The delicate balance of power.

Before we do anything else…an announcement. My clever daughter Amanda auditioned last night for the TDSB Youth Orchestra. She was so nervous that this was the third scheduled audition. Amanda got it together, did the hard thing and I’m so proud that she even managed to play at all. The icing on the cake is that my little musical genius is now the youngest violinist in the orchestra, and the only representative from her high school. Just being selected is a thrill, but the best part is that they will travel to Vienna and Krakow in March for 2 weeks of performance and study. I’m so proud I could bust. Really. (See Amanda? You don’t need to knit to be blogworthy.)
Now that my beloved Mr. Washie and I have been reunited, (Hey, did you all read Michelene’s very, very funny “note from Mr. Washie” in the comments on the 13th? Hysterical) I cast on my Morehouse Merino yarn to make a baby jacket.
This stuff is beautiful soft…
I’ve begun the tedious task of restoring my home. I’m not concerned with historical accuracy, I just want it back the way that I left it on Wednesday. How do these people do so much damage? It is difficult to know exactly what went on while I was away, but there is evidence to be gathered and I’m slowly putting it all together.
The first indication that the family may have cut a little loose while I was gone, (well, the first indication other than the way that the whole house was trashed) was found in the recycle bin.
I bet they didn’t think I would look there. (Duh. Who did they think would carry it to the curb?) This extreme violation of the nutrition code was so stunning that I knew that this was more than a little “lets all eat refined sugar and trans fats while Mummy is away.” This was a clear and obvious grab for power. They must have felt while I was absent, they could make some of the changes they have always wanted. Hopped up on sugar and left without my control and restrictions influence, the children only want anarchy and ruin, so their changes in the house are the most obvious. Joe is more subtle.
At first I thought that I had his biggest infraction nailed. This.
This is a bold transgression. This is electronics in the dining room.
I We have a “no electronics in the dining room” rule. Joe loves these random piles of electronic thingies, and left without a great deal of electronics “structure” the house fills up with them. Joe loves wires and things that plug in the way that I love yarn. He stashes them the way that we do. Don’t believe me? Similar piles were uncovered in the living room…
and have been returned to The Room he has full of this stuff upstairs.
Yes. The Room. (This is why he can say nothing about the wool. He’s got too much mysterious crap with wires to hold any sort of real leverage.) Despite this electronic insurgency, I had a feeling that I still didn’t know what the real goal of this revolt was.
Then I found this.
I know. Incredible isn’t it? Who puts the knives on the top? Do these people not even live here? Look at it! The big spoons are beside the little spoons! Who needs that kind of spoon access? (People eating ice cream…that’s who. It’s all coming together now) These people are setting the stage for this family to become a whole other kind of family. An eating ice-cream with easy access spoons on the couch because the dining room table is full of electronics kind of family. No way. I restored the cutlery to it’s former proper life shaping glory and still felt a little puzzled. The more I thought about it, the more I knew in my heart that there was no way that Joe would leave it here. There had to be something bigger. Something really significant, something he has always wanted but been denied. I thought hard. I paced the kitchen. What could it be? The cutlery was a distraction, I knew that much. Joe didn’t really care about easy-access spoons, he knows that I have put a lot of thought into spoon location and that I would get all caught up in the cutlery and that would keep me from discovering his real goal. Coffee helps me think. As I walked toward the cup cupboard I got a sick feeling. Not that, he wouldn’t have done that….Would he? Something that daring, that…sacred? I opened the cupboard door and shock ran over me. We have been arguing about this for years. This is probably the most significant bone of contention in our marriage. He’s been trying to get this his way forever…and now, the minute I leave my home he overturns my decision about this and changes it?
The cups are upside down. My pain is real.
More about Rhinebeck tomorrow, when I’ve recovered the balance of power.

69 thoughts on “The delicate balance of power.

  1. Will the insanity never end?!?! Luckily my hubby doesn’t care which way the cups are. Heck I’m lucky if he can even get them NEAR the cupboard.
    Hope you will be able to restore the balance without any corporal punishment.

