With Some Difficulty

1. This morning when we got up the brand spanking new coffee maker was broken- and yielded only beige hot water that smelled slightly of coffee… as though it had considered it’s intention to become coffee and thought better of it.

2. This was evidenced in the worse possible way, as the coffee maker made all the coffee maker sounds, and then brightly announced that coffee was ready – when in reality it was all a lie.

3. That felt dishonest.

4. I am less than three weeks from a book deadline, which means that I am pretty much a total crazy person. I am not sure that books can be finished with out coffee, and I don’t think I’m a strong enough person to find out.

5. I feel proud that the people around me yet live.

6. When I had recovered from the shock and gotten coffee from the shop nearby, my next door neighbour phoned me from my attic. It is disconcerting to have someone call from your attic.

7. We live in a semi-detached, but our attics are fully attached. This makes it only slightly less disconcerting to be called from your attic.

8. It turns out that there our squirrels living in our joint attic. This surprised me less than it would someone who does not have a longstanding antagonistic relationship with squirrels. 

9.  I went outside, and he waved at me through the hole in our roof that is the point of invasion.

10. I thought about switching from coffee to scotch.

11. I didn’t. 

12. Instead I cast on for something out of a nice pile of chunky baby alpaca.

13.  I cast on more than 200 stitches.

14. I knit about six rounds.  That’s about 1200 stitches.

15.  That’s relevant because it is about the point at which I noticed that while I had joined, being very careful not to twist, the alpaca was twisted anyway.

16.  I am still not drinking scotch, but I did consider gnawing the snot out of the stupid dishonest alpaca.

17.  Didn’t. Still proud.

18. Happy Thanksgiving weekend to my American friends. 

19. I am glad it’s not Thanksgiving here, so I can get a coffee maker and get someone to fix the hole without contending with even the idea of "Black Friday" which sounds like a nightmare for those who are forced to shop in it by circumstances involving coffee, squirrels and duplicity.

20. I forgot to ask my neighbour if – while he was up in the attic,  he saw any of the yarn and fleece that #$%^&*%ing squirrel was stealing from me a few years ago.

21. I hate squirrels.

22. I am none too fond of alpaca at the moment either.

23. Sadly, still love coffee.

24. Happy weekend.

250 thoughts on “With Some Difficulty

  1. I’m first! That’s NEVER happened! Good luck with the squirrels; maybe they’ve learned to knit.
    I’m about to cast on alpaca/silk. Hope I have better luck.

  2. You have fake coffee and a living family?? You really ARE superwoman!
    For what it’s worth, as I read your entry and winced along, I could hear the #$&%*# squirrel in my attic apparently fighting with a newcomer for attic supremacy.
    And I’m starting to think that those instructions “being careful not to twist” are more appropriately “be careful not to twist… LEAH, who will ALWAYS twist it at least twice. Seriously, don’t you notice these things?”
    Hope the weekend improves!

  3. Dude. I fully give you permission to hit the scotch, the Screech, the nog, the roof, after the next possible transgression against your sanity today. Not that you needed permission anyway, but I am waaaay impressed with your cool demeanor after a day like that. Hey…it can only get better, right? (knock on wood, throw salt, cross fingers, duck and twirl three times counterclockwise, etc.) 🙂

  4. We had a squirrel infestation years ago. Be sure and trap them before you plug up the hole because they will burrow through almost any material to get back to the nest.
    You’ve gottta catch them and then plug the hole. Trust me..it ain’t pretty. Good luck. ~ksp

  5. I’m making a scarf out of the same yarn as I read this! Mine is a gorgeous deep red and is a Christmas surprise for my husband. You see, no one can be FORCED into shopping on Black Friday, only COERCED. No deal in the world is worth it to me.

  6. You are one of the few writers who can make me laugh out loud – in a room by myself – and I love you for it. Can’t help with the squirrels, caffeine or alpaca, but maybe knowing you are loved will keep you away from the hard liquor!

  7. It’s probably a good thing that you don’t have alpaca in your attic, though. I imagine those hooves (they have hooves, right?) would do some damage.

  8. Coffee is good. Without coffee, I am unable to function as a normal human can. I have no idea how people do it.

  9. My first thought about the squirrels was “did they hoarde the stolen fleece up there?”.
    Here’s to our crappy Fridays – may they get better.

