Thursday, July 31, 2008

In Which We All Go Quietly Mad

Lily, Jack and I have been in the house for two whole days. None of us has had enough sleep in two nights. Jack is a lot better, but still a little off his food. Lily is upset that she missed two play dates in a row, and frankly, so is Mommy. Mommy needs a play date, too.

Today we watched our Maurice Sendak DVD at least 20 times. Jack would have been happy to see "Where the Wild Things Are" over and over and over and over, world without end, amen. Fortunately, I was able to get him interested in something else every once and a while so that we could turn the TV off. Unfortunately, he could only be diverted for a few minutes before returning and saying "I wanna watch Wild Fings!"

I did get them out of the house in order to go to Butterfly Yarns and pick up the two patterns I ordered. They were relatively well behaved in the yarn store, except that Jack decided to "help" store owner Kim organize her crochet hook display on the front of the checkout counter. I noticed Lily immediately went over to a skein of yarn and petted it. Like mother, like daughter?

After stopping briefly to get the patterns, I took around the corner to Cravings as a special treat. Lily wanted a chocolate cone. Jack wanted a "green" cone. The store owner politely informed me that he only uses natural flavors and colors in his ice cream, so he didn't have any green ice cream. I told Jack there was no green and asked whether he wanted vanilla or chocolate. "I want purple," he said. I told the store owner to give him chocolate, just to end the discussion.

When I handed Lily her cone, Jack suddenly said "I want fwahklet! I want fwahklet!" Good thing I ordered that instead of "purple," assuming the store even had purple ice cream.

Jack got a lot of his ice cream on his shirt and then threw most of his cone into the trash. Lily was better at eating hers, but kept rubbing it across her lips (and, therefore, her face and chin) and saying "Look at my beautiful lipstick!" Indeed. On the way back to the car, Jack repeatedly asked me to carry him and Lily whined that it was too hot to be outside (it really was). All in all, not our best outing this summer. We were all glad to get back to our air conditioned house, where they immediately clamored for "Where the Wild Things Are." Again.

Did I mention that Jack refused his nap? He was more than content to play for two hours in bed, but did not sleep a wink. He did pass out on the floor watching Maurice Sendak after we got home from ice cream. He was flat on his back like a dead man. Lily continued to play in the living room, she just stepped over him like he wasn't there. He slept through it all.

Ah yes, I forgot to mention the terrible injury Lily sustained while standing over by the radiator cover. She scraped her foot just above the back of her heel, causing a minute flap of skin to come up. There was no blood, but she carried on as if someone had amputated her foot at the ankle. She demanded a band-aid, and when I couldn't find one, she cried and carried on for an hour, demanding that I call Jim and ask him to come home immediately so he could pick up some band-aids. She walked around with an exaggerated limp and told me her foot was probably broken. I finally unearthed a box of band-aids from the bowels of the bathroom cabinet and put one on her. It was a MIRACLE! She was instantly cured.

I don't know where Jack got his bug, but he definitely spread it to two of his friends. I am devoutly hoping that Lily missed out, because if she gets sick tonight, I will be stuck in the house with a pukey kid again, this time on one of my two "days off." I don't know if any of us can take another sick day at home.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This One Time, At Knit Night....

When things are going pretty well, do you ever feel like you're just waiting for the other shoe to drop? Just me?

The other shoe dropped last night. Ever since the whole Dorkmobile saga, things have been going quite smoothly. Life's been kind of fun, actually. There was the Great Yarn Expedition to New Hampshire, there was the Kool-Aid Dyeing Jamboree (more on that in a later post, with pictures!), there were the back-to-back knit nights on Monday and Tuesday, and Tuesday also happened to be one of my two "days off." And, despite a few bumps and rattles on take off, the Pinwheel Sweater I started on Monday is now about 1/3 of the way done, so that will make 5 Christmas gifts under my belt by the end of next week (I hope).

Anyway, life has been pretty good lately. Last night at Butterfly Yarns in Wakefield, I was hanging out with the knitting gals, chatting about the weird pasty and merkin patterns on Ravelry. (Don't know what a merkin is? Google it, you won't be sorry. Actually, you might be sorry, but it will be educational, I promise.) As usual, we traded crazy stories from our lives and I mentioned how much cleaning up vomit bothers me, and how Lily once berated me for making gagging noises when I cleaned up the stairs after she was sick all over them. I might have even said "I'll clean up any mess, bu vomit really bother me."

Fast forward to 3:30 am. Lily comes up stairs and wakes us up to tell us that Jack is crying. He is indeed crying because he has vomited all over himself and his bed. Jim handed Jack off to me and cleaned up the bed. After some random milling about and confusion, we all sleepily sorted ourselves out and went back to bed. Lily got in our bed upstairs with Jim (she refused to go back to her bed) and I got to sleep with Captain Puketastic downstairs.

Sleep. Not the best word to describe the evening Jack and I had. The poor little guy was sick several times during a two hour period. Unlike Lily, who vomits in a dispassionate, businesslike fashion, Jack hates vomiting. He cries and tries to resist the urge. He won't vomit into any type of receptacle and he resists and attempt to guide him toward a safe place to get sick, like a towel. I felt heartbroken for him, and at the same time, a little annoyed that he kept getting himself and me soiled due to his struggle against the inevitable. Neither of us slept until about 5am, when Jack actually fell asleep in mid-puke (you've gotta be pretty darn exhausted to do that!)

Sadly, before I could doze off, he woke up again. And so it went all night and most of this morning. He is still sick, poor little beggar. No play date for Jack and Lily, no play date for Mommy. No one is in a happy mood at our house today, and two of us are so tired we keep dozing off sitting up.

Honestly, when Jack gets this sick, it freaks me out. He is such a high energy, happy little boy that it is unnerving to see him listless on the couch. I hope he perks up later today, for everyone's sake.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Update: Beth, the Dorkmobile is Fine!

My friend Beth pointed out that I never told the rest of the Dorkmobile Road Trip Story.

After we got back from our day of yarn shopping decadence, I took another look at the Dorkmobile tires. They still looked perfectly normal to me, although, I must admit, they are those weird sports tires that are abnormally thin because they have such big hubs. They could have been flat and I might not have known it.

When I got home, I expected Jim to be waiting at the door like a nervous parent. Instead, he and the kids were watching Tom and Jerry cartoons. When I walked in, Jim said "Did you figure out how to turn off the warning light? There's nothing wrong with the tires."