  2. Oh, no, Heather….I think Joe might *like* a little corporal punishment! He’ll want her to wear the Mango Tank while it happens, though, so he can say “Nice rack, baby” between thwacks with a (knitted) belt.
    That’s a serious part of his plan, too.

  3. Let me get this straight. Not only are you kvetching about a family which has put away the silverware (I admit it took me a minute to register that silverware which had been put away could merit anything other than tears of pride) but you want dust in your coffee cups? Quick, quick, there’s not a second to lose. Run check the toilet paper! They may have it coming over the top/from around the back!!!
    (Now show us the fibers — one by one, with names and projected occupations — and we may not have to come over there.)

  4. Cups upside down on the shelf? I completely agree with you – it’s icky. Rims touching the shelf, then touching your lips?? And easy access spoons for People eating ice cream? I think those people were probably eating LOTS of ice cream.
    Although I’m not married with children, your blog is a scream.

  5. While I myself am a cups-upside-down kind of girl, I feel your pain at coming back to things being DIFFERENT. Gah!
    This is why I live alone. No one there to mess things up while I’m gone.

  6. It’s not just the dust, rams, it’s the little drip of water in the bottom of the cups *collecting* dust that kills me. We’re definitely a cup-up-side-down household here!

  7. My dad is the same way! My parents had to move HOUSES so he could have a bigger basement. The man is out of control. I suppose the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, eh?!

  8. Cups either go right side up OR hung on a rack. Upside down is definitely against the rules 😉 Spoons could have easier access if they were in a spoon holder on top of the counter LOL
    BTW noticed you got some Mountain Colors at Rhinebeck. Love that stuff and that is what my most recent poncho was made of you saw on my blog. LOVE that stuff!
    FABO sweater and I knew you could get it done!

  9. Cups should indeed be right-side up on shelves. Dust shouldn’t settle in them, because the cabinet doors stay closed most of the time, which keeps out the dust.
    And even if I’m wrong about the cabinet door thing, my mom always said you need to eat a little dirt throughout your life. Keeps your immune system working. Heh.

  10. You are just too funny. I have the same silverware holder and my little spoons are in the back. Congrat’s on your daughter’s talents. I would be gushing with proudism!!! 🙂

  11. If you allow this upside down cup thing to continue, you’ll be weakening the entire sex so do something quick. Wait, who am I to give advice? I lost the toilet paper war. Surrendered is more accurate, which is even more despicable.

  12. Glasses upside down to prevent bug ingress. Coffee mugs right side up, because they stack better that way. But then, we’re not exactly a coffee-drinking family. Tea, yes. Liqueur-enhanced hot chocolate? Especially if it’s mexican hot chocolate? You betcha.
    I can’t wait for the post-Rhinebeck yarn Show & Tell and the sweater looked fabulous!

  13. Transfats and refined sugar? indeed, a mom’s-away phenomenon. But: look at them. Have their teeth decayed visibly? Have their hair and eyes lost that healthy glow? Have their fingernails become mottled and cracked? I’m not asking about dirty. Fingernails *can* be dirty, that’s still ok… …and they probably all are. OK, that is
    I speak as an earth-mother/vegetarian/increasingly wool-freakish woman – four days away from them won’t kill ’em, cups can be reflipped (uck! I’m right-side-up with these, too – flipped over makes the cupboard feel like it belongs in a cafeteria. But I digress.) You, however, have been at least as recharged as your stash has. They’ll work the junk out of their systems soon enough, including electronic junk out of the dining room system. And you – you have tasted freedom. They’re probably just all afraid that after that taste of freedom, you’ll never ever ever ever want to come back.
    I, for one, think that’s a very good terror to cultivate.

