The Poster Queen and I were feeling apologetic about the low sales figures so far this week, until the Empress laughingly reminded me that they were five times higher than the same week last year. Nonetheless, it is slow enough that I am doing inventory. This is how we beguile the slow times in January: we count everything in the store. And — while people are shopping at the places that hold post-Christmas sales — I might as well get started.

My husband is a machinist. His workplace approximates my mental image of Hell. I earn as much as he does, for working — beginning at a reasonable hour — in a pleasant, quiet place full of toys and books. So I suppose I must forgive him for the evil cackle he emitted when I told him I was doing inventory.

He knows that my threshhold for boredom is very low. He knows that after about three days of taking inventory, I cannot help reading the want ads. After five days, I am giving serious thought to all the different causes of death, considering which might be the most pleasant. Not that I am contemplating suicide, I assure you. It is just that repetitive actions like counting the number of heart-and-gingham borders, and then the number of pink-and-red heart borders, and then the number of — well, thoughts of death come unbidden into my mind.

I think freezing to death would not be too bad. And it often seems possible in January. And my family is home for much of the month, making it especially easy for me to feel sorry for myself while I count stickers, knowing that they are home drinking hot chocolate and playing games.

Thank goodness it is not yet January. It is, however, getting close. Here is “Deck the Halls,” which reminds us that the old year is passing away fast, and bids us hail the new.

While I do inventory, #2 daughter will be home minding #2 son, who has been grounded for the remainder of the break, and working on her giant-cable sweater, which is turning out very nicely. The assymetrical cable, just at the edge of the front and the back, looks a bit like a scarf thrown carelessly over the shoulder.

Yes, I have noticed that all the things we are currently knitting are in dark, gloomy colors which do not show up well on this blog.

My grandmother refused to knit things in colors like this. If you asked her to knit you a  navy blue sweater, you had better be prepared  to get something in a nice bright orange. But a good gray sweater is a nice thing to have. You can deck the halls in it, feeling cozy and chic, or you can take inventory, letting its somber colors express your feelings about excessive counting.