Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Weekend Warrior...

It was Little Baby who first alerted us to the threatening weather situation on Saturday.

I looked out the window and noticed that frozen rain had begun to fall.

I checked the weather channel on the television and found that, unfortunately, they were predicting the "Snow Storm of the Century" for all of Kansas. But when I nervously related this fact to Blaine, he casually shrugged it off and said: "No big deal. I was going to grill kabobs on the deck today but I can do it tomorrow."

"Grill kabobs on the deck?" I replied. "Tomorrow?"

"Yeah," he replied nonchalantly. "I've been planning to do them all week. But I'll simply marinate them a little longer and by Sunday they'll be even tastier for grilling."

But I was worried about much more important issues than grilling kabobs on Sunday!

"You idgit," I said. "Grilling is out of the question in this weather. What we need to do is hurry up and get to the grocery store so we can stock up for this storm. The news says it will be a bad one. So we should go to the store NOW--- before the roads ice up and become impassable--- and grab everything we'll need to last us for the entire weekend."

But Blaine wouldn't be swayed from the idea that he was going to "grill on Sunday" , even though he did concede that it would behoove him to make a quick dash to the grocery store.

Blaine can be an obstinate bird, sometimes. Once he gets an idea into his head, he plows towards it like a stubborn mule, no matter WHAT anybody else says, come hell or high water.

And in this case, it looked like high water --- or high snow -- was going to be the problem. Because the freezing rain continued to worsen by the hour. And I fretted until Blaine returned safely from his trip to the grocery store. And he admitted that the store had been completely thronged with frantic crowds who all had exactly the same idea on stocking up on supplies that we had.

And as the weather deteriorated steadily, I couldn't help but to continue pointing out each new development to Blaine while repeating my notion that there was no way in heck that he would be able to grill on the deck come Sunday. In fact, weather conditions looked more and more "un-grill-able" with each passing hour.

"It looks like it might rain for forty days and forty nights...." I quipped.

"Cute," Blaine replied. "But I'm grilling come Sunday...."

Even when I directed his attention to the fact that his precious BBQ-PRO had now iced up to the point where icycles were hanging off of it and it was frozen shut, he never wavered in his determination.

I was really nervous about the ice. Ice storms can bring terrible consequences in Kansas.

"I hope this ice doesn't cause any trees to fall on the power lines," I muttered ominously. "The last thing we need is to lose electricity."

"I don't need electricity to grill on Sunday, " he retorted. "I just need propane..."

And as the day wore on it began sleeting, and soon a fine mist of whitish slush covered the neighborhood. I rather unkindly pulled the curtains open wide so that Blaine could see the harsh circumstances.

"Yep, it's sleetin' so hard out there that we'll be lucky if we don't have to start bringing in animals two-by-two...." I joked.

Then I put on my good ole Bass Pro Shop rubber boots and went outside to find the snow shovel. I had carelessly tossed it somewhere the last time I had tried to clear snow out of the driveway and God only knew where it was. I finally found it, frozen to the deck.

Even when the sleet turned to snow, Blaine wasn't discouraged. But I eyeballed the new development and turned to level a silent, yet meaningful gaze at Blaine.....

"It's only SATURDAY," he stated evenly. "And I told you--- I don't want to grill until SUNDAY."


I tried to entice Blaine into cancelling his grilling plans by making a huge pot of my bad-weather specialty, southern chicken & dumplings. I make my dumplings with Lo-Fat Bisquik, and the leftovers last for two days. But Blaine wouldn't budge in his plans.

By God, he was going to grill on Sunday....

Incidentally (and I don't mean to brag here) but I don't just make good chicken & dumplings --- I make EXCELLENT chicken & dumplings. I boil the chicken all day in the pot, adding lots of sage, chicken boullion, chopped onions, diced carrots, a handful of peas, salt, pepper, a little garlic powder, and a can of Cream O'Mushroom soup. When the soup is done, I thicken it a little before plopping in the dollops of dumpling dough. And I don't just mix up the Bisquik with milk to make the dough. I add things to the Bisquick powder first--- like salt, pepper, sage, paprika, parsley, garlic powder, and onion powder --- thus, making "herbed" dumplings, and THEY ARE GOOOOD.

As my southern grandmother would say about good chicken and dumplings: "It's lairpin'!!"

Anyhoo, by Saturday afternoon a true blizzard had developed, its windy gales blowing layers upon layers of wet snow on the neighborhod--- but idgity Blaine was nonplussed.

"I'm going to grill on Sunday...." was his mantra.

I braved the storm to stomp around outside in my rubber boots, trying to make sure that none of our neighbors had accidentally left their cats or dogs outside--- nobody had --- and I was finally chased back inside when the now gale-force wind got even snowier and the temperature dropped futher.