It turns out that the sensor doesn't exactly tell you that the tire is flat. It is actually telling you that the tire pressure has changed. That means one tire has either lower or higher pressure than the others. Add a hot day into the mix and you might get some increased tire pressure -- which is exactly what happened. It turns out that all I had to do was

(1) Turn the key in the ignition until the console lights came on (but not far enough to start the engine)

(2) Push the spiky butt symbol button next to the stick shift in and hold it for 3 seconds until the spiky butt light on the dash started to blink, and

(3) Turn on the engine and drive for about 10 seconds.

These steps would have reset the sensor to accept the current tire pressure. Did the manual explain that? No, it just said "Stop driving immediately!"

Does anyone else think this is the most stupid feature ever? If it's going to go off all the time, why would you ever take it seriously? And resetting the sensor? How often are you going to have to go through that little song and dance?

I think I'm starting to dislike the Dorkmobile, and I think the Dorkmobile knows it.

Christmas Gift Count Down

Given that I'm more organized as a SAHM this year, and given that I'm doing so much knitting, Jim and I agreed it would be a good plan to give as many handmade gifts this year as possible. As a result, with a few exceptions, if you're on my Christmas list, you are probably going to get something I knit.

It all seemed like such a wonderful plan back in March or April when I first hatched it. I immediately made one project and enjoyed myself quite a bit. And then, as I got more into the pattern archive on Ravelry, I started to get sidetracked by projects that looked fun. Hey! A felted knitting basket! That looks fun! Hey, a skull and bones hat! That looks fun! Hey, a funky cardigan made from a circle! That sounds fun! It was sort of like I had knitting attention deficit disorder. Show me a shiny new pattern and I lose my train of thought and buy the yarn.

And so I went merrily along until the Seed Stitch sale a few weeks ago. Since they were offering a lot of yarn at 50% off, it seemed like a good idea to buy whatever I needed for my remaining Christmas projects at the sale, if possible. In order to figure out what I needed, I had to sit down and make a list of all of the people who are getting knitted gifts and what I was planning to make for them. Doing so made me realize that I've only finished 2 Christmas projects!

I am knitting for 10 people. I have only finished 2 projects. It's almost August. That means I need to complete 8 projects in 4 months (I'm not counting December because if I rely on that, I'll still be knitting right up to the deadline).

Panic set in. I have been knitting like a madwoman for the last two weeks. Today, I finished Project Number 3 and Project Number 4 should be finished tomorrow. That means I will need to finish 6 projects in 4 months. I think I can do that...I hope.

Anyway, all of the yarn is in my stash and all of the patterns are ready to go, so I'll just be cranking them out like a knitting machine (I hope). I'll keep you updated!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Road Trip

Remember back in the day when you and your pals used to pile into a car and head out to another state for some fun. Road trip, dude!

Well, I went on a road trip today. It all started a few weeks ago when one of my friends mentioned the annual Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester, New Hampshire. She'd been by herself last year and wanted some company this year. I immediately volunteered. Yarn shows and festivals are a lot of fun. You get to see, feel and smell fibers that you might have seen on the internet, but couldn't find locally. The people are generally friendly and helpful, and you run across knitting related fiber stuff you never even heard of.

About a week or so after the initial decision to go to the show, Jim started the nightmare car buying process. When I realized last weekend that we would actually have the car by today, I offered to drive. I thought it would be more like a college road trip that way -- three girls in a sporty little car heading out on the highway for some shopping adventures.

A few days ago, one of the girls mentioned that a wonderful yarn store in Nashua, New Hampshire called Ewe'll Love It! was moving its venue and having a 30-50% of sale to try and reduce its stock. Of course, my response to that was "How far is Nashua from Manchester? Can we do both?" Happily, we could!

So, at 8:30 this morning, I hopped into the Dorkmobile and headed off. My first stop was at Dunkin' Donuts for the requisite giant iced tea (I'm apparently a sucker for advertising and now believe I run on Dunkin' Donuts iced tea). I rolled up to the window to order and realized I had NO FREAKING IDEA how to open the window. There was no handle to roll it down manually. There was no button on the window. The girl at the register was looking at me like I was an idiot as I frantically searched for a button, switch or something to get the window down. I finally located a small button in front of the stick shift and got the window open, but not before a few cars had pulled up behind me. "Ha ha ha, it's my husband's car," I said feebly. I finished the drive through with no further incidents and headed onward.

I should have recognized the window incident as an omen of things to come. After I picked up the girls and we stashed some extra bags in the car boot (that's what the Mini manual calls it), we hit the atm machine and then I got on the highway. About 2 minutes later we heard a beep.

I was already familiar with the beep because it goes off when you don't wear a seatbelt. Everyone in the car was belted in, however. Then I noticed a small glowing circle on the speedometer. There was the symbol of what looked like a butt with spikes on the bottom.

"What does that mean?" I asked. One of the gals pulled out the manual and said "It's a flat tire warning. It says here 'Stop driving immediately.'" Oh GREAT.

I've had flat tires before. Usually you can tell by the way the car drives that something has gone wrong, but there was nothing different about the way the car was handling. We debated for a few minutes whether we should ignore the gauge (yarn road trip, remember?) or turn back. I pulled off at the next exit and we all got out (like clowns tumbling out of a clown car) to look at the tires. They looked just fine to me.

"Maybe now that you've turned the engine off, the warning light will go off." Nope. Warning light was still on. I found a little button next to the stick shift (why are there so many little buttons next to the stick shift in this car?) that had the spiked butt symbol on it and tried pressing it a couple of times. No change.

Since we've only owned the car for a little over 2 days, I ultimately felt it was prudent to drive back to the home of one of my fellow passengers, dump the Dorkmobile and take another car. Since we'd only driven about 3 miles from our original destination, this plan did not take long to execute. When we arrived to switch to another car, I looked at the tires again -- still no difference.

Fortunately, our little detour did not prevent us from arriving at the sale shortly after the store opened. We all bought a goodly amount of sale yarn and some regularly priced yarn, too (who could resist?) One of the gals got some gorgeous Blue Heron Rayon Metallic, but it was only because I somehow missed seeing it first. I'd like to think I would have had the restraint not to buy it, but I'm probably fooling myself on that account.

Next stop, yarn show. There were a lot of interesting booths. One booth had giant knitting needles (the size of a small baseball bat!) and giant yarn for sale. The Habu had a new type of yarn made from silk and stainless steel. I'd heard about it, so it was fun to touch it and see how it felt (a little stiff, frankly). Another booth had clear rubber boots for children, designed so you could see their lovely handmade socks through the boots! And then, there were a lot of gorgeous hand-painted yarns and beautiful luxury fibers. There was a whole lot of petting, stroking and cuddling of yarn going on.

