Monday, October 31, 2011

Easy- Peasy!

I knit a lot. I enjoy knitting. It's very zen-like for me. It is not a difficult thing to do. OK, it can be frustrating, maybe if you have to rip out 3/4 of a sweater because you did the math wrong, and the sweater is big enough to cover the Capitol dome in Madison (don't ask), but it's not difficult. When people see me knitting, and yes, I knit in public all the time, they tell me they could never do that - it's too hard. I really try not to launch into a speech about how easy it really is, about how I taught myself from a kid's book. But I'm really proud of the things I knit. Non-knitters often don't realize what goes in to the hand-knit item they just received:

1) Hand knits are not the cheap way out - quality yarn costs money. I have shelled out $50 for 2 skeins of Baby Alpaca for a scarf (I kept that one for myself). It's like wearing a cloud...
2) Knitting takes time. I started knitting Christmas Gifts in August. I have a sweater and 3/4 of a pair of socks finished, a vest and 2 1/4 pairs of socks to go.
3) There are a bajillion knitting patterns out there. It can take me hours to find just the right pattern for your gift, then select just the right yarn. I make those selections with you in mind, nothing is random.
4) I give away most of my knitting because I am just that kind of person. I just enjoy giving.
5) I often ignore my housework so I can knit. My house is a mess.

If I give you a hand knit gift, I would love to see photos of you wearing that item.
If you'd like to learn how to knit, I would love to teach you.

(Thanks MDK ladies)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Yeah, that's bad!

I'm starting to get a little worried for my job. Things are really slow. We're hurting for business. People who aren't in retail don't realize the sacrifices small businesses have to make in times like this. Let me enlighten you.

I work in a SMALL business. Like 3 employees to staff 2 stores small. We're on a first name basis with our regular customers small. We have no office, the manager uses her home email. Get the picture? There's not a whole lot to fall back on in tough times. We make do with what we have. Our computer runs on Windows 97. The vacuum cleaner at Giggles died, so I have to use the one from All Through the House. Same with the printer. (Yes, I schlep them down the sidewalk). The kicker? The toilet at Giggles stopped flushing last year (It is at least circa 1970) - I forget exactly when, but we can't afford a plumber right now. We have to use the bathroom next door - not fun in January. You have to plan ahead. Swiffer dusters have become a luxury we can no longer afford.

So, yes, times are tough. It starts to wear on you when day after day you have only one or two customers in the store over an 8 hour period. You have to find ways to entertain yourself. You jump on "store-related" projects because they make you feel productive. All summer I worked on the tan on my left shoulder, because that's where the sun hits me when I sit on the bench on the sidewalk and read. I get a lot of my knitting done at work. I finished one Christmas sweater so far, a sweater and one and a half pairs of socks to go.

So today, I decided to tackle a major project - see if I can fix the toilet. Important facts about this project: 1) the bathroom is not heated and 2) we have no water heater or water softener. It was easy to discover the root of the problem - 30 plus years of hard water scale coating the innards of the toilet. I can fix that! So, I got the vinegar and away I went. After a few hours of soaking and a little scraping - lo and behold we have a toilet that works 95% of the time! The other 5% only needs a little nudge on the float, and it's all good. It was a major triumph. I no longer have to leave the building to pee! Just in time for winter in the unheated bathroom...

It is the accepted rule in our stores that as soon as you have a project, customers will start rolling in. Today was no exception. Three big spenders all in the stretch of 90 minutes. But I made the mistake of actually finishing work on the toilet before noon. The last 6 hours of the day? Two people crossed the threshold. Well, I did make some good progress on those socks.

Monday, October 24, 2011


It was one of those "I need a weekend to recover from the weekend" weekends. Saturday was our troop's cookie booth. I was the one who organized, so naturally, I ended up working  shifts because everyone else was "too busy" (OK except for the one leader who was at a funeral, she was excused). It turned in to an all day affair - cookie pick-up at 9am, set up at 9:30, our "shift" was 11:30-2:00. then tear down and haul all the leftover cookies into my living room so Karl can use the car on Sunday. So, I relaxed a bit, did some knitting, and somehow injured my middle finger in the process!

Sunday was Karl's cyclocross race. I had to bribe Katrina with doughnuts so she'd come along quietly. She did have fun, so did I. I'm not sure if Karl would say it was fun. Is he smiling, or grimacing?

