Yesterday I spent some time on the phone with #1 daughter. “I need to get going,” I said. “I have to do housework today.” Then #2 daughter called. She had been stood up for a meeting. This happened to me earlier in the week. It’s pretty infuriating, and you really have to go tell someone and share the bitterness.

Time flies when you’re having fun. It was ten o’clock by then.

I told the boys that I just had to run a quick errand and then I’d be back and we would get to work on cleaning.

Then I went down to the bookstore. Client #3 gives me an employee discount on books, and I had an order to pick up. #1 son’s novels for history class, #2 daughter’s spy stories. Twilight, because all the girls in my comp class are reading it. I figure it’ll give me insight.

I picked up the books and a check, passed over my own check, gave Client #3 some business advice.

“Are you in a hurry?” she asked. “Can you sit down?”
“Oh, I’m in no hurry,” I assured her. “I just have to clean my house.”

We sat down. We had a lot of conversational ground to cover, what with internet marketing and the doings at her church and her son and my sons and the doings at my church and the upcoming conference season and the challenges of cutting and pasting the descriptions into her new website without inadvertently deleting stock from her point of sale and inventory management software.

I headed on to the yarn shop. The hoped-for third ball of Touch Me was gone. Fortunately, the shop owner had another ball in her car. She was saving it for my friend Zimbabwe Griddle, who hadn’t come to get it.

“She won’t mind if you sell it to me,” I assured the yarn shop staff.

I was petting the Debbie Bliss cashmere blends. I was in no hurry. I had time to stand there and tell lies.

“I think I have an extra ball,” the shop owner said. And sure enough, she left for fifteen minutes or so and came back with a ball of the stuff. Now my scarf won’t have to be truncated.

In the meantime, I petted all the other yarns in the shop, admired all the knitting samples, and ran into a friend.

“What are you up to?”
“I ought to be cleaning my house.”
“Me too!” she crowed. “That’s why I’m here!”

We had to catch up on work and the health of her parents and the academic careers of our sons and what we were both knitting. It took some time.

I tried to explain what I do.

“So you don’t really make the websites, but you work with suppliers and things?”
“No, really I write. The parts you see, and the parts you don’t see. And I write for the humans and the search engines at the same time.”
Pause. “So you manage the websites?”
“In a way. I write the words. You know how there are words on websites?” I decided to stop there. She had more to tell me about her parents anyway.

I drove through and bought sandwiches for lunch, because by that time it was nearly one o’clock and the boys were waiting for me, I knew, eager to begin the housework. If I stopped to make lunch when I got back, it would be midafternoon and they would have better offers.

So we ate drive-through food, and then snapped into action. 9

#2 son cleaned the kitchen. #1 son and I got to work on the porch. We cleaned windows and took out the screens and hosed them down and scrubbed the furniture and denuded the ceiling of cobwebs.

It is possible that this picture doesn’t look any different from the Before Picture, but really everything is much, much cleaner.

#1 son and I looked as though we’d been having a water balloon fight. We had begun with him wielding the broom and me going at things with Windex and old cleaning cloths, but he had quickly decided that spraying everything with a high-pressure jet of water would be more fun effective.

We put in another half hour or so indoors, and felt that we had satisfied our honor sufficiently.

Then I began to think about knitted scarves.

Since it is such a long time since I knitted any scarves, I have lots of untried patterns. Estonian lace, corkscrews of various kinds, double knitting, enormous chunky things, braided scarves.

There are also a few scarf patterns online. No, actually, there are millions, but here are some that I am thinking about:

  • The Anti-craft has a new issue up, filled with the usual ugly and useless stuff. However, they did once post a rather pretty scarfof tailored, pointy lace. If I removed the words “some pig” from it, it might be nice for someone I know who sees the charm of lacy scarves but doesn’t like excessively girly stuff.
  • The multidirectional scarfwhich you see in so many books nowadays…
  • Knitty is all about scarves. My favorites among their offerings are the lacy Branch, the manly Henry, and the entrelac Danica.
  • A nicely textured Miranda scarf with lots of cables.
  • Marnie’s scarf, another pointy lace one.
  • Column of Leaves, a nice combination of traditional stitches.
  • And a Fiery Dragon Scarf.

And of course you can take any stitch pattern you fancy and knit a long skinny rectangle of it, and presto! you have a scarf.

I actually spent quite a bit of time knitting yesterday, and finished the second ball of Touch Me. And I did look through all my knitting books. I did not make all those lists. Today begins Living Room Week, which is also “Question Week,” for thinking about the meaning of Christmas for your family, so you can make your plans in a way that fits with your traditions and beliefs and so forth, instead of getting carried away by the marketing frenzy that will be upon us way too soon.

I’m on top of that, so I hope this afternoon to catch up on the listmaking, and possibly also to make some headway on the living room, depending how many interesting conversations I get distracted with first.