  14. Congratulations Amanda! Way to Go!!
    That is a great achievement, and I am sure it will be so much fun to be part of the orchestra. As for travelling to Krakow – wow! What a memorable experience to have. I’m in awe and not a teeny bit jealous.
    I have to laugh at the thought of you taking pictures of your recycling box Stephanie – did you do that while it was out on the curb or did you “do it in the privacy of your own home”?
    As for cups, ours are rim down – we have too many bugs and rodents living with us to be comfortable with the other option 😉
    liz 🙂

  15. You crack me up, Harlot! And i feel your pain with the electronix – The Budgie is a computer nerd and CD collector – three days away from the house and it would look like a teenage DJ had moved in and was rewiring it for a rave. Good sleuthing too! And Congratulations to the lovely and talented Amanda!!! What a fantastic accomplishment!!

  16. Harlot, I’m with you about the upside-down mugs for two reasons: 1) if the mugs don’t fully dry before you put them upside-down, then when you grab a mug its usually got that nasty-smelling dampness inside. 2) Have you looked under the mugs for suspicious activity – such as unwashed-ness, blobs of high sugar/trans-fat icecream, or other forbidden treats. Perhaps the family was counting on your outrage to distract you from this new hiding spot.
    Oh, and love the new baby jacket – gorgeous colors.

  17. Hi Steph!
    Great to meat you at Rhinebeck! Fab sweater!
    Sorry my tent wacked you! Saturday was a *bit* scary … got some extra stakes and all was well on Sunday. No more tent-related injuries!
    Good luck getting your house back in order … I’m off to take a nap. I’ll deal with the mutiny I had here Later. ;-D

  18. I can’t believe your entire house was turned upside down in only a matter of days! I feel for you, Harlot, and I admire your detective skills. Good luck restoring order to the home.
    What bothers me most about the silverware is that the forks and spoons aren’t perfectly nested. As for the cups… I prefer mine down, personally.

  19. Mugs and Glasses definately go upside down, but that’s because they don’t necessarily get used often enough to keep dust out of them.
    But, I feel your pain – I left one evening for knitting group, and came home to find socks on the kitchen table. Yes, socks. This from a man who freaks if a cat gets anywhere near a table.
    Oh, and I made a Yarn Harlot Poncho for one of my stuffed animals.

  20. Congrats to Amanda. Way to Go. I so hear you on the electronics overload, but then again as long as I have my yarn stash I cannot complain *within earshot* Hubby has boxes upon boxes of electronic components and wires,a few non-working VCRS “just for fun”, and a stack of Circuit Cellar magazines that threatens to crack the floor joists beneath them. So glad you’re back. I missed starting MY day (after the little one leaves for school) with your wit. I had to go reread from the beginning. Thanks for always making me laugh.

  21. Hee. Don’t they know that you have found The One Perfect Way to do things?
    I am laughing at the spread of the electronic thingies. Add in wood-working projects, piles of magazines, and occasional computery things, and you have my childhood, c/o my dad. Has Joe taken over the garage yet?

  22. awesome site, i am so glad to have come across it in my search for all things knitty. I can TOTALLY relate with your experience! i’m gone for a day and i return to a coup in the kitchen. why must they mess up THE SYSTEM? the system works! it’s there b/c it works! btw, love the patterns on your site, esp the poncho. very cool.

  23. MY clever daughter learned to ride a bike without training wheels this weekend. So there. 🙂 Deb and I worked to convince Sandy that she needs to have a “Show Me” blog day every week since her “Show Me Your Sky” day went so well. After seeing your post, I think we need a “Show Me Your Silverware Tray” day. As they would say in East Boston (or is it North?), you are “wicked pisser!”

  24. I’ll be in Italy for 18, count ’em, 18 days. I fear the house will be completely unrecognizable when I get home. And the laundry, dear lord, the laundry. Feel my pain.

  25. Has Amanda tried to say her good performance was due to the refined sugar and prominent spoon placement? Why doesn’t Joe have his own cups facing downward and leave yours upwards (or would that aesthetic be too much to stomach?). The Morehouse looks like Koigu. How does it feel in comparison?

