Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mighty Annoying

Mike went out to the van last night and worked on the seatbelt for an hour before I went out to join him for another hour. We managed to break the Mighty Tite is several places using a hammer and a large screwdriver. The seatbelt is as stuck as ever. We gave up at 9:30 to salvage just a small portion of our evening. And to brainstorm ways to demolish the Mighty Tite without blowing up our van. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Last November we got a new (used) mini van. We really needed a bigger car and, although we didn't get it under the happiest of circumstances, we still feel so blessed to have it.

Except for the seat belts. Our other car (and Mike's old, crushed car) both have locking seat belts. The van, for some inexplicable reason, does not. And anyone who has ever tried to properly install a car seat with their spouse in a car without locking seatbelts will tell you that locking seatbelts are a true marriage saver.

So I was quite dismayed when I realized that, once again, Mike and I were going to have face car seat installation trauma. In an effort to avoid hours of therapy, I borrowed the Mighty Tite seatbelt tightener from Cori. (Although Eric is now 4, he is only 35 pounds and the doctor feels that it is still safer for him to be in a carseat. So technically he can sit in a booster, but, well, it's hard to argue with the doctor). The Mighty Tite is pretty amazing. You thread the seatbelt through it and crank this little lever, which secures your seatbelt, tight as a drum. Eric's carseat was going nowhere. I could have carted a nuclear bomb in that thing. As Cori was installing it for me, she did warn me that installation of the Mighty Tite can be pretty tricky....

Needless to say I have been a little frightened of the Mighty Tite and have not touched it since Cori installed it for me. Until Sunday. Mike and I had to drive separately to church and he was going to have to take one of the seats out of the van. I casually asked him to take Ryan's, but he didn't really hear me. I will take full responsibility for not explaining in detail that Eric's seat is not to be touched under any circumstances because I am scared of the Mighty Tite. So, of course while I was in my meeting Mike dismantled Eric's seat and put it in his car.
And I did not discover this until yesterday morning when we were sprinting out the door to try to catch the school bus (fine--I admit that I drive to the bus stop. I'm just proud of the fact that we actually make it on most days. Judge not...). So I quickly used Eric's seat as a booster, thinking I would reinstall the Mighty Tite when we got home. And that is when things really went south.
As of this writing, this is what Eric's seatbelt looks like:
This is after 2 hours of trying to untangle it. In my defense, I didn't read the instructions because there weren't any. I've tried pliers, I've tried taking the Mighty Tite apart (but they conveniently assembled it with these nifty little triangle shaped screws that are unscrewable) and I contemplated calling Dodge to see how much a new seatbelt would cost. I would have taken a sledgehammer to the whole thing if Eric had not been playing in the front seat. I believe this is how my sweet husband will be spending his evening.
When I finally called Cori in near tears, her reply was "oh, it sounds like you didn't do it right".

Thursday, April 19, 2007

3rd Time's A Charm

I've begun those blasted Neopolitan socks 3 times now. The first time I got out my precious new Lantern Moon sock needles and was feeling so smug about how wonderful these socks would be. About 4 inches into them I realized that they were HUGE. Hmmm...guess I should have read the yarn label first. This yarn is much thicker than my standard sock yarn. So I began again, this time using my Lantern Moon needles and knitting socks for DK weight yarn. About 4 inches in it became quite clear that these socks would be too small. It's as if I'm knitting for the 3 bears. And it was around this time that I broke one of my precious new size 1 needles. I don't need 5 needles, so technically it's ok that I only have 4 left, but.....

I decided to take a moment and regroup. And actually pay attention to the suggestions on the yarn label and my sock directions. I tend to do this a lot. I skim directions and then later regret not actually reading all of the important words carefully. And then I began the socks for the 3rd time. Casting on the appropriate number of stitches for DK weight yarn and using my ugly old size 2 metal needles. It seems to be working fine now. I did have a brief moment when I contemplated purchasing some wonderful size 2 hand carved Lantern Moon sock needles. But that would make this a $67 pair of socks and even I can see how unreasonable that would be.