(Is 'snowier' a word?)

It snowed throughout the evening, and was still going strong when Blaine and I went to bed at about 10:30 pm.

And then....sure enough.....

We woke up on Sunday to find that the snow had stopped.... but the entire neighborhood --- and our back deck --- was buried under at least six inches of snow.

"It'll melt," Blaine declared before I even had a chance to say "I told you so".

"Maybe we should send a dove to fly out and see if there's any land which isn't buried under snow..." I remarked.

"You know, the Noah's Ark jokes are getting old," Blaine replied smartly. "And besides, Noah was in a FLOOD, not a blizzard..."

Stung, I briefly considered making a sarcastic crack about Donner Pass but thought better of it, since that would be in poor taste.

Get it? "Poor taste"?

I know, I know.... pretend I never said it......

Throughout the morning, as I sat knitting on my "Mystery Project" with a bemused expression on my face, Blaine proceeded to methodically lay out his ingredients for the kabobs--- the container of meat marinating in Blaine's own marinade mixed with "secret ingredients" (that he won't even tell his own mother), and a stack of pita breads to "wrap" the kabob meats with. Even when he asked me to chop up some onions and tomatoes for the "relish", I didn't comment--- but my smirk said it all.

And then , as Blaine waited patiently, staring out the window with an expectant look until about 4:30 pm.....

...suddenly, like magic.....

...the dadgum snow began to melt.

"But the BBQ-PRO is still iced shut and you'll never get that propane to flow," I reminded him, thinking a little snottily to myself that he was STILL foiled in his grilling intentions.

"No matter," he replied, unconcerned, whistling to himself.....

(I think it was the tune to "Day-O" by Harry Belafonte......)

Puzzled, I stared at him as he cheerfully whistled his way down the steps to the basement....

...and then returned with a bag of charcoal which --- after he daintily, and with a dandy wrist flourish, brushed the snow off a little appliance I had forgotten about --- he triumphantly proceeded to open --- and then began plopping charcoal chunks, one by one, into his portable table-top Weber charcoal grill....while loudly whistling the tune to "Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz, Oh What a Relief It Is" .....

... and danged if Blaine didn't proceed to GRILL ON SUNDAY.

(You know, those dang kabobs were lairpin'....)


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Okay, So Isn't Everybody Allowed ONE Mistake Per Year?...

Note to Self:

The next damn time you lay (like a black widow spider) in wait for the damn ice-cream man so that you can accuse him of "reckless driving" on a "cul-de-sac chock full of little kids" (like you're the Nancy Grace of Overland Park)....

...and then after you finish your tirade you sanctimoniously ask for "one of them dang Bomb Pops".....

Do make certain that you didn't spend all your cash on things like groceries at Walmart... or a Coke at the Chick-Fil-A... and that you actually have some damn money in your damn pocket to pay for the damn Bomb Pop with....

Friday, March 20, 2009

The End of an Era....


Oh my my, I'm your ice cream man, stop me when I'm passin' by, See now all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy...

("Ice Cream Man", Van Halen)



Two days in a row I have watched a Sheriff's Deputy squad car come driving ominously down our cul-de-sac--- and then stop in front of some unlucky family's home in order that he could deliver a foreclosure/eviction notice.

And these are families with children...

And each time it happened I stood on my front porch with my hand on my heart in sympathy for those poor people. And I also know that there, but for the grace of God, go Blaine and I. We barely dodged that same bullet last week during the Great Sprint Layoff, when Blaine managed to hold onto his job by the skin of his teeth.

And all this sadness is why, when I heard the sound of an ice-cream truck, I experienced a total surge in my spirits.

The ice-cream man was coming!!

But. things. didn't. go. very. well.

And I'm mad at the ice-cream man.


To me, there are few things as magical to hear on a sunny day than the sound of an approaching ice-cream truck, its cheerful silver bells playing a happy little ditty which acts as a Pied-Piper to draw forth hoards of neighborhood children, all waving their money in hand, anxious to buy all manner of delightful, frozen treats.

I remember when I was a very young child, before my family moved overseas, we lived in a little California neighborhood frequented by a Good Humor ice cream truck. Lord, how I loved to see that truck coming!

It would stop in the street and all the little kids would gather around its side window, screaming out which ice-creams they wanted. My mother would buy me one of the "candy necklaces", and I would purposefully take a really long time to eat it, "bead" by "bead". Hell, I loved ALL the things on the Good Humor truck--- wondrous things like Bomb Pops, ice cream sandwiches, Popsicles that turned my tongue colors, and those creamy Orange Dreamsicles...

