Monday, February 16, 2009

The Young And The Chestless

(.... serious-sounding organ music here...)

Will Blaine lose his job at Sprint?

Will the New Owner of Blaine and Bo's duplex raise their rent to an unholy amount?

Will Bo's snooty therapist, Fred, ever do something undignified... like accidentally fart out loud or something?

Will Bo ever knit some damn socks that match?

Will Bo go to her dentist appointment tomorrow?

* *

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon?

Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?

Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

("Color of the Wind", Stephen Schwartz)

* Onwards I knit....

I'm a little churlish lately---and the neighbors are now even more certain than ever before that I'm insane.

It all started when I locked myself out of the house yesterday.

It was when I went out to roll the trash bin from the garage to the curb for pick-up. I had gone outside in my stocking feet without a jacket, even though it was freezing cold outside. Upon returning to the house I found, to my horror, that I'd closed the front door tightly---and it was locked.

And Blaine wasn't home to unlock the door and let me in.

So I flipped out on the front porch for awhile, hopping up and down in the bitter cold, cursing the cosmos and panicking--- but I calmed down when I remembered that there is a little computer keypad on the garage door for just such occasions as these. The keypad allows one to punch in a numerical code which causes the garage door to open, allowing one to gain access to the house through an interior door.

Quickly, I scampered over to the garage sidewall where the keypad is mounted and happily punched in my log-in number while yelling loudly: "Open Sesame!"

Nothing happened.

And to my utter mortification, it dawned on me that I wasn't really sure of my secret code.... a fact confirmed when my second log-in attempt was met again by a non-opening garage door and the keypad's LED display screen flashing the impolite message:

"Invalid Code. Please Try Again."

And so I began punching out every number sequence I could think of....

Oh, how I punched and punched on that stupid thing... madly jabbing out numbers on the keypad till my cold fingers became increasingly stiff, blue, and numb--- while loudly hollering increasingly creative and ugly curse words in ever-growing frustration as that damn garage door refused to open, time after time again.

The colder I got, the harder I pushed my brain to remember that code---vainly going over and over in my mind which numbers I would have given to Blaine on the day he had programmed the stupid thing.

I knew that I would have picked easy-to-remember numbers. Was it the numbers of my birthday? Was it Blaine's birthday? Was it our street address? Lotto numbers we always use? The last four digits of my social security number?

My bra size?

The cat's birthday???

DADGUMMIT! None of the numbers I tried worked! And the stupid LED display kept mocking me with its refusal of entry---over and over---till I wanted to rip the dratted thing completely off the garage's wall. I was at its mercy!!

Finally, as I stood there shivering and babbling incoherently to myself in the bitter cold, I couldn't help myself any longer...

"Open the Pod Bay doors, HAL!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.

And I punched out yet another numerical sequence onto the keypad, my fingers dancing over the keypad with a maniacal flourish....

And, like magic, the garage finally door opened --- and then I bellowed with glee "TAH-DAH!"

And my subsequent indignant stomping into the garage would have been a very triumphant ending to this whole sorry story.... if only I hadn't noticed that our next door neighbor, a Russian language professor, was standing stock-still in his own driveway, silently watching my pathetic meltdown with a horrified look on his face....

Oh fooey on him, I thought to myself. Like he's never locked himself out of the house and been the victim of a cruel computer keypad before...

And ... uh... no, I didn't vengefully disconnect the stupid garage door computer's circuits, although it certainly deserved such....

Onwards I knit...

I definitely do take out my frustrations on my knitting. I guess Fred is correct when he says that I use my knitting as a "coping skill". And ever since Fred made the infamous statement of his belief that my penchant for knitting wildly colored, non-matching, gaudy items is a mental "symptom", I now feel even more entitled than ever to pursue my "art" no matter what anybody else thinks.

Hey, I can't help myself--right?

How I love knitting crazy, brightly colored things--- it is so liberating! My motto is: Show me two colors which don't match---and I'll knit them right next to each other. And if Blaine ever shakes his head at my unorthodox color choices, I simply write him off by blithely declaring: "Leave me alone--- Fred says it's okay because I'm crazy."

I am working steadily on the Pinwheel Sweater, and I'm mixing colors with wanton abandon. I've also added some bobbles into a few rounds, and I started an aran-colored round with some fat cables spreading from the center outwards.

The bobbles and cables help break up the monotony of going endlessly around the circle over and over---and they're just plain fun to knit. I've got the sleeve hole stitches on a holder, and the rounds are getting longer and longer.......

And I finally steeked the front buttonband and sleeves on the Joker's Wild Cardigan---and then I knitted the facings. I sewed the facings down over the raw steeked edges and gently blocked them a little to make them lay flat. Then I picked up and knitted some colorful non-matching fair-isle button panels, onto which I will later crochet a picot edging with button loops. I'm hoping I've sized this thing correctly so that it's slightly oversized, as is my preference for cardigans.

Now I gotta get busy on the sleeves....

And then I finally finished my pet project, the "Un-Matching Checkerdy Smock-Sox". I knitted these socks smocked so that they would be stretchy and cushiony (is 'cushiony' a word?)--- and these socks are thick, so they can be worn either as boot socks or house socks. Warmth is needed around here because it is DANG cold in Kansas right now.

In fact, it's so cold outside that you could freeze an egg on the sidewalk...

Onwards I knit...

The landlord must have finalized the deal for selling our duplex because the New Owner invited Blaine out "for drinks" tonight....

Get that---he invited Blaine.

Not me


To cut to the chase---I know that, of course, the New Owner wants to make money on his investment. He plans to live in the other side of the duplex while collecting rent from this half.

And on the matter of not including me in the drinks invitation tonight.... hmmm again.... I wonder if perchance the New Owner is one of those canny guys who knows that it might be a wise move to separate a man from his woman when it comes to a dickering about the price of something?