Speaking of skimming, I've had a similar experience with Cinderella. I tried multiple times to figure out how to get the skirt onto "sad" Cinderella, after stuffing and stitching up the bodice. 3 times. After reading all of the words very carefully I realized that I need to sew both "sad" and "happy" Cinderella together, end to end, and then sew the skirts on. Duh. When I lamented to my friend Cori, a non-knitter, she commented "of course you sew them together! How else would you do it?" Fine. Here is what has happened to "sad" Cinderella #1:

On the other hand, I am nearly done with "sad" Cinderella's skirt and have started on the ball gown.

And in case you are wondering, I have on more than one occasion called my husband from the car, shrieking "I can't find this place!! You have to help me! I know I should have printed out the directions--this is NOT the time for an I-told-you-so...."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Closet Redneck

These are the lyrics to my new favorite song:

"I'd like to see you out in the moonlight
I'd like to kiss you way back in the sticks
I'd like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
And I'd like to check you for ticks"

Brad Paisley

Mike has already very reluctantly agreed to take me to the Keith Urban concert. I think if he had to see Brad Paisley in the same year a small piece of him would die inside.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Essay: How I Spent My Spring Break

Monday: Had a playdate with Meghan and her boys in the morning. Dealt with my own kids for the rest of the afternoon and did piles of laundry. Husband came home late and I was still folding laundry and lamenting that I did not have one moment to myself because "mommy's quiet time" means nothing to a 4 year old and a 6 3/4 year old. Still had a trip to the grocery store to make for the Tuesday playdate and the house was in shambles. At the urging of husband, skipped my Pastoral Search Committee meeting because we weren't actually going to be doing anything that night, and then had a beer while I put laundry away. Husband went to the grocery store and then we watched 24.

Tuesday: Had a playdate with Penny and her boys. Again at my house. It was my turn and Penny and I always do lunch, but that makes it two days in a row that my kids have not left the premises. Ended the day with a beer while I tried to knit something.

Wednesday: Was suppose to have a morning playdate with Cori, but that didn't work out. Was going to run errands with the boys, but, well, that sounded like a nightmare. Dragged us all outside and tried to convince the boys that they really could have fun playing together, not in my garden beds, while I weeded. They whined and complained most of the time. I can certainly understand why--who wants to play with a swingset, stomp rockets, basketball hoop, play house, frisbee, and golfclubs and/or run around a 1/4 acre of backyard? I'm the worst mom ever. Forced Eric to take a nap and sent Ryan to his room for one hour of quiet time (if I'm the worst mom ever, I might as well take advantage...). Had the Cori playdate at her house that afternoon. My sweet husband then met me at Cori's to take the kids home so I could run my errands in peace. Then went to the 2nd Pastoral Search Committee meeting of the week.

Wow--this Spring Break is almost as good as a trip to Hawaii!!

Thursday: Went to my sister's house to play. Ryan and Eric adore their cousins, Ellie and Jack. Caroline and I watched daytime tv on her new HDTV. I'm still not seeing the point....but it was great to sit in the family room and knit while the kids played. Until Eric started to play with Ellie's Gameboy Advance. Of which both boys are insanely jealous. And Ryan was suddenly done playing with his cousins and needed to play Gameboy Advance too. At that exact moment. So that was fun.... and then I had to zoom home to go to just about the worst church elder board meeting ever. And when I finally got home found out that Gray's Anatomy was one of those compliation shows. Liars!!! You said it was "all new".

Friday: Husband stayed home, since his old job was officially over and he was leaving for Chicago the next day to beginning training for his new job. Received scathing yet expected email from church chairperson on my behavior at the worst elder board meeting ever (She wants "yes" people, and I'm not so much of a "yes" person...). Scheduled my whole day around attending the Knitting Expo at the SeaTac Marriott. Ran errands (and when did Southcenter Mall get rid of Eddie Bauer?! I did not know that before heading out that day). Killed time until 4:00 when the Knitting Expo market opened. It was terrible. Horrible. The only vendor worth looking at was Pacific Fabrics, where I shop all the time. Left after 5 minutes. Husband instructed me to go to Eddie Bauer at Bellevue Square since it was only 4:05 and I hadn't planned to be home until after 6. Husband earned some serious points for that move. Actually found a few items worth buying at Eddie Bauer. I now have capris that fit.