  26. It’s so funny how everyone seems to be so split on the cups upside down or right side up issue. I am a “right side up” kind of gal myself. I don’t want my lips touching any dust that may have accumulated on the shelf. Yuk.
    Congrats to your daughter…that is awesome.

  27. Mass anarchy, I tell you. You had better check the garbage can to see if there are any Twinkie wrappers in there.

  28. Way to go, Amanda! Let us know when we can buy CDs of your performances!
    As for the shots of Joe’s electronics–for a minute there I thought you’d somehow snuck into MY house. Our hubbies must have been separated at birth. Mine’s taken over the garage as well as his electronics room. He got his start early in life–his dad is the same way. My FIL built his own set of monster stereo speakers, way back when. Real power in those things. Left a few wires loose out the back. His small son whom I am now married to found them, wondered what they were for, and stuck them in the electrical socket. You plug electric things in, right? His dad was home to hear the earthquaking FWOOOM as his speakers blew up.

  29. First, rock on, Amanda! (Keep an eye on her, Harlot or she’ll be running away to join the group, bond.)
    Second, cups – rims up.
    Third, ice cream? You’re freaking about ice cream? I live 4 minutes from the Hostess factory, I could have shipped them a box of Twinkies (not that I really would)… From which you have found the wrappers upon your return and you’re wigged-out about ice cream? Sheesh. It could have been your family you found, lying about the house in Twinkie-induced comas.
    Fourth, answer please, why would Norma tell us in her blog that you are the AntiBuddhist. You’re killing me here.
    Fifth, again, from Norma’s blog, it’s apparent you didn’t pack the new chopsticks in your purse for back-up knitting supplies. Do tell.
    Sixth, welcome back, you were missed =)

  30. You were in Hartford??!!! The agony of knowing you were so close by… would have been thrilled to have you as a house guest although thinking about it, we are a cups down household. Guess it wouldn’t have worked!
    Congrats to Miss Amanda. Woo Hoo!!!

  31. Welcome back. Congrats to your daughter-what a major achievement and something to be very proud of. Cups do go right side up-I agree. Isn’t it funny how the family thinks they can get away with things while you are gone? I would think that after X many years of living together that my husband would figure out that there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING he can get by me. Yet it never stops him from trying. Here’s to order and to balance of power-hope it does not take to long to restore because I can’t wait to here more about Rhinebeck.

  32. Good grief. I was just informed on my blog (from a Southie, no less) that it’s not “wicked pisser” but “wicked pissa!” You have quite the audience here, Harlot. I’m a wee bit afraid to leave another comment. 🙂

  33. Yay Amanda!!! My Meg is a member of the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (she plays the oboe). This is not a trip year for them, but the trip last year was to Russia and was grand! I only have heard, my dd was not a member then. Hopefully next year she will go. The audition thing is huge. I have my kids audition for everything. Even things they haven’t a prayer of making, just for the experience. It helps, now they initiate auditions on their own, and when I complain my words come back at me, “even if you don’t make it something good always comes from it, either a contact made or a lesson learned!” Send gas cards. Next audition: Concerto Competition in the orchestra on Saturday, followed by a Speed Racer trip to the Jazz All State auditions later in the morning. Those are both on voice. Must be tough to be these talented kids,huh. Just keep singing for me, “Go Speed Racer, go Speed Racer, go Speed Racer, Go!!”
    Welcome back, I wish I had made it out to Rhinebeck. Where was I? A marching band show. These kids are cramping my style!

  34. Spoons in the wrong spots? Flipped cups? Evidence of ice cream indulgence?
    What makes you so sure they didn’t live on take-out and just move stuff around just to freak you out?
    Personally I’m just a little bit bitter you only have to deal with cutlery and recyclables. I went to D.C. for the long week-end and, despite my brother taking care of my car, it is in the shop because there was a mouse nest in the intake valve.
    And I didn’t even get to buy yarn!
    Glad you’re back.