(The trick to eating those double-sticked Popsicles was to figure out how NOT to let one whole half of the popsicle fall off when you had licked it down to a drippy, trickling mess....)

And, like a lot of my childhood loves, I held onto my fascination with ice-cream trucks long after I reached adulthood. (For that matter, I still adore watching the movie "Bambi", going to Knotts Berry Farm, and playing "Mousetrap".)

(Okay, and I also like to play with the Barbie dolls on the toy aisle in Walmart when Blaine is busy in the computer section....)

My trouble with ice-cream trucks began quite a few years ago, right after I had married Blaine. I'll tell you about it here so that you can understand my frustration with ice-cream men.

The Texas Ice-Cream Truck Incident:

At that time, Blaine and I lived in a suburb near Austin, Texas, called Pflugerville. And one day I heard the ice-cream truck coming--- and I ran out of the house barefooted like an idgity bat out of hell. But the minute I left the front door I knew I would have to speed it up even further because the stupid ice-cream truck was rolling down the street somewhat rapidly.

I soon caught up with three other little kids who were running after the truck too--- and the four of us raced down the street together. One of the kids was slightly pudgy and couldn't run as fast as the rest of us--- and I felt kinda sorry for him because I knew that he'd never catch that truck on his own.

Down the sidewalk we raced--- but the truck was going so fast that I feared it would get away from us. I knew it would be up to me---the fastest runner-- to catch the stupid thing. So, thinking I could cut it off at the streetcorner, I took a detour through a neighbor's yard.... not realizing until it was way too late that their unkempt lawn was chock-full of the dreaded Texan sticky-burrs...

... and I fell DOWN like a sack of rocks.

I had hit those sticky-burrs and instantly started stumbling--- then fell down altogether and started tumbling, rolling over and over myself while screaming in agony as my poor feet now had umpteen-eleven horrible sticky-burrs embedded in them----and then I screamed even more after all three of those other little kids--- who'd been hard on my heels--- all subsequently tripped over me when their own little feet were punctured by the evil sticky-burrs...

......and then all four of us ended up flopping around on that damnable lawn like beached flounder, screaming and holding our painful feets...

And none of us ever did catch that damn ice-cream truck.

Where was I?

Oh yes, I'm pissed off at the ice-cream man.


Anyway, so the other day I heard the ice-cream man coming for the first time in the season. And although I was happily knitting on my second Pinwheel Sweater (one into which I'm trying to put a lot of the colors black and red--- with some fair-isle patterns thrown in),

...and Leonard was innocently trying to sleep on me...

...I threw down my knitting and unceremoniously shoved poor sleeping Leonard aside---

...and I shot out the front door.

(Okay, and so I might have been using Little Baby as a footstool at the time--- and I may have accidentally stomped her in my haste to catch the ice-cream truck--- but I'm sure she'll forgive me come Tuna Time...)

But things did not go as I planned---

...and everything degenerated into a very bad deja-vu nightmare of that Pflugerville incident all over again.

Because that damn truck--- a "Frosty Treats" truck if I may say so--- came flying down the street like a dadgum NASCAR pacer vehicle, speeding six ways until Sunday just like that dratted Pflugerville truck had done!

Dammit---what IS IT with speeding ice-cream trucks?

Aren't ice-cream trucks supposed to drive SLOWLY around the neighborhood, stopping periodically when people flag them down to buy ice-cream? Why in the hell would an ice-cream truck SPEED?

I ask you, WHY?

This guy was flying down our street like the Dale Earnhardt of ice-cream trucks. But five or six of us hopeful ice-cream customers ran to the curb and obligingly waved our arms up and down, semaphore-fashion in the Internationally Accepted Flag-An-Ice-Cream-Truck-Down Language--- but it didn't do us the slightest bit of good...


But as the streaking truck blasted his way towards the end of our cul-de-sac, his silver bells jangling so loud that I thought they'd jangle themselves right off the truck, our hopes rose a bit--- because it looked for sure that he would have to stop since the street culminated in a dead-end. Some of us even stepped off the sidewalks into the street, thinking he'd be forced to stop and we could approach him....

But no! As he neared the dead-end of the street, the driver then stepped on the gas and peeled rubber while making a fast and furious U-turn!

And I knew better than to run after him this time--- oh, how I knew. No more sticky burrs for me, by God...

As the truck left us in his dust, I figured the whole sorry episode was over....

But then.... one lone, brave little kid ran into the middle of the street and took a defiant stance, shaking his tiny little fist at the fast-disappearing ice-cream truck...

...and I held my breath to hear what profound anguish he would scream...

"You fartknocker!" he hollered.


