Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween???

Actually it's the crappiest Halloween ever.

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All the dangling tree limbs, blocked sidewalks, and live electrical wires made the township "reschedule" Halloween.

So trick or treating is now Friday.

The school year has three snow days built in.

Chunky had one today, and will have one tomorrow.

Guess who will be going to school either until July 4th, or get completely screwed out of his spring break?

Ah well.

At least Moochie got to go to daycare today and wear his awesome costume.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Snowtober!!

I had planned to show this FO a little closer to Christmastime.

However since we got some good old fashioned snow before Halloween...

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I figured today was as good as any.

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What is it?

It's a mug rug.

Imagine if a coaster and a placemat had an affair that produced babies. This is what their offspring would look like.

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It has room for a mug (or bottle of water as I use--at work where I will actually use this thing) and snack.

Of course I'll be eating something more delicious than Moochie's plastic pretzel.

The only problem with Snowtober in the Lower 48 is that the leaves weren't fully off the trees and these cheechako trees couldn't handle this weather so early in the year.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

How I Lost My Stash

I figure it's almost Halloween, it's a Friday night and I have some time to blog, it's almost my six year bloggoversary, and this is a very, very scary tale.

But here's the deal. Before I go and recant my tale, I'm going to change the name of the protagonist.

Why? Because even though I aim to keep this blog relatively anonymous, someone could stumble upon it. The ordeal we went thru (and I guess are still living through) has been shown to cause discrimination against people in our situation.

Therefore, I will be referring to the petulance that cursed our home this spring and summer as "yickyickys."

I must also humbly ask that if you care to comment to this post, that you refrain from using the correct name for these disgusting creatures. I don't want someone googling the correct name for these things to find this post and be able to link it back to us even though we are yickicky free (knock on wood) now.

I will delete your comment if it uses the proper term for these things. It's nothing personal.

If you have not been through a situation such as ours, I hate to sound condescending and know-it-all, but you have NO IDEA what we went through. And sadly that ignorance cuts both ways--people make assumptions.

I know I certainly did. And I still harbor some major resentments for the instigators of our plague. But I feel for the time being, I'm entitled to that simmering grudge.

Anyway--on with the story.

Picture it:

New Jersey, the Saturday before Easter.

It's dark outside.

We hear some commotion in the stairwell.

Peeking out the picture window we see that the upstairs neighbors are dragging a mattress down to the curb.

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Cut to Easter Sunday. Chunky is playing outside and is talking to Basement Neighbor. Basement Neighbor informs Chunky that Upstairs Neighbor #3 (there are three of them up there) (herein referred to as "Vector Neighbor") has yickyickies.

Fuck me. We had just gotten back from Niagara Falls where I had been downright overzealous about inspecting our hotel beds for yickyickies.

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I try to remain calm.

On Tuesday, the exterminators spray the upstairs neighbors' apartment for yickyickies. They do not spray our apartment or the Basement Neighbor's apartment.

Problem 1: Any exterminator will tell you, you have to spray the ENTIRE building for yickyickies or they will merely migrate from the sprayed areas to the untreated areas.

It is now Friday, May 6.

Chunky and Moochie are eating breakfast. Chunky makes an offhand comment that his arm itches.

I examine the red welts on his arm.

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Chunky's yickyicky bites.

In a half-hyperventilating-freakout-anxiety-attack-rage, I tear his bed apart and lo and behold, there, in his bed are about four yickyickys.

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Die mother effer, DIE!

Did I mention Chunky's bedroom is directly BELOW Vector Neighbor's bedroom. Hmm...gee, wonder how the yickyickies got into his room?

I quickly get on the phone and call two people.

First--Landlord (herein referred to as "Clueless") and basically freak the fuck out on him telling him this needs to be taken care of IMMEDIATELY.

Second--I call into the office taking, for the first time in my working career a "personal day."

I drop the boys off at school and daycare and I stop by the grocery store for probably about five boxes of heavy black trash bags.

