This October we hosted Michele Micarelli for two workshops in the studio. I think everyone had a great time. I wasn't here much, my dogs were all ill at the time but I did pop in periodically when Auntie Audrey dog sat the pups. It would have been fun to hang around but priorities and all, I did what I could.
Michele is a lovely and very talented artist. Anyone fortunate enough to take one of her classes will be impacted as she helps guide you out of the box into a world of design and colour.
Shane was invited to sit on a a dyeing talk and he came away inspired to try new techniques. Thanks Michele!
the ultrasound but years ago it was a crap shoot and I think if I’d been told how big he was going to be I might have been concerned over how he was going to come out. Luckily, I come from solid baby making stock so there weren't any complications, but I walked like a cowboy for a while.
Somehow I’d convinced myself I was carrying a girl so the suitcase full of baby pink garb was inappropriate. Being the big bruiser that he was, it didn’t seem appropriate to start him out in anything but blue, so right into the flannel shirts and jean overalls he went. He was wearing three month old size immediately, passed all the monuments prematurely like smiling and sitting up and walked unassisted at 7 ½ months. No lie, he was advanced in everything, pretty much came out talking.
We were inseparable. If ever there was a bond between a mother and child we had it. He only had smiles for me, followed me around the room with big bright eyes always ready to smile when I looked his way. The sun rose and set because he was in my life. Funny, as I write this I realized my four pups do the same thing. Maybe that’s why I love them so much, they remind me of my perfect little baby boy.
Anyway, my boy is now a 6’ 4” man and I wonder where the time has gone. How could I have a 35 year old....I barely feel that old myself? I just wanted everyone to know how honoured I am to know him. My buttons pop when customers tell me how sweet and helpful he is. He certainly has the gift of gab. I watch him grow and blossom every day and it makes a mother proud. He is smart, could have been anything he set his mind too so I am grateful he chose to hang with his mom on this wild, creative ride we are on. There is so much potential I know our business will benefit from his suggestions and improvements along the way. I look forward to working side by side my greatest achievement.
Love you son,
You people out there in blog land are fabulous. I love writing and receiving your comments, the cherry on my day. I finally feel like I have a voice, can get out my side of a story so I don’t have to carry it around, entombed in a dark place, making my hair fall out and furrowing my brow. Before, if someone got a big ole hate on for me, I was helpless, my side of the story never saw the light of day, other then burning the ears off my friends. It is very freeing being able to air my side of things. And on the flip side, when I screw up, I can use this venue as a confessional, to bleach my soul. Who needs expensive therapy when all of North America is my couch?
I thought the complaining was over for October. It really has been 28 days of an all-around pain in the arse. Missing so much work for appointments, being short staffed, getting behind at work, not having time to spend with my hubby on his short visit home, then sick dogs, I truly thought the worse must be over, but no, the universe seems to be conspiring against me. Yesterday I awoke to full blown Sciatica. I did something in my sleep or maybe that slight slip I had the other day started the ball rolling but whatever the cause, I am flat on my back, with standing and sitting lasting about five minutes before the fiery, stabbing pain slices through my lower torso. Really, it feels like I’m in a magician’s box being sawn in half. I sit to ease the pain, and then stand for a few minutes, up and down like a disjointed jack-in-the-box.
I must have been a bad girl to have such curses befall me. Tomorrow is my son’s birthday and the plans to go out for dinner look dim. There are two more days in this month and quite frankly I’m a bit afraid of them. What else can happen? I’m afraid to drive the car, I've had spasms with previous bouts of Sciatica that picked up my sitting body and threw it on the ground a few feet away. If that happened while driving I could end up off the road or in front of oncoming traffic. It’s a moot point anyway, getting in and out of the car is a scream fest. I can’t help but cry out. Nerve pain is the worst, it cuts like a razor and burns like a torch.
I begrudge this wasted time. I can't hook or even sit and work on the computer. This short blog has taken me all afternoon of minute long sessions to post. I feel helpless and pissed off. Somehow I have to make this right; begin a dialogue with the universe to beg for a break. Really, it’s like I’m going through the book of Revelations, being tossed one pestilence after another. Somehow bad karma has landed my doorstep. Maybe a disgruntled customer is sticking a voodoo doll of my image in the back? Whatever the cause, I sure hope November is kinder.
I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for some time and recent events have pulled it to the foreground. The topic is cutting wool. The question is, “How far does my obligation go to you the customer?” For those of you who don’t have a cutting machine here is this shop’s perspective.
To start, it seems like a lifetime ago, but at one time I was a beginning rug hooker. Within two weeks of working on my first project I had my own cutting machine, a Bliss Model A, without it I would have been still in the water. Late at night, when Mary was in her bed asleep, as sweet as she is, she probably wouldn’t have appreciated a knock on the door in the wee hours of the morning, from an addict begging for more strips. Being a night owl, I was doing my best work after midnight and darn if I didn’t always run out as the high was peeking. So I purchased my own machine and with that came the freedom to hook when I darn well pleased, depending on no one for a late night fix.
When I opened shop, I sold cutting machines. Back in the day when our dollar was bestered by US funds at a 20% and sometimes higher exchange, they were expensive to buy and have shipped across the border. I had to buy a minimum number to get the highest discount which was basically a joke. I made so little profit I realized carrying them was only a perk for the customer, not me.
They were hard enough to sell in the early days, and then later with the introduction of Ebay and Kijiji, the inventory would then sit for years. Customers would come in to let me know they found and bought cutters everywhere but a shop and sometimes with shipping and duty they paid as much as buying from me would have cost. It certainly would have been nice to support a small independent shop. I realize where you shop is the right of the consumer, it’s just difficult to hear when you have thousands of dollars’ worth of inventory that sits gathering dust.
In recent years, the company who supplied the Bliss and Fraser cutters changed family hands a couple of times so the price went up twice in one year almost doubling what they were a short time ago. The wholesale price went up but the profit margin stayed the same.
People don’t like change, at first anyway, once it grows on them no problem, but the transition year of the new pricing killed sales as if a black plague swept through the cutting community. The new stock with the higher price tag hung around like a bad smell. I discounted them and sold them at a loss so I didn’t have to keep counting them in inventory. The mark-up on the cutter was low, then take into account the US exchange and the astronomical shipping for a box of that weight, well I was lucky to make 10%. 10% profit is not worth the paperwork. No business can survive on those numbers.
Sure I could have raised the price, but the rug hooking sisterhood is small and everyone knows what all the shops sell their goods for so we are bound to keeping parallel pricing or stock doesn’t move. So I made the decision to stop selling them, not only me but two other shops in the area independently came to the same conclusion, selling cutters is not good business.
And then something happened that turned me off even further. That company sold me a dozen defective blades. These blades aren’t cheap as the price escalated for them as well as the machines. Whether the company knew it at the time or discovered it later I’m not sure, but when they did realize it, they should have called their customers to report the problem, exchange good for bad. They didn’t and the result deeply embarrassed me when I couldn’t get #6 blades to cut on a new machine that I was trying to sell to a customer. I went through every blade thinking the problem lay with the cutter. Once the blades are tried they were now classed as used and could no longer be sold. With the machine not working properly it gouged those blades and without the smooth edge, I couldn’t flog them. They were cut wrong, not completely round on one side so it would skip where it didn’t connect the roller blade with the cutting wheel. It wasn’t visible to the naked eye, just a subtle flaw that made a big impact on the cut.