That's a new one on me. Fartknocker? I was thinking something along the lines of "butthead", "jerk", or "idiot" (or, in my southern accent, "idgit".) But "fartknocker"? But I guess the terminology changes from one generation to the next. When I was that little kid's age, we had a totally different set of classifications for use when "calling names".

One time in the 7th grade I was sitting in a math class next to my cousin, Dana Cherie. Dana Cherie was always a total juvenile delinquent and that day I was trying to IGNORE her insistent elbow-jabs and whispers--- because the teacher was looking directly as us with a very stern look on her face, and I didn't want to get into trouble YET AGAIN because of idgity Dana Cherie.

Finally, since Dana couldn't get a response from me (because I was always a goody-goody in front of teachers) (see my post on Eddie Haskell), she passed me a large, folded note. Before I even had a chance to open it, the teacher was on me like a duck on a junebug. "BO--HEE--MI--AN!" she hollered, enunciating every syllable of my first and last names. "You come right up to the front of the class and read that note aloud!"

I knew the teacher probably thought that forcing me to read a note from Dana would embarass the hell out of me and Dana Cherie--- but I knew Dana Cherie only too well and dreaded reading the note for completely different reasons than simply the humiliation of being caught passing notes. So, reluctantly, I shuffled up to the front of the class and read the damn note out loud...

"Doesn't that Poindexter sitting next to you look like a total booger-head?"

Good Lord, where was I?

You'll have to excuse me, but this whole ice-cream truck thing has totally discombobulated me and caused me to re-live traumatic events from my childhood...

Anyway, the first thing I did after this whole upsetting ice-cream truck incident was to stomp into the house and sit down at the computer to look up the telephone number of "Frosty Treats Ice-Cream Company" on the internet--- because I was going to call those yay-hoo's, by God, and give them a hearty piece of my mind.

But when I typed in the words "Frosty Treats" into the Google search engine....

(And so it is Googled, and so it shall be done....)

...I was horrified by what I found.

First there was this distressing article in the news.


And then this one.


Alas! What in the Sam Hill is going on in Ice-Cream-Truckdom?

I had no idea that the ice-cream truck business could ever be anything but happy, fun, and Mom's-Apple-Pie, you know? But I was undaunted. After reading those startling revelations, I called the Frosty Treats company on the phone and asked for the manager.

I finally reached someone who said they were the manager and I then politely explained what had happened. I reported to him that the guy had driven way too fast, which is bad for two reasons:

1) It's not safe to drive that fast because our neighborhood has lots of children playing on the sidewalks and in the streets; and

2) Ice-cream trucks are supposed to DRIVE SLOWLY in order that they may STOP easily when they see someone trying to get their attention. I reiterated that it didn't make any sense for the stupid truck to even COME to our neighborhood if the guy isn't going to STOP and SELL ICE-CREAM, right??

And after I explained all the above in what I thought was a logical, courteous manner, what do you think the manager of Frosty Treats said?

He shrugged it off by saying: "Oh well, there's really nothing I can do about it unless I know which driver it is. The drivers don't have specific routes--- they go wherever they feel like at the moment. But if you can catch the number of the truck next time he comes by, give me a call and I'll see what I can do."

* * * *


That night I attempted to complain to Blaine about what had happened. But I had no sooner related the whole sad tale when he erupted in laughter and remarked: "Did you run after him and fall down on sticky burrs again?" And as I responded with a withering look, he added: "Look, just do what the manager told you and catch the number on the truck next time."

* * * * * *

Second Epilogue:

And so I wait....


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's a Bad Thing....

Bo's Words to the Wise......

If you're ever following a recipe for some type of Middle Eastern or Asian food that you got from watching a television cooking show, and the recipe calls for a big spoonful of peanut butter as one of the ingredients....

And even though that sounds like a perfectly logical thing to do--- a great idea, even--- because you have a desire to "try something interesting and different" , and the guy/gal on the cooking show made it look so fabulously delicious....

And no matter how much you think you have fooled your unsuspecting man by camouflaging "special" ingredients in his food before (and you got away with it)....

And most especially if you have dedicated yourself to gradually, and gently, teaching him to "expand his culinary horizons"....

Don't do it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Break Out The Knitting Yarn....

Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight, my goodness and my fortress, my high tower, and my deliverer,

(Psalm 144, King James Bible)


So.... I was down on my knees in the living room this morning.

I was praying to The Lord.

I was praying very earnestly. I was asking the Lord to help Blaine get through what Blaine was positive would occur today--- the trauma of losing his job at Sprint, along with several hundred other hapless employees.

