Saturday, December 19, 2009


Still haven't found the camera cable. Well, to be fair, I haven't looked for it. But since it hasn't magically appeared, I consider it still missing.

Today's theme is Things That Are Broken In My Parent's House. This is a quirky place. There are a lot of rules. Sometimes it is hard work living here. Let me show you what I mean:

1. The washer and dryer. As you may recall, a couple of years ago I bought a brand new Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer set. They are front loaders with the ever-so-important sanitizing feature and I love them. LOVE them. Now they are in storage and I am using my mom's Kenmores. I loathe these machines. The washer is constantly off balance. As in every single load. And the dryer....oh the dryer...the door won't stay open. So, you're trying to get the cold wet clothes out of the washer, and somehow re-open the dryer door that keeps slamming shut. And then you find yourself sticking your right leg inside the dryer to keep the door open while trying to get the clothes out of the washer and that is very hard to do because this washer is very tall and you are only 5'3". And all of this is happening in the space the size of a telephone booth.

2. The dishwasher. There are rules about the dishwasher. Apparently I have to completely wash and dry the dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. And I can't pull both racks out at the same time or it will tip over. And I can only fill it 3/4 full. And my mom seems to have an unspoken rule about only running it when I am trying to watch tv.

3. The oven. This oven, like the rest of the house, is an antique. Right out of the set of I Love Lucy. It has the two mini doors instead of one normal sized oven space to fit things such as, oh, I don't know, a pizza...or more than two baked potatoes....and when turning the oven off, I can't actually turn it to the OFF position. I have to very carefully turn the dial to just before the OFF position until I hear a tiny little click. If I go too far then apparently we can never turn it on again.

4. The internet. My dad is all hooked up and his computer seems to work fine. We bought a wireless card, to feed off of his wireless router, so that we can have our own computer in our own space. All of this works fine when it is not raining. Any moisture in the air and our connection goes down. My dad's connection continues to work fine, but our wireless card is apparently extremely weather sensitive. A bit of a bummer up here on this blustery island. In Western Washington. In the dead of winter.

5. The propane stove. Randomly loses the pilot light. All the time.

6. Alice. Yep, she's still around. And still broken. We brought her with us because she's our cat and we didn't know what else to do. My parents have a 2 year old female cat named Lily, who has the run of the place, so letting Alice loose in the house didn't seem like a good idea. We tried finding a humane shelter for her, but no one is taking animals right now. We also tried finding a new home for her--surprisingly, no one has been interested in a 16 year old passive aggressive female cat who pees in random places just for the hell of it. I even went so far as to make that bad vet appointment, but then canceled it because I just couldn't go through with it. So she is living in our room and it's going ok. Not great. But ok. She is using her litter box, except for those times when she chooses not to, and that means our room smells like Alice's litter box. Great. I can tell she is getting feeble, but she also seems somewhat content being locked up in our room, so we're going with it for now.

7. The lights. The lights are actually fine, but my dad has this thing about turning off all the lights that, in his opinion, are not being used. Even if you are in the room. And then he will leave for the day with his tv on.

8. The phones. My parents are the only people left on earth who do not own a cordless phone. Or have caller-id. The especially comes in handy when my mom wants to talk on the phone during my tv show. Right next to me.

Other than that, we seem to be settling in up here in Amish country. I had a job interview yesterday that was very funny. It was a group interview in which four applicants met with the hiring people at the same time. Very strange dynamics. Two of the applicants seems nice. The third had clearly decided that he was going to stand out, ahead of the rest of us, and make his mark in the interview. At the beginning of the process, after introductions, they asked if we had any questions. I asked a question, the two nice people asked a question, and then I said that I had one more question. Mr. Pushy announced that I had already had my turn and that he was now going to ask questions. I have to say, that stunned me for a second. After he interrupted me and demonstrated his true customer service skills, they turned back to me and asked me if I would like to continue my question. I found the whole thing very amusing. And then again, after the interview, I ran all of my mom's errands for her. I think she likes having a wife.

I got a call back and have a one-on-one interview on Tuesday. I'm thinking Mr. Pushy maybe did not get a call back.

Have to run now. Mom has big plans for me that involve nothing I am actually choosing to do.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Monday

And where are the pictures you ask? In my camera. I have the cord to download the pictures onto my computer, somewhere.......could be anywhere, really. I know I saw it recently. In the house. I believe in this corner of the house....I'm sure it will turn up. In the meantime, you'll have to use your imagination when I write to you about life as a nomad.

I should be in the car, driving the boys to school right now, at this very moment. But no. Today there is a two hour delay because somewhere in the state of Washington it snowed. Not here, mind you. Not one flake can be found as I look out over the great expanse that is Waxwood Farm. However, it seems that South Whidbey is not immune to the insanity that grips Washington State when anyone, on any news station, utters the word snow. So now I'm getting to spend more quality time with these beings.

Currently Ryan is reloading the nerf gun that he somehow ended up with after our Dinner Group white elephant party (I say somehow because it actually wasn't part of the gift exchange. So now Henry is the proud owner of Michelle's green furry pimp hat and Ryan has one of Henry's nerf guns. And now I'm not sure who got the worse end of this deal--me or Henry's mom). And Eric is having a productive morning yelling at his DS and would be swearing at it right now if he actually knew any of those words. Which brings me back to my main point--they belong in school, because Eric's going to start picking up those words pretty quickly if he spends much more time with me.

