Sunday, September 30, 2007

Weekend Update

Peter's Birthday Gift
The arms really aren't that short--
I have the sleeves folded so they
will fit in the picture. Master
photographer, I am not.

I have been MIA this week, due to extreme knitting stress and an evil child, who shall remain nameless but he is 4 1/2 years old.

Peter's pirate birthday party is today! I finished his gift at 9:00 on Friday night. It is a pirate sweater (duh) from Little Badger Knitwear. And although it did give me a few fits along the way, I am quite proud of how it turned out. One of the arm holes is a little bunchy because for some reason the sleeve width was a little smaller than what I allowed for the arm hole (actually this should not be a surprise. Math has never been my friend), but I made it work and Leah will never notice if she doesn't look too carefully.

I did show it to Leah yesterday because she was at my house and I just couldn't wait. She was very excited and can't wait for Peter to see it. She said she may have to break her own rule and allow him to wear it to church (she and I have similar rules about church clothing--you can wear anything you want as long as it has no pictures or words). So 3 year old Peter will be a walking picture of living death at church. Hee hee hee!

I'm in a bit of a panic about the rest of my knitting projects. I have one more hat to knit for the boys' swimming teacher. I haven't started on the elephant for my new friend Faye in Australia, and I have exactly one month to create some inventory for Audrey's holiday bazaar. I'm also still working on Meghan's knit birthday cake and my mom just reminded me about the socks I promised to knit her. I was coming to terms with all of that when I received an email from Caitlin at Venue this week. Apparently they have moved my display to a larger and more prominent place in the shop. Yea for me! She also specifically requested more inventory because this time of year is one of their busiest. Gulp. I mean, this is not news to me. The weather is turning, Christmas is just a couple of months away...but the reality has hit me. The reality has also hit my family, as Ryan came to me this morning and told me he has no pants to wear to church. I looked in his drawer--no pants. Big empty place where pants should be. I did find a pair in a rather large pile of clean laundry in a basket on the dryer. It's been there for several days. Guess I should get on it, since I'm wearing my last pair of clean pants as well. Pants for Eric is not so much of an issue, as he is wearing pj's and his brand new Spiderman costume.

And as if all this were not enough, I just discovered this on Ravelry: a baby Viking hat. I must have it. I must knit it. Venue is located in the heart of Ballard, which is the Scandinavian capital of Washington (ok, fine, so is Poulsbo, and I'm sure a couple of other places, but just go with me here...). Ravelry is this new website that is all about knitters and their projects and patterns...I'm still trying to figure it out. I had to wait in line for over two months to be "invited", but now that I have access, I have to say it's pretty cool. Here is the problem. Mike. The designer of the Viking hat is only selling it as a kit. Kit, schmit, I want it. Mike keeps trying to rain on my parade by telling me how many hats I will have to sell to actually make a profit from the kit, let alone break even. I told you, math is not my friend . What I hear? Blah blah blah blah, money, blah blah blah, don't you have enough to knit, blah blah blah....

Switching gears a bit, I have so much to tell you about the Mariners game we went to last night where we WENT ON TO THE FIELD, but I'm going to wait until Mike's sister sends me the pictures.

Time to get to work. Today's project? Hmmmm....perhaps a snowman.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why Brad and Angelina can manage four kids....

....because they don't live in my house.

Honestly. These stars who keep picking up kids everytime they go to the grocery store. They just need to spend one week in my house, living my life. Brad and Angelina can manage their four kids because it's all they have to do. I know that Angelina has not sorted socks in about 12 years. If she saw the laundry pile I have waiting for me, she wouldn't know where to begin. These stars who never let their kids rot their brains by letting them watch tv? Big fat liars. Their nanny is the one who has to try and entertain four kids with no tv while Angelina is visiting the UN.