I put on my big girl underpants, push out the heebie-jeebie jive and I tear apart Chunky's room.

Basically--if it couldn't be washed in hot, hot, water, it got thrown away.

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Chunky's bed. The first casualty.

I then proceed to haul all of his laundry to the laundromat where I know I can kill any semblance of the yickyickies with uber-hot water and dryers.

In fact, I just pulled out some of his winter blankets this week--some of his fleece blankets have melted from the dryer I subjected them to in May.

Saturday, the exterminator comes. He is an hour late.

He tells Clueless, had he known that he was a spraying an apartment on Tuesday, he would have insisted on doing the whole building instead of just the upstairs.

Because you know Exterminator, you didn't see the THREE mailboxes right next to the front door, or the fact that you went upstairs and never downstairs when you were here on Tuesday? What did you think was downstairs??

We have to evacuate our apartment for four hours. We kill some of the time at a big park.

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Luckily there were some humorous pictures chalked on the bike path that circles the park to entertain us and take our mind off the horror of the yickyickies.

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Did I mention we also had to take the cats with us? They weren't too happy.

I also hit Blood, Bath and Beyond to purchase mattress and box spring covers for our bed, and Chunky's soon-to-be-replaced bed.

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See the price tag on that?

Let's do a little recap of how much this has cost us less than a week into the ordeal:

Laundry: $50
Mattress covers & pillow covers: $287
New pillows for Chunky: $15
Total: $352

Two weeks later, the exterminator had to come back and spray.

Why? So he could kill any yickyickies that might have been in the egg-stage the first time he sprayed. Because apparently yickyickies can survive toxic chemicals when they're eggs.

We purchase Chunky a new bed and promptly hermetically seal it up.

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That trashbag and duct tape box spring cover has since been replaced with the real deal.

He's just relieved not to have to sleep on the couch anymore.

Running tally:

New Chunky bed, box spring & frame: $550
Previous Total: $352
New Total: $902

The month of May comes to a close.

My hatred towards the upstairs neighbors is palpable. They comment about how I must not "like them anymore."

Hmm...

During this ordeal, they explain to me that Vector Neighbor kept his room a cluttered mess (yes, it's true, yickyickies aren't a symptom of "dirty" people, but they DO like clutter. Lots of hidey holes for them to live in. They can live for 18 months without a meal, so why not take a nice long rest under a pile of junk?)

They also inform me that Vector Neighbor likes to hang out at soup kitchens with homeless people.

Ok, I get it, you're retired, you're lonely during the day...

But, the kicker is HOW INFESTED they let him get and they didn't do a goddamned mother fucking thing about it.

Dear readers, one of the other two Upstairs Neighbors told me that when he went to the doctor's office (yeah, will you visit your dr. without thinking of who was sitting in that waiting room before you?) the yickyickies WERE JUMPING OFF HIS BODY.

Are you thoroughly grossed out yet?

The best part? The other two Upstairs Neighbors tried to tell me "Well we didn't know about it because they were contained to his room only..."

BULL-SHIT.

So yeah, I wasn't really "liking" the Upstairs Neighbors much.

It was made worse when they pulled shit like this:

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Run people! For the love of God! Take your money and RUN!

A garage sale. That's right. A garage sale.

This was in July. Only a few scant months after the infestation.

Seriously, I'm all about cheapassedness, you all know that, but I will never go to a garage sale ever again in my life. You don't know if the people selling their stuff are people like Upstairs Neighbors.

Did you catch that part about July?

That brings us to part two of my story.

It's July 3rd. It's a gorgeous day.

I'm in the back yard.

The boys are playing in the pool.

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I'm poolside, knitting a sweater, or maybe I was reading a book. I don't remember.

I do remember thinking "Hey, I'll prop my pasty white legs up to get some sun."

And then I remember thinking: "Gee, that's weird, why does my left leg have so many mosquito bites and my right leg is relatively untouched?"

Cue that half-hyperventilating-freakout-anxiety-attack-rage feeling.