The highlight of the day? We met Jess and Casey, Mama and Papa Rav! (The people who founded Ravelry). They are nice couple, and both are very friendly and sweet. At the yarn show, Jess and Casey were a little like two rock stars. One of the vendors came over and asked them to autograph her receipt booklet! We picked up some Ravelry buttons and a "daily dose of fiber" sticker from Jess, and I thanked Casey for programming such a great site.

I've already put all of the new yarn into my stash, but it will be a few days before I have time to photograph everything. I did get some funky hand-dyed nylon for making a really cute purse. I'll probably post pictures of that if I actually get to it in 2008 -- the Great Knitted Christmas Gift Marathon has begun and I'm going to try to focus only on knitting gifts until I've finished everything on my list. We'll see how long I manage that.

I'm working on a very cute Noro hat right now that's almost done. It's a great pattern for brainless knitting. More on that and other works in progress at a later date. Oh yeah, I got some awesome beads to make stitch markers for my store! More on that later as well.

Finally, because I promised my friend Kelly:

GETTING MARRIED? NEED DESIGN HELP? Get some awesome wedding related items at Busy Bride Designs. Kelly will help create a customized look for your wedding without busting your budget. She's got some monogram designs up already and I happen to know she has a lot of other great wedding designs and favors in the works. Check it out!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Awesome Husband And His Car

Lest anyone think I don't completely adore my husband based on my recent posts mocking his crazy car buying saga, let me reassure you that he is indeed awesome. He's funny, nice, a great friend, cute in a dorky way, a terrific father, and an excellent husband and head of the family. He just does a lot of hilariously ridiculous things. I can't help but laugh about it, and one of the things I love about him is that he can laugh at himself.

And now, I know you've all been waiting for these!

The family in front of Jim's new car. Look how happy they are! It was poring rain, so these aren't the best photos, I'm afraid.

Lily in the back seat, refusing to be photographed.

Hammy McHam hamming it up for the camera, as usual.

In a more serious moment, Jim reads his manual to find out how to operate the stereo system.

The part of the car that looks like an airplane cockpit. No wonder Jim needs to read the manual.

The funky little speedometer. Or is it a tachometer? I don't know, who am I kidding?

Side view. The Dorkmobile!

The kids in the back seat!

Hammy in the back seat.

The proud car owner.

A view of the steering wheel.

Lily really did name this car Jedi. Jim's off now to show it to all of his friends. He is as excited as a kid on Christmas and I'm happy so for him. He works pretty hard and he deserves a nice man toy. Even if it's a Dorkmobile.

Baking Cookies

I am famous amongst my family and friends for my inability to cook. For those who don't know me, you may think I *could* cook if I really tried, but my friends and family know that I truly am a hopeless case when it comes to whipping up something on the stove.

That being said, I can bake with the best of them. I love baking and find it very relaxing. One of my fondest memories of childhood is baking with my mom (Hi, Mom!). Jim remembers the same with his mom, so I make an effort to bake with the kids a few times a month. Today was baking day.

We tried out a new recipe today: Nestle's White Chip Chocolate Cookies. The kids have never used baking cocoa before, so they insisted on tasting it even though I told them it was bitter. Jack said "It YUCKY mama!" Lily claimed it tasted sweet to her and tried to get Jack to taste it some more. Very sneaky, but he didn't fall for her trick. I think the initial taste was once too often for him!

I let them dump some of the dry ingredients into the bowl, and they take turns mixing them together with a whisk. We all get to taste the batter when it's done. Jack licks the beater and Lily licks the rubber spatula. (For those of you who worry about them eating raw eggs, all I can say is that my brother and I licked the spoons when we were little and we're still here, so how bad can it be?) Sometimes they help me spoon the cookies onto the sheet, but today they were too busy licking to help out. When I handed him the spoon, Jack said nervously "It still yucky, mama?" before he tasted it!

After I put the cookies in to bake, I told the kids to play in the playroom until the first batch was done and cooled, and then we would have a cookie and a glass of milk for snack. Lily went downstairs with Jack. A few minutes later, Jack came back into the kitchen.

"It ready now, mama?" "No." He went to play in his room. For about 15 seconds. I heard his little bare feet trotting across the dining room. "It ready NOW, mama?" "Nope, I let you know. Go play in your room." He disappeared for another 15 seconds and then I heard his footsteps again. "It ready NOW, mama?"

We repeated this scene 10 times. I know this because I counted. Boy loves his chocolate cookies!

When they came out of the oven, I noticed they didn't flatten out like Toll House cookies do. They were still lumpy little piles of dough, except that, having baked, they resembled steaming piles of turd with small white chunks. They did not look appetizing at all. The kids didn't notice and ate them anyway. They actually taste pretty good, if you can get past how they look.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Midlife Crisis Car, Part Deux

NOTE: My mother informed me I was talking about a bumper, not a fender, so post has been edited accordingly!

Aaaaaannnnnnddddd the saga continues.

As you know, we put some money down to reserve Jim's Midlife Crisis car on Sunday. On Monday, he advised me that the rest of the down payment would have to come out of our family checking account instead of out of one of his bonus stock accounts as he originally planned. He didn't realize until Monday that his bonus stock doesn't vest until February 2009. On Tuesday, he advised me of his plan to take the money out of one of our 401K accounts. This plan was quickly nixed when he realized we would have to pay it back with interest, just like a real loan. After much investigation, he was able to cobble together the down payment from an old investment account that we thought was closed and our childcare expense account. His one job for the day was to put in requests from both of those accounts to get the money transferred, because it will take a few days. For reasons known only to him, he wasn't able to get that done today.

As some of you already know, I have a borderline psychotic paranoia about running out of money in our family account. We've come up short a few times in the past when we had large, unexpected expenses and I hate how out of control that feels. As a result, I need to have a certain amount of buffer in the account to feel safe. Paying for the down payment tomorrow is going to take us perilously close to dropping below that buffer, so I am freaking out. Thank goodness Jim gets paid this week -- I'll be able to relax until he replaces the money sometime next week -- assuming he can get himself organized enough to get the money transferred.

I learned some interesting things about him during this nightmare of car purchasing.

1. His estimate of how much money we carry in our family account borders on the delusional.

2. He appears to be blissfully unaware that they deduct things like taxes, health insurance, 401K, childcare spending, and educational fund money out of his paycheck each money. Accordingly, his estimate of how much gets deposited into our account once a month also bordered on the delusional.

