15
Jun
09

Progress Is As Progress Does

It’s been an exciting weekend in the Conniption Knit house.  There were monumental trades.  There was a relaxing drive.  There was a tornado or three.  There was a drunk driver.  There was vomit.  There were milestones met.  And through it all, there was knitting.  Always with the knitting. 

Confused yet? 

We’ve been dickering over the trade in of our trusty dusty Dodge Durango for a week, and it looked pretty hopeless at a couple points.  We were upside down on the loan, thanks to a tanking economy sinking the value of our trade in nearly by the day, banks with the only thing tighter than their sphincters were their loan approvals, and a dealer that was a little stingy on the negotiation end of the matter.  In the end, a deal was made, the dealer squealed a little at the pain of it (once calling me a ‘shrewd’ woman with the number crunching, to which I gave a Mona Lisa smile and didn’t explain that I wasn’t so much dickering and winning as trying any and everything I could think of in the manner of trade to get things rolling knowing that if we didn’t trade in our Durango now, we would be stuck with it because it’s value would plummet, and I just didn’t want to take the chance it would die a gasping death with our new camper behind it crippling the Durango’s transmission), a bank grudgingly gave us a loan, and we drove away with a new-to-us 2005 Chevy Silverado 3500 Duramax Diesel that takes a ladder for my 5’2” body to climb into.  Step sides are on the list to Santa for this Christmas.  In the end, it seemed the dealer wasn’t as staunchly self-serving as he originally appeared, just as tenacious was he to try to make it work for us as I was.  I even said no a couple times and was ready to walk away and we would just nurse the Durango through the remaining two camper trips we have planned for the summer and try again next year in the hopes that the economy would be turning around sometime in the next few months.  But the dealer came through for us, and while I was irritated at times with him, he turned out to be a generous sort where we were able to squeak something out.  I can rest easier knowing that when we travel with the camper later this summer, we won’t be looking at the potential of thousands of dollars to fix a crippled vehicle.  This new truck could pull a house without so much as a cough.  And I have to say, I love a man in a tough truck, and this truck fits around Mike like a well worn in pair of Levi’s with a great butt.  Rowr! 

Since we were a way outside of the city to make the deal for the truck, we thought we’d take a drive to an old campground from Mike’s past that was nearby and also to our latest campground where I needed to tweak some reservations to accommodate our late summer float trip.  While we were winding through southern Missouri back roads laden with trees, other trucks (isn’t it funny that when you buy a different vehicle, suddenly you see that vehicle everywhere?) and taverns that would feel at home as a set in Deliverance, we saw some serious storm damage.  Apparently the storms that moved through the Midwest last week hit southern Missouri particularly hard.  There were straight-line damaged trees that were simply blown over, there were tornado damaged trees stripped of their leaves and branches and standing bare and naked against the foothills, and there were limbs and debris everywhere.  The majority of the blocked roads had been cleared, but it was very obvious something mean and snarly had blown through there and it left a giant path of destruction in its wake.  There’ll be a lot of firewood to be had in the coming weeks.  

We arrived at the campground we’ll be visiting later this summer and I headed into the front office to square away our final reservations.  When I emerged, I couldn’t find Mike.  Now, I understand that to us, the truck we were in was really only a couple hours old, but for the life of me, I couldn’t see it.  This is so totally something that would trip me up.  I knew what it looked like, but wasn’t positive I’d recognize it out of hand the way you recognize the difference between your vehicle and an identical one next to it.  It’s black.  It’s got 4×4 painted on the side towards the tailgate.  It’s pretty tall.  But it would have totally blended in among all the other 4x4s parked haphazardly around.  I felt pretty stupid, but I have our license plate memorized and it transferred with the deal so I looked at plates.  Missouri, Missouri, Missouri, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Missouri…  None of them had our numbers.  Gods but wasn’t I feeling like an idiot.  Well, maybe he took Son and Daughter down to the river for a peek and a little time on the beach skipping rocks.  I started in that direction and realized that it was a ten minute walk and if I got there and he wasn’t there, I’d be irritated, and he might be looking for me somewhere back by the front office.  Or maybe he took a drive through the campground to see if there was any damage to speak of in this area.  I started along the road to the sites we’d be staying at later and didn’t see him.  There were plenty of scantily clad girls around, cleaning up after their own floats, and plenty of guys around to ogle all the skin.  I felt even stupider in my t-shirt and shorts and nicer sandals as opposed to beat up flip flops.  He wasn’t down there.  I turned to walk back to the front office thinking he’d come through there again soon and I’d be rescued saved picked up and we could head out.  A red truck passed by me and beside it a small black Mazda with a couple girls hooting and hollering at the truck over their blaring radio.  Man, I was so ready to go on our own float.  I remember thinking she was ballsy to pass that truck that way at the speed she was going.  It was, after all, a campground with a posted 5 mph speed limit sign every 20 feet.  Then, a couple minutes later as I walked back into the circle area by the front office, I saw Black Car Girl had plunged through a mud puddle and parked within inches of the main shower house.  There were campground employees leaning in through the passenger side and demanding her keys.  Turns out she was three sheets to the wind and had only barely stopped her car to avoid slamming through the wall and into the showering girls within the bath house.  Wow.  Maybe I wasn’t quite that ready for our float.  That was some enthusiasm.  But yeah, Drunk Black Car Girl brayed laughter as she joined her group of friends exclaiming about how she’d had her keys taken away.  “Probably schmart.  I’ve had jusht a wee bit to drink,” she slurred as she slung her arm around a cheerful companion who brayed along with her.  It was in that moment that I was glad that not only had we not parked in the spot near where her car had barreled through before its close shave stop, but I was glad my kids in the backseat were nowhere around to see that girl.  I’d have had some questions to answer from inquisitive Son who misses nothing.  The gate attendant saw me looking about for our truck one more time and hollered an inquiry about if I was looking for a black truck.  I said yes and he pointed to where Mike was parked outside the gate, as the gate attendant had put it, so as not to scratch ‘your purty new truck’ (I guess Mike talked to him a bit while I was taking care of our reservations).  Relieved, I climbed back in and we turned for home as I relayed what I’d just seen to Mike.  He chuckled, shaking his head at the hubris – and stupidity – of the young, probably college aged Drunk Black Car Girl.  

