Sunday, October 28, 2007

Separated at birth?

Friday, October 26, 2007

M. I. A.

I have been missing in action from my blog this week. I would have taken a picture of all of the hats I have been knitting, but uploading the pictures takes time and frankly, I can't be bothered right now.

Audrey's holiday bazaar is in 6 days. Less than one week. I have become a knitting fiend. And I have to say, a significant portion of my stress is the fact that I don't know how many hats to knit. I've never done this before and I've developed a sort of bi-polar attitude toward my progress. In a 60 second period I can swing from "Oh my word I'm a crazy person who has just spent the last month knitting 500 hats" to "I'm going to sell out in 10 minutes, and then what will I do?". I don't know what to expect. And yet I keep knitting. Diane from Venue has told me to start bringing the holiday items, so I'm feeling that pressure as well. To date I have:

a pile of plush cupcakes
a pile of felted pears
3 snowman hats
2 candy cane striped stocking caps
1 viking hat
8 cupcake hats
2 pumpkin hats
1 strawberry hat
1 watermelon hat
1 blueberry hat
5 different hats that I think are adorable, but no one on Etsy seems to think so

It's been all knitting all the time. And I have a special order to do, I still working on that birthday cake, I have my mom's socks, and Ryan keeps checking in with me to make sure I have the right yarn to make his Harry Potter bookscarf from my new birthday book.

Oh yeah, and I have a family and a life to lead. And by "a life to lead" I mean it's my job to make sure other people in this house have a life. I cleaned the bathrooms yesterday. It had been a while. A long while. The kids were commenting. So I spent some serious time cleaning bathrooms. Alice's new litter box is in the boy's bathroom and between the boys and Alice, that room is practically a bio-hazard. When I'm not looking I think Alice is sneaking a little shovel into the bathroom and digging a hole in her litterbox, tossing the contents of the shovel over her little kitty shoulder. On to the bathroom floor. I have to clean that up twice a day. NOT that I'm complaining, mind you. Alice has not had an accident in weeks--even though she is too lazy to take her 15 year old bones down to the laundry room litterbox, we are delighted that she has agreed to use the litterbox 7 feet away from our bedroom. I have to tell myself that each and every time I clean up the cat litter.

I have boys to take to school, swimming lessons, birthday parties, kid's choir and playdates. I have laundry. L A U N D R Y. I have thank you notes to write for birthday gifts I received 2 weeks ago. Notes I really want to write because I received some very thoughtful gifts. These people who live here keep telling me they want to eat. Most of them don't actually eat what I give them, but I still feel obligated to provide them with food when they ask for it. And then I feel the need to clean up the food. And today we're having lunch with Ryan at school because he is a Student Of The Month, and Students Of The Month get to eat at a special table, invite their families (who are instructed to bring McDonalds. It's really funny--a big long table lined with McDonald's bags, because that seems to be the universal special lunch of choice) and hear a presentation from the Principal.

I've volunteered in Ryan's class, and I've volunteered in Eric's class. I completely cleaned my kitchen from top to bottom--including washing out the pantry and the refrigerator--because we brought fruit flies home from the grocery store (Mike and I spent hours cleaning out the kitchen on Saturday. Hours. And we still have fruit flies). I repaired my garden after the septic tank guy came and I've made about 3 trips to Target this week.

THAT is why I have not been blogging.

Friday, October 19, 2007

People have been shot doing this...

Yesterday was a crazy day. There was a big storm predicted for the Seattle area, but I had plans to go to Venue, so to Venue I went. I had a bag of new hats, including this Viking Hat. When I showed it to Diane, the owner, she squealed. Literally, squealed. Then ran to the back room to show Caitlin. Diane said they're going to place bets on how fast it sells. And I need to make sure I make plenty for Viking Days. Viking Days--I forgot all about Viking Days! Isn't this hat just a scream?!