3. He is terrified of driving on Route 1.

4. He can't remember the passwords to any of our investment accounts, all of which he chose, and he is terribly upset that I don't remember them, despite the fact that I didn't even know there were passwords to these accounts (guess what information I'm going to be gathering together this week?)

5. He grossly underestimates how much he spends each week on things like gas, lunch and entertainment. Grossly.

I also had an amusing telephone conversation with my car insurance company today. They called to "make sure you know James is adding a third car to your policy." I'm the policy holder, so they have to confirm it with me. I found it amusing because I wonder how often the policy holder says "New car? What new car???" I was tempted to say that myself, but I refrained. It did remind me of the second phase of the Midlife Crisis Car purchase, however. We've got to get Jedi towed away to some charity ASAP so we can stop paying insurance on three cars. This means I have to track down the title. I devoutly hope the title is in the safe deposit box.

Finally, the last and most aggravating incident in the whole saga occurred last night. My friends and I are planning to drive up to a yarn show in New Hampshire this weekend. Since Lily has a dentist appointment that morning, Jim will have to take the CR-V to drive the kids into Boston. That leaves me with the Mini for our trip. I let him know last night that I would be driving the Mini. We had the following conversation:

Me: I'll be taking the girls to NH in the Mini on Saturday.

Jim: Why?

Me: (explains about the whole dentist thing, see last paragraph)

Jim: I don't know...I don't want you to do something that hurts the car.

Me: (barely refraining from throttling him) Seriously?

You see, I have a perfectly unblemished driving history. No tickets, no accidents. my driving record is as pure as the driven snow. Jim's? Not so much. In fact, we are currently paying points on our insurance due to a little fender bender Jim had in the Jetta last year. I won't even mention the many dents and dings he's put in the Jetta, some of which occurred when he accidentally backed into the CR-V because he forgot it was parked behind him in the driveway. More than once. Or how about the time he stove in the side of the Chevette because he was "backing up but the car was moving sideways"? Or, infamously, how about this:

The Case of the Mysterious Bumper Damage

Way back in 1989-90, we lived in California, where Jim drove a vintage Volkswagen Bug. He was working and living about 45 minutes away from where I worked and lived. He would drive up to my apartment on Thursday mornings (his day off) and stay until Friday morning. Since I worked on Thursdays, he would hang out at my apartment until I got home. One day, when I got back from work, he met me at the door, very upset.

"Someone ran into the Volkswagen today while I was downtown and dented the bumper!" He took me outside and we looked at the chrome bumper. It had two vertical dents in it about 3 feet apart. "What would make dents like that?" I asked. "I don't know," he said. "Someone must have backed into me in the parking lot."

The next week, he was even more agitated when I got home. "Look!" he said, "This is unbelievable! Someone hit me AGAIN while I was downtown." Sure enough, there was another set of vertical dents in the bumper, also about 3 feet apart. "How could that happen twice in a row?" I said.

That Saturday, I drove out to his place after work (our usual routine). We decided to rent some movies, so we got into the VW to drive into town. Jim started the engine and then gunned backwards out of his driveway. As he backed into the road at the end of the driveway, I heard a bang and the car shook. "What was that?" I asked.

Jim put the car into drive and said offhandedly "Oh, there's a bump in the road there." As he started to drive forward, I noticed two metal posts sunk into the ground, both about 4 feet tall. They were spaced about 3 feet apart. "I think you hit those posts!" I said.

Jim stopped the car. "What posts?" I pointed. He pulled the car back into his driveway and we got out to inspect the bumper. There, glinting in the sunlight, was another set of vertical dents, about three feet apart.

"I think that explains the damage to your bumper." I said. "Didn't you know you were backing into those fence posts?"

He had no idea. And he's worried about me "hurting" his new car.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Return of the Jedi

Ever since Jedi died a few weeks ago, life has been pretty miserable for all of us. First, there's sharing the CR-V. Jim will not take the bus that stops at the end of our street, for reasons unknown to me. As I like to point out every chance I get, I was riding that bus when I was 9 months pregnant in the summer and I survived. As a result, I have to get the kids together and drive him to the subway every morning, and then repeat the trip in the evening to bring him home. It's annoying, and not just to me -- just a few days ago, Lily said "I liked it better when Papa came home by himself." Me too, sweetie, me too.

Second, we have been Shopping For Cars. I capitalize the phrase because Jim's involvement in the Shopping makes it a major event. For those who are interested, this is how he does it. Step 1: he tells me he wants a Cooper Mini. I say "If that's what you want, then get that one. Just keep in mind our budget and don't go crazy."

Step 2: he spends a week exhaustively researching every car known to man, including the Mini. Each night he explains to me why it would make more sense for him to get a Mini. Each night I tell him to get one, keeping in mind our budget. The nightly conversation always involves me having to look at a bunch of car websites so I can read statistics and reviews. Ugh.

Step 3: he narrows his choice down to three cars: the Mini, the Fit and the xD. He spends a week exhaustively re-researching those three cars, discussing why a Mini is the best choice and forcing me to look at more websites. I tell him to get the Mini. There might be a few tears of frustration in my eyes.

Step 4: he makes plans to visit three dealerships and insists that I come with him, which means we have to bring the kids. Our visits do not go well, and only one dealership actually has a car he can test drive. I am left to entertain two sweaty, whining, tired children in a dealership showroom while Jim inspects cars and goes on air-conditioned test drives. Have you ever been in a dealership showroom? It has cars and desks. The kids tired of looking at them in about 12 seconds. I practically beg him to buy any car we see that falls within our budget just to avoid making this trip again. Ever.

Step 5: after agonizing all evening and consulting with friends (who of course tell him he should get whatever he wants) he decides he is getting the Mini, thus requiring us to make a fourth visit to a dealership in Boston. We arrive to learn that they have pulled a bait and switch on us. "Oh, those three cars that were available right before we closed last night? Wow, I guess they sold out right after you called, but we do have this incredibly expensive, fully loaded alternatives right here!" Ha ha ha, so amusing. As a result, we have to haul the kids back to one of the first three dealerships we visited to reconsider some of the options there.

Step 6: Jim sits back and looks smug as I plead with him to spend as much as he wants on one of the available cars as long as we don't have to take the kids to any more dealerships.