Saturday: Cleaned my frightening bio-hazard of a home to ensure my sitter for the evening would be willing to return in the future. Took husband to the airport. Welcomed sitter with open arms. Went to Dinner Group at Dave and Leah's house and drank more beer.

Wow. Can't wait to get the pictures back.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

How Do You Solve A Problem Named Alice?

Last night at 11:00 I was crawling into bed when I realized that it had happened again--Alice the 14 year old passive aggressive neurotic cat peed on our bed. Lately this has been happening about once a week. I even started taking preventive measures and was putting this garish red and turquoise polka dot picnic blanket (with waterproof backing) on the bed. Apparently yesterday she found a small corner of the bed that was not covered by the picnic blanket and chose that as her spot. Nothing like remaking your bed at 11:15 at night. And now I get to wash my down comforter on the sanitizing cycle of my new washer again. I'm afraid the thing is going to disintegrate if I keep this up. It's an old comforter and probably should be replaced, but who has $200 for a new down comforter?!

So here is my dilemma--what do I do about Alice? She is a very sweet cat and spends 23 hours a day lying on top of our bed, or hiding under it. So locking her out of the bedroom would be flat-out cruel. I don't think she's horribly ill--she seems perky and is still getting out to eat and use her litter box. I know you are all wondering why I haven't carted her off to the vet by now. Taking Alice to the vet has got to be one of the most tramatic experiences of our married life. In 17 years of marriage. She FREAKS OUT. And the last time I had to take her in I called the vet for kitty valium and was told they would be happy to give me some if I brought her in. I explained that I need the valium to GET HER IN THE CAR and they didn't see my point. I then asked for some valium for myself....

And I am truly bothered by people who put their pets down simply because they have become bothersome. I understand that there are times when that action must be taken--Alice's older brother, Binx was put down about two years ago. Binx was quite ill and suffered two strokes. The day we decided to take him in was the day he became so disoriented that he fell from the 2nd story landing and then went to hide in his litter box. He was clearly suffering and it was a clear decision.

Truly, I don't know what to do about Alice. We love her and she has been a part of our family for 14 years. And she pees on my bed once a week! We know we don't have that much more time with her, but this can't be the reason her life ends. And did I mention how she FREAKS OUT when we pick her up and even take a step in the direction of the garage? Yes, we've tried putting her in a pillowcase, and a box, and a crate...and have the physical (and emotional) scars to prove it.

I guess I'm hoping that this a problem confined to just our bed. It's all washable and contained. I think I will really become distressed if this problem evolves to other parts of the house and I am forced to take action. Truth be told, I'm not sure what horrifies me more--having to deal with Alice's problem, or become a cat-house-that-no-one-wants-to-visit. Either way, it's the kiss of death.

Monday, April 9, 2007

And yet another Monday....

Today I am knee deep in a triple whammy--it's laundry day (again), it's the day after a major holiday, and it's the first day of Spring Break. When the kids asked if today could be pajama day, I thought that sounded like a fabulous idea!

I fully understand why holidays always stressed my mom out so much when I was growing up. Even when we try to take it easy, a significant holiday can affect my kids for a week. The night before Easter my out-of-town inlaws came for dinner. That in itself was cause for celebration for the boys. They were very excited to see Grandma and Grandpa and were little crazy people all day. And they ate nothing. They were offered food 3 times that day and chose not to eat.

Knowing the Easter Bunny was coming, Ryan was in our room at 1:30 am asking if it was time to go downstairs. I don't recall my actual words to him, but I'm banking on the fact that he can't actually recall them either. They were both up at 6:00 am, ready to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord by spreading Easter grass all over my living room and taking turns coming in to show us what the Easter Bunny brought. One item at a time. Around this time we discovered that the Easter Bunny had made a delivery to our front porch and had covered our lawn with candy filled eggs. Mike and I looked at each other and concluded that it must have been his parents. And I was beginning to rethink my decision to fill candy eggs and hide them in the living room.

See this darling Easter picture of my boys? Do you know the yelling that was involved to get Eric into that shirt? From both parties?