  10. Oh, Stephanie! Your perils make me laugh and give me perspective! Thanks! My looming exams, essay due dates, and leaky roof are put into better perspective because I have a Bodum – they don’t break down! Well, they break, if you drop them, which I have, but still.
    Thanks for the easy-to read point-form post, too. I am very short on leisure time today, I appreciate the efficiency!
    I hope your day gets better!

  11. Have you tried spraying fox urine in the attic? I’ve heard it scares the @#$% out of squirrels and they hastily decamp. Should be able to buy some at the garden center.

  12. You without AM coffee? Not pretty.
    May I suggest a Melitta cone and a small box of filters? In case of automatic pot malfunction just boil water (or off-colored imitation coffee from defective pot), dump damp grounds into the filter and pour boiling water through. It’s absolutely better than going out for coffee and we all know the really serious weather is just about upon us. Going out into freezing wet ugly-ness first thing in the morning, even after coffee, gets harder and harder. Better to have a backup plan.

  13. Ah…shared attics…When my husband was a grad student, he lived in an old house with a shared attic. No squirrels there, but the next door neighbors had a pre-pubescent daughter with a crush on my darling, and she attempted more than once to make her way towards him via the attic in search of…heaven only knows what…I’d have been happier with squirrels…Get a new coffeemaker and the world will right itself again 🙂

  14. I just started a lace pattern (over) for the fourth time! As for the squirrel(s)…. they are cheeky bastards. We have one who grocery shops in our trash bin. He has the nerve to chatter at me from his tree when I put the trash out. I hope you can get rid of yours before he does more damage.

  15. When I woke up this morning, I tried to make coffee and I discovered that the coffee grinder was broken. We tried to use it anyway and it yielded coffee grinds like pebbles. We tried to use the coffee pebbles anyway and got water that tasted vaguely like coffee.
    Black Friday is stupid and steals coffee.

  16. Nothing against scotch but next time you are in Oregon, you might consider getting some Crater Lake Hazelnut Espresso Vodka. Made with coffee and roasted hazelnuts, it’s a good compromise when the body needs caffeine but circumstances call for alcohol.

  17. My sympathies. Thank heavens for your blog, I suspect sometimes it can act as a form of therapy (for both of us). Our back door has warped and won’t close unless many incantations are chanted (or roared)! Have to call the door store.
    We had rats in the attic. Grapevines insinuating themselves into cracks made a pathway which the demons enlarged. Holes and rats are no more.
    This too will pass.

  18. Coffee is definitely a life issue. When we bought our latest machine — another fancypants machine that cost $89. at Sears — we thought we were investing in the future. It went up in smoke 2 weeks after the 90-day return period expired. Now, it has to be shipped to Woodbridge (Ontario!… from BC!!) paid for by us & including $10. cheque/money order to cover ‘shipping & handling!!! There is no human to talk to on their 800-number & no idea when it might be returned to us… definitely not purchasing an expensive machine again. Hope your coffee house is open 24 hours… not so, here in the Burbs ;~( Running out to buy coffee liqueurs as soon as the snow melts.
    Cheers, from the Wet Coast.

  19. I don’t know – I think I’d go for the scotch. It’s not going to fix the roof or the coffeemaker and it is not going to untwist the alpaca – but after the scotch, you probably won’t care about any of that anyway….

  20. Some of us Americans have the common sense to ignore “Black Friday”, cast on a new sock and snuggle up on the couch for the day. Much better!

  21. Girl, whiskey is definitely appropriate. And while you are at it have some for me. SInce I can’t have any right now although I really want some. But I had radioactive iodine to zap my thyroid the other day and am confined to the house. So see…I’d take squirrels any day.

  22. Funny you should say scotch … last week husband called from his cell phone in the middle of the day (bad sign) to tell me he’d been laid off … and then told me he was on his way to the liquor store for really good scotch. He’s a CPA and should be able to get another job soon, but this probably means no Blue Moon sock club or sock camp for me in 2011 … so scotch for me too. Planning to compensate with self-imposed sock club instead 🙂

  23. Best wishes to you. I’d send you a coffee maker if I was willing to go out of my house today. But black friday seems to be the day when all the crazy people go out.