This has been the glamour in my life this past week: I have been painting the trim in my house. But before I can actually paint the trim, I have been spending HOURS AND HOURS sanding and scraping the old paint. The people who owned our house before we bought it were, let's just say, complete idiots. We discover evidence of this regularly. From the light switches that are attached to nothing, to the lack of sump pump, to the pink Victorian wallpaper in our kitchen, to the carpeting in the bathroom with the leaky shower--it didn't take us long to discover that we purchased a gem. The house is adorable--it's a cape cod with a large covered front porch, and a huge back yard. A gardener's dream. And we have spent the last 10 years trying to undo all of the inexplicable things the previous owners have done to the house. I could have a blog that focused solely on this house, there are so many issues.

Our house has Anderson wood framed double hung windows throughout. They are beautiful and I love them. We also have solid wood six-panel doors and wood trim, not to mention about 500 wooden spindles up the staircase. These geniuses painted each and every piece of wood trim, doors, and windows with oil over latex. Which means you can scrape it off with your thumbnail. And when I try to sand it to prepare it for painting, the paint immediately gums up and I have to scrape it all off. So I am sanding everything down to the bare wood, priming it, and painting it correctly. I will be doing this until I die. Wouldn't it be easier to just replace the trim? That would mean replacing every single door in my house, every single window, all of the window trim, all of the spindles--it would cost thousands and thousands of dollars to replace everything they painted with this weird buttery yellow oil paint. So I am slowly making my way through the house--scraping, sanding, and painting. I don't do it often because it is such an ordeal.

But this weekend I decided I could not stand to look at my one unpainted window in my living room any longer and the two door frames in the playroom, along with the new window in our new office that was still bare wood. I can't even tell you how many hours I spent removing the old paint, cleaning up, priming, and painting two coats of Benjamin Moore Linen White. And while I am patting myself on the back for a job well done, I can't help but panic over what I have abandoned while focusing on that project: the laundry, feeding my family, emails, knitting....Mike and I have had dinner at 8:00 the past two nights in a row.

Today I am going to fold laundry. I have about 7 loads to fold. Seriously. I also need to get a handle on the knitting situation: I am blocking Peter's present, which must be assembled before Sunday. I have three hats to knit for the boys' swimming teacher. I'm still working on the cake. I have Audrey's holiday bazaar and Venue. And a woman in Australia emailed me about a bunny I sold on Etsy--she is trying to knit an elephant from the same pattern and is stuck. She's a new knitter and for some reason I feel compelled to help her. She knits toys for under privileged kids and I'm up for the challenge. So I told her I would knit the elephant up and make notes on the areas she is having trouble with. Mike is rather annoyed about this last project, but I quit listening to his yarn complaints a long time ago.

And I need to purchase more paint-stripping sandpaper. I still have all of the spindles on my staircase, 5 door frames, and 6 doors which need to be sanded and painted. Did I mention I think I may be doing this for the remainder of my life?

So I have no time to adopt additional children, travel to Africa, or attend a Hollywood premier. I can't afford a nanny because I have to buy more sandpaper. And even though my kids clearly watch way more tv then the Brangelina kids do, mine are still smarter.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

To Whom It May Concern...

Dear members of the male species who live in this house:

As supreme ruler of all that takes place within this palace, I feel compelled from time to time to remind all of you who possess a Y chromosome about the functions of some basic household responsibilities.

1. Items found on the floor. Unless it is a piece of furniture, it should be assumed that an item found on the floor is not in it's correct location. This includes, but is not limited to, lightsabers, underwear, crayons, dvds, client files, the mail, and food. Contrary to popular belief, these items do not put themselves away. Stepping over them or kicking them under the couch is not an appropriate response.

2. The vacuum. Although our vacuum cleaner states it is self propelled, this does not actually mean it runs itself. That would be a Roomba. We do not own one of those. Our vacuum cleaner requires adult interaction in order to work properly.

3. Puzzle pieces, game pieces, action figures, markers, and all other random items that no one is able to live without. These do not belong in a big heap on the train table in the playroom. Nor do they belong in a big heap on the floor. There is a theme here. Nothing belongs in a big heap. Remember when you could not find the little suction cup rocket launcher thingies for your Spiderman web shooter? That is because they were not put away properly and were in a big heap somewhere. Only 98 out of 100 puzzle pieces? Big heap. Dried out marker with missing cap? Big heap. Gameboy game cartridge? Big heap. Daddy's wallet? Ok, that was actually found in his sportcoat pocket. But I have to question why it was missing for two days. Seeing the pattern yet?

