Yes, I’m Alive!

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted, especially since I’ve been so otherwise diligent this year. I just haven’t had time to blog, do email, or much of anything else “connected,” and I’m really missing it! In brief, everyone is out of the hospital – at least until Monday. My father-in-law is settled into a very nice apartment in a retirement community, and we’ve started sorting through the life accumulation of two packrats, which is going to take a very long time. My current project is “build an ancestor.” So far, I’ve found gall stones, a braid of auburn hair, and nearly an entire mouthful of teeth, so I’m well on my way. Amazing what you can find in people’s attics and back corners of dresser drawers…

After multiple visits and a churlish response to DH’s last call, we fired our furnace man and had another in. He’s pronounced our furnace irreparably ancient and quoted for a replacement, which, of course, is not in the budget, but rather mandatory. We’ve paid the deposit on the two desperately needed replacement windows, and are hoping the wind holds its breath until January, when they should be in.

So other than collecting body parts, organizing maintenance men, and tallying hospital patients, I’ve been pretending that Christmas is coming in a week. Thankfully, the majority of my Christmas knitting has been rather brainless stuff, as I’m rather brainless myself at present. I’ll share pix after the fact since there’s a rare possibility a recipient or two might stumble into this post, and I’d just hate to blow a surprise, no matter how small it might be. However, there is one project I would like to share right now.

I’ve been up to the city, hanging out at my LYS for the last four Mondays, teaching EZ’s BSJ, and in the process, I just happened to notice some crazy new yarn Arlene had in stock. Now I have to confess that I’m not normally into novelty yarns, but this one captivated me instantly. Maybe it was the fantastic color, which simply refuses to photograph accuratly, or just the fact that it produces a project that appears to be about anything BUT knit. Regardless, I brought home two balls, one for my best friend and the other for me. I had mine knit before I went to bed that evening, though not without a struggle. Katia produced a flyer to go with this yarn, supposedly showing how to make a scarf with it, but it was almost worse than having nothing, and I’m not the only person to express that opinion! I sorted out some basic concepts from that page, then knit and frogged and knit some more. Finally I had something that worked and made sense, I think, and the scarf I made is drop dead wonderful! In fact, I loved it so much that I bought 4 more balls of the yarn!

Tonight I’ve worked for the past few hours writing up my version of how to use Katia Rizos to make a quick and easy scarf. If you have a source for the yarn nearby, you have oodles of time to make up several for last minute gifts yet. It takes me less than 3 hours to make one from start to finish. The pattern is up as a free download on Ravelry as “Quick Chic Scarf” and I’m going to add it here on the blog, as well, so check the sidebar if you haven’t joined Ravelry yet.

And just for fun, here are pix of another new Katia yarn, Triana, both in the ball and knit up.

Maybe it’s because I already figured out how to knit the Rizos, but the Triana handout made a little more sense to me, so no pattern for this one. Actually, it’s just “cast on 8 and knit,” so not much of a pattern at that. 😉 But it made a fun scarf, and I had a blast knitting up a sample for the shop.

Okay, enough fun for tonight. I have a Christmas gift to finish, and so much worked backed up from the past 6 weeks that I’ll be until next Christmas actually doing it all, I fear!


Eye of the Storm

Things just keep happening around here, but I’ve actually had a few hours to breathe, at least! Sorry no photo illustrations. After you read this, you will forgive me, I think.

Monday was totally insane. I had a knitting class to teach in Dayton, as well as several important errands, so Hubby came home from work to baby sit the furnace repairmen. Yes, that’s right. The furnace up and quit Saturday night. He tried to fix it himself, but it was beyond his understanding of gas furnaces and WELL beyond his fear factor threshhold – and mine, too, for that matter. When he worked on it Sunday, I developed a strong interest in the part of the house most distant from where he was tinkering. I figured at least one of us needed to survive the attempt. I can’t tell you how glad I was when he gave up!