Eric and I went back home and hung out, waiting for the storm to really kick into high gear. Which it did around 2:30. Our neighborhood lost power and we didn't get it back until 3:00 am. I know that is when it finally came back on because everything came back on. Lights, tv, washing machine (which had been in the middle of a cycle when the power went out)--so I had to walk around the house at 3:00 in the morning and turn everything off. This was about an hour after Eric woke us up shrieking because the little battery powered touch-light we gave him burned out. We all then woke up around 7:30, which is pretty late if your 7 year old has a bus to catch at 8:00. Needless to say, I was very tired this morning, and had quite a bit to do, since I had been without power for 13 hours.

So after dropping Eric off at preschool, I came back home to tidy up and get some laundry done. I decided to take a couple of minutes to check my email in the office when I heard a sound. In the house. I am suppose to be alone in the house and I am hearing noises coming from inside the house. I heard the sound of footsteps, clicking on the hardwood floor. The last time I heard that sound, it was a squirrel in my house. Only the more I listened, I decided they were human footsteps. There was another human in my house. Or a squirrel. Or a human. Or a squirrel. I was really starting to panic when I realized it was the sound of a human wearing size 10 1/2 dress shoes. Attached to the soon-to-be-deceased father of my children.

Mike had come home at 10:00 in the morning. Without calling or warning me. And I didn't hear him come through the door because, well, we have door issues right now. Really, we have house issues right now, as in our house has many many many issues. One of them being our doors. Our front door is always locked and it has a safety lock on the inside to keep Eric from opening the front door. So when we come home we can't use the front door. We've always used the garage door opener, but our garage door needs to be replaced--it's falling apart and the opener won't work. It opens it, but can't close it. Or the other way around. Whatever--it's broken. We can open it manually, but it's heavy and a pain. So we've been using our mudroom door to get in and out of the house. Problem with that is, that door is broken too. It's as ancient as the garage door and desperately needs to be replaced. The locks don't work from the outside and the only way to make sure it is truly shut is to deadbolt it, but the key won't work in the deadbolt, so you can only deadbolt it from the inside. During the day we leave it unlocked and use that door to go in and out. Yes, what I am saying is we have 2 broken unlocked doors, just begging for someone to break in. Only if someone broke in, they would be so frightened and disappointed by what they saw, they would immediately leave and look for better prospects.

Don't get me wrong--I don't take the door issue lightly. But it is what it is and we need about $2500 worth of doors, locks, and openers to fix this problem. This is how we're making due. Only with the windstorm yesterday, we had to deadbolt the mudroom door because it kept blowing open, and use the heavy, broken garage door to get in and out of the house. And this is how Mike got in. He pushed up the garage door, walked in through the garage, and quietly walked into the house. I didn't hear any of this. I just heard an intruder in my dining room. Or another squirrel.

When I realized it was Mike, all I could do was start yelling at him. "What are you DOING? WHY are you HERE? You nearly gave me a HEART ATTACK! You couldn't have called?!" And all the yelling made Mike start to laugh because apparently it never occurred to him that his little surprise visit might startle me. And when I told him I thought it might be another squirrel (and honestly, I'm not sure which I was more concerned about--another squirrel or an intruder), he responds with "Why would you think there was a squirrel in the house?" like it would be totally inconceivable that we would have a 3rd squirrel in the house. Those first 2 made sense, but a 3rd? Please. The more I yelled, the more he laughed. Apparently he had been in the neighborhood and needed to print out something for a client and decided to do it at home rather than find a Kinkos. Not once did he think it necessary to warn me he was coming home at a time that I expect NO ONE to be at home.

And then, just like a man, Mike started to hint...we're alone....YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! I'M STILL RECOVERING FROM A STROKE HERE AND YOU WANT TO KNOW IF I'M IN THE MOOD?! And he honestly gave me a look like I was the one being completely unreasonable. At that point I was actually sorry it had not been a squirrel. Or an intruder. Or that I didn't have a baseball bat in my hands.

When Mike returned home this afternoon he shouted "IT'S ME, MIKE. I'M HOME!" from the kitchen doorway.

I really need to find that baseball bat.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How do you know a 4 year old needs a nap?

When he started crying uncontrollably, lamenting that he is NOT tired and does NOT need a nap, and then proceeds to go down the laundry list of everything in his life that he hates.