Step 7: Jim purchases a car that costs $5,000 more than the outside limit of what we originally agreed to spend. He gets a British Racing Green Mini, fully loaded with a sports package (leather seats, chrome exhaust tips, fancy tires), a sound system upgrade and a "heating/cooling" package which apparently includes automatic air conditioning, heated seats and heated side-view mirrors (God forbid he should have to actually knock snow off the car). It has white racing stripes that I find hideous, but he seems to love them. The inside looks like the cockpit of a small private jet.

I'm calling it his mid-life crisis car. Lily calls it Jedi because it's green like the Jetta. Jack doesn't have an opinion so far. Jim is off to brag about his sports car to his friends. He's so excited, he's like a little kid on Christmas Eve.

I hope I get to drive it sometime....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I'll just start out by coming clean and admitting I bought more yarn tonight. Two skeins. I really don't need any more yarn, and with the carpentry work we need done on the house (three windows need new trim out before we can paint) and Jim's car Jedi rejoining The Force, I shouldn't be buying it.

That's what got me thinking. Whenever I make an unnecessary purchase of yarn, I always have a reason. When I look back on it, there are a number of ways I routinely justify my purchases. I thought it would be interesting to list them out and really think about them.

1. I will use the yarn to make a Christmas gift.

This is one of my all time favorite justifications. Hey, it's actually necessary spending if it's for a gift because I will have to spend that money eventually anyway. Great justification, as long as I actually use the yarn for a gift. Sometimes the gift ends up going to me. Oops.

2. The yarn was on sale, so I actually saved money.

Doesn't this one sound good? I'm saving money! Yay! On the flip side, I could save even more money by not spending it in the first place. I try to ignore the flip side.

3. The yarn is being discontinued, so this is the last opportunity to buy it.

At first glance, this justification has a lot of merit. I won't be able to get this yarn again, so it's now or never. I might regret passing up the purchase for the rest of my life. On the other hand, there is always going to be more yarn. When one colorway retires, another will take its place. I will probably buy that one, too.

4. The yarn will be used for a specific project I have planned, so I'll be buying it eventually anyway.

In theory, this is a good justification. I know I'm going to make a certain sweater, so why not buy the yarn now, when I've just discovered the perfect color? In reality, it means one of two things: either I'm going to start yet another project without finishing the ones I already have going, or I'll squirrel away the yarn, forget about it, and then buy more yarn for another project.

5. I won't have a chance to purchase this yarn again.

This might be the best justification I've got. When I buy from a small vendor at an event, there is a good chance I won't have the opportunity again. I'm not big on buying things online unless I've seen them in person, so unless I run across this vendor in person again, I won't be buying the yarn. Of course, you could take this too far, but since I don't get out to wool related events that often, I think I'm safe.

6. Other knitters made me buy it.

Peer pressure. I like this justification a lot because I can blame my bad behavior on others! In reality, I think anyone who knows me also knows that no one makes me do anything I don't want to do. In fact, sometimes I encourage people to "pressure" me just so I can make a guilt free purchase.

7. This is an Authorized Yarn Purchase (AYP).

Every once and a while, Jim tells me to go ahead and buy something for a project. This is what I call an AYP, and it allows me to pretty much do as I like with no fear of consequences. Of course, just because it's an AYP doesn't mean I actually need it.

8. I had a bad day and I deserve it.

Pretty much the worst justification on the books. I have bad days A LOT. I don't think we can afford all the bad days I have. I only pull out this excuse a few times a year.

9. I'm getting credits towards a discount that will save me money!

Two of the stores I frequent offer a 20% discount after you reach a certain dollar amount in purchases. I am very close to the discount at one store, so I sometimes justify a purchase as working towards that goal. I try no to think about this one too much. If I do, I realize that I am spending money to get a discount, which I will use to buy yarn far more expensive than I would normally purchase. In the end I'm probably spending more than I would to begin with.

Today's purchase was a No. 1, 8 and 9 combo. I find that multiple justifications work well to eradicate any lingering guilt. If you'll excuse me, I have to go work on some Christmas knitting now.

Interview with Jack, Man of Few Words

This was my first attempt to interview Jack for the blog. I asked him in advance if he would do it and he eagerly hopped onto the couch next to me and watched me typing. I started with a softball question.

Me: What's your name?

Jack: This. (pointing at an icon on the screen). This. This.

Me: Can you tell me what your name is.

Jack: I have frocks (pointing at the word "this").

Me: Frocks? (I have no idea what he's trying to say)

Jack: Frocks. Frocks. (gets off couch) I go to my room.

Me: Where you going?

Jack: I'm going in my room. (He leaves and I hear his door close. A minute passes and he returns with a Thomas Tank Engine in his hand.)

Me: Are you ready to tell me what your name is?

Jack: Yeah. (Man, it's like pulling teeth to get this kid to talk)

Me: What is it?

Jack: Thomas.

Me: That's not your name. What's your name?

Jack: Thomas.

Me: Is Thomas your name?

Jack: Yeeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh.

Me: What's your favorite color?

Jack: My color? My color name.

Me: What is it?

Jack: Thomas. This kind (pointing at the top of the train)

Me: You mean black?

Jack: Yeah, black.

Me: Are you going to school today?

Jack: No.

Me: Yes. You're going to play with friends, right?

Jack: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Me: Are you done with interview?

Jack: No, I want to watch it!

Me: Can you tell me a story?

Jack: Yeah.

Me: Well, what is it?

Jack: My story name boo shoo this. (I have no idea what he's saying)

Me: Your story's named what?

Jack: (no response)

(Fireman Sam then came on, so the interview ended)

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Box of Broken Dreams

So anyway, about three months ago, I purchased the Stained Glass Bag pattern and a bunch of gorgeous Noro Kureyon yarn. I was so excited to start it, but I forced myself to wait until I finished some WIP or other. Of course, by the time I finished whatever it was, I was already excited to start something else, and I forgot about the Stained Glass Bag.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. We moved Jack into his "big boy bedroom" (formerly our guestroom) and I started planning to reclaim the small room where we had his crib as my craft room. This, of course, involved me going through my stash to organize things a bit and decide how I'm going to store it in the new space.

My stash is pretty small. I have two groups of yarn: the "good" yarn, which consists mostly of natural fiber (with an inordinate amount of alpaca), and the "craft" yarn, which consists mostly of manmade fibers that are left over from baby blankets and charity knitting, where washable yarn is preferred. I don't go into the craft yarn stash very often unless I need scrap yarn or the kids are doing an art project. The good yarn lives in a large basket and several small crates in my office. I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping it somewhat in control (if you ignore the many skeins of sock yarn I've accumulated in the last four months). Anyway, just as I was starting to feel pretty good about my self control, I realized something disturbing.

