Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Where is our 15 minutes of fame?

Snowstorm #4 here. 4th storm in 2 weeks. In Seattle. We are having Duluth, MN like weather in Seattle and are completely ignored by the media. Watching the Today Show, they are all about the snow in the midwest and the east coast. OOO--Detroit has 10 inches of snow...See, SEATTLE has a FOOT of snow. On Christmas Eve. Snow in Detroit is not news. That is called December. And really, a little snow in Seattle is not news either. We get snow. I have lived here for 40 years and I can tell you, we get snow. And since Seattle is built on 7 hills, unlike Detroit or Minneapolis, which have, um zero hills, there are reasons the city shuts down when we get snow and subfreezing temperatures.

But here's the thing. This is our 4th storm in 2 weeks. Our snow never went away. It just keeps growing. We don't get Buffalo, NY white Christmases. I'm used to a rainy Christmas. Or a couple of flakes. Or 50 degrees and overcast. A foot of snow on Christmas in Seattle? That is worth a mention on the Today Show, don't you think? Stupid east coast bias.

This is a picture out my back door. I have nearly a foot of snow on my deck and it comes right up to the back door. Those swings in the background? They are touching the snow. The ground has risen up to the level of the swings.

No idea what this means for our Christmas plans. No idea. Our Christmas Eve plans have already been cancelled, thanks to the fact that Marcus the Opera Singer threw up 5 times yesterday. NOTHING will entice me in to a house where someone has thrown up. Nothing. Not Christmas, not getting my hands on that baby, Nothing. 5 TIMES? Forget about it.

As for tomorrow...don't know. My family is to come from all ends of the city. And they have most of the food. Which means if our family Christmas is rescheduled, we'll be eating corn dogs and chardonnay for Christmas dinner.

On the furnace front, I got an early Christmas gift. The other day I noticed what I thought was a gas leak. And Mike, who thinks I overreact to everything, actually called Puget Sound Energy to come and check it out. They said there was no leak, but they did trace the issue to our furnace and explained that because it was taking our burners too long to fire up, too much gas was being expelled into the air. And that the safety mechanism on our furnace was what was keeping it from turning into a giant bomb in our laundry room.

As I was thinking about revising my will and leaving all of my yarn to science, the PSE guys called out their furnace expert, who took the whole thing apart, made some adjustments to our burners, put it all back together, and declared it fixed. And the only cost to me was having to listen to him wax eloquent to the other two PSE guys about the glories of being a furnace fixer. And football. But the furnace is fixed, the house is warm, it cost me nothing, and when this house does go up in a blaze of glory, it won't be from that particular issue.

Eric refused to be in the picture
because Ryan touched the
carrot without permission.

That's all for now from Knitting Queen central. The gifts are wrapped, the cards are finally addressed, the wine is chilling, I'm on round 2 of making little snowman ice cubes from my new snowman ice cube tray, the outside snowman is built, and I'm ready to start on Eric's Harry Potter sweater sleeves. Church was cancelled on Sunday because of Storm #3. Cancelled. We're suppose to go to church tonight, being Christmas Eve and all. Can't really see that happening at the moment since it has been snowing steadily since I got up 5 hours ago. But we're safe, warm, and happy.

Merry Christmas from The Queen, The King, and our two court jesters!

Monday, December 22, 2008

On the road to crazy town

Week 2 of Snowpocalypse '08 here in Seattle. We've had the 14 degree temperatures, we've had the near-blizzard winds, and we've got the snow. Major thoroughfares are shut down, schools are closed, hair appointments are canceled again.

I did work this weekend. Saturday, a day that was a break in the Winter Hell '08, was insane with the yarn people. It's my favorite time of year at the shop. Not only because it's so festive in The Village, but I love to see the bewildered husbands approach us with their lists. We can sell those men anything. "My wife likes you have green yarn?" DO WE HAVE GREEN YARN. How about this lovely Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk? And showing those husbands the ball winders and swifts...Look! It's mechanical and it moves really fast! SOLD!

After our Saturday night blizzard, I went to work yesterday for a bit. After Mike and I spent some quality time together putting chains on the car. In sub-freezing temperatures while kneeling in a foot of snow. Talk about a marriage builder! Nothing like the friendly exchange of obscenities to start the day. Again, those nutty knitters came out to shop. After first calling to see if we were open "Are you open today?! I've been stuck in my house and I'm out of yarn! I'll be right there!" That's a direct quote, right there.

But alas, today I am home. Buried under 10 inches of snow. And 10 inches of laundry. And unwritten Christmas card addresses. And unbaked cookies. And boys. The Queen with time on her hands is not a happy thing. I am a scheduler. I like routine. I don't do well with oodles of time on my hands. You would think this would be the perfect opportunity for me to get things done. You would think my house would be spotless, laundry done, cookies baked...I have had days and days and days at home with "nothing" to do, but that is not a motivator for me. In fact, the more empty space I have, the less organized and motivated I become. I work better under pressure. I'm much more efficient when I can look at my day in organized chunks of time. Knowing that I have unlimited time and that the possibilities are endless means I wander aimlessly and end up accomplishing nothing.