  24. I also hate squirrels! I discovered squirrels(3)in my attic Wednesday! Today one came down the chimney;
    husband and cat chased squirrel out the front door.

  25. The Squirrels’ Revenge! They’ve been plotting this ever since you thwarted their fleece-stealing efforts with food screens and bungee cords. I say drink whatever it takes to cope with them. What’s the alpaca going to be?

  26. Stephanie, this brought tears to my eyes. And not tears of laughter!! And yes, Black Friday is an abomination. My 13-year-old claims to be suffering severely as a result of my boycott.

  27. God Bless you. I think the only sensible reaction to your morning that is left is to go back to bed. Day over. I hate squirrels as well. To have them in your attic? Oy vey. And then to be betrayed by Alpaca? While your coffeepot is dead? Oy Oy Oy.
    May I suggest an emergency French Press for your coffee? They always work. They take up little space. After my coffee pots kept konking out I finally got a French Press and will never go back to the electronic ones. They are fickle and mean.

  28. I use a french press,so no troubles there,but my boyfriend prefers his percolator,sometimes it does its’ entire cycle and all that comes out is the WATER, so I carefully take it apart (hey the coffee is still dry and good)dump that water,add new water put it all back together carefully and start over. Usually voila we have coffee for HIM!

  29. I have knit with that yarn and it is simply divine. I think you were entralled with the yarn and didn’t realize it was twisted.
    As for the squirrels, I would not blame you if you did switch to scotch.

  30. Oh how I love my Keurig. And my husband, who thoughtfully brought me coffee in bed. I ungraciously said, “so I suppose this means you want me to get up now.” oops 🙂

  31. Honestly Squirrels are a hazard to humans!!! They not only chew everything in sight and steal yarn but they cause us to go nutteres trying to get rid of them. WHY don’t they live in the woods like they were ment to? As for the coffee machine!!!! OMG that’s just NOT right and I’d be in one foul mood if this happened to me sooo ,when I found a coffee maker I liked and worked well I bought two of them . One for backup becaus oft times they discontinue or change the darn things .I am truly addicted to that black nectar. Some days you get the elevator and other days you get the shaft. Lets hopr the elevator works tomorrow for you .

  32. While you have my sympathies on the squirrel taking your yarn, and I wouldn’t want my yarn pilfered by squirrels either, I have to say there’s something kind of cute and sweet and charming about the idea of a squirrel selecting a nice alpaca or bluefaced leicester to warm his little den for the winter. Makes the idea of knitting warm sweaters with the stuff feel all the more _right_.

  33. I have always been convinced that when knitting in the round, whether or not a twist happens has nothing to do with the knitter. Somehow, it either does or doesn’t no matter that you take the same care each time. I think it’s the knitting muses having a little fun.

  34. Yikes! That would be my undoing as well. No black Friday foray’s here, cleaning and knitting was the only thing on my agenda. I was fully caffeinated before I cast on with the chunky alpaca today… had to be, 1st row was purling (ugh), but it stayed nicely untwisted. Hope you have better luck on the 2nd attempt…

  35. In a moment of desperation coffee can be made by steeping the grinds in boiling water for about six minutes then straining them out with a coffee filter, or multiple layers or cheesecloth or muslin. I know it sounds loopy, but hey, if I don’t have my coffee in the morning someone is gonna die, so when the coffee maker I bought recently died in less than a month, I learned to manage. It’s always good to have one of those french coffee pots around for emergencies, the ones with the plungers (Unfortunately, I bought the coffee maker because I broke the glass part from the french coffee pot and saw the coffee maker on sale and figured I’d give it a try). I am now down to my ancient percolator (with an insert from a different pot. Having put all this down in words, I have to wonder, maybe I should switch to tea.

  36. Aah! The squirrels!
    I’ve had some run-ins with them as well!
    Did they really steal yarn from you?!?
    I’m VERY happy for you it is not “Black Friday” – I avoid shopping today like the plague!