Nap time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

But what if I don't want to Get Things Done?

Mike has been reading books by this organizational guru/freak about Getting Things Done. GTD. That's all I hear these days. GTD. David Allen says this, David Allen says that...let's Get Things Done! This wacko, who I think lives with his mother and their 14 cats, has this system for how to organize your office, papers, boxes of important things that you never look at, your inbox, email, voicemail, actual mail.....Mike is trying to apply these systems to all areas of his business, my house, and now he is trying to convert me. What this means for me is piles and piles of papers and files "in the works", and a critical eye over my half of the office. I suddenly find I have an important phone call to make right around the time Mike starts to talk about GTDing my stuff.

The other day Mike started looking at some of our living room furniture. My mom sells antiques and I think I have yet to return home from a trip to Whidbey Island without a treasure I cannot live without. She finds incredible bargains and is happy to pass them on to me. Like the double-signed/triple matted Charles Wysocki currently hanging in my living room that she bought for $40 at a garage sale. Or the precious silverware caddie that looks adorable next to my fireplace, found for $45. And although Mike clearly benefits from my mom's shopping talents as well as I do, he does get a little wary when my mom says "let's run out to the shop for a few minutes. I have some new things to show you..."

A place for everything, and everything in it's place
At least now I can justify the
existence of this silverware
caddie to my husband.

I think my stashes of yarn have been starting to get to Mike. They are everywhere. In baskets, in piles, in bags, and stuffed on top of books in the bookcase in the office. My knitting needle collection has not much better. And it just so happens that I have an antique desk and a silverware caddie with nothing in them. Empty drawers. Wouldn't it be a good idea for me to organize my yarn and needles and make use of our existing furniture at the same time?

Damn that David Allen. He is actually starting to make sense. So I spent all Saturday morning clearing yarn and all other knitting paraphernalia from every nook and cranny and placing it all into the desk and silverware caddie. It is actually convenient. And helpful. And quite useful. Damn it.

This yarn bowl/holder/caddie thingy came from my mom's shop. I can't even remember how little she paid for it, but of course I had to have it. And of course I have to use it.

Even though I still loathe David Allen and all he stands for (because, thanks to him, I have piles of papers and client files all over my dining table where a tablecloth and attractive centerpiece should be) I will admit to you, my faithful readers that in this one particular circumstance, David Allen has a point. But hear this, Mike--I am NOT David Allenizing the rest of the office. Life is too short.

I am still knitting like a mad woman. I'm part way through the viking hat and I LOVE it! They sent the kit with Karabella wool, which is just about my bestest favoritest yarn. When I emailed them to ask for the horn directions because apparently the girl viking is suppose to have wings, which I can't even talk about, Bella Knitting was so nice about it and sent me the entire boy pattern for free. I'm planning a trip to Venue on Thursday and I will be extremely annoyed and blame David Allen if I don't get this hat finished by then.

I also just finished a special order from Venue for a pair of baby mittens and I'm just about to get started on another Venue special order for an adult ski hat. The boys' swimming teacher wants another hat, and I have just 2 weeks until Audrey's gift show. Whew! I'm out of breath just thinking about all of it! I still have to finish the bottom of Meghan's birthday cake and I can't even begin to tell you the restraint it is taking to keep me from starting anything from Charmed Knits: Projects For Fans of Harry Potter. Sounds weird and little obsessive I know, but this book is truly adorable. Precious. Must knit one of everything. Leah gave the book to me for my birthday and I know she was as excited to give it to me as I was excited to receive it.

Perhaps if I knit myself a magic wand I would be able to Get Things Done!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rodney Atkins said it best....

My family is recovering today from a trip to my parents' house yesterday. The Prince of Darkness himself woke up in Eric's room this morning. At 5:00 a.m. Let's go back in time and see how the day went, shall we?

My parents had invited us up to their house on Whidbey Island for a birthday lunch, as my birthday was last Wednesday and Mike's is this coming Wednesday. My 9-year-old niece, Ellie and her 6-year-old brother, Jack had been staying the weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's, so we thought it would be a delightful time up on the farm for the boys to see their grandparents and their cousins.