Katrina decided it was time to go, and just as we got to the car, it started to rain. Excellent timing! Back home, I relaxed for a few, then tackled the laundry before passing out at about 9:15.

Up early this morning, I was up in time to fight with Katrina about taking a 25 minute shower. (How can it take that long? There's not that much to her!) Now I'm off to return our unsold cookies, then straight to work. No time for coffee (no cash either: I spent it yesterday on doughnuts!).

Wish me luck on staying awake. Tea will only get me so far.

Monday, October 17, 2011


It's day 6 of my working marathon. I thought I'd spice it up a bit today. I'm working at All Through The House today, and I'm a little stressed from working so much. What do I do when I'm stressed? I bake. Luckily, the store has a full kitchen. So I packed up my ingredients, and I'm going to try a new recipe: pumpkin scones. I'm hoping that the smell will bring people in, then convince them to buy something.

Time for a shower, then I'm off and running!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Just a quick update:

Karl folded some of the laundry, the cold sore meds are working, and sleepwalking was at 9:25 (earlier than usual).
The morning has gone smoothly so far, let's hope it continues.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Wow, things sure have gone down the crapper in the last 3 hours! Today is my only day off for the next 8 days, so I'm having to cram a lot in. The morning went well, took Katrina to school, watched her do the morning news, then to the bank to close the girl scout account, then to the food pantry to deliver the donation check from the girl scout account - the last 2 weren't even on my list! Got the laundry started, by then it was lunchtime. Cleaned the hamster cage, more laundry, and picked up more cat food. Whew!

That's when it all started going down hill. Three baskets of laundry needed to be folded, but it was time to pick up Katrina and her cello. Got to school, she got her stuff, and we were on our way out when I asked if she had emptied her mailbox. Nope, so back inside, where we find a yellow "warning" slip from an incident at recess (to make long story short -she hit a kid with her shoe). Discussion in the car. Home for a quick snack, quick mix up the meatballs and throw the squash in the oven, then race off to my haircut appointment. Katrina joins me to see if she can sell any cookies while she waits (and there won't be time to go home before her piano lesson). My haircut was not with my usual stylist because I had a coupon. No big deal. The haircut looks fine, but she toasted my scalp with the dryer. Ouch!

Made it out of the salon just in time for piano. I wondered what possessed me to schedule my haircut so close to Katrina's lesson? It's close to the salon, so no big deal (except having to cross the highway during "rush hour"). I drop off Katrina and realize the car is running on empty, but my brain switches to autopilot on the way home and I forget to stop for gas. There's a message on the machine when I get home - "Mom, come get my, I'm half an hour early for my lesson." Aargh! Back to Mrs. Benson's. On the way, I discover I'm getting a huge cold sore on my lip. Bad news when you're a trumpet player! But I remembered to stop for gas. 15 minutes at home, then back to Mrs. Benson's for real this time. On the way home, I forget to stop at Walgreens for cold sore stuff.

Now I can finish making dinner. I take the squash out of the oven, and put the meatballs in. Scoop out the squash, and start heating up the sauce. Bah! I forgot to start the timer for the meatballs! I estimate, and instruct Karl to check if they're done when the (re-set) timer goes off. Trip number 3 to piano lessons. I remember to stop at Walgreens, where I not only get cold sore stuff (it must be good because it's stings like the dickens!), but also a nice big bag of fun size Milky Way bars to help me through the next week.

Since dinner, things have improved, I set the timer (and started it) so I will remember to run my final errand of the day. Only an hour and a half to go, then I'm crawling in to bed with fat kitty, and not getting out until morning (or until 9:45 when Katrina sleepwalks)

Monday, October 10, 2011

All the news

I only have a few minutes to fill you in on all the goings-on:
We got a hamster. His name is Mr. Nibbles.

Karl and his friend went mountain biking. Karl crashed. This is how his bike ended up. Neither the bike nor Karl are worse for the wear.
 I ran my 5K run yesterday. No photos (thankfully). I did walk some, but still averaged a 13 minute mile (my usual pace)

I have to work today, am off tomorrow, then have a 7 day marathon while my boss gets a much-needed vacation. I've stocked up on coffee and chocolate, so I should be fine.