid smell? They were carrying armloads of food, but the smell was positively rancid. At the same time, Benita and her family are walking into a strange house for the first time thinking what is that horrid smell and I'm sure instantly regretting their decision to spend the afternoon with us.

Because this was the precise moment Nicole hears Max yowling and whimpering. And she and my husband follow the sounds, and the smells, to the trap door that leads under the house. The trap door Mike was about to send Eric through, until I flew out of the house and shrieked THAT'S THE SEPTIC! The septic. In 5 acres, 5 entire acres, this is the one place Max managed to find trouble. Under the house. In the septic tank.

Then, in the pouring down rain, Mike has to reach in there and pull Max out. Max, the white dog, who emerged gray with sewer water pouring off of him. Who then proceeded to shake it all off and run around the porch, still shaking, while we all ran around screaming and retching and laughing until tears poured from our eyes. Benita and her family were sort of frozen in the kitchen, witnesses to the worst bar-b-que ever, while I ran through the house to find old towels and shampoo and buckets and Mike and Nicole tried to give Max a bath in the driveway in the pouring down rain while Max, who was frankly a little put out by what had happened to him, continued to shake and fling droplets of putridness all over. And my boys were scared to ever go on to the porch again, because the smell lingered for a long long time and I then had to do a load of laundry in the middle of our party because Mike and Nicole certainly couldn't carry on as they were and no one could bear the thought of those clothes not immediately being boiled.

And did I mention that these were people I didn't know? They are friends of my husband, but this is the impression made upon these people who had never been to our home and never met me.

And then my parents, who were on the mainland for the day, called to tell me they were on the ferry coming home, so I proceeded to tell them of the days events, which made my dad laugh so hard that he was unable to speak. He actually had to hang up and then call me back after collecting himself to let us know that that particular septic was for the kitchen, not the bathroom, so technically it was gray water. Which is not the very very worst it can get. It's the 2nd worst it can get. And still worth boiling water and throwing away the slippers worn by Mike during the dog washing because he was too panicked to change into shoes and still worth throwing away the mop used on the porch floor because can you really think of a reason not to replace it?

And then we all somehow managed to eat. And drank more than we maybe would have had that not happened. And a special bond was formed.

Later that day dad mentioned that, due to the house being over 100 years old, and everything in it being over 100 years old, the lid to the kitchen septic had disintegrated and was needing to be replaced. It just hadn't been high on the list. The mile long list of things that need to be done around here. Which caused me to ask how can anything possibly be ABOVE that on the list? Which caused another complete laughing fit from him when I questioned the split rail fence taking priority over THE LID TO THE SEPTIC TANK.

And if you think this story is concluding, read on: the next morning Mike, my husband with only one good eye, woke up with an infection in that one good eye. Causing all of us to panic a bit when we realized that dipping into the septic tank and becoming intimately close to a dog covered in gray water may have had something to do with that. And because I had promised my parents that I would help move my mom's antique stall from her current antique mall to the one across the street (which is a story for another day), Mike took the boat into Everett with the boys, on Memorial Day, to see the doctor and relay the story to explain his great need for antibiotics.

Folks, you can't make this stuff up.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Chickens!

Look what came to the farm today--14 baby chicks!

Is there really anything I can add? I mean, look at this.

Of course, in true Ryan-almost-10-year-old-tweener-angst, he refused to even touch one of the chicks. While he fully intends to reap the benefits of the egg sales, Ryan will not be holding them so quit asking him already.

Will the adventures never end?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Island Life, Chapter 16

Once again, I experienced Island Life to its fullest today. I mean, sometimes it's like I'm on another planet.

I've been making friends with the owner of the local yarn shop here. It's a really sweet little shop and she has some lovely yarns. When we first moved up here, I of course sought her out right away, just sure she had a job opening with my name on it. That actually didn't work out so well, but I began popping in every so often, we started to warm to each other, and I have been able to convince her that I'm actually pretty savvy around a yarn shop.

All this to say I am now on her schedule to teach two classes this spring and I spent much of my day today working on a little website for her.

But here--let me back up for a moment. I had planned to meet Cindi at her shop this morning and, silly me, assumed she opened at 10:00. After dropping the kids off at school, I had what I thought was an hour to kill, so I took my book (The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson. Have you read this book? Holy Smokes but I can't put it down) to the coffee shop (yes, the coffee shop) and happily read for an hour.

Then I packed my self up and drove over to the yarn shop. Which on a less blustery day should have been within walking distance, since the town of Langley only has two streets....but as I was saying, I drove to the shop, parked, and noticed that it was closed. At 10:00 in the morning. Closed. With no sign on the door and no hours posted, I had to assume that she was following the hours of the shop next door, which was opening at 11:00.

Fine. I have an hour to kill. So I decided to go to the library. The sweetest little small town library, across from the coffee shop and next to the City Hall. Closed. Until 11:00. Great. I suppose a less self conscience person would have gone back to the coffee shop for another 45 minutes. But not me. I ended up sitting in my car, freezing half to death while reading, waiting for the yarn shop to open.