My sister Caroline is the exact opposite. She is thrilled with all of this time off. She has lists of things to do and she is ticking them off one by one. She is not bored. She is not aimless and overwhelmed by the vast amounts of time and space that 2 weeks of snow brings. Her cookies are baked, her laundry is folded...She is an efficient person and isn't going to let a few snowflakes or a house full of kids get in her way. Also, she is not hosting Christmas Day in 3 days. But guess who is....

I will say this. I have given myself permission to stop knitting baby hats for a few days. There is no way to drop them off anywhere, the shops where I sell them are probably not even open. I have instead spend some time on my fun knitting.

I'm almost done with Druid Mitten #1. I just have the thumb to do. Although I did have some issues with the decreases (mainly because he charted the decreases and I'm more comfortable reading the written directions) and I've never done a saddle closure before. But now that I'm done, I have to say it looks really good.

I've been knitting socks and have made serious headway on Eric's Harry Potter sweater. Otherwise known as the last time I will knit this sweater in a long long time because I'd sure like to knit something different in the future.

So, rather than doing something productive today like catch up on baby hats, or dust, or actually finish my Christmas cards before Christmas, you are getting the worlds longest blog post.

In the meantime, it is suppose to snow again tomorrow. And maybe Wednesday. And maybe even Thursday. And we are suppose to go to Tiffany and Marcus' house for Christmas Eve, which is about 40 minutes away. My entire family is to come to our house on Christmas Day. Currently the main road to my sister Emily's house is closed. My parents have a 2 hour drive. And Caroline lives near Tiffany. None of us know what to do because this is unprecedented in Seattle. Oh, sure we get snow occasionally, but not like this. And never on Christmas.

In happy news, our furnace is working again. Not that we know why--it has been randomly not working, and now it is working fabulously. My life would be so much less stressful if I stopped trying to figure it out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Weekend Update

First of all, I just have to say, IT IS FRIGGIN COLD IN MY HOUSE. It is a balmy 15 degrees outside right now. And about 16 inside. Because my furnace has taken the day off. Again. We have a fairly new furnace. It's only about 4 years old. And for the first 3 1/2 years, it worked fine. But these last few month it has decided to take a vacation. It just flat out decides to put itself into safety mode and go to sleep. For no reason. We have had Ryan's-best-friend-Zach's-dad-Tommy, who is a furnace guy, look at it twice. He has taken it apart, cleaned it, inspected it, and CANNOT FIGURE OUT WHY IT RANDOMLY GOES INTO SAFETY MODE IN THE DEAD OF WINTER. The motor works fine, it produces heat, the gas readout is normal....we thought we had it fixed and then after about 2 weeks of blissful warmth, it is shutting itself down again. And so what I have to do, at 6:30 in the morning when I check the thermostat and discover that it reads 57, is go into the laundry room and flip the little switch to restart the furnace. And then it fires up, brings the house to a livable 69, and then goes back to sleep. And when I can't feel my fingers any more I check the thermostat again, discover it says 62, flip the switch again, and continue to go about my day. That is how I spent yesterday. My entire day. And then around 2:00 the furnace got off it's lazy ass and decided to actually start itself up and heated the house all on its own for a few hours. Until it got lazy and didn't do it any more. I think Tommy and I need to have a little talk at basketball practice tonight.

When I'm not busy dying a slow death from hypothermia, and lugging piles of laundry from one end of the earth to the other, and sweeping up sand from the laundry room floor that we sprinkled on the outside steps so we wouldn't fall and break our necks just getting to the car, I'm knitting. I'm knitting cupcake hats , I'm knitting socks, and, when I've been especially good and deserve a treat, I'm knitting my Druid Mittens.

How adorable are these mittens?! I'm using Knit Picks Essential Tweed sock yarn and size 1 needles, and each and every row of the pattern requires strict attention to detail which means that if I don't go blind they should be finished by next winter. But I love them. I love the little slip stitch pattern on the palm and I love the intricate braids up the sides and I love the fact that there is not one single solitary patch of straight boring old stockinette stitch anywhere on this mitten.

I've also finished one Happy Feet Nutkin sock. Which I would love to wear right now to keep my toes from falling off, but I only have one. So I'll stick to the double layer of socks that I'm wearing right now and hope I can keep the dexterity in my frozen fingers long enough to finish the other one.

We did actually venture out and do some fun things this weekend. After our Dinner Group family Christmas party, Mike and I unloaded the boys on our sitter and punished ourselves by going to Target. On a Saturday. Before Christmas. After surviving the nightmare that is the Target toy department, we rewarded ourselves by seeing Quantam of Solice. And I have to say, I felt nicely rewarded. Two hours of Daniel Craig is a Merry Christmas to me.
The next day, while I was selling yarn to the masses, Mike took the boys to see Santa. While at the mall, they noticed a portrait artist had set up shop. Ryan was thoroughly fascinated by this and now we have a dual art studio set up in our playroom.