And I was praying to ask The Lord for the strength which Blaine and I would need to get through the subsequent financial devastation that would follow losing our only income--- and the dismal employment prospects Blaine would face in the current economy.

And not 15 minutes after I had gotten up off my knees and poured myself a cup of coffee, the telephone rang.

It was Blaine.

"I didn't lose my job..." he began.

Holy Hannah and Great Jehosaphat, he survived the job cuts!

"But I'm going to come on home in a little while," he continued. "They told me to go home for the rest of the day since it's such chaos and mourning over here--- hundreds of people are losing their jobs right and left and it's a total, sad mess--- there are people weeping in the hallways..."

But we are among the lucky ones!

And then, in my relief, my spirits were suddenly lifted up so much that I couldn't help myself--- because as a recovering alcoholic I can no longer toast good fortune with champagne--- and so I found myself blurting out: "Let's go get some yarn!"

Okay, in my defense, yarn is safe as a method of celebrating. Nobody ever got pulled over on the highway and then hauled off to jail for driving their vehicle under the influence of yarn, right? And nobody ever made a complete fool of themself at the company Christmas party because they were knitting, okay? And nobody has ever thrown up because they knitted too much yarn....

And, for that matter, I have never gotten a wicked, lay-down-and-die hangover from knitting too much yarn...

And one doesn't "see double" from knitting..... oh, wait a minute.... yeah, sometimes after knitting for about six hours straight without looking up from my work, I kinda do start seeing double....

You get the picture....

"Sure, Bo," Blaine said, chuckling. "We can go get some yarn... we can go next Friday, when I get paid."

He survived the job cuts!

Thank You, Dear Lord.....thank You...

And also, God...please help those who were not so fortunate...


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It Tolls For Thee.....


Okay, folks.... it's finally happening over at Sprint.

As you know, just before Christmas, Blaine's employer, Sprint, announced that 8,000 jobs would be cut here in Kansas City by March. Some jobs were cut last month. But the remainder were left to be accomplished this week, a few a day until Friday.

It is now Wednesday... and so far Blaine has "survived".

But the hour is at hand.

Blaine came home from work today and related that about 200 more employees were given notice that they no longer had jobs. He said that the cuts were not discriminatory--- that both managers and "foot soldiers" alike were given their walking papers, one by one, all day long. The casualties were listed to stricken bystanders in hushed and terrified whispers throughout the sprawling Sprint campus' vast, technical maze of cubicles and corridors...

"You should have seen it, Bo," Blaine told me, his tired face pinched with tension, "It was awful. All my buddies---GONE. There's already one completely empty building over there--- and they say there'll be another one by the time it's all over on Friday."

(Each evening as I pack his lunch for the next day, I wonder.....is this going to be the last work-lunch I ever pack for him? Tonight I packed him a good one--- it's leftovers from tonight's dinner, shrimps cooked in a garlic/white wine sauce from a recipe I got from my mom, rice, and my famous green bean casserole. Dammit, the least I can do is give the boy some decent fuel for all that job trauma...)

Bless his heart, Blaine said that he just tried to keep plugging sadly along in his work tasks, trying to avert his eyes from the sad carnage of the daylong procession of dedicated Sprint employees who were called into private offices to be given the notification that they were among the ones who were being let go. Among those laid off were most of Blaine's co-workers, some of whom had been his friends for 10 years or more.

Blaine believes that the Job-Cutting Man cometh for him, too....

Perhaps tomorrow.....

Perhaps Friday...



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's Off With The House Sock Binge And On With The Pinwheel Sweater Obsession....

You're old enough some people say
To read the signs and walk away,
It's only time that heals the pain,
And makes the sun come out again...

("It's Raining Again", Supertramp)

It's raining.....

....and Blaine is waiting to hear from Sprint about whether or not he gets to keep his job... or if he will be layed off.

His department was told that they would know "one way or the other" this week. They told them that the ones who would "be kept" would hear something BEFORE Friday. But the ones who will be layed off will hear ON Friday.

Which means that they all have to wait, minute by minute, in suspense and torture for the whole entire week. And the ones who don't hear by quitting time on Thursday evening will probably spend a very dismal Thursday night....

Anyway, onwards I knit....

And I finished something.

And have you ever knitted something that you just LOVE to pieces?

That would be this Pinwheel Sweater for me. I love this silly thing. It is just over sized and "flappy" enough to wrap me up like in a cocoon---and it's comfortable as anything--- and I just love it!

Of course, I took many "liberties" with the pattern, and I know my haphazard, psychedelic methods of interpreting other people's patterns is not everybody's cup of tea--- but for me it "fits". And yes, just like my socks, the sleeves don't match--- and I just threw in the colors willy-nilly according to my "mood" --- but dadgum it, I LOVE IT!

