The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Monday, October 15, 2007

Invasion, Part Deux

First, allow me to start whinily by detailing the injustices in life which have allowed me to catch the upper respiratory virus that's been going around the office....after everyone else has had it and gotten better. And you know how that goes--if you get it first, everyone feels sorry for you, if you get it along with everyone else, everyone commiserates with you, and if you get it last, everyone just says breezily "Oh, yeah-I had that last week. I'm fine now." Fabulous, but my head still contains enough snot to grease highways from here to outer Mongolia (am I the only one whose mom used to describe things as "slicker than snot"? I am? Sorry. Then the highway reference is probably pretty gross. She also said things were "slicker than shit through a goose" but that begs all SORTS of ugly pictures), my hair hurts, my throat has been rubbed with steel wool, and I'm cranky and whiny. Since I woke up this way yesterday and spent the entire day huddled under a blanket, cursing the cheery, happy co-workers who gifted me with this, I have not yet drawn names for the yarn I promised, but I will. I'll do it tonight or tomorrow night. I did have to work today (and aren't you glad it wasn't your arm I was bending over to read skin tests when my nose started running?) so my plan for this evening is to collapse exhausted onto the couch and do further cursing of my cheery, happy c0-workers. I read somewhere that getting absorbed in a hobby is good for recovery. Cursing healthy people seems as good as any.

ANYWAY. So on Saturday Mr. K felt strongly about mowing the lawn one last time before fall is fully upon us (my argument that we live in a virtual rainforest and fall is NEVER fully upon us fell on deaf ears) so he sharpened up the blades of the riding mower and had me drive around in ever decreasing circles until all the grass was short. (Do you ever think what aliens from space might thing viewing our activities? Like planting and watering and tending grass which we then hack down to the the ground while driving around in circles? Let's just say they're probably not going to stop and ask us for our accumulated wisdom...or even directions to the next "little alien's room" for that matter.) What he and I had both forgotten, at least initially (I remembered real jiffy quick) was that while the spiders around the house had been duly shopvacced, the ones on the OUTER edges of the yard were enjoying a respite, a dappled autumn afternoon--and these were the very edges on which I had to mow. There are a lot of spiders around the edges of our yard.

In truth, Mr. K and I both think that there are more spiders this year than we've ever seen, which lends some credence to my theory that every one we kill has an enormous funeral and all of his family and friends move in, waiting for an opportunity to break my legs or put the evil eye on me, or whatever. And Monica, I'm not at all sure what kind they are. I know we have what Mr. K refers to as "little wolf spiders" (which is like saying "slightly trashy rock star" when discussing Brittany Spears) but they are hooved and tend to hang out in the sinks and showers for maximum scaring potential. The ones outside are striped and huge--like cherry tomatos with stripes and legs and little black hearts. I think I've heard them called "money spiders" because of an old superstition that having one outside your door means you'll come into money. Aside from the collection the neighbors are raising to try to bribe me into not screaming quite so much when taking the garbage out in the wee hours, this has not proven true for me.

So, on my first pass around the yard, I nearly drove right into one of the aforementioned black-hearted tomatos. I was not impressed. Neither would Mr. K have been if I hadn't finally stopped flailing long enough to grab the steering wheel, mere inches from the tree that had somehow leaped into my path as I tried to look at my entire body at once, certain that the thing was there SOMEWHERE. After that, I started watching and, sure enough, there were tomato webs stretched across my path at intervals all around the yard, with nasty little occupants sharpening up the cuisinart blades in preparation for a tasty meal of Knitingale. This would never do.

I tried all the logical things--screaming some more, nearly driving into multiple stationary objects, and flailing desperately but to no avail. They seem to have brought every friend they ever knew. Finally, when he stopped laughing long enough (he'll pay for that), Mr. K presented me with a thin, light board that I could hold in front of me as I drove, swatting the offending nasties out of the way before they could land on me and suck out my brain or whatever else they might have been plotting. (Yes, I did watch too much cheap horror as a child..why do you ask?)

And so it was that the Knitingales held their first ever jousting event--with the brave Lady Knitingale perched on her trusty riding mower, jousting pole at the ready, and then driving hell bent for leather into the webs of the enemy, unconcerned for her safety.