I run into the house and in a blind crazed full on freakout, I rip the sheets off of our bed.

YICKYICKIES.

Living on the outside of the $99 yickyicky cover.

Scroll back up and read about the frantic crazy call to the clueless landlord.

Now imagine that, but imagine that with 100% more crazy bitch thrown in.

Problem #2: Yickieickies like wood. Our bed was wood. That's how they must have survived the first rounds of spray.

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Oh farewell sweet bed!! Our first piece of "grownup" furniture!

So cue the same round of laundering EVERYTHING, vacuuming everything, and throwing away tons of items that could not be washed.

And that--if you've made it this far--is what happened to my yarn.

My yarn was stored UNDER my bed. My sock yarn was in nicely sealed plastic bags.

However, the majority of my yarn was in one of those plastic under the bed storage containers.

Which snap shut...

...assuming you don't have them so full of yarn, they don't fully seal shut.

Yeah.

I thought about my options.

I could put it in black plastic bags, put it in the windows of my parked car on a sunny day and basically "bake" it.

Or I could dust it with diatomaceous earth...but that would have been messy.

No matter what I did with it, even if I did annihilate all of the yickyickies that may have been in my yarn, I would never know if they were truly gone.

It would always be at the back of my mind.

I made the decision.

I had to throw it all out.

Sob.

Our bedroom proved to be harder to de-yickyicky than Chunky's.

We had a lot more stuff in there.

After the clothes were laundered and hyperdryed, they were hung back up in the closet.

This time in those gigantic Ziploc bags.

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So annoying.

Our dresser is wood. And we kept that. But again, underwear, socks, bras, t-shirts--now all in bags in the dresser.

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My fabric stash was mostly saved though--everything that was washable was washed and hyperdried and put into plastic containers. No more stylish wicker baskets.

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Yeah, you'll also see that my shoes are now off the floor as well.

All of the knitting books that were on my bookshelf in the bedroom have been double bagged in black trash bags and sit now in the garage with a note that they can be opened in January 2013 (18 months from the incident).

My favorite bagging had to be my clock radio.

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I got this clock radio for Christmas when I was younger than Chunky is now.

It still works great. But it's got lots of nooks and crevices that would be idea for a yickyicky to hide in.

But I couldn't part with it!

So I bagged it too.

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Yeah, it's a dusty old clock!

What's our total at this point?

Previous total: $902
New bed, box spring, frame, and headboard (metal!) for Dr. MS and I: $1700
Another mattress cover, box spring cover, and pillow covers: $228
Five boxes of XXL Ziploc Bags: $30
New total: $2860

I'm not even factoring in all the plastic tubs I had to buy for stuff and the round of laundry I had to do this time or the pounds (overkill there--but they didn't come in any smaller quantities) of diatomaceous earth I bought and dusted the crevices of our baseboards in the house with.

Ugh.

So that takes us to here, the present day, dear readers.

As of yet, we have not seen another yickyicky since July. But I haven't let my guard down. I still vigilantly inspect our beds every night and the boys know to report any suspicious red welts to me.

The worst part of the yickyickies is it robs you of not just scads and scads of money (and let me tell you how awesome it is to spend tons of money like that when you know your husband is about to be unemployed for who knows how long, and in the summer when he's not drawing a paycheck!), but your innocence.

I am extremely suspiciously paranoid of even the most benign thing--like dr. office waiting rooms, or garage sales--on the off chance it could reinfect our house with yickyickies.

And when you buy your Moochie his first big boy bed (his room appears to have been spared) you are upset because you had to spend extra money on mattress covers that look downright awful.

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Night night! Sleep tight! Don't let the yickyickies bite!

And the Upstairs Neighbors wonder why I'm not so warm and friendly anymore!

The best part is, they live so vicariously through our boys--that I haven't told them I'm pregnant yet.* Because I know they'll be gifting us loads of baby shit we don't need.

And which might have been...upstairs.