While I was demoing the cutter, another couple came in to inquire about machines and when they witnessed how much I was struggling, they walked out. Two potential sales lost in one day and my face was beet red.
I emailed the company to say that the machine I had was defective and explained what happened and was told in the reply, that it was the #6 blade, not the machine that malfunctioned, that they were cut wrong during manufacturing. They told me to send back the blades and they would replace them, which I did, but my faith in them went down the toilet. If I made enough money on the machines to make it worth my while carrying them I would have let it slide , I didn’t so why go through this kind of hassle? If you can’t have faith in a product you sell, take it off the shelf.
So in the meantime what does a customer do if they refuse to buy or can’t afford a cutter? How do they cut their wool? Hopefully there is a friend to help, a rotary cutter will do or a pair of scissors if working with wider cuts. The rotary cutter can be dangerous, and cutting with scissors leaves a jagged mess and the wool will be cut off grain and fray more. Not the best solutions but okay in a pinch.
So this leads to my question. How and why am I responsible for cutting the wool that I sell to you? This of course would not be an issue if when I say, no sorry we don’t cut wool and you say okay, it didn’t hurt to ask in a friendly way. The old saying you get more flies with honey and a smile can get your wool cut more often than not, the rule we have is not carved in stone. But instead, I’ve been abused. Customers have been angry with me, walk out of my shop leaving behind what they intended to purchase. Sometimes they get belligerent and say, “Well, what am I supposed to do if you won’t cut my wool?” You make it sound like I owe you something because you are spending money in my shop. When you buy shoes do you demand that they spray them with sealant? No, you buy the can, take it home and do it yourself. Do you get the grocer to come home and cook the lasagna you bought the ingredients for? Does IKEA come home and set up your furniture? Canadian Tire doesn’t arrive at the rink to tie your skates...really....if you want to play hockey....get a stick!
Back in the day when I first opened and only saw one or two customers a day, we had time to cut wool and I enjoyed that time to chat. But now, with the amount of traffic through the door, we don’t have time to offer extra services. Even if you wanted to pay us, there is just no time.
You all know I’ve been home with my sick dogs. The other day Shane called me to say a woman demanded that he hand over my home phone number so she could call and make me come into the shop and cut her wool, not even wool she purchased that day, but wool she bought weeks before, even though I told her point blank that we don’t cut wool.
So why don’t we cut wool.....so many reasons, let me count the ways.
First of all, we are too busy! While we cut that wool, other customers in the shop are ignored. We aren’t getting the mail orders out for people who have paid for purchases. Nor are we making stock for the shop to sell. Inventory is what is needed to sell and pay my employees! Cutting wool takes away from all that.
Second, it’s a blasted mess to cut wool. ¼ yard of wool makes enough dust that we have to get out the vacuum and clean not only the cut area, but the rugs and the stairs as it gets blown and walked around. Wool dust is a hazard, a liability, is as slippery as ice in a light dusting on a hardwood floor. I have kits to cut that sit because I’m too busy. It takes days, to cut them. If you see a pile of wool on my desk that is wool that needs cutting for kits....if I had the time it wouldn’t be there!!!!!
If we offered this service, I would have to cut the wool because if my employees did it we would go in the hole. I can’t afford to pay them an hourly wage to stand there and cut wool for people all day, because I assure you, if we offered that service that is exactly what we would be doing. We are even asked to cut wool for people who have cutters, they just don’t want to have to go home and change the blade and I’ve even been asked to cut wool so they don’t have to make a mess in their house. Another one, I’ve ask if they have a friend with a cutter to help them out and I’m told “Oh, I don’t want to bother my friend,”
Last, but not least, I don’t like being bullied or threatened and that’s what people have done, not only to me but my staff. “I won’t buy your wool unless you cut it” you say. “I’ll buy this pattern and the wool but only if you cut it all for me.” You can ask aa question without it being pushy, like “I don’t have a cutter, would it be possible if you could help me if I buy a pattern and the wool?” If you were nice about it maybe I would, if in a good mood, have some time to spare, if I like you or there aren’t any other customers in the shop that would be ignored, and I have many times because that person was sweet.....but I’ve been frowned at, had to listen to your whining, “How in hell am I supposed to hook then?” Well, the answer is easy, buy a cutting machine. If you don’t own one it is not my problem, my fault or my monkey to carry.
And then the helpful suggestion. “Why don’t we have a cutter so people can come in and cut their own wool?” My cutters cost me $1025.00 each. They are fine tuned machines that need a gentle hand and technical thinking. You can’t ram fabric through or turn the handle backwards when it jams. You have to pay attention at all times or it feeds in on itself. We’d have to post a rule, “our wool only”, but then have to police you as the polyester slips in. I used to rent out a Bliss cutter, $5.00 a day like the rest of the shops offered. The blade would come back brutalized, jagged and in bad need of a sharpening from cutting man-made fibers even though you promised you’d be cutting 100% wool. Repairs to the blade cost $7.00. Do the math.
I know of a shop that has a Boliver that people are allowed to use and it is out for servicing all the time, Mr. Boliver’s words not mine. The cutter has been misused and worn loose. People bring in all kinds of crap wool with synthetics that ruin the blades. I can’t afford to buy an extra machine for customers to use, and there would have to be two because you would need all the cuts.
I couldn’t afford the maintenance on the machines when they are wrecked, nor the time to drive them to Lahave to take them to Mr. Boliver’s workshop for repairs. I would have to be cleaning them all the time because they build up with lint and then run inefficiently and it’s a harder crank of the handle which leads to damage. I wouldn’t expect or want anyone without a working know how of the machine doing it, trying to clean the cutter heads is a delicate job or you will break the rubber O’rings and ding the blades.
We would have to take the time to give oral instruction on how to use it properly. Plus who will get stuck vacuuming the shop after each customer comes and goes? A simple sweep doesn’t cut it as the wool dust gets into everything and is more slippery than ice. Every time I cut kits I have to vacuum the entire area around it. You can’t be vacuuming during work hours with our big, old clunky, roaring Electrolux. When I cut kits, the wool fibers are all over my clothes and arms, and most would brush that off all over the place, the reason I do this after hours. It’s just a bad idea all the way around and the question is still there, why do I have to offer this service?
Our shop has no room to have a cutting area for customers. I’m cramped behind a desk where I need to work. No room for others. There is no space available that isn’t filled with quality product to sell and I am not about to downsize our inventory to make room for cutting.
The same, demanding woman harassing Shane to make him cut the wool, was in a few weeks ago and at a point when the shop was quiet I cut a few pieces for her to get started, but I told her very firmly, this was not a service we provide. Not to expect it in the future. I told her where she could buy a cutter and she did order one and then came back in the following Saturday for me to cut more. Up until that point she was hand cutting it, but decided she liked the straight cuts better. She coerced me into helping her by saying in an accusingly way, how much money she’d spent in my store, there were customers about and I could smell a scene coming so I cut it to keep her quiet. It was blatantly evident she felt she was more important and did not want me talking to other customers, interrupting every time I asked if I could help someone, literally pushed them aside by moving between us. I looked her straight in the eye and told her I had to address my customers, be available to assist them, my number one priority. I told her upfront we do not and will not be cutting more wool.
