Pretty!

I finished the mandatory portion of my Christmas knitting. I blocked the hand dyed hand spun hand knit scarf last night – I really like the colors! Will take a picture shortly. Right now It’s still stretched on the ironing board covered in pins and doing a dead butterfly impression. (the ironing board is a great place to block something that is long and skinny as it is out of arms reach of bolt wielding children)

I added a bit of optional Christmas crafting. Like I needed to. More knitting? No. I’ve gone back to my (shameful?) roots of crochet. I signed up for “Presents for Patients” at work as I do every year, infection and on my person’s wish list is a blanket. Presents for Patients is a program whereby nursing home residents are matched with a person willing to provide them with a Christmas gift. Normally I’d rather participate in an “angel tree” type program that provides for needy children. Buying toys is more fun than buying lotion and slippers. Several years ago I volunteered to help deliver the presents from my workplace. It was eye opening. Many of these patients have no one left on earth to care enough to give them a gift. Sometimes the requests are for things like underwear and bedspreads. I never minded not shopping for toys after that (and now I get to do that anyway).

I acquired a bunch of yarn from an aunt who passed away a few years ago. She was a nurse, cure and she loved crafting. I’m using the yarn to make a blanket for my patient this year, time be damned. Cyndi would approve.

Pow!

I tend to read the instructions that come with small appliances. I’m easily entertained that way. They have all sorts of amusing warnings regarding the safe and proper use of small appliances. Usually these warnings make you wonder what kind of idiot would need to be told not to use the toaster in the bathtub, physician but there they are in print, recuperation presumably to prevent lawsuits.

Today I decided to make banana crepes for brunch. I put all the crepe ingredients in the blender and turned it on.

POW!
(normally one would expect crepe batter to go “whir” more so than “pow.”)
A chunk of glass flew out of the side of the blender. Crepe batter ran through the hole. The blender made horrible noises, like when you accidentally drop silverware in a garbage disposal.

I turned off the blender.

In the sink next to the blender was a 4″ long bolt and a hunk of glass. Another bolt was still in the blender. These bolts were not part of the blender. I can only assume they were put there by small people monkeying around in the kitchen. Probably the same small people who put the cup for the top of the food processor in the bathroom sink. Where exactly the bolts came from we’re still not sure. It’s that kind of house.

WARNING! DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BLEND 4″ STEEL BOLTS! DAMAGE TO THE BLENDER MAY OCCUR.

Amazingly the blades of the blender are completely unharmed. All we need to do is get a replacement glass top. And put it on a higher shelf in the kitchen.

The day after

I hope you all (both?) had the happiest of Thanksgivings.
Anna has just now suggested tonight’s dinner menu:
Carrots
Broccoli
Marshmallows with cranberries
an Orange
and Bread
What we will be having is Thanksgiving leftovers. (Thanks, adiposity Mom!) There will be no carrots or broccoli.

Perhaps even better than Thanksgiving is the day after, stomatology which I typically have off of work. Back in the days of yesteryear when Mr. Unreserved was employed full time outside the home, nurse he usually had to work. I would take that day and use it to start some sort of home improvement project. One year I painted the living room. Another I stripped paint from the mantle and newel post. This year I considered painting our bedroom. Instead we all hung out like slugs, all four of us. (Mr. Unreserved did break this pact for an hour or so to venture forth to procure for his family a new stereo receiver – I think this is the first time we’ve ever purchased something on the Friday of ill repute; I did my shopping du jour on line) I took a nap with Claire, and I am not ashamed to admit I still had my bathrobe on at 4:00. Every once in a while you need a day like that.

I am thankful, of course, for my family. (There is no sound in this world better than the laughter of small children.) For sold houses, car warranties, and fiber to spin. For sweet cuddly kittens, and for a house in which we no longer trip over each other, even if there’s no ceiling in the kitchen and I have to plug my hair dryer in in a room adjacent to the bathroom.

Take that, universe!

Cost of towing vehicle 1/4th of a mile: $85
Cost of diagnostics done on vehicle: $60
Cost of new transmission: $2900
Cost of new seals on front and rear of transaxle: $160
Cost of after market warranty we purchased less than 36 months ago: $800

Knowing we don’t have to pay for the new transmission: Priceless.