Before class, I stopped at Lowe’s to buy a  new bathroom fixture. The one over my vanity is flashing like a beer sign, and it’s uglier, too. I hate fluorescent tube fixtures anywhere, but I absolutely despise them in Victorian homes for some reason. Go ahead; say I’m narrow-minded… Since remodeling that bathroom is very high on my priority list, I bought the fixture I’d like to have for that fantasy – one less item to get if/when it actually happens. It’s not mounted yet, but I do have it! I also grabbed a couple battery operated puck lights to put under the kitchen cabinet on the frig side. The other side is longer and wired, but wiring is awkward on the right hand side, and since I just finished releasing it from solid pack clutter (while keeping my distance from the furnace), I thought it deserved a special little treat. 🙂

Meanwhile, on the hour drive into town, I had been praying for my daughter, who was disposing of her gall bladder at the time, fielding calls from my husband about the furnace and retirement village apartment rental, and trying to find a contractor who would actually come and measure the windows. Of course, as soon as I found one, the missing guy called, promising to be out post haste. That was Monday morning and this is Wednesday night, and guess who I’ve not heard from since… At least I DID finally hear that my daughter was in recovery, and things had gone well – though now that she felt horrible, they were in a huge hurry to send her home instantly. And hubby called to report the furnace was functioning again. Three down…

Class went well, but what happened AFTER class still has me fuming! My cell phone started exhibiting signs of failure over the weekend (of course…), and with it being 6 years old, it was not entirely unexpected. I stopped by the AT&T store, planning to replace it with an iPhone 4, after having done many hours of research. Instantly, the salesman embarked on an all out effort to dissuade me from following my intended course, and in the end, I caved and did it his way, bringing home a Samsung Focus, instead. I could write an entire post about this little fiasco! Now don’t get me wrong – nothing incurably horrible with the phone at this point, I don’t think. It’s just that the fellow at the Xenia AT&T store told me so many stories it’s not funny, and I’m going to be upset with him for a very long time.

  • He told me he would transfer my phone list, my saved TM’s (some info I was storing), and all my photos to my new phone. Once I signed the contract, it was “good-bye and good luck,” and guess what he did NOT do for me. Of course, the old phone is deactivated, so although I have all the stuff stored on it, now it can’t be moved.
  • He told me he was going to cut me a special deal – multiple times – but in the end, charged me the normal store price for everything.
  • Numerous times, he quoted prices for things – like restocking, insurance deductibles, etc., that were not accurate for the model I bought – and notably cheaper than reality.
  • He told me that I could wait and add a memory card later – which is somewhat true. However, if I do that, it will reset the phone to “like new” status, which I didn’t find out until I’d put hours of work into setting it up, buying some apps and putting phone numbers and email addresses in by writing.
  • He had absolutely no idea that the memory card cannot be removed from the Focus phones without rendering both the card and the phone useless.
  • Despite our extended discussion about ringtones and my irritation about having to repurchase the personalized ones I use to make my life ever so much easier, he never bothered to tell me that the Focus does not accept aftermarket ringtones, and I would have no choice but to use one of the series of generally unpleasant electronic beeps and blunders available pre-programmed in the phone. Not only do I hate those, but they sound just like everyone else’s phone, so now I’m going to be forced to join the eye-rolling game of looking at my phone to see if it’s mine whenever one rings in a crowd. How I’m going to learn to tell the personalized tones apart when the only ones that aren’t superbly obnoxious sound pretty much the same is another story. Again, this would most definitely have been a deal breaker for me.
  • He was doing this “wonderful service” for me by installing my screen protector from the seriously overpriced “bundle” of accessories that should be standard, and he managed to trap debris under it. That is going to drive me crazy!
  • I guess I’m naive, but when the salesman chatters on and on about the things one can do with a Focus, I sort of figure I really can do them – and without adding umpteen more paid services to my phone bill, especially when I’m told there are no hidden charges!
  • And I guess I’m a bit foolish, but I went in intending to get the $15 media package. I have WiFi at home, so how much do I really need outside the house? He managed to convince be to get the $25 package “for the first few months.” I’m guessing he’s on commission for some reason, and I was his sucker of the evening.
  • There are only two huge problem so far that is not the fault of the salesman is that the manual that comes with the phone is very minimalist – a quick start guide. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but Samsung, not everyone in this world already knows how these phones function! The other rather critical problem is that my ancient Motorola V557 had absolutely no reception problems, but my Focus volume wavers in and out constantly on phone calls, going from too loud to bear to too soft to hear and back again within seconds. Now that is a HUGE problem! So how much of the phone problem is solved, even after several hours on the phone with AT&T tech support? Well… Let’s just say that the final chapter in the phone saga has yet to be written.

So anyway, Monday saw the furnace repaired, minimal contact with our window contractor, knitting class taught, successful surgery for my daughter, new bathroom light purchased, new phone perhaps temporarily purchased, and the deposit made on a retirement village apartment for my father-in-law.

Tuesday, I crashed – totally.

I really think I deserved it.

Besides, crazy is only just beginning!



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