She did the same to Shane the day she came in when I was home with my sick dogs. He was cashing out a customer and chatting when the woman started inching her way along the desk until she had literally pushed the paying customer over to the front door carpet. Several times she interrupted Shane while he spoke to the woman being checked out. Shane said it was very rude, the customer he was talking to looked very uncomfortable and left.
Then she started in on the lousy service around here. He said he didn’t know how to cut wool, that I am the only one that does it. She demanded my phone number even after he told her I was home with sick dogs. There was a workshop going on upstairs and sound travels up and I am embarrassed that Michele Micarelli and her students had a front row seat to her lamenting. From what several heard, I was told that Shane was perfectly polite through it all, never lost his cool and was respectful.
The woman left her bag of wool and demanded that we cut it and mail it to her. Mail it to her? At my expense? I can’t even rap my head around the arrogance of it all. Shane said he let her leave the wool just to get her out the door because she was making a scene, leaving momma to deal with it and that’s okay, I’m the boss, they shouldn’t have to deal with those situations. Poor guy, I guess he is getting a taste of retail. He is wonderful with customers and people sing his praises. The man is a saint. He’s better than his mom in that he doesn’t let that kind of thing upset him, I told him he obviously got his father’s thick skin and my brain, the looks are a fifty/fifty split.
So that is why we don’t cut other people’s wool, and even if you offer to pay us, we just don’t have the time. I do have a rule that I will cut wool if you have never hooked before and want to start the first project, but after that, if you want to pursue the craft, a cutting machine is a must. I sell kits with all the wool cut and ready to roll, another option if you don’t wish to invest in a machine.
Of all the stock in the shop, of all the pretty things we sell, time is what we have the least of. I’m always behind and end up working nights to catch up and with me being out all week, Shane has been running the shop and not in the dye pan so he is behind in his orders as well. Right now, I’m so far behind if I look back I’ll see dinosaurs and this week will be catch-up, probably working every night to get ahead. Cutting someone’s wool doesn’t even register on my radar.
And the last word. If you don’t want to buy a cutter or maybe can’t afford one, hook with yarn, panty hose, T-shirt material, sari silk or ribbon! A simply solution, problem solved!
Coincidentally, a few weeks ago Shane and I had a meeting and decided we would offer cut strips on a rack. My son is in progress of designing a label and we will offer 1/8 and ¼ yd bundles of cut wool, probably in a #5 or #6. It will be what it is, off the rack purchasing; whatever is there is what is available. We will get on this as soon as humanly possible. Once it is available I will post it on the website and on Facebook.
And I would like to add, our customers get fabulous service at our shop and you receive free advice where others insist you pay. A customer emailed me the other day and said she took a beginning class with a teacher and when asked if she would help her colour plan her pillow rug the teacher refused because she had purchased the wool from me. Maybe if my wool was crap I could understand it but its top of the line. We colour plan a customer’s rug with whatever wool you bring in, for free and with a smile.
Our customers have a free website to peruse, where others have an annual fee, we offer many products to choose from and go out of our way to offer a premium product and offer excellent service. I think we go above and beyond. You may not like me, and there are those who don’t, but no one can say that we sell crap product or offer crappy service. I say this because that woman phoned this morning before I got to work wondering why her cut wool hadn’t arrived in the mail. Started in on Shane again with the same lament about our lousy service, how she spent $1000 in the shop, up from $600 in the last lament. Growing in increments like a fish story.
She called back when I arrived and lit into me immediately about Shane and his attitude, how he was rude to her and I’m sorry, that was the last straw. I had to holler because she was loud but I managed to ask her “What about my insisting twice that we don’t cut wool didn’t she understand? She said that it was my job to serve the customer, who is always right. I told her that I was not impressed that she made a scene for the workshop students to overhear. She said she was always nice, that Shane was lying. Well we have witnesses to the contrary.
I pointed out that she demanded twice that Shane hand over my phone number so she could call me so I would leave my sick dogs to come into the shop to cut her wool. She just turned on Shane again, said she never said that and how rude he was to her. Repeats and more repeats, just louder each time.
Then she started in with all the money she spends in my shop and I told her that the way she says it, it sounds like blackmail. I wish I’d said she got superior quality merchandise for her money but didn’t think of it then. She told me once again how lousy our service was. How everyone at rug school in May told her I was difficult to deal and now she knows they were right.
I asked her why she expected me to cut the wool and mail it to her at our expense. That was when she screamed again "the customer was always right" and barked more about what a rotten so and so I am, told me she would never enter my store again and smashed the phone down on my ear. I’m not bothered one way or another, I think I could afford to lose this customer; I don’t think doing a back flip could please this one. We bend over far enough; any farther and I’d blow out a hip.
I would imagine she will come by tomorrow for her bag of wool; hopefully she doesn’t go off on in front of a store full of customers. And if she does she won’t get a rise out of me. I’ll not give her the power of ruining my day or sinking to her level. There is no reasoning with her at all. I’m impressed the confrontation didn’t bother me, I’m either growing stronger or I cried so much over my pups there’s nothing left! My first full day back to work and I had to deal with this.....I hope this isn’t an indication of how the rest of October will be, I was hoping my discontent had ended.......
Update: Saturday the woman comes in with her husband in front of her, like a shield. I saw her peek out from behind him and I did a deep inhale.
I’m still wondering if it really happened. It was so asinine, so utterly ridiculous considering the previous 2 passive aggressive and then the 3 bad encounters with her. The woman opened her mouth and said. “Hi Christine, I love you!”
It took a few seconds to register and I paused ever so slightly before emerging from behind the work desk. As I walked towards them memories washed over me. Every time my first husband hit, kicked, or called me horrible names, the following day he would attempt to erase my hurt with proclamations of “I love you.” No matter what he did, he fully expecting to be forgiven and smiled at. The doctors called him a Sociopath.
So now I had a choice. I could rise out of ashes of this experience, be the better person, smile and hand her wool over without malevolence....or I could position myself so that she would never insult my shop, my person and my son again. I did a quick tally of everything she’d said and done and came to the conclusion that there would be more of the same. A person stocking that kind of attitude has more inventory piled in storage. I decided this was one customer that I couldn’t afford to have, we would always be waiting for the next eruption if everything didn’t go her way. I’m too busy to be tiptoeing on eggshells or dealing with senseless drama.
I walked past them, retrieved her bag of wool behind the sales counter, turned and handed it to her without a smile or a frown, just a flat lined pursed lip. She took the wool and looked at me without speaking. I turned and walked away from her letting my back convey what I was thinking. I heard her mutter something to her husband. There was nothing left to say. I may not have been the bigger person but I did what was right for me. I can’t be someone’s punching bag, not any more. If I’d wanted to be in an abusive relationship, I would still be married to the heel.