The verdict is in – the universe really is out to get me

We mistakenly thought that with the sale of the old house, information pills things would begin looking up. There was the whole water heater thing, and the (fortunately minor) getting hit by a car in the parking lot (I take that as the universe’s way of pointing out what it could have done to me). Now the transmission is out in our other vehicle. Out as in it’s going to have to be towed the remaining 1/4th of a mile from the BP station where it’s stranded to the shop where we were taking it to be fixed.
Being a grown up sucks.

You know what’s a funny word? Spleen.

Seriously. Try saying it several times. Spleen spleen spleen spleen spleen. I vote it the most oddly named bodily organ.

Anyway, diagnosis we sold our old house today! Woo hoo! I wish the new owner many happy years there. I suggested she crowbar her water heater. On the way home from the closing we picked up my knitting needles from the yarn shop and my arbor from the old yard. I said goodbye to the old house. I scratched around a bit for St. Joseph. St. Joseph has mystical powers! He turned himself into an ordinary rock! I said goodbye to St. Joseph. Serves him right for taking so long anyway.

Ah, nostalgia. When we moved into the old house we were fresh faced (well, one of us) newlyweds (it was two weeks before our first anniversary). We never planned on staying there more than about 10 years. We planned on having enough children to outgrow the place eventually. Still I can’t help but smile over the good memories we had there. That’s the house where we collected grow up furnishings and power tools. That’s the house we brought our newborn girls home to. It’s a place where we spent many a weekend covered in paint or caulk or sawdust.

But this morning as I stood in the kitchen making salad for 20 to send to preschool, the girls were playing around my feet. (this would not have been possible in the old house) I had plenty of counter space to lay out vegetables. The dog went running out in the yard to chase deer. Looking around this house overwhelms me with the things we need to do, but we’ll get there. Eventually. We’re still fresh faced enough to take this on. (or at least one of us is) I won’t have to scrape my car in the mornings anymore. There will be new memories, eventually. Meanwhile, I’ve got more painting to do.

You know, if I didn’t know better I’d swear this house hates me

A friend stopped by my office today.
“Did you do something different with your hair?” she asked.
“Yes, hospital I didn’t condition and I used a cold water rinse.”
This was not out of a desire to give my hair more bounce and sheen so much as it was out of necessity. My choices in water temperature this morning were cold and also cold. Any water that may once have been hot had long since vanished down the drain in the basement floor.

Trying to look on the bright side, order replacing the water heater was on our list of things we intended to do eventually. The old one was manufactured in 1983 and wasn’t at the pinnacle of efficiency. And while my first instinct was to lament that it happened on a Monday morning, at least that was a regular day for the plumber. Yes, I suppose we could have replaced it ourselves, but we had an extraneous gas line removed and some old less than optimal (read possibly unsafe) valves replaced. Also there was 100% less swearing (not counting the repeated curses I launched at the old heater pre-coffee and sponge bath), and I didn’t have to use a vacation day to wrangle children while Mr. Unreserved cursed at the plumbing.

In the last house we needed a plumber once in seven years. Since all this housing nonsense started, we’ve had to have a sewage clean out replaced (old house), gas line replaced (old house), two sewage overflows fixed (new house) and the water heater replaced (obviously new house). We now have a favorite plumbing company.
The water heater at the old house is very old also, but that house is now under a shiny 1yr warranty for the benefit of the new owner. If she’s wise, she’ll take a crowbar to the thing before the year is up.

Damned squirrels, always trying to make off with religious icons

Never underestimate the power of a kitty. Get your mind out of the gutter.
Closing is scheduled for next week.
On our to-do list: Find St. Joseph. We’re not sure he’s missing, generic as we haven’t gone looking to dig him up yet, page but we’re wondering if he’s going to be hard to find after his six month dirt nap.
The flower bed where I buried him was semi dug up three weeks ago in order to replace the gas line at the old house. (not this old house, drugs which is older than the old old house) There’s a slight chance St. Joseph is now 10′ under instead of 5″ under. I’m also concerned that the squirrels might have made off with him. They’re always after the tulip bulbs in that area. They dug him up once about a month after I planted him, and Mr. Unreserved put him back.
The rule is that once the house sells, you’re supposed to dig up the statue and put it in a “place of honor” in the new house. There was no provision in the directions for what to do if he’s been squirrel napped.

