Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Industrial Accident

Some of you...well, okay, one of you (Tamara, you know who you are!) has asked about the Industrial Accident I mentioned in my last post. I am not sure if I am ready to speak of it, but in the interest of healing and "letting it go" I shall try.

Let me begin by saying that if Draino weren't so darned caustic, it would make an excellent floor cleaner. The fact that it removes the finish on the floor along with any dirt is a bonus...I didn't really need that finish on the kitchen floor, did I?

This particular Industrial Accident involved a (full) bottle of Draino, my living room carpet, and me being royally pissed off at a certain Manipulative Relative (who was not even present). No names, I will say only that it wasn't one of my family, it was one of the out-laws.

After being informed of said relative's latest manipulative antics, I was so mad I thought I should just do some housework to let out all that energy. In a tempestuous display of fury and barely controlled anger, I swiped the bottle of Draino off the counter where it had been sitting for the past couple of days to remind me that I had a tub drain full of dog hair (Canis Feisticus and Canis Dafticus had their Semi-Annual Bath only days before, which is a whole other adventure). The bottle of Draino slipped from my fingers, hit the floor, and the UNOPENED CHILDPROOF CAP came flying off and Draino spattered all over the kitchen floor and then schlorped over onto the living room carpet.

I stood there staring at it for a moment and thinking, How the f*** do I clean this up? I can't even touch the stuff... Fortunately, The Chief had some rubber gloves in his workshop (let's just gloss over the fact that he had rubber gloves in the first place, and that they were in his workshop in the second. I don't want to know) which he promptly found, and we began the arduous process of cleaning up.

Which was a great moment for a chemistry lesson:
Barrister: Mom, that stuff's going to burn a hole right through to the basement!
Me: (from between clenched teeth) No, dear, that would be an acid. This is a base. It will just turn your skin into soap and burn like hell while doing so...

The kitchen floor now has one very, very clean area. And the living room carpet has a large spot that is quite fashionably marbled in appearance.

I'm thinking about doing the entire living room so it will match.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dinner Rebellion

4:20. (p.m.) (perilously close to dinner time)

Dudes. I am totally having a dinner rebellion. I have no will or desire to cook dinner. All the good intentions to make healthy food for my family have been sucked out of my brain and I am left in a limp, coagulating puddle in the middle of the living room floor. About six inches from the Industrial Accident. (Do not ask about the Industrial Accident. I will enlighten you when I can do so without bursting into heart-wrenching sobs.)

Honestly, I had no idea that baking a batch of cranberry-white-chocolate-chip cookies would so completely sap my will to live. Cookies and gummy bears don't sound too bad for supper, do they? I think cookies qualify as a food group....they've got oatmeal in them, after all. And cranberries.

Fortunately, I have chili in the freezer and rotini in the cupboard. Chili-mac, anyone?

It's one of those nights when, if the economy (and therefore my hubby's job) weren't so perilously teetering and I weren't so freakishly adamant about not using credit cards, I would throw up my hands and cry, "Let's go out to eat!"

The fact that there is very little for vegetarian me to eat in any reasonably priced restaurant within reasonable driving distance would completely escape my tiny little mind until the moment in which I was confronted with The Menu. At which point I would remember that most restaurants' only concession to vegetarians is pasta with some mysterious white sauce and limp vegetables.

You'd think after being a vegetarian pretty much since I moved out of my parents' house, I would have figured this out by now...

So chili-mac it is! Or cookies and gummy bears. I'm putting it to the vote as soon as hubby gets home.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Adventures with Socks, Part One

No, gentle readers, "socks" is not a cat (or a chinchilla, although The Chief's first pet chinchilla was named Sock, as she was too small to make a coat out of...). "Socks", in this context, is an article of footwear I am attempting to knit. Attempting being the operative word, here.

Actually, I am attempting a sock. Just one. I probably don't have enough wool for two, and who am I kidding, this thing is not actually going to be wearable, so why on earth would I want two? I have some chai, some green wool (like I've ever worn green socks in my life), and a set of bamboo needles (because, you know, I'm a klutz, and bamboo sort of grips the wool so you don't have to be overly dextrous...that's the theory, anyway. We'll see if it holds up.). My process looks something like this...