Today I have to deliver some hats and then do some Christmas shopping before the next round of snow hits tomorrow. Most of my shopping is done. Cards, finally ordered this morning. Decorations. Pretty much done. Outside lights, next year. Number of gifts actually wrapped? That would be zero. Baby steps, baby steps.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Oh, where to begin. Every day I wake up thinking about everything that needs to be done, and then I make a mental list of what absolutely positively must get done, and let it trickle down from there. All the while aware that each time one task gets attention, another one falls by the wayside. Like, for instance, my blog. And the actual folding of the laundry. There is plenty of clean laundry in my house--I wash it all the time. But sorting, folding, and putting it away, well, that's not happening. And I think my family is still under the delusion that a gnome shows up every so often to do this chore, because the fact that they have to navigate around these heaps and dig to the bottom for matching socks on a regular basis is a fact they seem all too ready to accept. It's as if they think the gnome is buried under the mountainous piles of clean laundry and they assume he will eventually find his way out again...

But I digress. I've made blogging my priority this morning, so let's get to it, shall we?

Christmas 2008: Ever spent the holiday season with an 8 year old and an almost 6 year old? Every single solitary thing that comes out of their mouths has something to do with Christmas. Eric has been walking around the house for weeks with a little notebook, constantly updating his list. And he reminds me frequently that he needs to bring this notebook to the mall when we visit Santa. Which we haven't done yet. Which Eric reminds me of regularly.

Cards, not ordered. Gifts, half purchased. Tree, picked out by husband while The Queen was at work. Decorations, done in stages. At the rate I'm going I should be putting the finishing touches on right around the time my family shows up on Christmas morning. Baking, ha ha ha hee hee HA HA WHOOOO WHOOO WHOOO HEE HEE HEE Oh, excuse me while I wipe the tears from my eyes. Ok, where was I? Oh yes. I'm not ready for Christmas. Unlike say, Todd and Margo...

The second it gets dark, their Christmas Bizarro Land springs to life. They have 5 blow up monstrosities this year, and, as usual, everything--the fence, the shed, the deck, the house, the weird island of plants they have in the middle of their yard--it's all covered in lights, each coming from a completely unrelated set and each one blinking to its own beat. Rapidly. And the trees play Christmas carols while spinning and blinking so fast it looks like they're about to shoot straight up in the air like rocket ships. Nothing celebrates the birth of Christ like Santa on a musical teeter-totter.

The Knitting: Harry Potter sweater #1 is finished. Ryan loves it and is actually wearing it to school today. Which makes me feel good basically because the child removes his coat once he gets to school and doesn't put it on until he goes to school the next day. No coat at recess and no coat on the bus. And since they are actually truly talking about snow later on this week, I like the fact that the kid is wearing something that may keep him alive. Since he has no body fat to speak of.

Eric's sweater is in a heap in some bag somewhere. Because the last thing I want to do is knit the exact same sweater twice. I'm not fooled by the fact that it's in a different color. It's the same sweater and I don't want to knit it. That and the fact that I have been knitting 38908093402984 baby hats. That is all I do these days. Knit baby cupcake hats. I just gave Willow & Bloom the last of an order for a big show she is doing today, which is the only reason I have time to do anything else. I have half of Heidi's sock, half a Nutkin sock, 1/4 of a Druid mitten, and no time to finish any of them up. Now mind you, I'm not complaining. Business is booming and it's great. But I would really like to knit something fun right now. Something different. Something new. Something that reminds me why I love knitting.

The Lever Shocks: Suddenly I've never been so popular. I've received enough good feedback from the evil-spawn-of-Satan Ebay that people are now taking me seriously. Let's just say this--I've completely funded our Christmas with last week's take. And I have another round of auctions ending later on today. Organizing all of these car parts, posting them, and looking up strange numbers in my dad's big binder full of random car things is actually very time consuming. But it's paying off, so who am I to complain?!

Life with Eric: living with a kindergartner is never dull. I remember this from Ryan's kindergarten year as well--the amount of learning and growing they do is amazing. Eric has become amazingly independent these last couple of months and we can see the gears of his complex little mind working all the time.

Eric has asked me to start reading Charlotte's Web to him. Partly because he loves animals, and partly because this book has a shiny sparkly "reward" on the cover. And then we had to go through the house and find all of our books that have received rewards. And because that wasn't enough, Eric taped a quarter to his new journal, to give it a reward as well. This is Eric's secret journal that he purchased with his allowance. And I'm not allowed to look inside of it. But because I'm nosy, I did it anyway. It contains about 45 drawings of Spiderman and he has written several words that he recently learned to spell.

There. That's my life these days. I'm going to wrap this up now because it's a lot longer than I intended and I'm sure you stopped reading about 3 paragraphs ago. I need to spend this morning cleaning up the rest of the Christmas boxes. And then, because it's evil-1/2 day-Wednesday, I'm taking the boys to get haircuts. And then I have to bathe them. It's been awhile. And then Ryan has to do his homework. And then I have to feed them a dinner they won't eat. And then I have to take them to Ryan's dress rehearsal for his Christmas play. And then I have to bring them home and explain that they can't have anything to eat because it's 8:30 and past their bedtime and they wouldn't be so hungry if they had eaten the dinner I placed before them at dinner time.

Ah, the magic never ends.