I have a coat rack in my office. There are several coats on the rack and a lot of bags. I don't really pay attention to the coat rack these days because it's summer here and there's no need for coats most days. As I was taking yarn out of the crates, I caught a glimpse of my old knitting basket hanging from the rack and pulled it down. It was stuffed with the Noro yarn I bought for the Stained Glass Bag.

Then I looked at the rack more carefully. There were many bags hanging from it (did I ever mention that I own a lot of Vera Bradley tote bags? It's another one of my little addictions). I started pulling them down. One bag had the yarn and a pattern for felted clogs. Another two bags held yarn and the unfinished projects to go with it. A third bag held all of my DPNs and most of my circular needles, because I still haven't gotten around to making needle cases for them (even though I bought the materials months ago). A few other bags were filled with more yarn that I'd forgotten about. It turns out my stash is a little bigger than I thought. I've just been tricking myself by squirreling it away.

It was kind of fun to rediscover the "lost" yarn and projects. It actually turned out to be a boon, because it gave me something to do while I let the problem of the gargantuan sleeve marinate for a bit. Now that the Stained Glass Bag is finished (providing me with another potential Christmas gift off my list), I'm kind of excited to knock out a few of the gift projects on my list before getting back to my regularly scheduled selfish knitting.

In the midst of organizing and rediscovering old projects, I happened to read something on Ravelry that seemed to fit amazingly well. Several knitters were discussing how they store their stash and their unfinished projects. One woman noted that her husband had boxed up all of her unfinished project and ugly finished projects and had labeled it "Box of Broken Dreams." Apparently, I have bags of broken dreams, or, as another knitting friend appropriately phrased it, an Island of Misfit Projects.

All of which leads me to present you with the following gallery of misfit projects and broken dreams:

The Calamitous Crocheted Sweater:

An alternative name for this finished object could be "I can't be bothered with sticking to one dye lot or checking gauge." I keep this project posted on Ravelry to remind myself what happens when you are in too much of a hurry to start something. The worst part about this project is that one of the pattern editors on Ravelry actually asked if they could use my picture for the online pattern. I gave permission, but noted that it was so ugly it would probably drive potential crocheters away. I never heard back again!

The Miniature Mitten, Part II:

Attempt No. 1

Attempt No. 2

See? Despite frogging and knitting with larger needles, it's still too small. Also, I've ripped this version back once because I forgot to make a thumb hole. I'm well aware that I will eventually have to frog it and start again. Perhaps this time I will be motivated to check my gauge.

And, last but not least, I bring you THE GARGANTUAN SLEEVE:

Yeah, I never got around to taking a picture of the horror that was the gargantuan sleeve, but you can kind of see it in this one. Tonight, I finally bit the bullet and cut off the end of the sleeve to reknit it. It was freakishly long. Trust me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This Can't Be Good

I have a new hobby. A photo should suffice:

Jim made me the drop spindle from: one wooden toy wheel, one dowel and one cup hook. Thanks to my friend Margaret for the supply list! I got the roving at Michael's where it just happened to be on the clearance rack for $1.00. The little blobby thing is my first yarn spun all on my own. It's very thick, lumpy and poorly plied, unfortunately. I learned the basics at a spinning night with some of the Saugus Knitting Ladies. I plan to practice a little every week until our next spinning night, because my first attempt was pretty darn bad. It looks so easy to do, but it's actually pretty hard. It doesn't help that I have no eye/hand coordination.

I may or may not have bought some nicer, hand dyed merino roving on eBay. If I did, I won't be breaking that out until I practice on the cheap stuff for quite a while.

A Photographic Interlude

My two little nuts on the Fourth of July, complete with glo necklaces and cakey face.

No, she's not shy. Why do you ask?

Lily in her latest favorite dress. She calls it "the one with the sprinkles on it."

Jack showing off his latest ensemble: 1 black t-strap shoe (on the wrong foot), a diaper with PJ top, a pencil and a pink binky. All the toddlers are wearing this now. The one shoe look is a completely modern take on the whole Michael Jackson one glove thing. Don't you love his sweet little knock knees?

The birthday girl during a frenzy of gift opening. I can't believe she's 5!

Oskar gets in on the birthday action.

Lily's Big Birthday Party. 13 kids. I don't even want to talk about it except to say that it's over and everyone had a great time.

So that's a brief photo essay of what we've been doing for the last few weeks!

Just a Funny Story

I finally located my camera, Lily's birthday party is finally over, and my parents will be leaving this afternoon. Therefore, in theory, I should have time to take pictures and post a couple of things I have saved in the draft stage right now. I will be posting the gargantuan sleeve, I promise.

In the meantime, I thought I would tell a funny story from my commuting days. It popped into my head recently because of a funny blog I've been reading called (The Customer is) Not Always Right. Check it out. It gives me a belly laugh every day, so it's good for the soul.

Anyway, a lot of the posts on Not Always Right are conversations with some really odd or dysfunctional people. That reminded me of someone I ran into when I was commuting into Boston for work. He fell clearly into the category of odd. So here it is.

Is That Custom?

When I was working in Boston, I had two ways of getting into work. Sometimes I drove into a nearby T station, parked for $3.00 and took the T into the city. Sometimes I took the bus, which stopped at the end of my street) to the T station and took the T into the city. On this particular day, I decided to take the bus.

As soon as I got on the bus, someone said "Hey! How are you?" I didn't think it was meant for me because there was no one on the bus that I knew. I sat down in the seat right behind the bus driver. Across the aisle from me was a gentleman in his 30s. He had a neat crewcut hair style, and was dressed in jeans, a pink dress shirt and a green tweed blazer. The combination was a little strange, but he looked relatively normal... or so I thought.

At the next stop, he said "Hey! How are you?" to every person that got on the bus. It was like he was the official bus greeter. Like me, no one acknowledged him, probably because they were taken off guard and had no idea he was talking to them. As they all took their seats, he said, quite loudly and to no one in particular "I'm going to court today!" That made me really look at him, mostly to see if I knew him from my job (I was a lawyer). Again, no one responded.

He rode quietly for a moment and then stood up and walked over to stand in the front of the bus next to the driver. "Hey!" he said suddenly, pointing to the fare machine, "Is that custom?"

The driver, somewhat startled, said "Uh, yeah, I guess."

The odd man then pointed at the dashboard. "What about this stuff? Is this all custom?"

