It’s been a rough week so far.
I arrived at work on Monday to a frantic e-mail from my friend Miss R. She’s a writer and new knitter and I got her started on her very first project . . . no, not a garter-stitch scarf, but the short-row intensive Ruffles Scarf from Scarf Style . . . which she worked in mohair. MOHAIR!!! For a lesser knitter or lesser human being this would be a recipe for disaster but somehow Miss R. just figured it out and churned out a beautiful scarf in a matter of days. Her next project: a sweater for herself, which she plowed through and finished last week.
So I was heartsick for her when I got her e-mail saying that while trying to block her sweater it had become “shrunk, fuzzy and unwearable.” She’d put it in the washing machine on “delicate” and machine washed it . . . and of course, it felted. So much careful time and trouble and cost, and now her first sweater was all but ruined. She was demoralized, and even confessed to me that she put all her knitting supplies up on eBay. I felt terrible for her, and terrible for myself, faced as I was with the prospect of losing a knitting buddy.
It was also The Baron’s birthday, and although we celebrated, the day started off at 7 am as the construction crew arrived with their power tools and got to work (our yard is having a mini-face lift). Even worse, they asked us to move our cars out of the driveway (no biggie, right) and as usual when I tried to start The Baron’s car it totally died on me. The engine turns over, catches, starts, then just dies. After this happens once or twice it won’t even start but just makes a pathetic, angry chugging sound. So he had to get out of bed, throw on some clothes and give it a try himself. No luck. Of course, after the car rested for about 20 minutes, he was able to start it up just fine on the first try. It’s me — I think his car is jealous of me and only likes it when I’m in the passenger seat. Birthdays are hard for both of us, and it was a rough start to a tough day.
Then the next day I had a horrible fight with my boss. Long story, but we’ve worked together for years and I’ve had his back forever and finally I just had to ask “what’s in it for me . . . ?” Then . . . crickets. Yeah. Work really sucks sometimes.
I’m at the button-band ribbing for my Tangled Yoke Cardigan (yay!) but I really want to do it right and I’m trying to pick up the right number of stitches and do it evenly and I keep screwing up and I just want it to be nice for my stepmom and also nice for me because It’s my first grown-up sweater and I’m a bit (just a bit!) compulsive. Wah!
As Alexander says, some days are like that, even in Australia.
Just as I’m getting to the point where I feel really, REALLY sorry for myself, I get an e-mail about my cousins and the incredible trials they are going through. On Sunday, Emily Le Van is going to run in the Olympic Marathon trials in Boston. Yes. Marathon. Olympics. I can’t even imagine walking 20 miles in a day, to say nothing of running even farther while being timed. But what makes it really challenging is that Brad and Emily’s 4 year old daughter Maddie is struggling with Leukemia. Maddie is going through a difficult treatment and she’s a very brave girl who is, so far, doing well. Together the family is blogging about their Two Trials on their website, where they are also raising money for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program. Since Emily and Maddie are each running a marathon of sorts, they are hoping to raise a thousand dollars per mile — a total of $52,400 (26.2 miles per marathon, times two marathons).
There’s nothing like looking at true strength and true hardship in the face of life’s petty annoyances. Suddenly my everyday troubles (felting, remodeling, picking up stitches, car trouble) seem like the smallest of gentle waves on a sea that can easily become fatally stormy. Theirs is an inspiring story, and if you’re reading this I strongly encourage you to go check it out. If you like Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News is running a piece on Emily and her family as part of their Olympics coverage tonight or tomorrow.
If you can donate, please do. If you can’t but still want to help in the fight against cancer, please consider enrolling in the American Cancer Society’s CPS-3 Study. If nothing else, please read their story, take a deep breath and count your blessings, and then pass the story on.