  37. I hate squirrels too. One of those little buzzards is tearing shingles off my roof to try to get into my attic.

  38. I remind you of my haiku entry (which I wrote without realizing it was supposed to be about casting off):
    Knit knit. Round I go
    Oops! Forgot not to twist
    Infinity now

  39. !!!
    Let me tell you my story about animals in attics:
    Long ago, I worked in a small, neighborhood hospital. We were undergoing a major inspection. It lasted for days. Many flaws were found, and had to be corrected: hot water taps that dispensed water one or two degrees too hot or too cold, stained paint that had to be stripped and repainted, tiny, piddly things that had to be corrected or we’d all be out of work and the local populace would have no place to birth their babies or get their knees fixed.
    A minute after the inspector left, having renewed our license to operate as a hospital, a hallway ceiling collapsed, depositing about 100 kilos of raccoon droppings on the floor. No one had even known there were raccoons living in our attic! One cockroach could have put us out of business, and here we were host to a multi-generational clan of raccoons.

  40. Oh! And add me to the list of USers who boycott the evil capitalistically inspired black friday (unless it involves purely locally owned stores, preferably with owners who are known to me personally!)

  41. I think you should forgive the alpaca as it’s beautiful and switch to constant tea drinking, it’s much better for the soul.

  42. Are squirrels in the attic a bad thing? should I be worried? I have squirrels living in my attic and have just let them be– they provide entertainment for the dogs in the backyard. The only time they bother me is when they’re making noise in the ceiling right above my bed when I’m trying to sleep. I have dirty footprints on my ceiling from smacking it with my slipper to make them shut up.

  43. We had squirrels in our attic once; discovered this one day while soaking in the bathtub and realized I was hearing the scrabble of little feet in the walls.
    Then there was the time the vent cover fell off the chinmey and they built a nest in it. Discovered this when the nest fell three stories into the fireplace, with squirrel landing right on his fat little rump.
    The cats? They stood there in complete horror and then RAN.
    I do not like squirrels.
    P.S. You can lure them into a trap with peanut butter. But if you release them back into the wilds, make sure you are at least 5 miles away from your house or they will come right back.

  44. It sounds like you got your coffee eventually – I hope so! I also hope you spiked it with some scotch. As a treat, you know.
    I use a French Press because I don’t trust machines and electricity with my precious coffee, I once ended up in a Wal-mart on Black Friday on accident because we bought coffee beans, not grounds, and didn’t have a grinder. I went to get a grinder at about 6:30 in the morning and kept thinking “WHY IS THIS PLACE SO PACKED?!?!” in the type of totally stressed out mental voice that can only be found in the brain of someone who needs their coffee and has not had it yet. Actually, reading this, I realize that I should grind up some beans as a contingency plan for blackouts or something and put those grounds in the freezer for emergencies.

  45. As someone who can’t sleep just knowing there are squirrels in her walls, I totally sympathize. Let’s face it, they’re rats. Rats designed by Disney, but rats nonetheless.
    Going to say something that has the potential to make you throw your bottle of Scotch at me, but – are you absolutely sure you didn’t accidentally put in, say, three paper filters instead of one? Or have the fancy new machine on the wrong setting?
    I know, I know, it’s like those computer guys who ask you if you’ve got the thing plugged in, but they only ask because it so often happens that you don’t.
    The local coffeeshop did a marketing thing last week where they sent each house a free packet of their ‘microground’ coffee – you just open the little packet and put it in a mug and fill with boiling water. Just like instant, but unlike instant, it tastes really good – as good as, or better than, what I could get by going down there and buying a cup in the store. Which probably explains the price, but I live in a building full of non-coffee-drinkers and I scored eight of the little packets.
    Maybe you could get a couple of packets and, um … squirrel them away (pardon me mentioning the S-word) for similar emergencies. Nobody wants you to be late with your book.

  46. One more comment and then I’ll stop posting. I swear!
    My parents routinely join Gevalia Coffee for their free coffee maker deal. You join, get a free drip coffee maker, get some coffee delivered for a few months and then cancel your membership. Repeat in a few years when the machine dies under one of your other household members name. Not sure if this is available in Canada, but seems to work in the States.

  47. I have a problem with squirrels. When I first moved here I started feeding them-big mistake. When they started following me and climbing up my pants leg I knew I had a problem. They got in our attic too and when we remodeled I came home from work to find my husband covered in nesting material when he took down the ceiling in the bedroom. He thought he sealed the roof where they were getting in and one day we heard one running around. He sent the cat up to murder it (it was a big cat)and made sure that there were no more openings. We don’t like squirrels anymore.