We left our house around 9:30 in the morning, ran through the Starbucks drive-thru, and were on our merry way by 10:00. The freeway was clear, the boys were happily watching a dvd in the back of the van, and there was no line for the ferry. Zero. We literally drove up to the ticket booth, then immediately drove onto the ferry. It was such a happy little trip, I'm surprised we didn't see cartoon birdies flying around our van all the way up to Whidbey.

We had a delightful time at mom and dad's, ate lunch and birthday cake, the kids played, Mike watched football, I started knitting my mom's socks and showed my parents the Viking Hat (my dad, a Norwegian born and raised in Ballard, had some design tips on making the horns just right), again--a complete fairy tale day, except for the moment when Ellie socked Jack in the nads while the kids were all in the hottub.

Ellie and Jack's parents were back home from their weekend away, so Mike and I agreed to take the kids home since it was on our way. No sense in Caroline and Jeremy coming up, or in my dad taking the kids back to Seattle when we were going to be practically driving through their neighborhood. And then all 4 kids could spend more time together. In our van. On the drive home after a long day. This is what Mike and I like to call fiveshadowing (NPR had one of their game shows where people make up words and funny definitions for the words. Fiveshadowing is a blatantly more obvious form of foreshadowing).

Ryan and Jack ended up in the very back of the van--a 6 year old and 7 year old boy, sitting side by side in an enclosed area. Eric was in his usual seat in the middle section, and Ellie was next to him. Ellie is a very sweet, loving, sensitive young lady. She is also extremely moody, emotional, feisty, and has been a pre-pubescent in training since she was about 18 months old. We all fear for the day she actually turns 13 (on the flip side, no guy will ever mess with her. Ever).

So we very happily drove away from my parent's home for the 4 minute drive to the ferry dock. Only to discover the 2 hour wait up the hill. Ryan and Jack were in rare form and spent that entire 2 hours burping, giggling, laughing hysterically, and talking about Star Wars at a volume level reserved for rock concerts, not a tight-knit group in a van. Eric was watching a dvd and Ellie was using her free time to brood. And about once every 3 minutes she would order Jack to pipe down using the most disgusted tone of voice she could come up with.

After 2 full hours we finally made in onto the ferry, let the kids wreak havoc on the boat, bought them each a treat from the vending machine, then set off for home. Got on I-5 going south, thinking we would be at Ellie and Jack's house within 20 minutes, and ran smack into a horrific accident. All but one lane was closed off for miles. In the dark. At dinner time. After already being together for 2 1/2 hours after a long long day on the farm after Ellie and Jack spent an entire weekend on the farm. For whatever reason, this prompted Ryan and Jack to up the ante:

Ryan: Hey Jack, I have something to tell you

Jack: What?

Ryan: Use the Force!

Both: Haaa haa haaa heee heee heee (wiping tears from their eyes), whooooooo hooo hooo

Ellie: (through gritting teeth) be quiet!!

Jack: Hey Ryan, I have a question for you

Ryan: What?

Jack: Use the Force!

Both: Bwaaaaaaaahaaaaa haaaa!!! Heeee heeee heee heee......

Ellie: I said be quiet!

This went on for 30 minutes while we sat on the freeway trying to get past the accident. At this point, Mike and I gave up. We had tried placating Ellie, we had asked Ryan and Jack to keep it down to a dull roar--they were too far gone. So I turned up my ipod, which was running through the car stereo and started hand picking songs to liven things up. We first blasted AC/DC's Shook Me All Night Long. Will Smith got Jiggy Wit It, Eric bopped along to Josh Turner's Firecracker, and The Eagles had a Heartache Tonight. While the Eagles were singing "somebody's going to hurt someone/before the night is through/somebody's going to come undone/there's nothing we can do" I know Ellie was starting to plot our demise. She was trying to decide who to bump off first--Ryan and Jack for acting like a couple of giggling maniacs, or Mike and I for not tying them to the top of the van for the ride home so Ellie could brood in peace and quiet, as brooding should be done.