They then had breakfast with a jelly bean chaser and we went to church. After church they were once again served a meal that was not eaten. At all. We then went to Mike's sister Tiffany's house for Easter dinner (we had the boys fill their backpacks with stuff to do, and asked each of them to bring a pair of pj's for the ride home. Eric decided that was a wasted step and he came downstairs wearing the pajamas. In order to avoid a replay of the morning's activities, we threw our hands up in the air and hustled everyone into the van). Of course Grandma and Grandpa were there again and the boys absolutely adore their Uncle Marcus. They got to play video games, run around the basement, and hunt for more candy filled eggs. Knowing they would be completely aghast at the mere suggestion of eating the roast beef dinner the adults were having, we made the kids fish sticks and fruit cups. Nothing.

So by now they have eaten nothing but candy for two days (as I keep scolding the adults "I said NO MORE candy for them!), they are both sleep deprived, and Eric hasn't napped all weekend.

[side bar: we hinted all afternoon about the Easter Bunny's visit to our front yard. Mike's parents seemed really aloof and uninterested in the whole thing. Until it dawned on us that they didn't know what we were talking about. As in, they didn't do it. As in, some stranger gave our children candy that they've been eating]

By 6:45 it's time to go home to get the kids to bed and the six adults in the room are unable to corral two small boys. It seriously took us 20 minutes to get their shoes and jackets on.

Now this will come as a big surprise, but the boys complained about how hungry they were on the way home. And although they turned their noses up at the bananas and cereal offered them, they each did eat a bowl of cereal out of sheer desparation. Could not get them into bed fast enough.

And this morning: evil. Pouting, whining, crying, stomping...all before 9:00 am.

We did finally discovered the boys' benefactor--K.D from down the street. She is the 11 year old neighbor girl and budding babysitter. The boys adore her and she clearly thinks they are pretty swell too.

And on a happier note: I'm taking a break from knitting things for people to admire on Etsy and started on my $46 socks. Look at how yummy they are:

Thursday, April 5, 2007

$46 Socks

I discovered a new yarn store in Kent today. This was very bad. And to make matters worse, I received a "paycheck" for $85 for watching a friend's son and driving him to preschool (I do this twice a week and he attends the same preschool as Eric. I have Jacob for a total of 1 hour and it is the easiest hour of my week).

This is the first thing I found when I walked in the door: hand painted sock yarn by A Swell Yarn Shop ( . And in pink, brown, and white. With coordinating brown for the heel and toe. The softest sock yarn I have ever touched. And although I snatched the pink and brown immediately (although there was no one else in the shop, so I'm not sure what my sense of urgency was), I was torn by so many of her other designs as well. If any of my friends want a pair of $26.95 socks, just let me know--I don't have to wear them, I just need to knit them!

I also found Lantern Moon sock needles. I had seen them in a different store and fell in love with them. But at the time I resisted the urge. But here they were again--it was fate! They are gorgeous rosewood in a precious little ribbon bag. And my current sock needles are a menace. They have impaled me on more than one occasion, and one is bent. I just know Lantern Moon and I will get along famously. I was feeling so smug about my purchase until I realized that between the socks and the needles, this pair of socks has now cost me $46.00. I don't think my husband has figured this out yet, but if he reads it in the blog he can't say anything...what happens in the blog stays in the blog.

I also found the most extensive display of Cascade 220 I have ever seen. Which included two skeins of the perfect shade of cornflower blue for Cinderella. Sigh...So of course I bought those as well, but that's ok because I plan to return the two unused very expensive wrong-shade-of-blue skeins. And then I undid all of my work on Cinderella's skirt to start adding the correct most perfect shade of blue. I am going to be 87 years old when I finally finish her. So all in all, a most successful trip.

Then I picked Eric up from school and we returned to my bio-hazard of a home. Seriously, this place needs professional help. I have dirty laundry in baskets, and I have clean laundry in baskets. Some folded, some not. I put one group away, only for the purpose of reusing the basket. I managed to clean one bathroom (the small half bath), but the other 3 are truly frightening. The kitchen, well, there are no words. It looks like I haven't touched it in a month, when in reality it was gleaming just 24 hours ago. See why I'm not jumping at the chance to do it all over again? And then there's the playroom. How can two small boys, both of whom were at school today, manage to make such a disasterous mess and yet have "nothing to do and nothing to play with". And I would like to point out that we spent the afternoon outside today...Seriously, I don't understand how this can happen.