  48. What a coincidence. We also have a squirrel in our attic, though our squirrel (I’m telling myself it’s a squirrel and not a rat) managed to crawl up through the walls from underneath the house. Did I also mention that this squirrel is also chewing on the cables that deliver the life giving television and cable?
    Anyway, French Press.

  49. It sounds like the squirrel may be getting smarter. Perhaps he is learning of your fiber buying habits, so as to make more informed thefts. I would threaten it with live pre-coffee and see if that makes a difference in where it decides is an appropriate place to nest.
    Also, being phoned from one’s own attic sounds really, really disconcerting.

  50. Squirrel’s are never a good thing. We went on vacation once and came home to a squirrel who had invaded the house, chewed on a table leg, destroyed screens and then had the audacity to die in our basement. The smell was nasty. We have had a running battle with squirrels for years.

  51. 1. Sending strong coffee thoughts (although not a coffee drinker, so you can have mine, right?)
    2. Remembering a rabbit show at which NO ONE setting up had ever made large-scale coffee before. I still get comments on how strong and eye-opening it was…fifteen YEARS later. Hint: Always make sure someone there knows NOT to fill the entire basket with grounds… 🙂
    3. As soon as I read ‘squirrel’, I thought…is that why you tend to win the furnace wars, all that fleece stashed in the attic you didn’t even know about?
    4. About now, I’m really, really glad I’m too far away to swat….
    5. Twisted? What, you mean joins aren’t SUPPOSED to do that? I always end up just brutally jumping the gap and making it untwist that way. The funny looking little one-stitch ruffle is an excellent round marker….

  52. Sounds like a day for a “do over” to me. I know you don’t need my permission to begin on the scotch, but you have it anyway. I share your dislike of squirrels too.

  53. On a trip to Mexico several years ago: One of our group, after lying in the sun for a period of time, announced that there are only 3 THINGS THAT WOMEN WANT. This promoted interested perks of male heads in groups around us. She went on to state that these 3 things are (in no particular order): 1) Take the garbage out when you are supposed to take it out, 2) Don’t say that you haven’t had sex for 2 months when it’s really only been 2 weeks, 3) and fix the damn squirrel holes in the roof! Apparently you are not alone in your squirrel/roof frustration. PS: coffee is the “breath of life”.

  54. Brand New Coffee Maker does not equal Coffee.
    That is its own little universe of wrong.
    You have my deepest condolences. I don’t even drink coffee.

  55. Sorry to hear about the squirrel invasion! If the day keeps on this tangent, I suggest switching from coffee to scotch. It can only help.
    I also have a long personal history with squirrels. When I worked at my college one summer, a squirrel gnawed through the screen windows and broke into my apartment – he woke me up by yanking on the bottom of my blanket while I napped on the couch. He ran off and jumped out of the hole in the kitchen window when I got up. It was pretty crazy – I wish I could say I was kidding, but I’m not. Then a few years ago I heard some sounds as I was going to bed for a few weeks. Every night, scratch scratch scratch. Some squirrels had gotten between the outside and inside walls of the duplex I live in. Ugh. My landlord ran them off with an air horn and patched the hole. And then 2 years ago a squirrel ended up in my basement after eating his way through a plugged up coal chimney! I had to trap and release that one.
    Good luck with getting this one out of your attic. Where I live in West Virginia you can borrow a humane trap from the Dept. of Natural Resources to trap and release animals such as this squirrel. Maybe there’s a similar service there…

  56. Suggestion-put some of the twisted yarn out in the yard to Lure the furry little varmints outside. Then patch up the hole fast.
    Could be worse. We had a mouse in our living room this morning. The cat likes that, but she’s the only one who does.

  57. I hate squirrels too. Evrytime I look at one I say to it. “Good thing you have a furry tail, if it was naked you would be dead”

  58. Breathe in, breath out. Repeat as necessary. All will be better. Oh and you might want to eat a couple of coffee beans. Just a thought.

  59. There was something scrabbling in my attic last night, too, damn it. Flying squirrels, I suspect, as they’re active at night. They haven’t taken any fiber that I’ve noticed, but the cat did sneak into the bedroom with the always-closed door today and proceeded to sleep in the basket of Icelandic lamb/silk/alpaca roving. She has SUCH good taste. Perhaps she’s really a squirrel in disguise.