I put random cables, bobbles, seed stitch, and fair-isle "dots" hither and yon, every which way but loose. And I finished off the edging with a crocheted pattern ("mock ribbing" via front post stitches), and I didn't put any buttons on it because I prefer wearing it manually "wrapped" around me.

I love this silly thing so much that I've begun another one, this time using the color black as the main color instead of the aran color.

Remember how my shrink Fred told me that my habit of knitting "bizarre and gaudy color combinations" was a "symptom" of my mental condition? Well, just to amuse myself, I am going to wear this thing to my appointment with him this week---- and I'm going to keep a straight face the whole time, like there's nothing wrong, even while he's trying to keep his own face straight, HEH!!!

Good golly, I just used the Spell Check function and practically one in eight words was spelled incorrectly. I used to be a good speller, but maybe I'm going even more bats than Fred says I am.....

Friday, March 06, 2009

You Gotta Know When to Hold 'Em....


It was probably the last snowstorm of the season. Perfect knitting weather. Which means that I definitely have a need for a LOT of yarn.

And a die-hard knitter must sometimes be resourceful....


The 12 Worst Things I Have Done To Get Knitting Yarn:

1. I have lied.

And I don't mean fibbing to Blaine about whether or not I sneaked some pureed leftovers into the meatloaf, but shameless, bald-face lying.

Doesn't everybody put things in their meatloaf they would prefer not to divulge? It stretches your ground meat to go further and uses up leftover food---and I believe that wasting leftovers is an absolute sin. But Blaine abhors leftovers---and he further abhors leftovers sneaked into his meatloaf. But I am a Champion Food Disguiser, and I defy any attempt at detecting leftovers in my tasty meatloaf...

But about the lying -- yes, I know that lying is BAD. But when Blaine asked me to "make up some excuse" about why we couldn't attend a Saturday social event because what he really wanted to do was upgrade his computer..... well, let's just say that I "carpe diemed" the situation.

(Or is it carpe yarnum'ed?)

"Sure I'll call the Smiths and say I've got a headache, Blaine---and, um.... whaddaya say we stop at the yarn store on the way home from the computer store, eh?"

(And what Blaine doesn't know I added to the meatloaf won't hurt him...)

Where was I?

Oh yes, the bad things I've done to get yarn...

2. I have feigned depression.

"Sigh... I'm so blue.... if only I had some new yarn to cheer me up!" , said multiple times, morosely, while wandering around trying to look wan...

And then if that doesn't work, continuing to sigh loudly while holding my shaky little hand to my weak little heart for about three or four more hours, until Blaine thinks he'll go nuts if he has to listen to it one minute more and becomes ready to do just about ANYTHING to shut me up...

And if THAT doesn't work, one can always resort to one's Southern Roots and stamp one's foot while yelling loud codicils in a Southern Accent such as: "Damnation! I'm gonna die deadern' a doornail if I don't get no DADGUM NEW YARN!"

This used to work until Blaine caught on to my tricks--- and so once, when I had made some other outrageous lyin' exclamation in a southern accent, he was prepared---and just as quickly retorted back with a Southern Saying in an outrageous imitation of a southern accent: "You'll go to hell for lyin' just as fast as fer stealin' chickens, ya idgit!"

(I was so shocked that I was dumbstruck for eight hours and never did get any damn yarn.)

3. I've baked homemade bread for Blaine.

Now, baking bread isn't necessarily a so-called "bad" thing to do for yarn, but something tells me that it isn't very charitable to do it while carelessly slinging bread pans around the kitchen while loudly singing "The Things We Do For Love" but substituting the word "Yarn" for "Love".

4. I have used flattery and baby-talk while humbly agreeing with whatever fool thing Blaine says BEFORE asking if the budget can take another "yarn hit".

"Why, you are so right, my snookie wookums---I definitely do think that [insert name of Blaine's favorite political figure here] is doing a wonderful job--- and how politically ASTUTE you are!" even though I think that Blaine's favorite political figure is an idiot, scoundrel, criminal, drunk, or con-man/woman.

5. I have refrained from gloating whenever the television news subsequently shows Blaine's favorite political figure getting arrested, indicted, lampooned on Saturday Night Live, scandalously "revealed" in 'The National Enquirer", pulled over for drunk driving, or labeled a pinhead on 'The O'Reilly Factor'. (See No. 4 above.)

6. I have "buttered" Blaine up for a solid week by allowing him to choose the TV channels we watch in the evenings--- and then silently suffered through a week's worth of "The Outer Limits", "Star Trek Enterprise", "Ghosthunters", Smallville", "Chuck", and old re-runs of "Histories Mysteries" that we've seen umpty-leven times.