On our first meeting she told me, “If you want a man to treat you right, marry one with a handicap. She said her first husband was a quadriplegic and the current one is legally blind. I thought it a strange comment. My husband treats me like a queen and he’s not handicapped, except maybe when he’s racing sailboats. Hmmm....seeking out men that can’t run away from you.....
And lady, in your own words, if our shop is so lousy on service, if I’m so hard to deal with, why would you come in, smile and say you love me? It’s a contradiction; you can’t have it both ways. We’re either lousy or we’re not. Pick one and stick to it!
October has been a crazy month for me personally as well as work. Hubby came home after being gone all summer and the appointments and business we had to attend too took me away from the shop, the Scarecrow Festival and then preparations for Michele Micarelli’s workshops were all back to back creating a knot in my knickers. Then my pups all came down with Kennel Cough and poor Jake suffered through some kind of stroke. They say hectic, stressful times make you stronger, well let me introduce myself as Hercules!
I’ve been slow out the gate with work but we’ve managed to keep our heads above water at the shop. I didn’t get the October POM design drawn but it will go in the mail on Monday. Sorry for the delay! The blogs have suffered the most but some days I couldn’t collect enough gray cells to form coherent thoughts but now the fog has dissipated and I’m back rearing to go.
The pups have all stopped coughing. Jake has regained most of his strength except for jumping up on the sofa. He is either afraid to make it after trying and falling flat on his rump, or he’s still a bit weak in his legs. After the miraculous recovery he experienced we are hopeful he will go all the way in his healing.
His personality has returned with an added perk. As a puppy, he used to talk to me, make little noises in response to being touched or picked up. That’s back and I couldn’t be more pleased. I like little coos in my ear, he’s quite the little chatterbox. I love all my pups, but that little Jake is a peanut. There’s something about the way he puts his little arms around my neck and stares into my eyes that makes my heart go flip flop. He has a very unique personality, I am so grateful to have my little boy back!
Henri still has a bit of drainage coming out of the one eye so he’s sporting a cone collar, Charlene calls it the collar of shame. There’s nothing wrong with his eye that leaving it alone wouldn’t cure, but he keeps rubbing it and then here we go again. So now the collar stays on until I think we are over the hump.
While they were all sick, I felt a heavy burden of sadness weighing me down, dragging my smile into a frown. The fear of it was like an overbearing perfume pushing out a fresh perspective. Like I’ve stated many times before, I love my pups, no less than if I’d born them from my womb.
Maybe once my hubby retires and is home, maybe I won’t need to place so much emotional significance on my four legged companions for happiness. I often wonder if I assign too much importance on them, my neediness is almost stifling, placing a heavy burden on innocents to fill the void of my loneliness. Aw well, they don’t seem to mind this important duty; they bring me more joy than rainbows, diamonds and all manner of things precious.
They fill the maternal need in me. Maybe I should have had more children, although, they’d be grown now and gone on to build their adult life as they should, while I sit on the perimeter looking in. Children don’t belong to us, they aren’t chattel. Like baby birds they hang around a while, then leave the nest to soar on their own. Sure we are always part of their lives but they are independent and make their own way. They don’t hang around at the end of the day to jump into your arms and cover you with dewy kisses….if they did, it would be so wrong!
Dogs will be with me for life, stuck like Velcro. Their only downfall, they aren’t here long enough. They live a short lifespan, or maybe we just live too long. I have a deep dread in me that hibernates in the pit of my stomach, ever present, ever waiting. There will be deep sadness in my future, four times worth. I can hope for them to experience a long journey on this earth, but no matter how much time they are with me it wouldn’t be enough…….
When I arrive home after a day at the shop, my four babies run to greet me, one by one jump into my arms and act like the center of the universe has come home. If only this could be bottled, humans would know no loneliness, psychiatrists could retire their couches, the word could be struck from the English language.
If I should die prematurely, I’ve threaten to haunt hubby and his next wife if she doesn’t care for my babies in the way they’ve grown accustomed to. Everyone laughs, ha ha, but be warned, I’ll cross any divide to get you………..
So…..Michele Micarelli has come and gone after the two back to back workshops. Everyone had a fabulous time. She’s a very unique kind of gal, interesting and very creative. Because my dogs were sick, Mary graciously invited to host her for the week and I was so grateful. My mind and my heart were only for the dogs, so this gave me the break I needed to nurse them back to health without distractions. I didn’t smile much for a week so I would have been lousy company. I spent my time massaging Jake and practicing acupressure on his limbs. I didn’t even watch TV, somehow being entertained didn’t seem right when my babies were sick. I played nature sounds and soothing music to aid in their recovery and we cuddled on the sofa.
So I owe the lovely Mary big time! Wednesday evening I felt in a much better place and invited Michele and hubby Anthony, Peter and Mary over for take-out Pizza and donairs. I wasn’t quite up for cooking so delivery seemed the best solution. Michele and I had a lovely, get to know you chat and I was glad to make a connection with her. I was pretty much a no show during the time she taught at the studio, only popped in here and there when curiosity got the better of me.
I was surprised at how many interests we share, like twins separated at birth. We both have the same appreciation for the art of dying, no not dyeing, the end of life kind, no ‘e’ in the word. She is interested in the oddities of life and death as I am. We would have fun conversations for sure!
Shane was inspired when sitting in on a dyeing segment with Michele and has been whipping up all kinds of fabulous wools in the dye kitchen. He’s fired up and gung-ho, experimenting with all kinds of combinations and techniques. The shop is ablaze with new wools and colour! His enthusiasm is drawing me in. He will be offering dye workshops on an ongoing basis. Stay tuned for dates.
I will post pictures of the workshops with Michele in upcoming blogs.
Pam Haughn - Congratulations!
The tail on Pam's mermaid is a glittery showstopper. This picture does not do it justice! Well done Pam, come on down and claim your prize!!!
Today I will lose a complaint. I’ve long preached how I’m not a goddess in the cleaning department, a tag that has stuck like poop to a woolen rag. Ask the people who have dropped by the house while I hide upstairs, afraid to open the door on my secret, who undoubtedly peeked in the window and couldn’t believe their eyes! Oy vey, the shame I’ve born over the years for being domestically inadequate. But no more.....
Ironically, it’s not that I’m incapable of cleaning my own house. Quite frankly, I could easily leave the rug hooking business and trade up to a cleaning one and be very successful. I say trade up because I think there’s more money in cleaning services than selling wool. I see the local company around these parts with their fleet of cars and so booked you can’t get them for a month of Tuesdays so I’ll assume someone is laughing all the way to the bank. I’d really love to laugh too, but my little craft business is more like a giggle, a short little snort, guffaw, chortle, titter, chuckle, a hoot.
I can clean with the best of them, leaving no stone unturned, I only choose not to. I run a business, have four pups, I run our life in my hubby’s absence and short of cooking I do very little in the evenings except put my feet up, write a bit or hook. I’m burned out at the end of the day and the thought of cleaning is the last thing on my mind, truthfully it doesn’t even register, so I play Russian roulette with the place, worry that someone might come over but do nothing about it and take my chances. That worry does equate to stress though, so I am looking forward to removing that offender from my plate.