I then picked a song which I felt summed up the entire 3 1/2 hour trip--Rodney Atkins If You're Going Through Hell (If you're goin' through hell keep on going/Don't slow down if you're scared don't show it/You might get out before the devil even knows you're there) Around that time we arrived at the scene of the accident and saw all the commotion--a car that was completely upside down and had clearly flipped a few times before coming to a stop. So we tell the kids--wow--look at that car. What a terrible accident. To which Ellie replied "O. M. G." Mike and I had to turn the music up louder so she wouldn't hear us laughing.

We arrived at Caroline and Jeremy's around 7:00, walked in the door, and I said "to quote your daughter, O. M. G."

This morning was picture day at preschool. One of the 3 days a year I actually insist on picking Eric's clothes. He gets 362 days to wear what he wants. I get 3 and this is one of them. So glad I got to have that battle on the morning after the car trip through hell and back, when the Dark Lord himself arose to greet me at 5:00 this morning by yelling demands from his bed because apparently his legs were temporarily broken. I told him he could have gummy worms if he would wear the shirt. "I want 4". "Sold".

Thursday, October 11, 2007

2 Days Closer to Death

I know anyone over 40 reading this is just rolling their eyes at me, but I am seriously having a little crisis here. I am 39. 39 years old. 363 days away from being 40. I always thought that my life would be so different at 40. I would have traveled, have matching furniture, finally figured out what to do with my hair...I don't know why I thought all that. 40 just seemed like such a long way away. I remember when my parents turned 40. I was in college. And here I am--that same age, wearing my Old Navy clothes, plumping up the pillows on my hand-me-down couches, running a 7 year old and a 4 year old to school every day.

Being ME at 39 does have it's good points. Yesterday Mike and the boys took me to Red Robin for dinner and I was carded when I ordered a margarita. I do look younger than Mike, despite the fact he is an entire week younger than I am, so there is some justice in the world.

Our day began yesterday with Ryan in our room at 4:00 a.m. asking if it was time to get up for Mommy's birthday. As it was indeed my birthday, I chose not to acknowledge him and let Mike deal with him. I finally got up around 6:45 when Ryan asked me, very nicely, for the second time if I would like to get up and go downstairs. The boys had hung up a couple of happy birthday banners and were literally jumping up and down waiting for me to open my presents. Which they then opened for me. From the boys I received the complete first season of I Love Lucy on dvd. The boys know how much I adore I Love Lucy and when Ryan was younger he thought every black and white show on tv was called Lucy. Last week TVLand had a Lucy marathon which I Tivo'd, so the boys and I have been watching a lot of Lucy. They great thing about it is, even though much of the dialogue is over their heads, there is a ton of hilarious physical comedy. And Ricky speaks Spanish, just like Dora.

Mike gave me a table-top swift (an accordion like thing for winding yarn) and a ball winder, so he rocks! The boys were very excited to see it in action, so I promptly put a skein of yarn on it and proceeded to mess the whole thing up and had to unwind it by hand and then use the ball winder to wind it up again. All 3 of them looked at me like "what do you need that thing for? we've seen you make a mess of your yarn without all the fancy new tools". So I'll try to redeem myself today.

I then had lunch with a friend and proceeded to go shopping without looking at the clock because Mike was taking the day off to deal with the boys for me. It didn't take him long to figure out why I get so cranky on Wednesdays, after driving Ryan to school, then driving Eric to school, then coming home for an hour and a half, then picking Eric up, then having a 15 minute lunch, then picking Ryan up, then coming home for 20 minutes, then driving Ryan to the doctor, then going to Kid's Choir at church that evening. All that, and he had to dig some holes in the back yard, in the rain, to prepare for the septic guy today...I, on the other hand, went to 2 yarn stores, the bookstore, and bought a new coat at Costco for $29. And when I returned home, the Viking Hat was waiting for me! Hee Hee!