And don't think for a moment that all the shops in Langley open at 11:00. Only some of them do. Many open at 10:00. Or so. And several are closed on Tuesdays. And some stay open until 5:00. Except for the ones that close at 4:30. It's a very frustrating system and poorly coordinated. Like the church we attended on Sunday. That was suppose to start at 10:00, but that really started at 10:15 because of all the meandering going on....Whenever I mention this faulty scheduling system to my parents they simple shrug and say "island time."

So yes, I'm going to teach a couple of classes. I'll make a couple of bucks and if all goes well, I won't cause anyone to cry.

On a farming note, it is apparently time to order baby chicks. Eric is already thinking up names. Naming dad's turkeys Lunch and Dinner made it a lot easier to say goodbye. Think Eric is ready for that lesson yet?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Well, at least I have the time....

Look at my Must Have Cardigan! Isn't it pretty? Don't you just love the cables? And the yummy charcoal gray tweed? So pretty...

It's a shame that it's 2 inches too short all the way around and that, as a "professional" knitter and former yarn shop employee, I failed to do a gauge swatch (I mean, what a waste of time, right? Cascade 220 is a fairly reliable yarn...), look at the schematics, or at any point before knitting halfway up the armhole decide to compare it to an existing cardigan. I started knitting a size M. Because I'm generally an M. I rarely wear an L, so why would I possibly look at the measurements for an L?

In fact, it wasn't until I laid it out to take a picture for you that I realized that it was looking rather petite.

So now it looks like this.
Because knitting 3/4 of the back of a multi-charted cabled sweater took virtually no time at all. Once I get over my disgust and am able to look that yarn in the eye again, I suppose I'll have to knit a swatch. Mainly to determine if I've been using the right needles. It was very convenient for me to use the recommended needles because I just happen to have some size 7-24" circular needles. What I don't have are size 8-24" circular needles. Which I'm thinking may be an investment in my near future. Sigh.
And the whole time I'm measuring, swearing, and unraveling, my little pal Lily is helping me. Lily is my mom's cat. Lily likes yarn. Now, this still surprises me from time to time because I'm used to Alice--the passive-aggressive-neurotic-doorstop-shaped-like-a-cat-I-have-no-interest-in-anything-that-real-cats-like cat. Lily is 2 years old and a little friskier than we are used to. Which means Eric is in heaven. In our old house Eric regularly asked for his own kitten. As if we didn't own a cat at all. He dismissed Alice for the useless lump that she is and explained that he wanted a kitty that would play with a ball of yarn. Well kid--here you go.

The one thing I am successfully knitting are these Pagewood Farms socks for my niece, Ellie (I said successfully knitting, not photographing. In case you are wondering, they are green).

But with no job and with Dad on the mend, I apparently have all the time in the world to knit the same sweater twice.

Etsy turned me down. Not a huge shock, since I'm sure they had thousands upon thousands of applications. Really, it was an honor just to be nominated. Still, it would have been the perfect job for me. And that other job that I've been waiting and waiting and waiting on....well, apparently the hiring person was out sick for a while and, according to her last email to me, it's not dead yet. So at some point I may actually be employed. But I'm not yet. So very not employed. My resume has circled this island many many times, but I seem to be in a bit of a slump at the moment.

What a great time to knit a sweater. Again.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Random Musings from a Fake Pioneer

No, really, this has been a week that has reinforced every stereotype of my life up here in Amish country.

Like, for instance, the flock of turkeys I passed on the side of the road driving the kids to school. I don't mean that this flock of turkeys was in a fenced-in pen or yard. That would be typical of island life. No, these turkeys were walking down the street. Turkeys.

Or how about the fact that I know people on the ferry now. And I don't even commute.

Or our adventures at the movies the other night. Yes, that's right, another visit to The Clyde. This time we saw Up In The Air. We sat down in our usual place and a nice older couple sat down behind us. The woman tapped me on the shoulder and said "I'll pay you not to move, since I can see perfectly over your head." So we laughed about that and got to chatting a bit and somehow got to talking about my dad and the importance of The Clyde in his life. And low and behold, we met Steve and Wanda, some random friends of my parents that I hear about all the time, but had never met. THAT is what happens here on Gilligan's Island--it all comes full circle and without even trying you become completely enveloped into this wacky little society.

Or the little barber shop Mike and the boys went to last weekend where they paid a total of $34.00 for 3 haircuts. While Ryan tried to figure out how they stuffed all the game birds that decorated the shop.

And then there is life here on the farm. My dad had foot surgery a couple of days ago. So now guess who's parents are secretly happy their unemployed daughter is hanging around the house? Otherwise, who would my dad call from his cell phone in the living room to the house phone in the kitchen to have me go shut the drapes because the sunlight was causing a glare on the tv?

Yes, that is correct. I am still unemployed. That one opportunity that I thought would pan out? It still may. But it hasn't yet. For now. In the meantime, I had completely put that Etsy job out of my head because why pin all your hopes on a job that is literally one in a million? But get this--they contacted me! Yes indeedy, they actually thought I was worth a look. They sent me a writing assignment last week, which I have completed and zipped back to them through the magic of the internet. And now we wait.

I finished knitting my mom a pair of socks last night and wound yarn to knit a pair for my niece. That, I am counting among my greatest accomplisments of this week. And now that I have taught my dad how to correctly use his tv remote, my work here is done.