  35. At last I have the evidence I’ve been looking for! Based on the evidence in this blog entry, I put forth the hypothesis that the real reason that Harlot is perpetually engaged with Mr. Washie is because of her belief that no one else in the household could possibly do the laundry correctly. Heck, if they put the cups in the cabinet the “wrong way” and put the silverware back “the wrong way,” and consumed ice cream [swoon, faint] who knows what chaos would ensue if they were allowed to fiddle with the knobs on Mr. Washie!!!
    Thanks, dear, for yet another reminder to take deep breaths and just let my dearly beloved put the cheese wherever he damn well pleases in the refrigerator–nevermind the existence of the “dairy” drawer–so I have to hunt all the hell over for it when I’m cooking.
    Missed you!

  36. Hmmm.. laughing out loud at work does get one looked at, doesn’t it.
    I didn’t realize cups went any way but up… that’s what they have bottoms for, right? (but, anyone who reorganizes your silverware drawer behind your back is up for … lashes, or something)
    Congrats to Amanda!!!! That’s SO cool.

  37. Totally off topic…….. but I wanted to tell you that I loved your knitting and stashing article in Chatelaine…. I can sooooo relate.

  38. They certainly have good taste in ice cream ! Every childhood should have a little ice cream. Well, at least the silverware was put away. That is a good thing. As for the cups – well, in this house we have a perpetual disagreement about how the paper towels and toilet paper should go on the roll. I’m definitely an over-the-top person. Some disagreements never get resolved. Congratulations to your daughter. Betsy

  39. Sorry about the silver ware and the coffee cups. I so agree.
    Do you know that Joe called you “spunky”?
    I have questions….

  40. What the….? Knives? cups? You gotta be kidding me. Here I thought we were soul sisters, and you’re worried about whether cups are upside down? Mine are — who knows, who cares? mostly dirty in the sink or on the counter or near my computer. As long as there’s at least one clean one in the cupboard, right-side-up, upside down, on its side, I don’t give a crap. If anybody has a brilliant idea about “show me the inside of your cutlery drawer,” I’ll be absent that day. So there. P.S. I miss you wicked, too. Maybe you and Kirsten ought to come get my house in order.

  41. I meant “Kerstin,” of course. That’s why I’m a court reporter….so good at spelling and proofreading. *sigh* I’m tired. And sick again. Geez. I think I need to start eating more junk food or something.

  42. Damn. What am I supposed to do now? The upside-down cup problem isn’t a problem in my house ANY MORE. But if few days of absence cause such havoc in your house, I am doomed as well. I am scheduled to go away for my first weekend without kids or hubby since I first gave birth. Now I am rethinking the whole plan. Thanks a lot. I am not willing to deal with the upside down cups ever again… among other unacceptable things/actions….

  43. ROFL – I’m cracking up most about the silverware. :p
    PS – to those who worry about dust – if you cabinet has *doors* and you *use* your cups – therin solves the dust problem. There are far worse worries with the gunk that may lie on the shelf… Ewwwww!

  44. I am happy as long as they put the toilet seat down!!! And as for the cups and glasses.. I have every second upside down.. Otherwise there wouldnt be room enough in the cubbord… and happy to live alone, fearing the day I will have to surrender and have someone in claiming a right to mess up my systems..

  45. I knew you have three daughters, but when I think of them I get a big image of Meg. Is she the one most or least like you?
    Keep it up, Amanda!

  46. I’m just glad that you weren’t there to witness the surely excruciating Loading of the Dishwasher. I’m guessing forks were forky-side up, spoons were with spoons, ech!
    Dying to come to Toronto for your afghan sew-up throwdown on Nov. 7. Is this allowed?

  47. Best way to get at the food transgressions…as hubby is getting out of shower look at him slyly and ask if he has put on a little weight. It would kill my husband, my joy would continue for a week or so as he asks if the rear end of his professional pants were too tight!!! I feel your pain, I just don’t leave them. Went away once to come back to the place being “cleaned up” . Looked great until I started looking through drawers and cabinets. I still can’t find the coffee maker.
    Congrats on your daughter..another pat on the back for mom doing a great job raising her.

