Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Baseball and the Fabric of the Universe

Well, it's done, Boston has won the World Series.

Time to dig out that big old "Fabric of the Universe" needle I keep for just such emergencies. It might need some repairing in the next weeks and months.

Of course, if the Cubs win next year, I don't give the laws of nature much chance of recovery.

That said, Go Sox, and Go Cubs.

I'm such a sucker for the underdogs.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

New Neighbour Paranoia

Something I learned at a young age: Never, ever take good neighbours for granted. Ever.

So, after 10 years, we are getting new neighbours. Our landlords, who live in the upstairs of this house, are moving into their new house at this very moment. I'm happy for them that they're happy. They've found people to rent the upstairs. A young couple with two cats and a young daughter who comes for visits. Sounds OK. So why am I panicking about this?

Our 10 years here have not entirely been bliss, but any problems have been with the apartment itself (flooding from the washer, flooding from the broken water tank resulting in ripped-up carpet for weeks, more flooding from the washer, shower stall broke, multiple furnace repairs mean workmen in my kitchen, etc.). The owners/neighbours have been great, and we all get along well. Anything we ask for has been dealt with promptly. They love us and never want us to move, because we always pay, we're very quiet, and never complain about anything. They haven't raised our rent, ever. I've gotten used to hearing the mother screaming at her teenage kids in Portuguese. :)

And now, I am faced with a complete unknown. I'm as much worried about the new people being jerks (it can happen) as I am that we will do things that annoy them. They need to know that they control the thermostat for the house. Not a big deal, and as long as they set it so that they're comfortable, we'll be fine - but it means that if they go away for a week in the winter, I can't have them turning it down too low, or turning off the AC in the summer. We need to find out if they want specific days to do their laundry. They need to know that the furnace is in my kitchen, the breaker switches for the entire house, including the cable connection for their TV, are in my bedroom, and they should call us if they need us to check something. I need to get their phone number, and they need to have mine. I don't want to seem like I'm being nosey about them, or too forward, or trying to be their best buds. I don't know that I want to be their best buds. But we need to establish lines of communication, fast and early, and I really don't want to come across too forward, or like "I've lived here 10 years and you're new, so THERE." But there are things they need to know. This is not an apartment building, it's a house with a makeshift basement apartment, and the downstairs and upstairs are not entirely self-containted units.

So why am I so paranoid about this? Because we are about to be placed, essentially, at the mercy of strangers. And first impressions can be a big deal. And lucky us, apparently they want to paint next week. I really hope they don't fume us out of the house.

I hope they're nice. I hope they're friendly, but not too friendly. I hope they're not smokers. I hope I don't piss them off before the year is out, and vice-versa. I hope they're not axe-murderers... OK, there goes that late-night paranoia again. I'll stop now.

Cross your fingers for me, folks, it's new neighbour time.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Work: 5; Knitting: 1

Well, at least there's symmetry.

After hitting an all-time low in production the previous week, this past week was pretty good. OK, perhaps I should qualify that - it didn't suck quite so badly. I managed to: 1) Finish enough coding that I didn't look like a slacker dolt at my meeting on Tuesday, 2) Finish grading Statistics assignments (how I, the supremely under-qualified, came to be grading these is a story for a whole 'nuther day), 3) Finish two scholarship applications that required begging for four reference letters on short notice and writing up a detailed "Plan of Study" for the next two years (and considering I can't keep straight what I'm doing tomorrow, that's quite a trick), 4) Help put together a large order for TWPL to send out to a conference, 5) Write an acceptable abstract in under 3 hours today to make a submission deadline for a conference.

And I still made it to band rehearsal, remembered to send in a health insurance form, and crammed in a couple hours' sleep this week. And I occasionally fed the husband and cats and snuck in an episode of Buffy. I did not, however, make it to my chiropractor appointment or finish a paper that's due to be submitted for publication (which I said would be done for today), or make it to the bell tower for some carillon practise. But I hear there's a new week coming up.

The weekend will be fun-filled: full of grading with a short detour on Sunday to play at the CBA band competition with my concert band. And maybe the CSNF. *Looks at pile of grading, about to topple over.*Or not. Bummer.