4. Dust. Dust sucks. And yet we cannot prevent dust. We can only remove it. Dust rag, vacuum (see #2)--I'm not picky. Use your weapon of choice.

5. Sticky spots in the refrigerator and on the kitchen floor. It is a myth that these spots become less sticky and evaporate over time.

6. Laundry. Again, please refer to my "big heap" theory. This applies to both dirty and clean laundry. When you are sitting on the couch and can't see the tv because there is a huge pile of laundry on the coffee table blocking your view, the obvious solution is not to move to a different chair.

7. Papers. Where to begin. Let's start with paper scraps, shall we? If you are using scissors to cut out your Spiderman picture, the paper scraps do not belong in the Big Heap. You little people know what I am talking about. I can't even imagine how your teachers would react if you tossed your scraps on the floor at school. All that shrieking I do? Some if it could be avoided if you properly disposed of your paper scraps. Same goes for discarded drawings, junk mail, random pieces of tape, granola bar wrappers, pencil shavings, client files, your homework....

8. The broom. Not just for Quidditch any more.

9. The reason my teeny tiny corner of the office is such a mess all the time? See #'s 1-8.

10. The reason I drink? See #'s 1-9.

Next week's memo will be focused on meal times. Topic of discussion? Why Mommy is done cooking for little people who refuse to eat anything that is put in front of them if it is not a chicken nugget. A Banquet chicken nugget. As opposed to Tyson, or the Banquet marine life shaped nuggets which apparently taste vastly different than the regular shaped Banquet nuggets. There will be a quiz.

In closing, since I have spent my entire morning on my hands and knees with bathroom cleaner and a dust rag, tonight I will not be lifting a finger.

The Management

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Losing It

Items lost by my husband in the last 24 hours: 2 laptops and his wallet.

Items lost by me in the last 24 hours: my patience, my marbles, and my peace of mind.

Mike took my debit card to work with him today. I worry for the safety of my debit card. And for the safety of my husband should he return without it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Heavy Sigh......

Eric and I went to Venue today to drop off a few more things and check on my inventory. When I say Eric and I went to Venue, I really mean Spidey and I went to Venue, and I really mean that I forced/bribed him to go. The Spidey suit is literally coming apart at the seams and I accidentally caught the mask in the vacuum the other day, which did not help matters. But he insisted on wearing it again. As in, a new day has dawned, we've had the clean underwear argument, and it's 8:30 a.m. so it must be time put on the Spiderman costume for the 458th day in a row. You think I'm kidding. You think I'm exaggerating. This has been going on for such a long time, I cannot remember when it began. There are weeks when Eric has noticeably less laundry than the rest of the family because of the pajama/Spidey suit combo.

And although I rarely allow the boys to watch a video when we're just tooling around the city, I did let Eric bring a movie along (current favorite: Muppet Family Christmas) to prevent the usual amount of whining I experience when we have to drive on three different freeways to get to Venue.

When we arrived in Ballard Eric was greeted by several "Hi Spidey!"s, which annoyed him so much. I explain each time he wears it in public, people are going to notice. It is September. No one else is wearing a costume. Anywhere. You will be the one and only Spiderman on the street. People will take a second glance, elbow their neighbor, and snicker a bit. That is what grown ups do when they see a 4 year old in a Spiderman suit held together with duct tape and a binder clip walking down the street. I offered to help him take it off. Nothing doing. He is Spiderman, damn it! Just don't look at him!

At Venue I discovered that I had sold very little since my last visit. I did sell three cupcake hats, but that's all. No Minnie Mouse booties, no Bumblebee booties, no pumpkin hats...c'mon! What is wrong with you people?! And after seeing some of the same old things that have been there week after week after week, I decided to pull a few hats, and (sob) Cinderella to freshen up my display. Caitlin, the manager was very quick to tell me what a great idea that was, which led me to think that they have been having discussions about those hideous hats and that wretched doll.