Now, I’m going to be able to live the princess life I’ve always envisioned. Larry is turning out to be a dream cleaning man. I went upstairs and he was in my bedroom and had the bureau stripped bare of all the things that sit on it, the lamp, my jewelry box and a damask runner and the large piece of furniture was pulled out from the wall. The cobwebs matted between the back of the bureau and the wall were enough to resist his tug. He looked at me and said “How thorough do you want me to be?” and I knew right then and there he was right for me....well, for the house. “Thorough is gread” I said with a big smile you could see for a mile.
So now the identity and excuse that I am a slob will no longer apply. People can drop by and stay for tea, coffee or a glass of wine and I’ll be relaxed and happy to see you, as long as I’m not caught without makeup, I might still have to hide in the bathroom over that....
When my house is in order, I tend to be more diligent and pick up after myself. I like things clean and sparkly and once in that state, I do my best to retain it. But as things slide, I lose the desire to keep up appearances, the dishes sit, and the clothes pile up into little domes that the dogs make beds out of. Now I’ll keep the laundry done and the burners cleaned. All I needed was a little help to start me in the right direction and stay the course. I am guided by pride and although that usually goeth before the fall, in my case it’s a help not a hindrance. Even though I don’t know Larry from a hole in the ground, I would be embarrassed for him to see how bad the mess can be so I will keep things in check so every two weeks he can come by to keep my house in a state of bliss.
I’ve been working on the place for a week, but it was a topical, not a deep clean. Last night I vacuumed the ceilings, using a flashlight in my right hand to spot the webs and the telescopic vacuum wand in my left to suck them off the beams. I’ve been picking things up and hoofing them out to the garage, doing laundry, oh the piles of laundry, and putting things in their proper places. I explained to Larry that no serious cleaning has been done as far back as January and I’m sure by now he believes me, but even his coming every two weeks will help me to pick up after myself, his arriving will be the check and balance to keep me in line. Before the stolen rings caper by one of the previous cleaning people, my house always looked company ready because I worked at keeping up appearances. If surfaces were cluttered they only dusted around them, not a thorough clean. Doing a bit every day, a few minutes here and there will ensure it is uncluttered for Larry to come and do his magic. So I’ll get back into a routine, I’m sure my beautiful house will appreciate not being neglected. Imagine being ready for Christmas this year and not have to clean for a week to celebrate it! Yippee!!!
Now I’m so fired up I’ve taken out the burners on the stove to clean and I’m viewing the tarnish on my silver tea set with contempt. Besides, it’s difficult having someone in the house cleaning while I sit on my fanny. I need to jump on the band wagon too; after all, I’m not the Queen of England!
I’ve never been the pick-up kind of gal. Once something is put down on a surface I tend to forget about it and that now becomes the permanent home. I’m like that with clothes on the floor. If my mother were alive today she could tell you horror stories. I probably helped her to an early grave being the one frustrating kid to deal with. She was the polar opposite of this progeny, a white tornado force to be reckoned with. I never picked up a thing and my bedroom was a break neck proposition if entering the room. She would close the door and shake her head, possibly wondering if the right kid came home from the hospital. It would go on until she almost lost her mind and then she’d lay down the law. I was too much in my head to worry about tidiness. I was pretending and dreaming about fairies, princesses and solving mysteries alongside Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys; more important realities than cleanliness. Luckily, it skipped a generation because Shane has an almost OCD need for tidy.
Aw well, I is what I is. There was a TV show that says I’m a genius so I’m sticking with that. I’ll bet dollars for donuts that once I’m gone to the big wool store in the sky, not one person will comment on my messy house, surely they’ll speak of greater accomplishments, the rugs I’ve hooked and the patterns I designed. Hopefully, no one is measured by how neat their house is, that would be sad....
Friday - It’s now three days in for operation Eradicate Kennel Cough. The joint sounds like a smoker’s convention, full of raspy, dry coughing that you’d swear they could hack up a lung over; the sound sand paper would make if it could talk. No one is ready for a discharge, and speaking of discharge, there doesn’t seem to be any liquid coming out of Henri’s weepy eye anymore. Eye irritation is common with Kennel Cough and he continually rubs it. We have drops but he's persistent, I’ll give him that. I tried to make an eye patch but he wasted little time rubbing that off.
The coughing is less frequent. Fiz is almost 100%. Honey still does the occasional coughing fit; it’s the boys that persist. Henri is the worst off. Jake sleeps a lot and while they are dreaming they are peaceful so I try to keep them as quiet as possible. Excitement aggravates the situation.
This morning I was disappointed when I didn’t see any change in Jake from the previous day. I was hoping for a slow but steady incline. Still too early to tell what kind of damage was done, if or when it might subside. He didn’t do the number two this morning but that is typical of antibiotics. I’m giving them all yogurt for the acidophilus so they don’t’ get the diarrhea. Four dogs with the squirts is the last thing they need.
I did see a bit more enthusiasm out of Jake, wanting to kiss me and even suckle a toy. When I took them out to pee this afternoon he grabbed a stuffed chipmunk to take with him. Jake is all about the toy, he carries one with him wherever he goes. Brings one to the car when we head for the shop and selects another for the ride home. One of his endearing and entertaining little characteristics we love.
I spent a good hour watching videos of dog massage and acupressure. I’m no stranger to the latter and maybe should have pursued it as an occupation as I’m what you would call a self-proclaimed natural. I truly believe I saved Henri’s life with it when the vet had given up hope that he would survive parvo a few years back. I hit the meridians easily, my fingers feel the pulse of the heartbeat every time, like little shoots of low voltage electricity in my fingertips. His little body lay so still I think he enjoyed it, a couple of times he closed his eyes, possibly falling asleep. He never once tried to get up or move. Being that hands on is a very strong connection with another living creature. And it was peaceful, I felt soothed as well, helping to melt the stress away of the last few days. At one point my face started to burn and I wondered if I was releasing something in him, or possible in me. My body is breaking out in eczema type rashes all over my chest and neck area. I’m going to soak in an Epson’s Salt bath this evening and try to draw out those toxins piling up in my system.
This afternoon, I had Aunt Audrey come by to watch my patients so I could go to the shop and get some mail out. The workshop with Michele was going full swing and it looked like a lot of fun. Tomorrow I will take pictures and post the progress of the projects on the go. Nancy, our baking angel supplied the most delicious brownies you’ll ever eat, a lemon cake and zucchini cake for the students. It looked pretty cosy up there!
I am hoping by Sunday I can go to the shop, with the workshop upstairs I’ll get a few things done. I’ll just take the pups with me and gate them in the kitchen. Shane has been wonderful, taking care of things in my absence. I don’t know what I would do without him generally, but with Michele here, I really needed the backup to allow me to take time for my most precious little bundles.
Saturday - It’s Saturday morning and the sun is back for a wonderful fall day. Jake is walking with more of a struggle this morning. I hope I didn’t do anything to aggravate the situation. I was so gentle it is hard to believe. Aunt Audrey told me that sometimes after a massage you can feel sore. I won’t carry on with that treatment but I’ll stick to the acupressure as I don’t believe in a million years that could hurt. He is more like his old self personality wise but has realized his limitations and won’t do certain things that were easy before. He did a #2. His first attempt landed him arse over kettle, but managed in the end to get his end in the right position. He doesn’t bother to try to lift his leg to pee as it is always a fail, but this morning he crouched forward in a better position and managed to spare his front legs from another golden shower.