Well, okay. So absolutely panicked about safety--but not, oddly, worred about plowing into a tree, running my stick into a tree and impaling my torso with the other end, or getting my stick caught on something and pulling myself from my trusty, oilsnorting steed. No. I was worried about one of the little buggers leaping for safety to my hair and as such spent much of the next two hours waving a stick crazily with one hand while using the other to swipe ineffectually at my head. The riding mower pretty much was given free rein. I rather suspect that the back yard appears for all the world to be completely covered in complex crop circles at this point. I am absolutely not one whit interested in trying to remedy that.

By the way, I did prove once and for all that spiders have not just a sense of humor, but a vicious one. I noticed one spider on my way around and, knowing that I had to get close in to where it was, planned to attack with my stick when I came back around. But when I got there, it was gone. Which, of course, forced me to wonder where it had gone, how close I'd gotten to it in the first place, and what that strange tickling sensation on the back of my neck was (turned out to be my hair...but for a minute there....well, you know). Took me a few more rounds and a LOT more batting at my neck to finally look up and see the little bastard, about 15 feet up, laughing like hell as it watched me circling around trying to locate it.

Okay, I can't prove it was laughing. But I'm pretty sure I heard some evil, tomato-y snickers.


  • At 9:37 PM, Anonymous marti said…

    I am quite sure that you heard snickers too. I am amazed at the number of spiders that have been seen around here to. Hope you are feeling better soon!

  • At 6:14 AM, Blogger Faren said…

    My father says "slicker than snot", and if it is really slick it's "slicker than snot on a glass doorknob".

    Before to long you will have enough practice join a renaissance festival and joust with them!

  • At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Judy in Montana said…

    Hi Ms. Knitingale,
    It's Judy of Yellowstone Unravelers, with an update. It seems some of my fellow knitters have embarked on "other" projects and we may not be able to ante up an additional 16 squares after all. I have 5 more now and 1 "on the needles" and I've been promised at least a few more. But, the goal of 16 more seems to have been a bit, um, overly-ambitious. I will be mailing what I get to you next week, sometime after our Monday night gathering.

    Don't feel like you have to post this, please, I'm embarrassed enough! ... I am going to knit my way to Oregon to visit my son at college in a few days, so we'll see what I can produce! Oh -- I won't actually knit and DRIVE at the same time, although there are parts of that route where it might be possible, I'll make my husband drive so I can knit (since my offer to teach him to knit so production could continue while I drive was declined).

    Anyway, I wanted to let you know just in case.

    Thanks again for taking on the project and I'll do my best!

  • At 9:38 AM, Blogger Charity said…

    It seems like every spider in our neighborhood has taken refuge in our basement. And I've heard them laughing, too.

  • At 9:58 AM, Blogger Kim said…


    Sorry to laugh at the sick woman... get well soon!

  • At 10:57 AM, Blogger Pat said…

    Stop it - you're making me paranoid with all the talk about spiders. As revenge I am tagging you with the meme I've just done on my blog - it's a book one...participate or not..entirely up to you.


  • At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Childe said…

    Spiders with hooves - brilliant!

  • At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Childe said…

    Spiders with hooves - brilliant.

  • At 5:49 PM, Blogger Ms. Knitingale said…

    Judy, please, PLEASE don't be embarrassed! You already gave tremendously to this project and I'm delighted. I've been holding your squares back, but now I get to put them in to blankets...imagine how thrilled I am with THAT!!

  • At 5:58 PM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    "Striped and huge." Close enough!

    Lawnmower jousting?! Oh god, don't ever let the guys who race lawnmowers hear about that, you'll have women all over the country cussing you out! Especially the ones who get dragged out to car shows. Or wherever it is they have lawnmower races (pending jousts). Really, I have no idea. I've only seen it on TV. ;)

    Hope you get better soon, and in the spirit of cheery worker retribution, may they all-- Uhm, no. Better not. If they all caught it again, it'd undoubtedly just mean more work for you. Rats. Don't you hate people who come into work sick and infectious? And they think they're so darned virtuous, too!

  • At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    where's the photos of the jousting? that would be something to see! :)


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