Where all this shit started.






*If you do the math, Baby Bez 3.0 was conceived on July 2nd. The day before I discovered our yickyickie laden bed. GROSS!

I won't even go into the wrath those fucktards upstairs will endure if anything is wrong with Baby Bez 3.0 because of my exposure to those chemicals days after conception.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Splurge!

Well, it felt like a huge splurge.

Someday I'll blog about the story of How All My Yarn Got Destroyed. I'm just not ready yet.

To replace some of what I lost I happened upon yarn at the dollar store.

Peaches n'Cream to be exact.

I didn't have a lot of kitchen cotton in my stash, but I did have some. And I have found myself missing it lately (nothing like a mindless grandma's washcloth between projects!).

So I splurged on 10 balls of Peaches n'Cream to replenish (plus some!) what was lost this summer.

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I'm realllly digging that pink black and white "black cherry" colored yarn.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Cast Off!

No, I'm not finishing a project.

Today Chunky gets his cast off!

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They don't like to keep elbows immobilized for too long as it apparently leads to loss of motion in the end. So as soon as the bone is healed, off comes the cast.

He's still got to take it easy until Thanksgiving--which will be hard for him to do without the cast there to constantly remind him to do so.

But it's a start!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Top 5

Elizabeth had posted this top five list to her Facebook feed of online knitting magazines (she's not the author of the list, just place I first saw it).

Of course I agree with the #1 choice...ha ha!

I think I'd put knitty.com above Twist Collective though. Twist Collective, while beautiful and gorgeous, gives off an elitist air to me.

Not a "We're better than you!" elitism, but a "You've gotta be a pretty experienced knitter to knit any of the stuff in our magazine!" vibe.

Maybe "elite" isn't the right word. Not as accessible?

But the same goes for print magazines.

Obviously your Knit Simple isn't going to be on the same wavelength as say Vogue Knitting or Interweave Knits. So maybe I'm comparing apples to oranges in giving my opinion there.

I do know that's why I enjoy Knitcircus and knitty. They have a nice blend of multi-level projects.

And of course the baked goods in Knitcircus are just the best..ha ha!

What do you think? How would you rank your favorite online knitting magazines?

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rhinebeck Roundup!

Wow.

It IS everything everyone says it is.

Jen, Chris and I met in Parsippany (just say it, fun, right?) and carpooled to Rhinebeck. Aside from the GPS deciding to take us off the NY Thruway for 7 miles only to get back on it, we got there just in time to stand in line.

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To the fairground operators' credit--they did a great job herding everyone into the fairgrounds in an orderly fashion.

One of the first places we stopped was the infamous booth--The Fold.

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Too crowded for my blood! And there weren't even the fabled lines snaking out of the booth and thru the building! But I can say now that I've "been there and done that."

You can't forget the food.

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I basically took that one for my Mom. She digs cows.

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The Pillsbury Boy Death Food Cart. Aww...poor Poppin' Fresh!

And of course you can't go to a fiber festival without enjoying some of the meatly-bounty of the sheep!

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Roast lamb sandwich!

We didn't go thru any of the animal barns...but I did snap a picture of what I believe was the llama parade (unless they're alpacas).

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And the people watching was amazing! My fave had to be the guy Chris pointed out to me sporting a head of balding purple hair. Because, as she put it, if you dye it purple, no one will notice it's falling out!

We even saw the Ravelry Royalty walking around (sans drooling mob, which I was a bit surprised at).

But the best was this woman (on the right) while I was standing in line to purchase a book (more on that later).

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Sweet mother of fatzah! Blech! The only thing that would make that sweater authentic is if she spun the yarn she knit it out of from attic insulation.

Of course at the end of the day we had to take a picture of the back of Jen's car packed to the gills with all of our purchases.

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Ha ha! Actually I bought some yarn too that didn't make it into that picture.