7. I have actually hidden most of my yarn stash so that it appears that I have very little yarn---and, thus, need more.

This backfired on me once when I asked Blaine to help me search for the heating pad--- and he found it next to a sack of Cascade 220 yarn under the clean towels, right next to a box of hideously ugly "Peter Rabbit" Easter napkin rings his mother had given us that I had lied and said I had lost. (See No. 1 about lying above.)

8. I have used strong willpower to refrain from complaining about Blaine's mother's constant harping that I "don't contribute" to the household expenses because I am currently not employed----even though I once supported Blaine by working overtime after the first time he got layed off from a job.

(She also makes negative comments about my cooking every SINGLE frigging time I have ever cooked something for her--- and she STILL tells people that I don't know how to "operate" an electric stove simply because she caught me using a little saucepan on the big burner.)

(Once when I was making my famous turkey croquettes and creamed pea sauce for a big family dinner, I ominously remarked to Blaine that if "that flibbertigiblet" made one snide comment about my damn croquettes that I would absolutely "go postal"---and Blaine had the audacity to sass me back by snapping "The term is 'flibberti-gib-bet', Bo.")

(But I got the last word, ho ho, when I retorted right back that I had actually MEANT to use the word 'flibbertigiblet' because "a damn giblet is part of a turkey"....)

Where was I again?

Oh yes--- back to the bad things I've done for yarn...

9. I have exaggerated my yarn "needs".

"Why yes, honey, although it's true that I have plenty of worsted weight yarn, I don't have all the needed colors for my psychedelic Pinwheel Sweater. I still need some puce, ochre, periwinkle and cadmium yellow..."

(By the time we go get the yarn, he will have forgotten which colors I listed above.....)

10. I have resorted to heavy-duty bargaining.

"Hey honey, what's it worth to you if I clean out the garage and put all your tools back in your tool box?"

(This was really an unfair bargain because I knew full well that Blaine was so desperate to avoid doing that chore himself that he would be willing to buy me the entire contents of a yarn store in return for me doing it--- but all's fair in love and yarnfare, right?...)

11. I have faked being a good sport about Blaine's rudeness.

Every now and then I knit a pair of house socks that are really bizarre-looking--- even for my own technicolor standards--- and when Blaine looks at them and involuntarily blurts out something like: "Good Lord, you really ARE sick in the head!" , then restraint is most definitely called for...

...in order to prevent some violent action which would cause Blaine's next comments to be muffled by the manual placement of said pair of house socks....

And the 12th Worst Thing I've Ever Done For Yarn:

12. I have ... well... bluffed.

"Oh my GOD, honey! Worsted yarn is ON SALE over at the so-and-so store! So we had better hurry up and buy a TON of it because IT WILL NEVER BE THAT PRICE AGAIN!"

(Okay, so it wasn't really on sale and I was just 'psyching' Blaine into thinking that he'd "save" money by buying the yarn right then for a "sale" price rather than losing money later by buying it at "regular price". But like I said, it IS the 12th worst thing I've done for yarn....)

Actually, if I was totally truthful, I would have to admit that I am a skilled bluffer. If cornered, I can bluff so convincingly that it frightens me. In another life I was probably a professional poker player.

I don't know where I learned my bluffing skills so proficiently except that it may have been born out of necessity during the infamous Wine Episode in my 20's, when I was very desperate and had resorted to bluffing in order to avoid disaster.

(And forgive me if I've told this story before, but I definitely believe it was this particular incident which heralded my successful bluffing career.)

Wine Episode Bluff Story:

Back in my salad days I used to drink inexpensive wine in the evenings after work, a habit for which I was endlessly ridiculed by my then-boyfriend, a hoity toity lawyer who was a total wine-snob. He only drank what he called "decent wine" , and he frequently declared that I was a total "bumpkin" for drinking cheap wine.

(I liked good wine as much as the next person, but I drank inexpensive wine because my budget wasn't as flexible as his lawyer salary allowed---but the blockhead never considered that fact and I was too timid to defend myself.)

Anyhoo, one night after work I ran out of my own cheap wine. And, for various reasons (including the fact that it was raining, and finding a parking place in downtown Washington, D.C. is nigh on impossible), I decided not to go to the liquor store for more wine.

Instead.... I did a bad thing.

I poured the contents of the very last bottle from a case of my boyfriend's expensive wine---it was a particular vintage of a Rothschild Mouton Cadet --- into one of my empty $8.79 "Gallo" bottles....