On the drive back to our house, we decided to use a gift certificate we had for a local steakhouse since we’d be rolling into the driveway at a time when evening turns to night.  This would turn out to be a bad move, since Mike would have something unsavory with his meal that had him up most of the night curled into a fetal ball and moaning with the pain of food poisoning.  Sometime around five in the morning, he ejected his digestive contents and with a sigh of frustration and misery, he climbed back into bed hopeful that it would be the event that would help him feel better.  He endured another hour or so of cramps and then finally drifted off into a fitful sleep.  Around ten in the morning, the cock-a-doodle-doo of our kids woke us up and, surprised by the lateness of the hour to which they had let us sleep, I told Mike he was not to get out of bed until at least noon.  But he was up, despite his body’s fatigue, and over my protests, he decided to clean the truck since the little dealership from where we’d gotten it hadn’t even given it a cursory vacuum.  So we all traipsed out to the driveway, Son running over to play with the neighbors and Daughter tooling around our front lawn playing with the hose and some of her big brother’s old scooters.  That accomplished, we headed out to do some cleaning at the house Mike’s sister and her husband had flipped, a house where Mike spent many hours helping turn an old brick shell built in the 30s into a livable, character filled house replete with modern conveniences.  With Son’s bike in the back, we knew he’d be entertained, but at one point, he complained that one of his training wheels kept coming off.  So I located a socket wrench and in a moment of bravado, Son proclaimed himself ready to bid adieu to the training wheels.  So I removed them for him and set about teaching him to ride his bike big-boy style, as he put it.  After a good workout on my part, consisting of nearly half an hour running behind him with my hand on his seat, I told him I was letting go.  He wanted to panic, but I told him he’d never learn if he didn’t try, and if he wasn’t going to try, well we might as well put the bike away because I wasn’t going to put the training wheels back on.  That shored him up and he said he was ready.  We got going again, me huffing and puffing behind him and him steeling himself to crash, and I let go, shouting for him to go faster, faster and he did.  He rode his bike, big-boy style and even when he reached the end of the sidewalk and fell over into the grass, he was too happy to get upset by the bike pinning his foot.  He ran around like a loon, whooping and bright eyed and in those moments, I saw the world at his feet and won’t swear that a tear didn’t mix in with the sweat on my face.  Just one.  He rode his bike, wobbly and with very little grace but all by himself without training wheels, for another hour or so, improving the whole time.  I’m betting by next week, he’ll be a pro. 

What does all this have to do with knitting?  Well, on the drive I made progress on the Herringbone Socks.  A lot of progress.  What’s been a fiddly pattern for me finally stuck and I was able to get the leg done.  You can see the pattern best in this picture. 

Herringbone Socks

Or this one…

Herringbone Socks 2 by you.

I also received my Signature Arts Needles in the mail on Saturday and while I was on the phone with the dealership about our trade, I got a few rows done on my sister’s wedding blanket. 

Log Cabin/needles by you.

Log Cabin/needles 2 by you.

Those needles are divine.  The points are so sharp that a yarn with the tendency to split stands no chance with them.  The only complaint I have with them is the same complaint I have about all straight needles.  The weight of the project (in this case a big blanket) hinders the movement necessary for total freedom to swing the needles as I need to pick up stitches.  I use the continental, or left-handed, or ‘picking’ method of knitting, which simply means that I hold the working yarn in my left hand and manipulate the right hand needle to pick up the working yarn and pull it through the stitch.  So my right hand needle swings around a lot with the movement of my hand.  With a heavy project weighing down the end it’s harder to pick up the working yarn.  But other than that little quibble, I love them.  They’d be perfect for a washcloth or hand towel, something with a larger stitch size without all the yarn weight hindering their movement.  Still.  These needles are the best needles I’ve worked with, except for that one niggling little complaint.  And they’re very elegant looking, too. 

I also made a smidge of progress on the Viper Pilots.  I’m having a hard time capturing the color of that yarn, though.  It’s not at all pinkish, as the picture would have you believe.

Viper Pilot socks 3 by you.

It’s kinda hard to see the pattern.  At some point, I’ll have enough knit on it to capture the pattern in all its twisty, awesome Battlestar Galactica glory.  Truly.  This picture is a very slight bit better for the pattern.  At least on one side.  Oh, and you know what works in a pinch for stitch markers?  Daughter’s elastic ponytail holders.

Viper Pilot socks 2 by you.

So that’s my busy weekend in a nutshell.  Tell me.  How was your weekend?

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