So now I've convinced myself that the magic is over. People from all across the land have decided that The Knitting Queen's hats are soooo last month and they've moved on. I'm going to end up a crazy lady with 50 hand knit hats no one wants and CPS knocking at my door because my kids have been missing under a mountainous pile of laundry, eating goldfish cracker crumbs off the floor.

On the bright side, this give me a few more things to add to my Etsy site and bring to Mike's cousin Audrey's holiday bazaar.

I am nearing the finish line on Peter's birthday gift, which is good because his party is on the 30th. I'm still knitting the giant birthday cake and I was beginning to knit a darling pair of court jester booties, but now that no one will ever want my booties, ever, in a million years, maybe I'll just put those aside for a couple of days.

Adding insult to injury, our satellite receiver died today. It happens to us every couple of years and we're on a plan where they send us a new one, free of charge, so it's a minor inconvenience for a few days. We're moving the box from the kitchen into the living room during this time of trial and, although we won't have DVR capability for a few days, I think we might make it through this crisis. What I'm annoyed about is this: after hanging up with tech support, Mike asked me about upgrading our receiver to one where we can record one show while watching another. So I called Dish back and waited an eternity on the phone. When I finally got someone and asked the question, I was told that we're not eligible for that.

We're not eligible to get a better more expensive receiver that we are willing to pay for?



The computer tells them so.

Can I talk to someone else?

Apparently anyone I talk to at Dish will look at that computer and have no option but to recite that same information. They don't want more money from us and they don't want us to have a more enjoyable system.

Again, what would make someone not eligible for an upgrade?

Apparently they take things into consideration like length of contract and type of plan.

But we've been with you forever and have a cheap contract. Are you telling me we wouldn't be prime candidates for an upgrade?

Not according to the computer.

Can I speak with the person who put this information into the computer? Surely someone there must be responsible for making a decision.

Sure--let me put you on hold.

And of course we became disconnected.

I so want to call them back and continue this ridiculous argument where I offer them more money and they keep declining, but I don't have another 95 minutes to sit on the phone.

So that has been my day. Oh, did I mention that Eric refused to take a nap?

My silver lining? Mike told me that the Keith Urban concert had the most impressive video production he has ever seen at a concert. And this is from a man who saw Madonna in 1985. With his dad.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

And My Husband Lived To Tell About It

My husband attended the Keith Urban concert and did not spontaneously ignite into flames in the middle of it. He actually said the words "it was really good". He actually had a fairly good time. Of course, I think this may have had something to do with the vast amount of cleavage present last night. That, and the fact that Keith was fooling around and broke into the Violent Femme's "Blister in the Sun", which is one of Mike's favorite songs. It is even his ring tone on his phone. So now Mike can honestly say he is a Keith Urban fan.

Our seats were not great, as you can see by the picture, but the concert was projected onto a huge screen, which was very cool. I considered buying a t-shirt, but they were $40 and I needed all of that money to buy a bottle of water at the Key Arena. And realistically I would only wear the t-shirt to bed. Mike pointed out that really HE should wear the t-shirt to bed for me to enjoy it, and then the conversation just got weird. I didn't buy a t-shirt. I think my ears are still ringing a bit, but it was soooooo worth it. Really incredible show. Incredible performer. And beautiful to look at for 2 hours. Enough said.

Here is the other thing that has made me happy this weekend. I've already sold one birthday hat at Venue, so I'm going to make a few more. I forgot to take a picture of my first attempt at the birthday hat--maybe it was subconscious because it was so offensive looking. The first hat I made was white with pink stripes. And I had a large pink candle on top. The candle was a little too pink and a little to large, and a little too fat......I showed it to my bookgroup and asked if they thought it looked too phallic for a baby girl's first birthday. They were unable to answer me until after they stopped convulsing on the floor and wiped the tears from their eyes. I ripped that candle off and made a smaller, lavender one. I am now paying extra special attention to the candles I made for the birthday hats.

With my hearing loss from the concert you would think I wouldn't notice how completely annoying my family is being today. Unfortunately I am still able to hear every word they are all saying.

Only 6 more hours until bedtime.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Life Was Suppose To Get Better

I don't understand. Ryan is in school full time and Eric has 3 half days of school each week. Why is my life not better? Why do I have no time? For anything? My house is a complete disaster. No knitting is being accomplished. No blogging is getting done. My family has nothing to eat. I foolishly thought that, once school began, my orderly life would fall back into place and all would be well.