I am really trying to feel happy but its work. My heart keeps breaking as I see him struggle. I want my old guy back but of course that may not happen. I’m so very sad for him. He might not be able to play and he lives for chasing ball. He could probably run after the ball but the others might accidentally knock him over in their excitement to get to it first. It might have to be one on one with him for a while. Before, every day I came home from work he is waiting at the door with a ball in his mouth and says “Let’s go mom!” All four rush out into the yard and to the lower lawn for a strenuous workout of either chasing the ball or the one who gets it first. I loved that!
Of course none of that really matters, I’ll take him any way he comes but that doesn’t mean I can’t mourn the loss of what could have been a little bit. I’ll snap out of it. Dogs live in the moment, I could learn something from them.....
My heart is breaking.
All four of my pups have come down with Kennel cough. They picked it up while at the groomers whose dogs picked it up from one of the four legged customers. It’s the equivalent of human bronchitis, a lot of coughing and spitting up frothy liquid. Their little throats can get pretty sore.
I knew nothing of this viral infection. I’d heard the name but it meant nothing although I now know a lot and like nothing about it. Luckily it isn’t lethal but they can get dehydrated and develop pneumonia. I’ll be on top of it for sure.
I’m told that it’s running rampant throughout the canine community and is very easily transferred from one pup to another. It started with Henri and after a rough day I climbed into bed Tuesday night thinking things couldn’t get worse, but the next morning my world turned upside down.
I didn’t sleep a wink. Henri coughed and vomited pretty much all night long. The first thirty or so times I got up and wiped it clean and periodically gave him water, but as the hours dragged by and the lack of sleep made me feel like vomiting myself, I left it until morning. Henri just moved to a clean spot on the blanket after each spit up.
I was wide awake at 5 am when Jake coughed the first time. A horrible dry wretching that seemed to go on for ever. I rubbed his ears and cuddled him and he finally quieted. He stuck to me like glue and made little noises of discomfort. It was now the Henri and Jake show, alternated loud coughing, Jakes were dry while Henri’s not so much. I was still awake at 7 am when Fiz coughed her first time, once again agonizing to hear. Only two hands and my three babies all needing me. Honey, my rock, and super health hero had coughed a bit during the precious day but was enjoying sleep in between the stress of the others discomfort, the simultaneous throat saws buzzing into action.
The alarm went off at 8:00 but I’d been watching the digital numbers flip all night long. I got up and went to the washroom, downed a glass of water and went over to the bed to lower them to the floor. I have a very high bed, and they’ve been trained to not jump down and wait their turn to be placed on the floor to do the morning stretch.
If I hadn’t been so tired I might have noticed that Jake wasn’t up and pacing like normal. He wants to be first, be first, be first so we play a game and I make him wait until last and he is jumping all over me by then. He lay there awake but didn’t seem himself. He’s sick I thought, a reasonable explanation, the poor guy pretty much coughed his throat raw. I picked him up, gave him a little cuddle and tried to set him on the floor. None of his legs would work. He was paralyzed! They folded like rubber under him and his chin hit the floor. I don’t think my brain was fully functioning, I don’t think I was believing what I was seeing. I scooped him up and rushed downstairs and outside into the fresh morning air. I placed him on the grass, he again collapsed. Now I’m panicking and the tears start. Something horrible happened and my poor baby was suffering. He whimpered a bit as I once again picked him up. Took him into the house and filled a syringe with water. I’d read that dehydration can be problematic with this viral infection and although he didn’t vomit with each cough a light fever through the night, which is common, could have dried him out. I gently put the water into his mouth and he swallowed it. I waited and fed him more. He seemed very thirsty and I was banking that as a good sign. I checked his gums and they looked healthy. A sick dog will have pale gums.
We went back outside and I put him on the grass and this time he stood, albeit wobbly. I walk around him and he tried to follow me per the usual but I didn’t want to push it. He actually bent to pee after a failed attempt to lift his leg and fell over. That’s when I noticed he is listing to one side. His tail is on a 45 degree angle where it used to be straight off his back. All I could think of was he must have had a stroke. When he walked his head bobbed as if to gain momentum, not a good sign. A piece of me died right then and there.
I wasted little time phoning the vet and was told that the doctor was doing an emergency surgery, obviously other pup was having a bad day as well. They said bring him in around noon.
Not having any sleep the night before I wasn’t capable of safe driving. Sleep might elude me in the bedroom but in a car I tend to snooze like an alarm clock. I’ve gone off the road before, landed in the harbour, and spent three days in the hospital....not something one soon forgets. So I phoned Sue and she said she would be right over.
Jake was assessed and had blood taken. Nothing conclusive showed in the workup which is always positive but the question remains what happened to him and will it last, get better, grow worse, or is this his life now? He’s on an antibiotic for the cough, which they injected in liquid form to get an immediate kick-start. I’ve been monitoring him all day and there doesn’t seem to be improvement. No one can say that his strength will return. I’m concerned but I’ll take him any way he comes, his quality of life won’t change with a negative outcome. My deep love for him isn’t predicated on his looks, although on a scale from 1 – 10 he’s blasting past a zillion on cuteness.
All he wants is me. I love that about him. He’s on my lap while I write. The house is quiet now. They are all asleep cuddled around me seemingly with not a care in the world until one wakes and suffers through a long drawn out cough and gag routine. My dogs are healthy and I don’t expect this to linger for weeks. Fingers crossed. I’m still fretting though, trying to figure out what might have happened to my Jake. He was pressed against me all night, at one time lying on my chest, maybe he had a fever and got too warm and had some sort of heat stroke? So many questions with no answers.
Not that I begrudge my baby my attention but it is certainly bad timing. Not that these things ever happen at a good time. I’ve had to rearrange Michele Micarelli’s sleeping accommodations. Mary has graciously offered her home. I am not capable of caring for my sick little family and be a hostess. Right now, nothing matters except my fur family. The dinner offered as a perk for each class is off. Sorry to disappoint, but the pups needs and welfare come first. They are contagious so I wouldn’t invite people in especially if they have dogs waiting for them at home. This stops with me! I can’t be responsible for inflicting this on anyone else’s babies.
I’ve cried so much my head feels like it might explode. The constant beating of my heart in my ears makes it difficult to nap. I try to drink water but it’s a slow re-hydration with more going out than in. I couldn’t find enough words in the English language to describe how much I love my hairy kids so bear with me as my heart is not about rug hooking right now. Shane is running the shop for the next few days until I see how things are going and he is capable but the mail might not get out immediately. We’ll do the best we can.
Update Thursday morning – The house is still shrouded in sickness. Normally the mornings are filled with play and excitement. The mood inside matches the dullness of the outside. Rainy and grey. It’s like a hospital ward here, coughing sounds and pups lying around in various states of listlessness, no joy for the day. If I squeak a toy they are up and willing to play but the excitement causes a string of coughing so I am trying to keep them quiet.