  60. Oh dear. Laughter and tears! I used to live in a two hundred year old (wood) house that had been added to over the centuries. Among other things there was a 1920’s porch added to the Victorian addition that eventually became bathrooms, laundry and hallways. Also added over the years were electric lines. And tall trees. Close to the house. One of those electric wires became one of the (many) squirrel attic accesses. It ran right by the low window which was right next to the toilet. It gave a whole new meaning to peeping Toms! I think they were laughing every time they stopped right at that spot. On another note, you haven’t lived until a squirrel has died in the wall right next to the head of your bed!

  61. Hang in at least you have coffee now.
    The squirrels can be beaten. (I have proof a friends husband won again their attic invaders just last week.)
    And I’m going to echo some of the other comments in suggesting that you get a French Press or a single cup cone filter as a back-up. Not quite as automated, but it can save you in the case of power outages as long as you have a camp stove and a kettle. We were camping in the house for a week after a hurricane and the only thing that keep us sane was hot water in the morning for tea and coffee with the filter and cone.
    PS Check your local grocery store for both the cone and filter. If this fails ask someone in the county to the south of you to brave the crowds and get you one.

  62. So sorry for your troubles today, but your post really lifted my spirits and made me laugh. Try an aeropress for coffee, no mechanical parts, but we managed to lose an essential part, sigh. We had raccoons (!) in our attic, and in this state they are a protected animal, luckily they moved out and we were able to patch our roof before more moved in. Hopefully your invading squirrel does not return and make another hole. Our neighbor has had repeat raccoon attic visitors, and now our neighbors have no trees near their house for future raccoons to use as ladders to their roof. A little scotch might be just what your day needs.

  63. I used to love squirrels, especially the cute black ones that live in upstate NY. But then the squirrels here in Delaware ATE. MY. CAR. They nested in the engine during an ice storm over a long weekend and ate the wiring harness and most of the hoses. It cost $1000 to fix, none of it covered by insurance. Evil little rats with distractingly lovely tails. Sorry for your bad day.

  64. Squirrels — ugh! I had one take up residence somewhere over my carport last year. It stripped the pecans off my tree and kicked the snot out of a neighbor’s cat. I haven’t seen or heard it now in several months, so am hoping that the cat rounded up a posse and took care of business.
    As for the lying, non-coffee-producing coffeemaker…grounds for a re-do of the entire day. No pun intended. 😉

  65. It sounds like your day was super exciting! Hopefully tomorrow will be better!
    I really wish American society was less commercial. In a lot of ways I feel Black Friday makes a sham of what the season is supposed to be about: thankfulness, kindness to your fellow people, and a generosity of spirit and instead turns it into a rather crass example of commercialism.

  66. I read this to my husband. I told him that you are in Canaday. Ousting a squirrel at this time of year would mean certain death. I was fairly sure you weren’t so far gone as to wish a cold death to a squirrel. Even a yarn thief squirrel.
    My husband then offered this, “Squirrel and Rice, that’s nice!” I suggested that might not work either. (For the record, neither of us have ever had squirrel)
    There’s a good chance that if it’s rousted from it’s current nest the little yarn thief may just find another entrance to the house. At least this way you know where it is.
    I’m wondering if there’s a way to enclose it’s nest area to keep it from venturing further into the attic but still let it get in and out.
    Have you considered pondering this over coffee and Bailey’s?

  67. thanks for that post today. Much needed as I go through a difficult time this week. No black Friday here – this will be a homemade holiday to be sure. I agree with the suggestions for a Bodum -damned good backup when the electric fails you miserably. Looking forward to a new book!

  68. Forget attic. Red squirrels. In WALLS. They were this close to reaching in, grabbing the remote from my husband, and switching to their own programs. For the record, the guys who trap them charge by the squirrel — and then release them. Some may find this humane. To me it feels like a perpetual squirrel-cycle.

  69. My neighbor feeds squirrels (despite the fact that I’ve asked her repeatedly not to and, apparently, the squirrels feel I should provide lodging. I hate squirrels.