I actually have been knitting. Not that I can show it to you, but I have. Mike came home from work about a week ago, begging me for a hat to keep him from freezing to death on the ferry boat. And I finished Dave's birthday socks, that were only 29 days late. And I'm in the middle of making Mike some fingerless gloves, and apparently my hats are flying off the shelves at my two shops, and I still have Heidi's chicken to finish. But all of that will have to wait until these creatures go to school and I have a chance to go to the good grocery store, which is next to the good pharmacy, which I will bet does not have snow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Baby, it's cold inside!

Ok people--it's COLD here. COLD. Now, I know Western Washington is experiencing a cold snap this week. I get it. We're all cold. When you step outside in the morning, you say "brrr" and give a little shiver before getting in your car. Here's the thing, folks--this house, this 100 year old farm house, this 100 year old farm house on this island IS NOT HEATED. I'm living in a demented version of Little House on the Prairie. We get up in the morning to no heat. So, whoever gets up first has to turn on the propane stove in the family room, and then build a fire in the living room so we all don't die. I have to say, I would make a pretty good boy scout, now that I'm a month into this.

And often we fire this all up (no pun intended), the house becomes nice and toasty, and then we can turn the propane stove off for a while. Not this week. This place is practically frigid. 24 degrees outside and about 26 inside unless you are standing directly in front of the roaring fire that I built, thank you very much. You know which rooms are not heated at all? At any time of the day? All the rest.

Today I had my job interview. So I dusted off a skirt, found a pair of nylons that would stay up past my thighs, and then sat around shivering all morning because that was just about the dumbest outfit I could have selected to wear up here on Walton's Mountain.

And how did the interview go?'s a good company and I am totally and completely qualified for the job. I think it would be a great job, actually. If they can recognize the random and bizarre questions they asked and note that I gave the best lame answers of all the lame answers they heard today from the schedule of interviews they had.

After my interview, I had about 90 minutes to kill before picking the kids up from school. So I ran all of tomorrow's errands. Which is easy to do since the little hamlet I was in had all of my errands conveniently located next door to each other. Seriously. First I went to the craft store to get my mom a glue gun (don't ask). Then I went down the street to the grocery store. Packed up the car with groceries, then walked next door to the pharmacy to get mom's prescription. Then drive across the street (literally, across the street) to my mom's antique mall to restock her booth. I write this, I'm thinking my mom is secretly starting to like having me around....and then I drove up the highway to the kid's school. Which is located in the woods. Their school is in the woods.

This place is like a time warp. It's Sense and Sensibility, with mud flaps.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Notes from a Small Island

So--I've been missing for a bit. Perhaps the 4 of you who tune in regularly have noticed that. We've had a pretty significant family crisis and blogging about knitting (and actually knitting, for that matter) seemed trivial in light of recent events. But now that things are beginning to stabilize a bit, I thought I'd let you know what's going on. I mean, we're friends, right?

So here goes. We have moved in with my parents. On Whidbey Island. An island. Land that you can only get to by boat. Living with my parents on an Island. I am 41 years old and I'm living with my parents. On an island.

It's been no secret that things have been tough for us. Our finances have been a mess for quite some time and then there was that whole unemployment fun that went on for too too long. All that, combined with a recession and some dumb things we have done add up to the fact that we can't afford our house. And the bank has been very quick to point that out to us. We can't afford our house. We can't afford to make up our back payments (it's a BIG) number and, even if that BIG number dropped from the sky to catch us up, we can't afford to stay current. We have other debts, taxes--it's just a huge mess that we are literally unable to fix. Unfixable.

The house has been a sore spot for a long time. I've always had a love/hate relationship with it. For the past 2 years I have fought tooth and nail to save it. Because it's a Cape Cod with a big front porch and dormers in the bedrooms and a stone fireplace that I designed and a pumpkin colored dining room with plate rail and a garden that I planted. This was the only house my boys have ever known and they were suppose to grow up with Emily-the-neighbor-girl and we were going to live there happily ever after.

But now I'm ok with leaving. It's a relief to no longer think about my broken garage door and the peeling paint and the 25 year old gutters and the half finished bathrooms and the deer--oh the deer! Remember the deer?!? I'm not saying I'm not sad about this. I am. I've been devastated by this. This has changed my whole world forever. This guarantees some juicy material for my boys in therapy. And we've become THOSE PEOPLE. The people you hear about on the news each night. The people who have lost their home. And that's not humiliating at all....So I spent 2 weeks straight crying. And now we're trying to start over. Not sure what that means. But that's what we're doing. Starting over.

The boys are enrolled in school here, I'm learning where the 2 grocery stores are, and Mike is using a ferry boat, train, and bus to commute to work each day. I've started knitting again. I'm looking for a job on this little dot of land and have actually secured an interview for Monday. And I've decided to write about this adventure. For a couple of weeks, the thought of sharing this was horrifying. The blog was over. Dead and buried, like the rest of my life. And then little things would happen throughout the day that were just funny. Island anecdotes. Quirky things that could only happen on this strip of land (like the fact that my mom runs into people she knows at the grocery store. Good friends that she met at the gas station or the post office. And now they're hugging and making a lunch date because 8 years later they are best pals). My first instinct was to write to you about these things but then that meant explaining why in the world I was on this godforsaken floating commune and that opened up a whole can of worms that I was unable to communicate.

But now I'm ready. I'll still write about knitting. But I'll also write about the 2 storage units we're sharing with my parents and the fact there is no central heating in this 100 year old farm house and the fact that Mike and Eric both learned the hard way that you must wear shoes or slippers at all times on Grandpa's unsanded fir floor and the lengths my dad will go to in recycling and all the roads around here are named after the people who live here and my mom who refuses to use her dishwasher because she thinks it's a waste of time to load it and unload it but has no problem washing all her dishes by hand....

Ready for the adventure? Stay tuned!