Jake is still very weak. Tried to pee with leg up and fell over half way through and finished in a squat position. I believe his tail is more in the proper position but I have to be careful and not see what I want to see. I’m going to regard that as a plus, a half point for the healing team. Walking has not improved; his head still bobs, indicating that there is pain or weakness in one or more legs.
I finally slept and feel somewhat better. Emotions sure fly high when deprived of sleep, mix that with fear and worry and helplessness and it’s a stew pot of trouble. My blood pressure and blood sugar is off the charts. Hopefully I will be able to cope better today emotionally. I plan to continue to rest along with my babies as I believe their little bodies will heal faster with sleep.
They are all very interesting patients. Each one has their own personality. Henri is the stoic one, although appreciates a pat on the head and a rub of his ears would prefer to sit alone in his misery. He’s stopped vomiting with every cough, although I must have jinxed it because he just did.
Fiz is the whiner of the group, make moaning noises that tend to go on until I pay attention. Reminds me of that Nyquil ad on TV,”Pam, call my mom.”
Honey hasn’t changed a bit. Ready to play, wants to cuddle, coughs and gets it over with, but looks at me with sad eyes as if to say, “what’s going on mom?”
Jake is very quiet which is very unusual. Of the pack he is always the going concern. Of course he has more issues than the Kennel Cough. Maybe this stroke like affliction has affected more than his physical body. If only he could talk! He wants to be with me all the time. Crawls in very close so there is nothing between us but a thin sheet of air. He is so precious. I’ve always said he was perfect. Never needed to train him outside, walked perfectly on the lead the first try, no rushing ahead and straining, directly by my side and looks up for direction. Always the perfect eater, no finicky traits, always waiting by the island for what momma is cutting up on the board. A really big kisser, a little Dog Juan, and kisses your hand to say thank-you after you feed him. Sweet in nature. The perfect little package. He will always be these things to me no matter what struggles come our way. Anyway, I’m sure you don’t want a daily blow by blow account of my dog’s health progress so I’ll spare you. I’ve written this so you know where I am, what I’m up to and why I'm not writing.
Tomorrow Evening's Hook-in is Cancelled.
Please let your friends know that don't have the internet.
Wednesday October 15th - Cancelled
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I hope you all enjoyed feasting with friends and family. I was alone this year so no turkey and dressing for me. Even if I liked turkey I wouldn’t be cooking it for one. There’s no one here to feed except four pups and turkey usually causes them to be rather flatulent so I don't mind forgoing that experience. My Thanksgiving meal will be a salad.....just like any other day. Do you hear violins?
I spent my Thanksgiving with old friends, the vacuum cleaner and the dust rag. Yup, I’m cleaning the house again. The last time seems like yesterday but it was months ago and it’s a disaster once more. They say the only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes but they could add dirty houses to that, make it the trifecta of miserable crap.
Michele Micarelli is arriving Thursday evening for the workshops she’s teaching at the studio so the heat is on. I hired a cleaning guy but he couldn’t come until Friday, not much help there, so I have to do it all myself, plus get the shop ready. This week is going to be hectic but I’m going to try not to lose my mind.....I might accidentally suck it up with the vacuum cleaner.
So far today I’ve managed to do eight loads of laundry with probably five more to go. Not bad considering the pile I’ve been carving away at, like a 100 lb turkey. Laundry...the bane of my existence. If only I could be rich and have throw away clothes, life would be darn near perfect!
The guest bathroom was interesting. I put the extender attachment on the vacuum and sucked up the cobwebs from the ceiling. It was a shame really, with Halloween coming. It seemed wasteful to get rid of perfectly good decorations. I haven’t been in that room since January so I guess it’s only fair that squatters made a home but hit the road jack and don’t come back!
At one point I opened the window to shake out my wool duster and was shocked to see hundreds, possibly thousands of black ants nestled in the area between the bottom of the window sash and the sill. Some had wings and others not, and all sizes of varying stages of life. I quickly grabbed the vacuum but now disturbed, they whipped into a frenzy, going this way and that way. I tried to suck them up but they overwhelmed me and were crawling up my arm, they weren't in my pants but they were all over them. They were dropping off the windowsill unto the back stair case. The window is directly above the stairs that lead to the kitchen below. After the freeloaders were removed from the sill, I vacuumed my body and then got down on my hands and knees to find the escapees, some already beating a path to the first floor.
On examination, I discovered the outside sill is rotten, with large cracks to allow setting up home. How they got up to the second floor I’ll never know, maybe they can smell punky wood. We could tell from the ground that the window frame needed paint but we never dreamed it was at the disaster point. The sill itself could be pulled off with a light tug, not much substance there. The entire sill and side frames need to go so now I have to find someone to take care of this before the cold sets in. Oh joy, hubby had a narrow escape as he off to the wilds of Alberta leaving his competent wife in charge. Just what I need, another chore on my plate. Hopefully they haven’t burrowed in any deeper than the sill. Actually, I was just struck with the insane idea they might eat their way through the vacuum bag and infiltrate my house…that would be a scourge I can live without! Note to self, put bag outside for the night.
At first I was worried they were termites, a word that strikes fear in any home owner but I looked them up and they don’t have the characteristic head, thorax and abdomen like the ant. I’ve experienced a lot of creepy crawlies today, especially when I pulled two ticks off Henri. That’s four he’s had in less than a month. I don’t know why they only bother with him but maybe it’s because he explores more, is always sniffing around. One was embedded for at least a half day and the other was moseying around look for the best spot to settle. They are very clever, only attaching to areas that the animals can’t scratch or dig at. They like Henri’s ears, hiding in the long hair but momma keeps a close watch and flushes them down the drain. I might love animals but these pests make my flesh crawl! FYI , A tick is an arachnid, a member of the spider family. If you didn’t like them before, they’ll seem even creepier now, eight legged little ghouls that they are!
So every half hour or so I checked out the window for more stragglers and sure enough I was never disappointed. I knew there had to be a lot more in the cracks, if you see a thousand ants there are probably an equal amount hiding out with their queen. I beat them back until the daytime air cooled and darkness moved in. They must be asleep now, I’ll check it out tomorrow. I’m not deluded that I got them all but I’ll buy a few ant traps, sorry guys, this thanksgiving feast will be a killer.
So I have the upstairs managed, beds changed, towels fluffed and all dusted. I’ll run the vacuum closer to Thursday so I don’t have to do it twice. I’ll start on the downstairs next and pick away at that for the next couple of days. By the time company arrives they’ll think I’m a white tornado. Since I’ve hired a cleaner, his regular upkeep will make my home company ready, I won’t have to hide if someone knocks on the door. I really don’t have time to clean so I’ve given in to the luxury, mostly on hubby's insistence. He says I can’t do it all and he’s right. I guess after 23 years of marriage, he no longer views me as super woman, the be all and end all perfect wife, although I had a long run. This is one step towards a stress free lifestyle that I’m working towards. The guilt of not cleaning my own house won't last long......except when I have to write the cheque......