Which causes me to wonder if mayhaps the New Owner has sized me up and has come to the conclusion that I might be a formidable foe in a bargaining session?

Because it's true. I would most definitely be a formidable bargaining foe if given the chance....

But every time we talk about it, Blaine strongly reminds me that of course the New Owner will raise the price of rent here because the rent hasn't been changed here in 14 years--- an unheard of thing around this neighborhood--- which means that Blaine is paying a ridiculously low rent for this spacious two-story duplex, which is situated in a fairly pricey area of Johnson County, Kansas-- an area known for high rents and expensive real estate.

But I just as quickly remind Blaine right back that if the New Owner were to raise the rent to an uncomfortably high level---let's say, to a price which would "hurt"-- then I would think that it would behoove Blaine to politely and prudently "hint" at what I think would be a reasonable counter-offer request after 14 years---that the carpet be replaced.

I mean, after all, the carpet is over fourteen years old--- and it's dingy, worn, and stained in many places throughout the house. And it was cheap carpet to begin with, sitting on a layer of useless, paper-thin padding.

But then Blaine countered this idea by declaring worriedly that "we are NOT in a bargaining position"--- because he might lose his job at Sprint and we dread the cost of furniture movers should we be required to move elsewhere.

But then I counter-countered his paranoia by telling him that I think we're probably in more of a bargaining position than he thinks. Because I think the New Owner would have to spend a hell of a lot more money than for just new carpet if he had to attract completely new, notoriously picky Overland Park renters--- because then he'd also have to replace the refrigerator (the one here is ours), probably need to replace old kitchen appliances, paint the entire place (the paint job, too, is over 14 years old), and fix multiple plumbing leaks on various sinks, water fixtures, and around tub seals.

Another positive thing about having Blaine and me as renters is that Blaine has always done all the repairs around here himself. (Blaine is very handy.) And Blaine only charges for the parts---never the labor involved, unlike contractors who charge hefty per-hour wages.

Thus -- I think it would be infinitely cheaper to keep Blaine and me happy here than dress this place up for prospective new renters---am I right or am I right?

But Blaine has a soft, non-confrontational heart. And he's the one going out "for drinks" with the New Owner tonight--- not me. So we shall see what transpires.

Onwards I knit....

You know, I was raised to be a formidable bargainer. It's one of the few things I'm good at.

My mother always loved shopping for beautiful antiques or good deals at second-hand shops, and she is a skilled bargainer. And she taught my sister and me well. I can haggle over a price swiftly and ruthlessly in any situation where I think it might serve my pocketbook.

And I don't limit myself to bargaining at antique stores or second-hand shops. I once walked into a Hobby Lobby near here and successfully bargained to pay only one fourth the asking price for a beautiful cedar chest, simply because I had noticed an unnoticeable crack on the inside.

But my sister is the best bargainer. She once argued with a wizened old Portuguese pottery vendor over the price of some little clay teacups---and she finally got him to bring the price of a prettily painted, thimble-sized, demi tass teacup down to a single penny. But, amazingly, she continued to bargain with the astonished man! He finally sighed and handed the cunning little thing to her, remarking sardonically: "Here--take the damn thing for free."

And she actually took the dang thing!

Where was I?

Oh yes, I'm feeling churlish and knitting onwards...

Maybe I'm churlish because I have to go to the dentist tomorrow.

Yes....I'm really going to go.


Maybe I'll wear my lucky Checkerdy Smock Sox...and take my lucky My Little Pony figurine to place on the dental instrument table for courage...



Unknown said...

Oh I love your un-matching socks! And that cardi!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, where to begin? You pack a lot into a single post, lady...

Uhm, I know -- I'll comment on what drew me here in the first place, the socks! I *adore* them. They are most marvellous. I envy your feet, having those socks to muck about in.

Anonymous said...

That is screamingly funny. I had to go tell my daughter why I was laughing so hard: "Open the pod bay doors, Hal." Ohmygoodness.

Love the socks and the cardi too!

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh you had me in fits of giggles with this one.. but...

Did you go to the dentist?! I have to take drugs to even get close to the dentist, and I havn't been there since before I met my husband.. (yuck, I know!). Good Luck!

Bo... said...

I did go to the dentist! (It wasn't much fun....)

Macy from Buffalo, NY said...

I LOVE our dentist! He's cute, smart, wears GOOD-smelling aftershave but doesn't BATHE in it, and the first thing he asks you when you sit in his chair is what kind of anesthetic works best for you. Then he gives you LOTS of it. And if you require short AND long-acting, he does that too. He listens to NPR radio instead of inane crap while you're trapped there, and he's as gentle as can be. Good luck, Bo!
The socks and the sweater are AWESOME! I couldn't go THAT unique myself, but they are terrific and I know you will wear them in good health!
All the best with the duplex thing. Maybe it's the divide-and-conquer concept, or maybe he just really is more into the "good-ole-boy" method of negotiating ...
Anyway, I hope it works out to your benefit. Best wishes, hon.

Anonymous said...

I just have to say as a landlord, you have a lot more leverage than you would think. It is a pain in butt to get new tenants, and having one who doesn't ask for a lot, pays on time, and handles his/her own repairs is gold. I would happily take less in rent to have that. I have done my time in Overland Park, and you are right about the picky shoppers.

I know a good dentist off of College and Roe. Hope you don't have to go back anytime soon, though.

I love the pinwheel and the fair isle. If I could be only half as brave with the colors I'd be happy.

T said...

I love the Un-Matching Checkerdy Smock-Sox pattern can you share or tell me where you got it from>

danielle said...

Wow - LOVE your joker's wild sweater!