  48. I realkly don’t cry often of laughter, but the cups and silver ware just did me in… sitting here in the morning all red eyed with a wet face… and, of course my cup was right side up AND the knives were at the front of the drawer. Shocking! I know why I don’t leave THEM alone…..LOL

  49. Hey Amanda,
    That completely rocks. Way to go! Now you can have calloused (sp?) hands from violin and climbing.

  50. Hey, Steph, great to meet you at Rhinebeck. As promised, I, though blogless myself, will post comments on yours from time to time. This topic is so me, I am continually ridiculed by my DH about the right way to put away silverware, glasses and cups. Salad forks must be separated from large forks! Glasses upside down, cups rightside up! And the others in the house need to acknowledge that this is the RIGHT WAY!

  51. Where in holy heck is the picture of you in the Rhinebeck sweater????? This is just cruel what you’re doing to us.

  52. Are the thrummed mitts for Amanada? She’ll need them to keep her fingers warm, to keep them flexible and when she’s on tour. Or… she could turn the heat on. No, no, couldn’t possibly do that, what would mom do? But she had to keep her violin in tune. Maybe a thrummed violin case? Do you think?

  53. Crap. Now I have to go home and wash my cupboards and put down contact paper so I can clean them properly….. cups upside down or dust. I can’t decide!
    PS. I won the toilet paper war. Of course, I’m the only one that knows how to install it at all, let alone correctly.

  54. The cups…..upside down. Can you hear the soundtrack from The Omen (“Evil! Damian! Evil! Damian!”? You should because you are married to the very Heart of Darkness. Stop him before he turns the cups upside down again.
    I love that you have this whole Cold War era balance of mutually assured destruction thing going with the yarn and the wiry stuff, though. In our marriage it’s newspapers versus yarn, but I am in the superior position because I have the guts to throw out newspapers whereas he lacks the gumption to throw out….newspapers, let alone yarn.
    xoxox Kay

  55. Ok, I admit it. I have papered the shelves in my cupboards *and* I leave the cups and glasses right side up.
    I obviously need therapy.

  56. Stephanie, i’m so sorry that i missed you Sunday – but i must say if i’m short on time there are only 3 blogs that i’ve got time to spend with and your’s is at the top of my list! thank you for making me smile and know i’m not alone in this world! cups up and tea spoons sideways! 🙂 Karola

  57. Welcome home–and hope you can transform it back into your home soon! And congratulations to Amanda from a fellow violinist.

  58. If the cupboard is so horribly filthy that the dust will settle and accumulate in short order, WHY take the shortcut to the filth and dip the rims in it, like dipping the rims of margarita glasses in salt?
    If the cupboard has been recently wiped down, WHERE is all of that dust going to come from that will so treacherously settle in the bottoms of the cups?
    WHO on God’s green earth, or at least, in our so-called “Western” “Civilization,” washes the SHELVES more often than they wash the CUPS?
    Simple answer: They were deranged by their grief at your absence. Who hasn’t ever drowned their sorrows in ice-cream? Maybe the Mr. was deranged by all those loose electrical bits (solder usually has LEAD in it, after all), or maybe it’s the usual source: y-chromosome. They all have it, don’t they? (shaking head, and tsk-tsking). Such a shame.

  59. Your family sounds just like mine! When will they learn that they can’t pull the *yarn* over Mom’s eyes? Where did they hide the Pizza Pizza box(es)?
    I am so jealous of your Rhinebeck trip. Want a plane seatmate for next year?

  60. If you look in the spoon drawer or cupboard and find things in the wrong place, think, “isn’t that wonderful, someone else put the dishes away” this strategy will give you more time to knit and less gray hair
    of course, the blog won’t be as funny

  61. While I can’t really relate to all that wool talk (I live in Red Heart and Lion Brand Land), I can relate to a mother gushing over her brilliant daughter. Congrats, Amanda!

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