The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Now I Know How the Muggles Feel

Okay, so I wasn't actually born knitting (and my mother is profoundly thankful for THAT, let me tell you) so one might assume that I was a muggle once...but times were different then (apart from the dinosaurs roaming the earth) and knitting was almost a dirty little secret. It was okay to do it, as long as you washed up well afterwards, to paraphrase Robert Heinlein. So it took the wife of the Plant Pusher to show me how it really is to be a muggle in a magical universe. To wit:

Me: "Well, I'm not really a gardener...I'm just cleaning out the beds and putting new stuff in. You know. So I need a couple more things to fill out the big bed by the driveway."

Plant Lady: "What do you already have?

Me: "Um....some rhododenrons, I know that. And...some other sort of bush things. And I put some coral bells in."

Plant Lady: "Good. So you have some structure. What do you have that's linear?"

Me: "?????"

Plant Lady: "And what do you plan to do to provide contrast?"

Me: (looking slightly panicked)"??????!!!!"

Plant Lady: "You'll want to draw the eye from item to item...and we get very gray days around maybe some bright yellows?"

Me: "You know...I'm not sure we're on the same page. Here's what I do: I pull out the weeds. I turn over the soil. I curse a bit. When I have a patch of plain, brown dirt with nothing in it, I dig a hole. Then I put a plant in it. Sometimes, if I'm feeling really full of myself, I'll check to make sure the plant likes the light the area gets. Mostly, though, I'm just proud when I remember which end gets buried in the dirt. Do you have anything that won't die if I forget to water it, nick it with the lawn mower, put it in completely the wrong place, or bury the wrong end?"

Plant Lady: "????!!!!"

It only got worse when she realized I planned to put the purple verbena in the same bed as the purple lavendar of roughly the same height.

She looked like she wished she'd thought to request a home study. I didn't get it until Mr. K pointed out what would happen if I worked in a yarn store (I mean, other than the fact that I'd be ecstatic with happiness every single day until I got fired for rolling around naked in the alpaca) and someone came in and asked for "yarn--just any yarn. It doesn't matter what. I'm not much of a knitter....don't really know what I'm making, in fact. I just figured I'd throw some different kinds of yarn at it. Have you got any pink?"

Other than horrifying the locals and cursing and sweating in the garden (I have no idea how a 2 acre plot of land could contain a house, a garage, two metal shops, and 10 acres of flower beds, but we live on one so clearly it can be done---nasty bit of juju, that), I've also been sewing (why I try to convince myself that there is really ANY worthwhile hobby beyond knitting, I'll never know), and considering ideas for a book. For instance, my experiences with the autobody shop have convinced me that there is a need for helpful books relating to customer service. Chapter titles could be things like:

1. How to look 10 IQ points smarter, just by spitting out your gum and not studying your nails as though the polish might hold an image of the Virgin Mary.

2. Why you actually DO have to give a crap about the customer.

3. Sighing heavily when asked to do your job may have worked on your mother; it just pisses customers off.

4. Listening, and other irritating expectations clients may have of you.

5. You and the person on the other end of the phone are the only people in the world who give a rat's tushie what Beckie said to that cute DJ the other night. Subtitle: Hang up the damned phone.

6. Engaging in a battle of wits with a customer is never wise; it is particularly foolish when you are not well armed.

7. Places where you should consider covering at least 40% of your boobs, and other tips for professional dress.

8. Make-up tips for young professionals (no trowel required).

9. Teeth grinding is not a sign that the client is pleased, and other suble conversational clues.

10. You are actually supposed to make things easier for people, and other things about your job that you may not know.

It still needs fleshing out...but I think it has possibilities. Meanwhile, some photos for the cat cravers among you (you know who you are). The first two, proof positive that a dead hot tub (long, dreadful story) is not useless to everyone:

And the last one is proof that my ideas about what might make a lovely, artsy picture are misguided at best:

Happy knitting, and do try to go terrorize some locals yourself this week. At least I won't feel so alone.


  • At 6:18 PM, Blogger Marianne said…

    What, pray tell, is Gracie doing?!?
    Pretty obvious what Ed and Miss are up to, that is Big Miss, isn't it? or not?
    Terrorize the about if I come up there and help you with yours? heh.

  • At 8:48 PM, Blogger Jeanne said…

    Giggling at your book chapter titles and your planting escapades. My what pretty swirlies (cats) you have! (They have swirls!)

  • At 9:31 PM, Blogger Kali said…

    Tales of your garden delight me. They help me laugh at myself and my own haphazard gardening efforts. My DH teases me about watering the weeds, but at least THEY grow and most of them are green. From the street, you really cannot tell the difference.

    But seeing the image seen from the yarn store perspective, well! That really helped. Thanks!

  • At 11:15 PM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    Everytime I go out I horrify the locals knitwear .Those fur-peeps are too gorgeous .They'll sleep on anythings , moggies won't they ?

  • At 1:41 AM, Blogger Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said…

    That last picture is SUPERB. Artsy, exquisite, nostalgic, the lot. Clearly you need to be a professional photographer as well as everything else.

    Thanks for the reminder. I will go terrorise the general public for an entire week in support of you. How could I do else?

  • At 6:27 AM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Oooohhh, kitties!! ::vacuous drooling look before hastily straightening face:: that Miss, or did Ed twin himself a bigger brother? ;) And hey, y'know, that one of Gracie... Backlighting. ::waves hand:: Just toss in some jargon and it's art.

    Loved the conversation with the Plant Lady! And oh my god, the proposed book needs to be shoved in the hands of every Barbie in the world. Especially #6 - I nearly died! (Aha, a new tattoo for the forehead: "Not Well Armed." Hee!)

  • At 12:40 PM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    Yeah, well, my philosophy of gardening is to throw seeds at the ground and see what sticks. I'm pretty sure that would your plant lady twitchy, too.

    Smoochies to the felines!!

  • At 3:15 PM, Blogger Jo said…

    Great cat shots, now all you need to do is think of your garden as patch of knitting that needs a bit of colour , stitch and pattern, the tools are your needles, you can do it!


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