What does not surprise me is the fact that we are losing things in this place we call home. About 2 months ago the remote control for our bedroom tv went missing. This remote never leaves our bedroom. Ever. We have torn the place apart--nothing. And we keep thinking that it will turn up, but so far it hasn't. And the worst part? Realizing that you need to get out of bed at 11:20 pm to turn the tv off, after you've all but fallen asleep. A couple of nights ago I went Easter shopping and came home with egg dying kits for the boys. I bought a glitter kit and one from the movie Cars. Eric went nuts and insisted on taking it to bed with him. Whatever. In the 10 minutes that it was in his posession and we shooed him up the stairs, it disappeared. Seriously, home for 10 minutes and POOF! We have been looking for this 8 1/2 by 11 inch box for 3 days now. Perhaps it's under the towering pile of mail that is about to bury one of the children...

Did I mention that my inlaws are coming in from Michigan tonight? Fortunately they are staying with Mike's sister. If I had to accomodate house guests on top of all of this, I would have a complete breakdown.

But look what I am currently knitting while I ignore my household responsibilities:

It's going to be a "paper bag hat", with a ruffly thing that is tied up on top. It will be very cute and is to be the next addition to my Etsy store, where people browse, yet do not actually shop.
Perhaps someone will take pity on me and help fund the $46 socks.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


So, I ordered all of the yarn for the Cinderella Topsy Turvy doll. Webs has rather large, clear color palettes, and I felt pretty confident I was ordering just the right colors. The box came in just a few days, which again was very impressive. I was absolutely delighted when I opened the box, pulling out all of Cinderella's colors. Until I pulled out the lavender skein. It was suppose to be a cornflower blue. On the color palette it truly looked blue. Cinderella's ball gown is blue. But no, what I actually ordered is a very distinct lavender. The problem? I HATE purple. I really do. I generally have very little to do with anything purple if I can help it. Purple is the color of unicorns and fairytopia and little girls who tattle. I have always hated purple. I am not going to throw myself into this magnificent project and end up with a purple doll.

So I was able to start with the head and bodice, which went rather quickly. So quickly in fact, that I made two. This will be a piece of cake! I just need to zip to the yarn store and get the perfect blue yarn.

Poor Eric was thrown into the van and promised a variety of treats for yet another trip to Pacific Fabrics. My original intent was to purchase about $1.78 worth of ribbon for my Easter Bunny hats I've listed on Etsy. And if I happen to see a skein of blue yarn in just the right shade and weight, so much the better. I'm not sure what happened, but $46, one lollipop and box of raisins later, Eric and I were on our way home.

I've actually mastered the darling scalloped picot edge and am quite proud of myself. However, it is now apparent that the rest of the project will not go nearly as quickly as the head and bodice. Cinderella has a rather full skirt with 129 tiny stitches. I'm starting to think I was a little too ambitious in assuming I could whip up two of them. Perhaps my granddaugher will enjoy it.

On the kid front, yesterday The Reptile Guy came to Eric's preschool. I was so excited to go, simply to watch the pure joy on Eric's face. Eric is very introverted and often hides his emotions in public. But Eric loves reptiles so much...I just knew this would be the event for him.

Turns out, Eric even exceeded my expectations. He was truly in his element. The Reptile Guy was fantastic. He had an enormous toad, several lizards, an alligator, scorpion, iguana, and snakes. The snakes were saved for last, which just about drove Eric crazy. As each new creature was removed from it's carrier, Eric would shout "where are the snakes?!". For the grand finale The Reptile Guy had his pet boa constrictor slither across the laps of the kids. Eric had a look of sheer delight (that's Eric in the dark blue t-shirt). And how much do I love my baby? So much that I'm seriously considering The Reptile Guy for Eric's next birthday party. In my home. Reptiles. In my home. A live alligator. In my home. I think I may have to draw the line at the scorpion.