Here's what I walked away with:

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Starting with the book (where I was when I snapped the picture of Squirrel Sweater), I couldn't resist. In fact we went back to get that one! I love Mochi-Mochi and the mini ones are just too much. I swear the older I get the more cutesy-girly I get. We then stood in line to get our books autographed.

The bag of fiber you see there is 2 ozs. of the most incredibly soft fiber I think I've ever touched. It's a camel/silk blend that I purchased from Skaska Designs. It was $25. That's pretty rich for my blood, but when I realized that they're HQed in Fort Collins, CO (Go Rams!) I caved. Had a nice conversation with the guy running the money box about how much Ft.C has changed in the 10 years or so since we've been there.

And finally, I think you know what the last ball of yarn there is.

Yes. Quiviut. Not 100% though. I couldn't cave that much. It's the "Luxury" blend--45% quiviut/45% merino/10% mullberry silk.

I bought this at Windy Valley. Now one of the reasons I wanted to stop there is because this farm used to be located in lovely Palmer, Alaska.

But I guess, unbeknownst to me, they sold the farm and moved to Yuma, CO.

The guy running the money box there really didn't have anything nice to say about Palmer. He mainly complained about the weather. Which, to be quite honest having lived in both Palmer and Colorado--I'll take Palmer ANY day. And dude, it's Alaska of course the sun's not going to shine!

I guess since I was born and raised in the Land of the Midnight Overcast Sun, I don't mind the rain and crappy weather.

All in all though--it was a great little road trip and I'd love to go again!

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Week In Review, or Yes, I Can

I actually took off Columbus Day -- a floating holiday for our firm (you get MLK or Columbus Day off. I'm all about the MLK but coming off of the Christmas/New Year's holidays, I don't NEED another day off like I NEED a mid-October day off).

Anyway, I got a LOT done.

I scored the makings for Moochie and Chunky's Halloween costumes. Those will be made next weekend.

And basically I finished up the canning season.

I started by taking the last of the habaneros and jalapenos from the bushes that Basement Neighbor planted for Upstairs Neighbor, and Upstairs Neighbor didn't know what to do with so many peppers.

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Plus I HAD to can these because a certain cat who shall remain nameless somehow managed to keep finding my peppers, pulling them out of the box I had them in, and play with them all over the house.

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Mother smugger!

I got one jar of nacho rings (sliced jalapenos), one of mixed sliced peppers (red and green habaneros and jalapenos), and one jar of whole habaneros.

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Then I moved on to apple butter.

I took my gross frozen apple cores and peels...

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Added a bit of apple cider...

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Strained out the stems, seeds and skins...

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And then popped it in the crockpot for six hours because I was too tired to sit there and stir it on the stovetop for hours.

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Of course I didn't get pictures of just the final apple butter in neat jars.

But I did get a couple of shots of my summer/fall spoils.

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All on the counter.

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Shoved into the cupboard.

Whew! It was a lot of work--even stretched out over four months, but it's worth it when you open a jar of pickles or applesauce in January!

Stay tuned--tomorrow is Rhinebeck! Oooaaahhhhh! I'm so excited!

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Woah, an FO!

I recently actually finished something this past week!

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The details--

Pattern: Smocked Socks

Yarn: Berroco Alpaca Sox

Needles: US 2

Notes: This was a really easy pattern to memorize and very cool the way it "smocked." The smocking is kind of hard to see in the pictures though. But I do love the coloring of this yarn and don't think it was a bad choice for this pattern.

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I'm not sure I'm in love with the wear of this yarn. I just washed these for the first time and if you think the color obscures the smocking, you should see the fuzzy halo that obscures it now!

Ah well, they're still warm and comfy, so who really cares?

Less than a week now until Rhinebeck! It's my first (and probably only time) going and I'm quite excited.

I'm actually hoping to find some non-sock yarn.

Why? Because my non-sock yarn stash was lost in a tragic twist of events this past summer.

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The twist of events is also why my clock radio is encased in a plastic baggie now until January 2013.

Now I just need to come up with some projects to shop for yarn for!

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