Instead I find myself driving to the bus stop and back. Then to preschool and back. Then back to preschool to pick up Eric. Then back to the bus stop to get Ryan. Then to swimming lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Then to Kid's Choir at church on Wednesdays. And I have to do Ryan's homework every day (I'm sorry, but when I was in school my parents did not have homework. When I was in school, 2nd graders did not home home work. And certainly not every day. Is the level of homework appropriate? Yes. Is he learning to build good study habits? Yes. Is he able to do his homework on his own without input from me every day? Absolutely not! Especially when his teacher keeps assigning him tasks that involve family members). So in between all of that I need to try and live my life. I have an hour to clean the bathrooms, then back in the car. An hour to do some laundry, then back in the get the picture. I have 12 half finished knitting projects and my Whirlpool Duet washing machine is on overload with sanitizing everything Alice has touched.

We had a mobile vet come this morning to see Alice the passive-aggressive-neurotic-peeing cat. We spent $200 to be told that Alice is just about the healthiest 15 year old cat they have ever seen. They suggested a $119 blood test to determine if she has diabetes, but we nixed that, explaining that even if she does have diabetes, there is no way we are going to pay for insulin and actually give her injections twice a day. I'm sure they think we're abusing her and are calling PETA right now. The only thing that really made sense to us and made the visit worthwhile (other than knowing that she is healthy) was their suggestion that we put a litter box in the bathroom upstairs. They explained that her litter box is just too far away and it's not worth it for her to traipse all across the house when she could just as easily pee right where she is. So we'll try that. And then I'll get to clean up cat litter all over the floor of the boys' bathroom. Leah suggested that I accidentally drop a brick on her head. That is still a viable option.

This morning Mike's cousin Audrey called and invited me to participate in her annual Christmas bazaar. Each November she has several artists/vendors in her home selling their wares and she has a big open house. I'm really excited! And in a panic. I have 6 weeks. I have 6 whole weeks. I only have 6 weeks. And did I just mention that I spend all my time in the car these days?

So I have nothing coherent to say in this post. I am only capable of ranting, while trying to figure out how other people get anything done on the maid's day off.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Floats Like A Butterfly, Stings Like A Bee

Don't let the look on his face fool you. The "webs" the doctor sewed into Eric face seem to have given him extra super powers. Eric has been able to leap tall buildings in a single bound since the incident and has had no ill effects. He thinks he looks pretty cool, too. We all should be so lucky.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Bugs Bunny badge of courage

Today was Eric's open house at preschool. The open house for the preschool he does not want to attend, which is located in our church, which is the exact same preschool his brother attended, and the class which is taught by our good friend, Meghan. He did not want to go. He told me several times in the car that he did not want to go and that he does not like school. I tried to give him a pep talk all the way there and spent quite a bit of time in the classroom showing him how much fun he is going to have.

Eventually he did loosen up and started to play with the other kids (for heaven's sake--most of them were in his class last year and some of them are also in his Sunday School class. Talk about throwing him to the wolves!). All was going well and I thought things were starting to look up when it happened. He was walking (not running, not jumping, not fooling around, not doing anything but walking) when he tripped and cracked his head on the little table next to him. The little table with the safe round rubberized edges to prevent this very thing from happening. He started sobbing and I sat with him assuring him everything was just fine, until I realized that I had blood on my shirt (my white shirt). So then I stood there like an idiot wondering what to do when a couple of moms assured me that Yes, I really should take him in. To the doctor. To get stitches. In 7 years of raising boys, we have never had the injury-related visit to the ER. So it truly took me a few moments to understand that really, truly, this was that time.

Our pediatrician's office took one look at him and ordered us to Children's Hospital. Children's Hospital in Seattle is wonderful. People travel from all over the country (and yes, all over the world) to this hospital. The level of care is unparalleled. And it is very far away from my house and located in one of the most congested area of Seattle. Children's Hospital is situated just outside of the University of Washington campus and traffic is terrible there 24/7. But to Children's we went. Mike met us there and, long story short, Eric received 4 stitches from 2 of the nicest doctors I have ever met.