Last night, while avoiding work on the scholarship apps, abstract and grading, I felted (intentionally!) the bag I made last week. It's the "Marsupial Pouch Bag" from Stitch 'n Bitch, minus the little extra pouch, done in Lamb's Pride worsted Aubergine and Sunburst Gold. That is a yarn I don't think I'll ever get tired of. My finished bag is a little smaller than the pattern specs - I wanted to felt it longer, but the pre-felted bag was already small, since my gauge was a little tight, and I didn't want it to shrink too much more. The handle sections didn't felt evenly with the rest of the bag, but for a first felting project, I'm very pleased. I'll probably make a couple more bags before moving on to sweaters: definitely this one and maybe this one or this one. Or maybe some slippers.

The pink & grey mohair/rayon lace scarf is still growing, a few inches per sitting. I'm getting ready to order the yarn for husband's Tom Baker Dr. Who Scarf next week. I'll be making the earliest version, in Brown Sheep Co. Nature Spun. At around 12 feet long, that will be something of a long-term project, I think.

I have a sneaking suspicion my neighbours (and landlords) of over 10 years are moving to their new house this weekend. We've been expecting this for a while, since they closed on it last month. The sounds of stomping feet and furniture being shuffled around at 2:00 am are something of a tell, and there was a cryptic message this afternoon, saying that she wanted to talk to us.

I'm trying not to stress too much about that right now, but it's hard, what with the sounds of creaking floorboards above me as a constant reminder. It's not that we're good friends with the landlords, but we have built up a comfortable relationship and mutual trust that has worked well for over 10 years of renting the basement apartment of their house. The thought of completely unknown people living in the same house above me is really disturbing right now.

Wonder if they rented the upstairs yet. Wonder who my new neighbours will be. Wonder if they'll suck as badly as my overactive paranoia assures me they will - I'm envisioning pyromaniac, klepto chain-smokers with big dogs who will have huge parties and burn down the house after they flood it.

Late-night imagination, you are truly a bitch.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Knitting: 5, Work: 1

In a concerted effort to avoid work, I have, over the last several weeks, knit 4 hats: 1 out of Patons Decor, 1 Patons Classic Wool and 2 Patons Up Country. One of those only fits my Ewok stuffed animal, but I firmly believe mistakes are for learning. And he looks cute in it. I have continued working on two scarves. One is a very long grey mohair/pink rayon simple lace pattern that I can only do a couple inches of in one sitting, the second is garter stitch using 3 balls of Joker colour Rowan Biggy Print on 25mm needles, which will be done in one more sitting. I'm also almost done with a simple 2-colour bag made out of Brown Sheep Co. Lamb's Pride worsted weight, which is just about the most delightful stuff I've ever worked with. This will be my first felting experiment, we'll see how it goes.

I've also bought yarn for two sweaters: Paton's Divine (brown & cream) for an oversized, all-cable (6 stitches wide) sweater, and a large hank of pink/yellow/orange baby kid Fleece Artist hand-dyed to mix with 5 skeins of Briggs & Little yellow (aran weight) to make a lovely cowl-neck sweater. I have another ball of Lamb's Pride in bulky weight, for another hat, and at least 8 different coloured balls of Patons Classic Wool. Maybe those will become another bag, if I can get this felting thing down. And then there's those 4 hanks of Manos del Uruguay kettle-dyed wool, 3 lilac solids and 1 varigated brown/yellow. When I figure out what I'm going to make with that, I'll let you know.

Oh, and the patterns... there's that beautiful Rogue Hooded Pullover pattern that I have yet to buy yarn for. I'll probably buy Briggs & Little for that - at CDN $5 for a nearly 200 metre skein, how can you go wrong? I've picked up the books Stitch and Bitch and Knitting on the Edge, and I've been printing out patterns from Knitty magazine like a fiend. Yes, friends, the knitting mania is in full swing.

I finally broke down and bought a set of Denise Interchangeable Needles, and wow, do they rock. I must stop buying yarn, though, I'm certain I have enough to get through the winter and next summer. Maybe just a few more skeins of Brown Sheep's Lamb's Pride or Nature Spun, because those colours are just so beautiful...

Let's not even talk about how much work I have to do right now. The only bright spot in the last month was a well-received conference presentation last week, but now that it's over, I have no excuse to get on with the rest of it. Coding 800 lines of data by Tuesday, grading 15 assignments by Wednesday, at which time 200 new assignments and 150 exams come in for grading, 2 funding scholarship applications by next Friday (but drafts to my reference-writers tomorrow). I am going to have to lock the yarn, needles, cats and husband away this weekend, or I have no chance.

It's a damn good thing Canadian Thanksgiving is in October. If I didn't have a long weekend until November, I'd be screwed.