February 5, 2006
On Friday night, I hosted a Function here at der Haus of Shayne, along with galpals Katie (who can knit but won’t knit because her mother knits a lot) and Betsy (who doesn’t knit but whose English sheepdog Harry who is generating a sweater once we find someone to spin his fur for us). It was a cocktail party given in the name of a good cause.*
Doesn’t that sound grownup? Doesn’t that sound like something I never thought I would ever say? Or do? What a day of reckoning it turned out to be.
Friday, 8:16 am: I am paralyzed by an internal crisis. What is it about having people you don’t know inside your house? Why is it that I can’t just let my house look the way it looks? Why can’t I just leave the telescope in the living room? Why do shoes need to be all in one place? This event-based tidying is a SHAM! A LIE!
8:17 am: Squeezing my eyes rilly tight and wishwishwishing doesn’t make shoes float into the closet.
8:19 am: I check our Amazon sales rank for the third time this morning. Go ahead and assume that this happens every eight minutes for the next nine hours. We are no longer duking it out with Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, and I feel a pang.
8:20 am: [OK, I’m back. Had to check something.] I decide to make a plan. In order to get the house into a totally fake simulacrum of a tidy house in the allotted time, I decide to start with the areas cocktail party guests are most likely to see. This immediately rules out the boys’ bedrooms, which routinely look like a Pez warehouse and a Lego sorting facility. And the basement, which is where old toys go to die. Right there I’ve saved myself fourteen hours.
9:16 am: I unearth a wooden platter filled with yarn. This was the yarn the artist Kim borrowed when she was painting yarn portraits. (She has lovely note cards available if you want to email her.)
9:25 am: Still admiring all the yarns on the wooden platter.
9:45 am: Next to the wooden platter of yarn is Madvertising, which I dip into for the eighth time.
10:03 am: I decide to stick the platter, yarn and all, into my closet.
11:48 am: Progress comes to a halt when I realize that I have to get a batch of Rice Krispy Treats to school asap for Clif’s half-birthday celebration. (It’s actually his two-thirds birthday celebration because SOMEbody did the math wrong and thought her son’s half-birthday was in January.)
1:40 pm: It’s not going all that well. I keep finding nests of yarn. Baskets, grocery sacks, shipping boxes, silvery trays, PF Chang bags. Linen, cotton, wool, big, small, with not a bit of order to any of it. There is yarn in every room of the house. I find yarn in the screened porch. Dumping more and more yarn into to my closet, I feel like Lucille Ball late in her shift at the chocolate factory.
1:43 pm: On the floor in the yarn consolidation zone, I try to preserve some sense of order among the piles of yarn that I have put there. There is no order to be found; it’s a bombed-out yarn shop. Where do I begin? A pile of cotton, a pile of wool? Do I sort by gauge? Color? Price paid per skein? Likelihood that I will ever want to make something with it? Smell? I have collected most of my yarn into one place, and I can’t believe what a mess it is. I close the door with a shiver of embarrassment.
3:10 pm: Co-hostess Betsy shows up, looking cool, collected, with a bag of blanched green beans and four hard-boiled eggs. “House looks great,” she says. I am eaten up with chagrin, having just crammed one last carton of rag balls into the closet which has hit capacity. I’m appalled at the mosh pit I’ve created.
6:45 pm: The Function has begun, and in walks Nan, the amazing knitter I saw at the yarn shop, sewing the 57 flowers on her Rowan sweater. Nan wears a covetable wrap made of Schaefer Laurel in the Frida Kahlo colorway.
I was so happy Nan was coming to this thing because we could sneak off to talk yarn, maybe randomly knit on some piece of something, you know: have a great sneaky knitfest. Nan was the only hardcore knitter I knew who would be attending the Function. It was going to be great.
But I don’t show Nan the stash, because the plain fact is that it is just too awful. Not charming, not kind of interesting. Just worrisome the way it was when we went to Aunt Maud’s house long ago and found a flank steak defrosting in her bathroom sink.
The Day After Tomorrow
Now that I’ve had two sleeps on the question of my yarn situation, and now that I’ve had two days where I can’t get to my pants, I’m sensing a Take Back the Closet feeling. First step: admit I have a problem. So, in the name of confession, purging, and new beginnings, I’ll show you, and Nan, and all God’s people
I welcome all advice on what to do next. I just want my pants back.
*Here’s a plug–it’s the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, which is an orchestra that does things like commission a concerto for the pedal steel guitar, or throw a gospel Thanksgiving. It’s such an unexpected orchestra.