I could sense that the driver was getting a little freaked out. "I guess," he said shortly. "You gotta stand behind the yellow line."

The odd man pointed at a newspaper that the driver had laid on top of the dashboard. "You reading that?"

Driver: "No. You gotta stand behind the yellow line, sir."

The odd man, showing no signs of moving, said "Can I have it?" The driver handed it to him and said "Now stand behind the yellow line or I have to stop the bus." The odd man took the paper and sat down across from me again. At this point, I was watching him like a hawk. One part of my job at the time was obtaining guardianships for incompetents, so I had a great deal of experience with the mentally ill. Patients like this man, who have no impulse control in public, occasionally act out without warning. I started thinking that his court date was probably for disturbing the peace.

As I'm thinking all of this, the man opened his paper with a snap and appeared to read it. For all of about 15 seconds. "FUCK this shit!" he yelled suddenly. I actually jumped in my seat, it was so sudden. "I'm not reading this crap." He threw the paper down on the seat next to him. I noticed that everyone in the surrounding seats was now giving him their full attention, because all conversation in the bus suddenly stopped.

At that point, we rolled up to the T station. Since he was in the front, he got off the bus first. I purposely stayed on the bus for a few minutes and was one of the last to get off, because I didn't want to risk walking near him. When I got to the T, I looked over the whole car before getting on to make sure he wasn't there. I didn't see him, so I sat down and read my paper.

A few minutes into the trip, an announcement came over the speaker from the driver "Can I help you, sir?" I looked up and, sure enough, the odd man was standing next to the door to the front of the T, repeatedly pressing the emergency assistance button.

"No! I'm good!" he said cheerfully. He continued to press the button.

"Sir, can you please stop pressing the button," came the announcement from the front of the train. Just then, the train came to its first stop, and the man got out. A few people laughed nervously and the train continued onward.

To this day, I have a running joke with my mom and a few friends, where we say "Is this custom?" or "No, I'm good!"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Requiem for Jedi

We own a really old Volkswagen that my husband uses as his beater car. He calls it "Yoda" because it's an old, green Jetta (cue strained laughter at dorky pun). Our kids just call it Jedi.

We bought Jedi used in 1999. At that time, I was driving a beautifully restored 1972 BMW tii. Unfortunately, the BMW was a freak accident magnet. Park it on a deserted street and someone would appear out of nowhere, drive too close and knock off a mirror. Park it on a tree lined street and a branch would suddenly fall off of the one tree it was parked near and ding the hood. Case in point: one weekend, as I was driving to a friend's house in Western Massachusetts during a rain storm, the driver's side windshield wiper suddenly flew off completely. I was able to pull over at a car dealership, and someone there put the remaining wiper on the driver's side so I could get my car to its destination. 5 minutes down the road, the second wiper flew off and I was driving in the pounding rain with no wipers. AND... wait for it... because it was a 1972 model, anything required to repair even the most minor issue had to be mail ordered to our house or picked up from a specialty store in New Hampshire. Long story short, it just got too exhausting to manage the BMW, lovely though it was. When I was rear ended by an SUV while stopped at a red light and the entire back end crumpled up like tissue paper, we decided to get a sturdier car. Enter Jedi.

Jedi's been a good car with relatively few maintenance issues over the years. We bought him used and at a good price and we definitely got our money's worth. There was a two year period when something was gravely wrong with the AC unit and the car floor periodically swamped up with water (prompting my friend Chuck to dub the car "Swamp Thang"), but it was otherwise problem free. It is the car we used to bring both our babies home from the hospital, and the car Jim drove the babies around in at night when we couldn't get them to sleep.

In the past year, however, Jedi's been showing his age (and mileage). It started out with a couple hundred bucks a few times a year and then escalated to the point where every time we took him in for service, we could pretty much guarantee at least a $500 bill. As long as Jedi remained safe to drive, we didn't mind. And then, about six months ago, we got the news that some major part of the undercarriage was getting very worn. No, I have no idea what part it is because I know nothing about cars, but I know it's dangerous if it breaks! Our mechanic gave us two options -- pay about $1000 to fix it or keep Jedi off the highway. We kept him off the highway, but it was kind of like learning that Jedi had a fatal disease. We knew that the end was only a matter of time.

Yesterday, Jedi's brakes got really, really soft and Jim really worried about getting home without crashing. He took Jedi to Midas this morning and got the bad news this afternoon. There are so many things wrong with the brakes that it will cost at least $900 to repair them. Our new options are to either spend the money or get another car. We told the mechanic not to do the work. I took Jim over to pick up Jedi after work today. When he opened the car door, the car alarm went off and he could not get it to stop for about 10 minutes. I think Jedi knows that we are putting him out to pasture this time. I followed him home to make sure there were no problems, and it was a little like driving in a funeral cortege.

Alas, poor Jedi, we knew him well.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Lied!

Two knit nights and I never worked on the jacket! I did, however, finish a bunny doll and cast on a sweater for my nephew. I think the upside of the jacket fiasco is that it is pushing me to knock off a bunch of Christmas gifts from my queue.

I also lied about posting a kidcentric post today. I did take some photos, I just didn't get around to downloading them and writing them up. Here's a teaser: Lily drew a previously mentioned hilarious picture of Jack and I took a photo showing Jack's most recent foray into sartorial elegance. Maybe I'll even get a few birthday photos up, too. A girl can dream can't she? Ta for now.

Monday, July 7, 2008

My Bad and Some General News

I have a long post written about some of my failure projects, but I have to take a picture of the gargantuan sunrise circle jacket sleeve, and somehow, I just can't seem to bring myself to do it! I can't explain it, but every time I see how long that sleeve is, I actually feel a little sick to my stomach. Seriously. Why didn't I stop knitting as soon as I saw how long it was getting? It's like I thought it would "ride up with wear."

That being said, I am bringing the mutant jacket to knitting night and forcing myself to finish the front hem. If that gets done, I'm going to cast on for the right sleeve and hope this time I'm not so much of a knittin' fool.

So, my apologies for not posting the longer, funnier post yet. I will do it tonight. Or maybe tomorrow. As soon as I can face up to the reality of the jacket mistake, I promise.

In other knitting related news: the Stained Glass Bag is felted and drying in the window as I speak. It looks lovely and it felted, but it barely shrunk at all, which really surprised me. I'm thinking about running for a second round of felting to get rid of a little more stitch definition. Usually, I run my stuff for 5-10 minutes and it's done. This bag went in for 20 minutes and I think it needs another go. I wonder if that's typical of Noro, or just related to the fact that I used towels in the washer instead of jeans, which is what I usually use. Anyway, I'm very proud of the bag and think it came out even better than I expected.