Maudlin

Claire, shop at her own request, went to bed this evening at 7:30. That in and of itself is worth marking on the blog to me. Anna was in bed an hour later, also remarkable. In the process of getting Anna to bed, Mr. Unreserved apparently got himself to sleep. This I know because I can hear him snoring. He sometimes claims he doesn’t snore. Why on earth would I make that up?
Profit.
What have I done with my bounty of “me time”?
Mostly goofed off on Ravelry.
What did I do after that?
Read through all my blog posts going back a year.
Why did I do that?
Because it’s been a heck of a year.
Is this Q&A format getting silly?
Yes.
Once upon a time I was an angsty teenager. Then one day I realized I had no real reason for angst (It was the 90′s – it was trendy. Angst goes well with flannel) and gave it up. For several years I made a deliberate effort to be a more positive person. Don’t get me wrong – I’m as sardonic as they come – but I realized that life is too short to let the details get to you.

Lately the details have really been getting me down. And I don’t like down. All of this house buying and moving and selling crap has really gotten under my skin. It has gotten under my husband’s skin. We have gotten under each other’s skin. It’s been tremendously difficult to remain positive and I’m tired of the effort.

I haven’t lost my optimism – I have high hopes that in a matter of weeks (or less) the bulk of this will be over and we can move on with life. Then when I read this post I will be able to see the contrast and know that things got better. Meanwhile, I’ve got a warm kitty on my lap. Warm lap kitties are always good for what ails you. (but can they close a deal?)

Sweet merciful heavens!

I’m not talking about the house today. I’m tempted to, information pills but there’s enough negative energy in the universe as it is, sale and I’ve vented plenty to those who love me too much to tell me to shut up already.

(That’s the only picture I managed of Claire in full costume and it came out wonky because I forgot to change the camera settings)

We had a happy Halloween here. Did you? If not for this blog I may never unload the camera card. Our new street has only 10 houses counting ours, buy and one of them is vacant 99% of the year. Still, the remaining houses all gave out candy – and what a haul it was! The girls filled their bags twice over just from those eight houses and I got to meet neighbors I’ve only seen in passing. Great weather, too.

Claire makes my knitting needles disappear. This month she lost three size 0 Inox dpns and four size 7 Clover bamboo dpns. I was working on Bayerishe with the Inox. When the needles went missing I started a sweater instead (Refined Raglan from Interweave winter 2006). I had just started the second sleeve when the Clovers went to points unknown (pun intended?). I’m reasonably certain it was Claire because I’ve caught her pulling needles out of things before and making off with them. Two weeks later I found (or rather Mr. Unreserved found by accident) one of the Inox buried in the cushion of the couch. The other two may be in there, but the size 7s would never make it through the fabric. I even searched the fireplaces (old houses have odd quirks) but all I found was two bottles, a nipple and ring (for a bottle – get your mind out of the gutter), a baby doll hairbrush, a golf ball, a tennis ball, three plastic toy balls, a baby doll sippy cup, a marker, and two crayons. I bought a new set of Brittaney Birch size 7s and borrowed Mom’s size 0s (all the shops seem to be out of them at the moment).

Now that Claire is really learning to talk, I find myself eavesdropping on conversations between her and Anna. They’re usually pretty funny. This morning I overheard:
Claire: What’s that [noise]?
Anna: That’s the garbage truck.
C: Mama?
A: No, the garbage truck.
C: That Mama?
A: No! It’s the garbage truck.
Apparently I sound like a garbage truck. They’re also starting to tattle on each other. Claire just came in from the playroom looking very pouty to tell me “Sissy not play nice.” I had already gathered that from the shrieking coming from both girls, but they usually work it out on their own.

Oh, and Lucy, the new resident kitty, is the most patient kitty I’ve ever seen. The things she puts up with from these girls amazes me daily (and of course we’re always teaching the girls about proper kitty handling)

And lastly, I end with a picture of a portion of our neighborhood herd. There are 12 deer in this picture – can you spot them all?