1. According to the sock book, my knitted cast-on that my mother taught me over the phone back in August is neither flexible nor strong enough for socks. I realize with a sinking heart that I am going to have to attempt the finger gymnastics required for the "long-tail cast-on"...and I can't make head nor tail of the instructions in the sock book, so it's back to my beginner book to see if I can figure it out. I'm persistent, and I have chai, so it's only a matter of time. Really. (For those who do not knit, casting on is getting that first row of stitches onto the needle; there are a number of ways to do this, all of which, in my opinion, are not for the spatially challenged.)

2. My beginner book says nothing about this vaunted "long-tail cast-on", but does show a "slingshot" cast-on. Which looks like it involves as much finger gymnastics as the "long-tail cast-on", and might even be the same thing, but what do I know? I take a sip of chai and hope that they are the same thing. Any normal person would be able to tell, just by looking, if they were the same, but I am, as we have noted before, spatially challenged, and I will just have to close my eyes and...no, wait, closing my eyes is probably not going to work...I mutter a swift prayer to the Universe and begin.

3. Long pause and much inappropriate language.

4. I realize that this "long-tail cast-on" is just as complicated as it was the last twelve times I tried to do it. No matter which way I turn the book, it still involves me visualizing a two-dimensional drawing of fingers and yarn and somehow transforming this into a three-dimensional process. Translation: it ain't gonna happen.

5. My thirteen-year-old son hears me muttering dire imprecations under my breath. He sidles up to me and glances at the picture in the book for about three seconds (I swear, his eyes just sort of brushed over it), takes the needle and yarn out of my hand, and proceeds to cast on three stitches. He hands the needle back to me and says all innocently, "So what's the problem?"

6. I put away the knitting in disgust and decide that the only thing I'm likely to knit in the next twenty years is scarves. Lots of scarves.

7. After dinner I decide upon a new tactic. With coloured pencils I carefully colour the little strands of yarn in the picture, each one a different colour, so that I can see what, exactly, is going on in the picture.

8. I take a deep breath and try again. After a while, I begin muttering to myself again.

9. My son glances over at me. "You're holding the yarn wrong," he tells me. How he can tell this from six feet away, I have no idea. He comes over and loops the yarn around my fingers in the proper arrangement, then holds my hand and guides my needle up and down and in and out...and something clicks and I finally get it.

10. Moral: my son should be doing the knitting around here, not me.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Universe is Watching

School conferences last week went amazingly well. I am starting to think that Hell's Barrister may finally be starting to get it together as far as the whole Organization and Time Management business is concerned.

*slaps self up side of head*

Oh, dear. I've gone and said it. Well...typed it, at least. And thought it, which is generally more than enough.

Now I picture the Universe cackling with glee to hear my delusional thought that my son may actually be starting to "get it". It's probably rubbing its hands together and busily thinking up ways to trip me up right now. I imagine it kicking back in an easy chair, a beer at its elbow and a stubby #2 pencil tucked behind its left ear as it thinks up new and thrilling ways to complicate my life.

And I'm not being paranoid!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Pinnacle of Creativity

In a daring move, demonstrating that I am currently at the pinnacle of creativity, I have (dramatic music) invented a new knitting stitch! The stitch was created out of absolute necessity, and I'm sure it will take the knitting world by storm.

The new stitch is called Remove Ubiquitous Dog Hair, and is abbreviated RUDH. It is performed by gripping the offending dog hair between thumb and forefinger without losing tension on your yarn, and then yanking hard, with a few colourful words thrown in for good measure.

With this new stitch in place, the lace row on the wrap I'm making now becomes, K2tog (3x), K1, yo, RUDH, K1, yo, RUDH...and so on. It's quite exciting to be the inventor of a new stitch, you know.

Of course, there is always the question of what to do with the piles of Ubiquitous Dog Hair once I've finished a knitting project. In keeping with the spirit of my frugal upbringing, I'm considering the benefits of learning how to spin...dog hair sweater, anyone?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Yarn Barf

The lacy pink scarf I was knitting for Little Mouse for xmas has morphed into a grey wrap with a pink stripe...I attempted to take pix over the weekend, but it just looks like a tangle of grey yarn, and until it is blocked, I fear it will continue to look like a pile of yarn barf...

Still, I'm getting on with it...it is nearly two feet long already, and I've used up nearly half of my grey wool, which is about right, as the final product should end up being about 52" long...before blocking...and since I've never knitted (or blocked) lace before, I shall not be at all surprised if the finished wrap ends up being seven or eight feet long!

Regardless of how long it ends up being, I think Little Mouse will be thrilled...she's quite admiring of it already, even though it just looks like a pile of yarn, and has no idea it's for her...she thinks it's a practice piece.