By Guest Blogger Cheryl van Varseveld
While out for a springtime meander in May of 2013, I spotted flags beckoning on the breeze, announcing the opening of the new Hooked Rug Museum of North America. I had to go in and snoop. Twenty-five years ago a friend and I found a beautiful hooked rug with purple pansies in an antique shop -- she bought it and I've been looking for another one ever since!
On entering, the walls were a riot of colours and subjects, crammed floor to ceiling with amazing examples of hooking. As I tried to take it all in something on the back wall caught my eye. By the time I walked over for a closer look I was "hooked"! The staff told me a little about the museum and I told them I have wanted a purple pansy rug for a long time. What caught my eye had nothing to do with pansies, but there was a bit of purple in it! This rug is a maze of cats in every size, shape, and demeanor imaginable. A few birds are perched cheekily on heads and tails. The colours are chaotic and happy.
My friend could not believe I was drooling over it! You need to understand that I have worked hard for a very long time NOT to become "A Crazy Cat Lady" -- I live with a few of the real things so all my friends and family know I do not accept "cat gifts". As I agonized over if I could buy it and how to justify this major breech in my "No Cat Presents" rule, one lady very kindly mentioned the lay-away plan the museum offers people who fall in love with something after arriving without sufficient funding! That convinced me I could work out the financial angle and I decided I'd figure out how to deal with all the people who know me while I paid for my rug. I emptied my wallet to give them a down payment and promised to return in a few weeks.
The staff knew the rug was hooked in Ontario, but they thought the design was the inspiration of a Nova Scotia woman. I went home to see what the internet could tell me. It turns out rug hooking in Nova Scotia is alive and well. There are a few prominent designers and hookers mentioned often on Google search.
Back at the museum (armed with more money to top up my deposit), the ladies were really excited to show me the book they had found detailing when this treasure was created and who did the work. There were also patterns, a colour photo and notes from the artists who had named some of the cats they hooked. Apparently it's rare for rugs to arrive with information detailing their creation. How lucky am I!
The people who have seen "Say Cheese" hanging in my home have all leaned in for a closer look at the design and they seem just as fascinated with the details in the book as I am. When I went to work in Mexico last year, the rolled up rug came with me and the people there loved the colours. Before leaving for Mexico, further internet study lead me to the rug's original creator -- Christine Little and Encompassing Designs in Mahone Bay. I e-mailed her, she e-mailed back and I promised to bring the rug down to her shop and show her. Last weekend I finally got there. It was wonderful to meet her and her husband and see some of her beautiful work on display. I'll never be a rug designer or a hooker, but I do love colour and I've done enough other handcrafts to recognize quality work when I see it. Her store is brimming with quality, unique designs and beautiful colours. I will be stopping in whenever I'm in the area to see what new treasures she is creating.
Noon Monday I was back in the driver’s seat. It was a rough week of abstinence, one I don’t care to repeat. I cherish my independence and will never take my driver’s license for granted again! I must say I was surprised at how many people suggested I take chances and drive when I moaned about having to be chauffeured. Personally, I never knowingly invite trouble to my door, if it arrives it’s an unwanted guest and I deal with it, but I normally think before I act. Ever since the influence of Sesame Street, I deliberate about what happens next, paving a path of less mishaps, but if something goes wrong I learn from it and never make the same mistake twice. I wonder how many people continue to drive while under suspension, playing Russian roulette with the law. Shame, shame.
Generally I’m a rule follower, have always been, my dad was a stickler for it. We were made to toe the line, so we wouldn’t embarrassed him at his civil servant job. He worked at the post office where everyone’s business was bantered back and forth over the wicket by the gossip mongers of the town. We always knew the skinny on other people’s problems, who did what to whom, who was doing who, it was all broadcast at the dinner table each night. I suppose he was updating our mom but little piggy’s have big ears! Dad understood that if his own family screwed up we’d be the headlines and he hated people talking about him. He wanted his family to be squeaky clean and we were, if you threw dirt at us, between the righteous upbringing and the heavy starching on laundry day, it wouldn't stick.
Luckily I never realized that he didn’t practice what he preached during the formative years while my character was building or I might not be so strait-laced today. As an adult looking back, I realize my dad was like the rest of us, perfectly imperfect. He made his own set of rules that trapped him in a cul-de-sac but he didn't seem to know he wasn't getting anywhere. Like his blasé attitude about drinking and driving. By his admission, he could handle a car better, while under the influence, than most of the other so called sober arseholes on the road. We went on some pretty harrowing family vacations; how we made our destination is a question for the universe. It was a different time back then and there was a lot of leaving dances and parties where the drunk moron behind the wheel could barely see over it to find the way home.
My dad also had a sweet tooth and loved helping himself to candy. No, not at home, in the grocery store. He was known to open bags of caramels and peanuts on the shelves, stuff his face while our mother was checking off items on the shopping list. The longer she took the more he snacked. He’d be sucking the remnants of nuts out of his teeth all the way home while complaining about the high cost of things and how the damn shoplifters caused inflated pricing which invariably punished us all. He never considered that walking out with merchandise traveling through his digestive system was no less stealing than stuffing items in a pocket or a handbag. Yup my dad was a funny guy, only seeing the world through his own eyes and they weren't quite 20/20.
So, I’m back on the road and appreciate this second chance. No more tickets for this gal and I’ve been a back seat driver with an eye on hubby’s speedometer as well. He’s not a speed demon but I’m more conscious now of that hand creeping a bit over the line. Through my diligence, I’m making the world just a “Little” bit safer for us all.
I've been grounded; my wings clipped. A few months back I was a bad girl going 80 km in a 50 km zone so I've been slapped on the wrist with a hefty fine and a loss of driving privileges for a week. I deserve the inconvenience because I believe if you do the crime you do the time, but it's turning out to be a royal pain in the arse and I'm only three days in of my sentence.
I paid my $300.00 fine promptly; (imagine how much wool that could have bought) so they told me I could pick and choose the week to stay off the road. I waited until hubby was home so he could chauffeur me around. Not having a license is like losing a body part. You don't miss it until it's gone and then you have to compensate for the lack of it. I'm very independent and having to rely on others is proving to be annoying, probably more for the other party having to listen to my whining. Arranging schedules and working appointments around another's convenience is putting a lot of pressure on me because I hate to put others out and I can't stand waiting.
Hubby is only home for a short period, and although he doesn't mind being at my disposal, I would prefer him to be out doing things with his pals instead of driving around Miss Daisy. I guess this is an example of the "for worse" part of the marriage contract. I suppose this is what it will be like when I'm old and have my license stripped away. Waiting on my son, a taxi or my old geezer hubby if he hasn't kicked the bucket before me, to take me to medical appointments and out to buy depends.
Since I was nabbed, I've been using the Cruise Control religiously and stay slightly under or exactly at the speed limit. I'm paranoid about getting caught committing a second transgression. Goodness knows what the penalty is for back to back offenses. Probably a public flogging, a tar and feathering or losing driving privileges for months? That's strong incentive to toe the line so I've retired my whole foot, lead that it was, and quite frankly at 55, I should have known better in the first place, would still have my $300 smackers and be in the driver's seat of my car and my life.
I suppose it could always be worse!
Gift Certificates are available for that special rug hooker in your life! Any denomination, no expiry date!