My head is so full of things to knit for Venue and Audrey's gift show, I just don't even know where to begin. I'm cranking thing out as fast as I can.....cupcake hats, fruit caps, snowman hats, pumpkin hats....and have a special order for some baby mittens and another hat for the boys' swimming teacher. Eek! I guess I better get my 39 year old fingers moving.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The End is Near

Tomorrow I turn 39 years old.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Our 15 Minutes of Fame

Last Saturday Mike's sister Tiffany invited us to be their special guests at the Mariner's game because Marcus was to sing the National Anthem again. So we ran the kids over to Walter and Shirley's as fast as we could and high-tailed it to downtown Seattle.

As special guests of Anthem Guy, we were allowed entrance in the hoity-toity door, where all of the people inside just looked like money. The hair, the make up--even in jeans and sweatshirts the women just exuded money. And this is how we looked.

The Press Room
Mike trying to answer
the questions from the "press"

We hung around this special elite lobby for a while, scarfing down kettle korn becasue we were so hungry. And of course we left a trail of kettle korn all over the floor. No one else was eating, so maybe that just "isn't done", but we were seriously faint with hunger. I know they whipped out a vacuum to clean up after the riff-raff as soon as we left.

We were then escorted to the Press Room. THE PRESS ROOM. Apparently Marcus usually goes into the Green Room, but that was occupied by Kevin Durant from the Sonics and he does not share his space. So the 5 of us had the run of the Press Room (a very funny opera friend was with us). We all just sat there for a couple of minutes saying "we are in the Mariner's Press Room. THE Press Room...." And then we all took turns sitting at the mic answering smart ass questions from each other. Mike was both Lou Pinella and John McLaren. But he didn't throw anything. Just swore a little when I asked the all important and pressing question "...and when do you think you'll be buying your wife some new clothes", just as a family with a couple of little boys entered the room. So we left and went out onto the field.

Before the anthem
Yep, that's us, ON THE FIELD, at Safeco Field,
just before Marcus sang. Everytime we
took a step a member of the grounds
crew would rake over our footprints.
It is apparently someone's full time
job to make sure there are absolutely
no footprints anywhere on the field. At all.

Yep, that's right, we went out on the field. We stood right next to the visitor's dugout, saw New York Vinnie walk by, and had our picture taken with the Mariner Moose. Mike, Tiffany, and I then got to remain on the field while Marcus sang, and then we all went to our seats.

Our padded seats. In row 3. Behind Jay Buehner's family. Next to the Mariner's dugout where Arthur Rhoades tossed baseballs to the fans between innings. Where the attendant met me on the stairs and helped me to my seat because my beer was spilling all over my fish and chips. Those seats. The last time I had seats even remotely close to those was a Spring Training in 1998. And I'm sure I'll never see them again. We did have such a great time!

In other news, I am delighted to report that Alice has received a stay of execution. The traveling vet had recommended a litter box upstairs, which we did, and for the first couple of weeks Alice was completely blind to its existence despite my repeated attempt to show it to her. And then suddenly, she is using it. She is using it every day and has not had an accident anywhere for a week. Mike and I have been gushing over her, telling her how proud we are of her, and I am horrified at how close I came to poisoning her food. But that is how desperate I was. We are still protecting our bed and keeping the boys' bedroom doors closed, but our long national nightmare appears to be over. For now.

The knitting front: Hats for the swimming instructor. Check. Peter's sweater. Check. Trip to Venue to drop off 3 more hats (via Mike). Check. Australian Faye's elephant--on the needles. Inventory for Audrey's show--I'm working on it, but every time I complete something for it, it sells. I know, I know--it's a good problem to have. But I truly am in a panic over having enough for her show. I'm close to being done with an absolutely darling snowman hat, but my sister called yesterday and asked if I have anything seasonal for a newborn baby. You mean like a 3/4 finished snowman hat? Yep, that would be perfect. And she needs it by Tuesday. And I've convinced Mike to let me buy the Viking Hat. I may have to hide it from myself when it arrives to prevent abandonment of all current projects. Perhaps I could just toss it into one of the boys' rooms. Or in the vicinity of my husbands "important papers". Or in the playroom. Then it would be lost forever.