(Personally, I think Mouton Cadet is only a mediocre wine, but he worshiped the stuff. )

And then I went about my evening, enjoying my wine while waiting for my boyfriend to come home. I convinced myself that he probably wouldn't remember how many bottles he had opened from that case of Mouton Cadet since he only opened a bottle of it once in a blue moon.

So anyway, he finally came home from his lawfirm and sat down to relax and watch some TV with me. And then....to my utter mortification.....he made a statement which I thought I'd never hear him utter.

"Don't faint, Bo," he chuckled, "But I think I might pour myself some of your crappy wine."

Horrified, I died a thousand deaths as he ambled to the frig to get the wine. I died another thousand deaths while he was pouring himself a glass. And then I died another thousand deaths as he triumphantly brought his wine glass into the living room and settled back into his chair, smiling at me cheerily.

Sweating profusely, I began preparing my apology in my head---and I knew it would have to be a damn good one. In fact, I knew it would have to be the most groveling, pathetic, subservient, humble, and mercy-begging apology I would ever need in my whole sorry, wine-stealing life.....

...and he threw me a comical look while taking that first sip --- then smacked his lips with gusto....

I waited what seemed like an eternity for his reaction---and the subsequent shouted accusations of my criminal behavior to come....

And I wondered fleetingly if I could distract him by spontaneously jumping up and declaring that I was now going to perform The Dance Of The Seven Veils while stark nekkid without any veils--- but then I realized that it was too late, because the damnable wine had already passed his wine-snob's palate and gone down his gullet.......

..and then.....


His eyes flew open wide and he visibly perked up----and seemed to struggle to speak....

"Oh dear JESUS!" he finally exclaimed loudly.

"I know, I know...." I murmured haltingly, "and believe me---I am so truly very sorry....."

"I just can't believe it!" he sputtered, accidentally spitting wine at me in his flabbergastation.

"Please don't be too angry...." I whined, lowering my head in shame.

"You always told me but I never believed it!" he stated, stupidly staring at his wine glass, then taking another sip just to be sure of what he was tasting...

What the?...

And then he continued, almost delirious with glee, "You always told me that your cheap wine was 'just as good' as my expensive wine--- but I never believed it! Until NOW!"

And he started gulping down that stupid wine like it was water, joyfully slurping what he thought was cheap wine--- when it was really his beloved Mouton Cadet.

And... well... I couldn't resist....

"Told you so," I said with a martyr-like expression.

"God, I've simply GOT to tell the other partners about this stuff...." he muttered to himself.

* * * * *

Oh yeah --- that's the Wine Episode --- but I forgot to to tell you about The Bluffing part.

It was a few months later....

And my boyfriend decided to celebrate something. Sure enough, he ceremoniously went to retrieve the "last" bottle of the ill-fated Mouton Cadet---which, of course, was now empty.

He wasn't fooled for a moment.

"You...you.... WINE THIEF!" he bellowed, fruitlessly scattering empty Mouton Cadet bottles hither and yon in an effort to find the last undrunk bottle. "Did you steal my last bottle of Mouton Cadet?!!"

(Is "undrunk" a word?)

"I most certainly did not," I replied flatly, quickly deciding in my head that I was tired of his snobbery and that I was most certainly NOT going to go down for this caper since he was being such a Neanderthal about it.....

"Yes you did--- I know you DID!" he exclaimed, brandishing an empty bottle under my nose. "You guzzled my GOOD WINE!"

"I can't believe it," I replied solemnly, with what I hoped was a crushed look on my angelic face. "You must have forgotten. Oh, how typical for a man."

"Oh, don't try any of your shenanigans with ME!" he harped, even though I could see some faint confusion coming over his face....

"For shame, you forgot our wonderful night --- that special night when you opened the wine!" I continued, almost astonished at the ease which the bluffing statements flew out of my mouth. "It was the first time you ever told me you loved me! And you can't remember it!"

(In the back of my mind I was beginning to wonder if I would go to hell for bluffing...)

"Uh...wait a minute," he mumbled, struggling to remember--- frightened that he couldn't.

"See? You don't remember!" I replied with a little sob, going for the jugular. "You must have been drunk that night and just told me that you loved me to get lucky! Oh, how cruel! And here I thought it was the happiest night of my life!"

(Maybe I could convert to Catholicism and do some sort of "penance" for bluffing???)

"Now hold on a minute," he said hastily. "I do remember.... uh.... wasn't it that night we went to the Old Ebbit Grill? Yes, that's it! Of course I remember, sweety!"

And then he added--- just to be sure I was convinced---

"Forgive me, babe--- it's been a long day at work. I'm such a dimwit. It was definitely me who opened that bottle."

(And no, I didn't offer him a glass of my cheap crap.....)

* * * *