He got a Popsicle, a Bugs Bunny band aid, and could not wait to get home and tell Ryan all about it. No tears, no whimpering, and now he is racing around the house as if he could leap tall buildings in a single bound.

So much for a great first impression of preschool. I'm sure he'll forget all about it when it comes time for me to drop him off on Monday.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

D Day

Mike made an appointment with an at-home vet for Alice. I don't know how he found one that will actually come to our home, but he did. So next Thursday, for the tune of at least $150, we will learn of Alice's fate. When talking to the vet, Mike learned that Alice could be suffering from a bladder infection. While I highly doubt that, as her peeing is SO SO SO behavioral, and she proved it once and for all by having ZERO accidents during our vacation, it would be nice to actually be able to treat her issue rather than ending it all.

As Leah pointed out to me today, Alice is senile. If she were human, she would be 95 years old and suffering from a severe case of dementia. And the sad truth is, many elderly humans develop some strange behaviours. Alice is suffering and something needs to be done about it.

The one thing that I'm not too happy about is the fact that we need to contain Alice at least an hour before the appointment, in a bathroom or a crate. I would rather chew off my own arm. And if I try to shove Alice into a crate, she may chew the arm off for me, saving me the trouble. But Mike agreed to stay home that morning to help, so that won't induce any marital discord--2 frantic humans trying to drag a senile neurotic passive aggressive peeing cat out from under our bed. I jest, but I really do appreciate Mike's willingness to stay home from work and help.

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

One Down, One To Go

I have been unable to blog for the last few days due to the fact that Eric has become evil. He whines, talks in this high-pitched baby voice for no reason, spits, throws things, laughs maniacally and runs away when asked to do something, fights with his brother....Eric use to be my easy kid. I know that all 4 1/2 year old boys go through an evil streak. I know that. And yet that is very little comfort right now.

Yesterday we went to Ryan's school to meet his 2nd grade teacher. Eric recognized immediately that the morning was not about him. So he decided to completely make it about him. He would NOT keep his hands off Ryan. I told him repeatedly, in as stern a voice as I will allow myself in public, to keep his hands to himself. He was physically incapable of doing so. He then turned his attention to me and started to whine and cling to me "caaaaarrrrrryyyyy mmmmeeeeeee". He then asked me about 587 times to go to the car and get his pad of paper. When that failed, he asked for a place to sit. All of the 2nd graders were sitting at their desks and he wanted to sit too. And yet every chair and every place I offered him was not acceptable. All of this happening in his fake high-pitched whining baby voice (that I ask him to stop using about 45965 a day because it's like listening to a dog whistle), while I am trying to explain to him to please just wait a few minutes because I have to help Ryan put away the 3 BAGS of school supplies I schlepped to school and I would really like to introduce myself to Ryan's teacher without shrieking. I know the other moms there were looking at me with a mix of pity and disdain because I brought an evil child with me and I was unable to control him. Eric begins preschool on Monday. Can NOT be soon enough.

Ryan is quite delighted to begin the 2nd grade today, despite the fact that his 4 best buddies are all in different classes, and very happily got on the school bus without needing me to follow along and meet him at school. That has been the best part of my day.

Venue is going to feature me in their on-line news letter this month. Eric and I will be making a trip there tomorrow, as a outing designed to keep us from hurting each other, with a visit across the street to Cupcake Royale thrown in as a reward. My stuff continues to fly off the shelves there, which excites me and stresses me out at the same time. I will have a new pair of Minnie Mouse booties for them (I'm sure I can whip up the other one this afternoon), as well as duck flippers and bumblebee booties.

I also have some court jester booties I am dying to make, but it has taken me several tries to understand the directions and when I finally figured it out I realized that I would not have enough yarn. Can I wait until Monday, when I am FREE, FREE AS A BIRD to go to the yarn store and putz around til my heart's content? Or do I risk taking Eric with my on Friday after his open house?

One thing I do know--Mike only has 10 days left to try and worm his way out of the Keith Urban concert.