I got the kiddos a pool today and they are outside right now splashing in it with Grammy. Lily will turn five this week. It seems such a short time ago that she was born, it's almost frightening. We will be having a small celebration on her actual birthday, and then she will have a Little Pet Shop themed party this weekend. Unfortunately, only 4 kids can come. I always felt bad for kids born over Christmas because so many children are away at that time so a party is very difficult. It never occurred to me how many people are away during the summer, especially around July 4th! Jack, who was born in February, has a much better chance that his friends will be in town. I will be just heartbroken for Lily if any of the kids currently invited has to bow out.

Let's see, what else is new? I invented a kind of DPN project holder to try and sell on etsy. I love the one I'm using, but I need some feedback from other knitters on the length of needles they use. If you knit with DPNs, how long are they? I use 5 inches, but I think mine are short compared to most others. Anyway, once I get some of the bugs worked out and make some nicer sets (my prototypes are very primitive!) I'll post a picture here and put them on my etsy shop! If you haven't checked out my shop, you can go directly there by clicking the etsy icon on the side of the screen. Just some shameless marketing on my part. Gotta make some yarn money for my dream project (more on that another time, though).

I'm also having lots of fun with Google Analytics! It has a map that shows what part of the world my readers are from. So far, I have readers from the US, Australia, the UK and Iceland! I don't know why, but I get pretty excited seeing people from all over the place looking at my blog. I love comments, too (hint, hint) and would love to hear about your blog if you have one. I want to put some more knitting related blogs in my side bar and get rid of a few blogs I don't visit so often any more.

There's not much other news. I've been very knitcentric lately, so my next post will a kidcentric one. Lily drew a hilarious picture that must be displayed. And I'm going to post about my bad projects, I swear. Seriously.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


My Clapotis is zooming right along. I got to drop two rows of stitches last night. It was exciting, yet kind of scary. Even though the pattern calls for it, I still felt a little unsettled purposely dropping stitches all the way to the bottom of the work!

Of course, I had the usual pointless interaction with my husband when he got home from his weekly "guys' night out":

ME: Do you want to see my shawl?

JIM: (with absolutely no enthusiasm) Okay.

ME: See how pretty it will be? (said as I'm taking the project out)

JIM: Oh, yeah! (said before I even get a chance to spread the work on the couch)

ME: See how I dropped two rows of stitches? See?

JIM: That's really nice (still with a notable lack of enthusiasm)

ME: Feel this yarn, feel it! Isn't it soft?

JIM: Yep.

ME: This will be really gorgeous when it's done.

JIM: What is it supposed to be again?

At this point, I usually shove everything back in the knitting bag and walk away to prevent myself from poking him with pointy needles.

He does not have the love for yarn. We had knitting night on Tuesday and several of us commented on how most men don't "get" the whole fiber thing. I love the way good yarn feels, especially alpaca. I'm always saying I would knit sheets out of alpaca just so I could be completely immersed in it every night. I am only slightly embarrassed to admit that I have two skeins of alpaca yarn bought solely for petting with no project in mind. Most men also don't seem to get the whole "I made this from a ball of string" aspect of knitting. I still get a thrill of amazement watching a project emerge. I want to run around telling everyone "Look at me! I'm making this! Out of STRING! Can you believe it? I took some sticks and some string and made THIS! Come on, feel it...." etc. If you're reading this, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Anyway, please note that, although I WANT to run around saying this, I don't actually do it. I don't want people to think I'm any more odd than they already do.

I will say this for Jim, he does get my need to have my obsessive hobbies and he never complains about how much I spend on them. He'll even suggest I make certain projects and tell me to get the yarn for them. Which is why I should really make the wool clogs he asked for in March. I swear, I'm going to cast them on as soon as I get rid of the Clap.

Get rid of the Clap! ha ha. See what I did there? Yeah, I'm a huge dork, which is why I try to hide my crazy crafting thing from the normal parents. I'm thinking of my kids and the potential for their future embarassment.

I'll post a picture later when I actually have one. Until then, you can simultaneously drool and feel horror while looking at the picture in this post about the beautiful Blue Heron yarn I'm working with for this project. Mine is in the Chesapeake colorway if you are interested. I cannot not praise this yarn too much. It's just gorgeous.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The UGG-ya

I think Jack is getting just as creative at making up stories as his sister! It all started a few weeks ago when he told me the Big Bad Wolf drank all of my iced tea (actually, it was Jack himself who drank it). He then said the wolf was going to blow our house "all in pieces" but that he would catch him and eat him up.

I was pretty impressed. Jack hasn't been talking in sentences for very long, so it really stuck out when he suddenly told me a long story.

Today, he did something even more creative. He was down stairs in the playroom by himself. He came running upstairs and told me there was an UGG-ya in the basement and he was scared. I was on the phone with my mom at the time, and neither one of us could figure out what he meant by UGG-ya. I asked him if he meant "ogre" but he said "No, its a UGG-ya." I asked him what it looked like and he said "Come down with me."

I followed him downstairs and into the playroom. He walked about 4 feet from the door and then pointed out the door into the laundry room (which was dark). "It's in dere." I said "Where in there?" and he said "Oh, it's some clothes!" He ran out of the playroom and headed up the stairs. I started pointing at the various items of clothing in the laundry room. Was it Jim's shirts hanging on the clothes rack? No. Was it the pile of handwashing on top of the dryer? No. Was it the pile of clean clothes that Jim inexplicably dumped on the floor in front of the dryer? No. Was it the folded clothing on the table? No.

Finally, Jack said "I wanna go uptairs. I scared the UGG-ya!" I thought he meant he was too scared of the UGG-ya to stay in the playroom, so we both went back into the living room. Once we got there, this is what Jack told me about the UGG-ya:

The UGG-ya says "UGGGGGGG (deep growl) YAAAAAAH! (yell)" He is littler than Jack by about six inches. Jack is not scared of the UGG-ya because Jack "scared him away" when we were down in the basement. The UGG-ya is his friend Mimmo.

I was on the phone with mom the whole time and Jack's little story was cracking us both up. We both think he must be trying to say "ogre." He was just so serious about his story!

Kids. They act like little terrors one moment and then they tell you about the battle they won with the UGG-ya. It's moments like these that make me s glad I'm staying at home with the kids.