Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Not As Addle-Brained As I Thought

After I located the top of my head and finished scraping my brain off of the ceiling yesterday, I pulled myself back together and took another look at The Sock of Doominess.

It turns out that I was only half-addled when I knit it. This is somewhat comforting since this means that I was cotton-headed for only a week, instead of two, and that I only messed up HALF of the sock. And, mercifully, the bottom half. The half that hides in your shoe (or slipper, in my case, since I don't go out much). I'm feeling a lot less dramatic about it now so I'll refrain from throwing myself on the floor in a fit of gratitude and sighing, "Thank Gawd!" I will be able to now sit and peaceably knit my second sock correctly because that is how I began the first sock. And I've decided that if the mistake on the first sock is really bothering me after I've finished the second one, I totally have the moral fortitude to go back and reknit half a sock. I just didn't have it in me to reknit a whole one.

In other news, Henry is up to a grand 13 lbs, 13 oz. He is gestationally 3.5 months old, so he's clicking right along. He's smiling every day. He definitely recognizes his older brother. I guess that all of that attention Thomas lavishes on him is paying off!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Days Like These

The sound you hear is the sound of my head thwacking away on my kitchen table. Again, and again, and again.

We found a mini-van last week and I've been waiting to post until I get a picture of the dang thing, but that's really not the point of my post today. Because I still do not have a proper picture. Not that it matters. If you go online and find a picture of a 2008 Grand Caravan and imagine it in white, you will know what my van looks like. I'm shocked, really, because we've never had a car that was made in the same decade in which we were driving it. It's so new I almost forget that it's not. I'm just really, really hoping that it doesn't break down for a year or two because that would be really discouraging.

In any case. This is what I'm posting about today: Knitting. Knitting and how the Knitted Fates are conspiring to drive me insane in all the least pleasant ways. For Christmas my dear mother was so thoughtful as to give me a skein of beautiful (hand wash) alpaca sock yarn. Beautiful. I sat down and for two weeks (or more) I knit myself a sock. A lovely, soft Jaywalker sock. I finished it the other night and cast on to knit the second sock. I finished the inch of cuff ribbing and commenced on the leg pattern. Here is where I realize that I'm so slow-witted that I should never be allowed to touch wool to needles again. The pattern stitch is simple: Knit a row plain, knit a row pattern, knit a row plain, repeat. But I am so backward that I didn't understand the directions the first time and the Knitted Fates, in all their contemptible humor, have decided to open the Eyes of Revelation upon me just as I am about to begin the Second Sock. When I read the instructions the first time, I understood it (bizaarly) to mean that I should only be repeating the patterned row of the pattern again and again and not alternate the two patterns.

I had a stone cold moment when I realized that my Doom Was Upon Me and that I'd entirely eff'ed up the whole first sock. Utterly. Gaaaaah! Noooo! It can't BE! But I did. I am defeated. Now I don't know what to do! I can do the second sock in my NEW! And INVENTIVE! pattern (which looks suspiciously like a Jaywaller sock, despite its, uh, eccentricites). I can do the second sock correctly and just admire how handknitted things can be so, er, unique. Or I can rip the damned first sock out and reknit it the RIGHT way (cursing myself the whole time for being such a moron) and then move on to the second sock.

I don't know what to do. What would YOU do?

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Great Mini-Van Hunt of 2009

Despite the perilous economy we are looking for a new used car. We have one small car for Peter's in-town commute. It's a bare-bones Saturn which worked fine as our family car as well until we needed to add a third car seat to our traveling routine. We also used to have an old, lumbering 10, no, 11 year old Buick Le Sabre. It was a comfortable car to drive and looked right at home in the parking lot at the Senior Citizen's center. I felt like I was driving my bed down the road and it had the added benefit of accommodating all three children.

We had the Buick for about six years before it met it's untimely end. Peter was driving it home when he suddenly realized that the car had lost some of its usual vigor. In fact, it wouldn't drive any faster than 15 miles an hour. He got it to the mechanic safely and found out that the transmission was utterly destroyed. Cool. There's nothing like a $3,000 repair for a car that's worth about $2,000 to clarify one's priorities. As much as we enjoy being free of car payments, this is perhaps the time to consider taking some on. If we could fit everyone into our wee little Saturn the decision might have been more complicated, but as it is the path was clear.

We went that night to the Toyota dealership where our budget wasn't exciting enough to get the sales guy to be much help. We told him what we wanted to spend and that we needed to fit three carseats into it. He recommended a Chevy Cobalt and a Honda Accord. Really. We left discouraged and feeling like it was a huge mistake to even be out car shopping. Since we were up in Dealership Alley anyway, we swung by the Saturn dealership to see what they had on the lot. The contrast in service was blinding. Our sales woman had a working knowledge of every car in her inventory. She asked a lot of pertinent questions to help us get a better idea of what we were looking for. And then, and THEN she had the cars we wanted to look at driven into the showroom so we could look comfortably instead of in the cold, windy weather. We didn't buy a car that night, but it was certainly time well spent.

To tell the truth, we haven't bought a car yet, but we have a better idea of what we want. Though we have resisited it, it seems to be time to move to a mini-van, at least for the time being. Having three car seats isn't the motivating factor for me, oddly enough. What is really selling me on the idea of a mini-van are the sliding side doors! Getting the two older children in and out of the car is tricky enough, but getting enough room to open our car doors wide and get the infant car seat out is near impossible in our garage or in parking lots.

We are going back to the dealership on Saturday to do another test drive. I don't know what we'll end up with, but I can tell you one thing--I hope I'm done with car repairs for a good, long while!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Is It Wrong. . .

. . . That at 11 o'clock in the morning I'm thinking that a scotch might be just the thing to take the edge off?

I'm just kidding. Really, I am.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Genius Becomes Me

I love natural peanut butter. My kids eat peanut butter by the metric ton. We go through jars of this all-important commodity like Hummers go through gasoline.

The biggest problem with natural peanut butter comes when my knife rattles around the bottom of the glass jar and I finish scraping the depths free from any remainder of gooiness. The big problem with peanut butter, with my whole life, really, is mixing the oil and peanut butter in the next jar. There has never been a good solution for this. I've tried blenders, both regular and immersion, I've tried the every popular Knife Method whereby butter knives are used to stab the glob of peanut butter until it eventually surrenders to the oil, I've tried turning the jar upside down and waiting for gravity or good luck to do the work for me. It's all ended the same. My shirt covered with oil, the jar and counter slick. I'm sure that mothers from back in the Dawn of Time struggled with the same delemia--jar of peanut butter in one hand, butter knife in the other, saying "Ugg! There has to be a better way!"

I have finally found a way to lighten the burden of this tedious household chore. I wish I could patent this, but it's too, too simple.

When I open a new jar of peanut butter, I do a couple of stabs to The Blob to help some of the oil get to the bottom of the jar. Then I microwave the jar, sans lid, for about 30 seconds. I take it out and give it a bit of a stir and pop it back in for another 30 seconds. Be careful after this, though. The jar can get kind of hot. A final stir will easily blend the oil and peanut goo together. Hurrah.

Maybe this is something that everyone knows, but for me it was like the rising sun. Now I just need to figure out how to get peanut butter off of a computer keyboard.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Conversations Between Brothers

Thomas to Henry. . . "If you don't brush your teeth when all the slime is on them, then they fall out. That's how you become a pirate."