  70. I specifically made you a squirrel voodoo doll. Did you lose the instructions? 🙂
    If you need proper incantations, email me.
    Otherwise, from my nuisance-wildlife control experience:
    Once they have denned up for the winter, they may be hard to eradicate until spring. Just make sure they cannot get into the house. They have probably been up there in the attic for awhile, too.
    1. At the first hint of spring, but before they begin to have babies:
    a. buy fox urine form the hunting store and spray it liberally in the attic.
    b. rent a BRIGHT strobe light at a party store: one meant for a large room or party venue. Place it up in the area of the attic with the most squirrel activity. Set it on “intermittent” or “random” setting, and turn it off and on periodically, a few hours at a time, for a period of a few weeks. I’ve used this to rid attics of many kinds of wildlife. One client reported a mother raccoon hustling her litter out the access hole and up the nearest tree, one at a time, about five minutes after I set up a strobe light and drove off.
    c. Seal the hole when you are sure no living things remain in the attic. Seal ANY holes you can fit a pencil into (these will admit bats) and any holes big enough to admit your finger (these will admit some kind of rodent or another).
    Or, email me for the voodoo thing. Sure wish I lived closer!

  71. We have had two fancy automatic coffee machines over the years and both intermittantly did the dingy brown water thing. It would make me murderous in a completely irrational fashion. Then they would be sent off for months to be repaired, cost afortune, work a while and do it again.
    We have switched to an electric grinder for the beans, used each monrning, then a plunger. So much less stress and if it breaks, which it hasn’t in 3 years, I’ll saunter to the shops, buy a new grinder, and be right again.
    As to the squirrel, ya boo sucks to him, the yarn thief.

  72. Sounds like a rough day so far. One of those things happening would have been enough for me to break out a glass or three of wine- you are a strong person to combat both without the scotch. 🙂

  73. Too bad about the coffee (for me, it’s my tea). Things like this can really sabotage one’s day!
    However, the return of the squirrel does not bode well (especially at hibernating season).
    Twisting the start of the round: that’s par for the course, even for an excellent knitter, when squirrels infest without requisite coffee.
    Only solution that makes sense: Scotch (as in “put an end to” this impostor day!)

  74. Oh you make me laugh about those squirrels, I still recall reading that story in your book! I wonder if the squirrel has a yarn stash of its own. I do hope your new coffee maker improves your weekend for you and you get lots of writing done and no more squirrel invasions.

  75. I think by #15, I would not have been calm enough to sit down and not kill something, much less type it all out in such an orderly fashion…that’s a big Tip of the Hat from me…and, even though it’s very much at your expense, thanks for the laughs!

  76. I loved shopping on Black Friday and thank you….. Thanksgiving was wonderful! However I don’t think I’d want to contend with squirrels, missing yarn and no coffee all on Thanksgiving or Black Friday!

  77. This is why I will never give up my coffee press despite having a programmable coffee maker. Things will GET BETTER!! Good luck with the book! Look forward to it 🙂

  78. xox Steph,
    -black friday frightens me too. I won’t go out.
    -knock on my door at any hour for coffee.
    -you could lay squirrel traps in the attic with the alpaca?
    xox ~Jennifer

  79. #19 just made my day. :o)
    (I love to shop, and am sad that due to circumstances and a husband who insists on working when everyone else in his industry (software/tech) is enjoying his or her family or a quiet, beautiful winter day outside, I was unable to make even a small foray out into the sales . . . )
    Better luck tomorrow, eh? And here’s to hoping that your fiber is in the attic, intact and waiting for you . . .

  80. I can sympathize! First on the coffee front. Half the time its easier getting it than making it. This is a ploy to get out of cleaning the grind and brew Cuisinart that I have. It works for the most part. Then I decided to use my french press that I’ve had for years and only used for tea. Amazingly good coffee, worst part was just cleaning up the grounds afterwards in the one pot, which was very dealable.
    On the squirrel front,, sigh. We have something living in between our walls, mainly over/by where my computer area is. I hear it at night,,, every night. We cant find a point of entry which leads me to believe its probably a mini-velociraptor that probably got stuck in there via a wormhole. So unless I can borrow a TSA scanner,, I’ll be making more coffee to stay up to try and pinpoint it’s whereabouts. It beats holiday shopping on a Friday night!

  81. I do not go out on “Black Friday” as I dislike shopping most days of the year and to face the hordes of shoppers today gives me the heebie jeebies! I stay home, drink coffee, eat turkey sandwiches, leftover pie and dressing! I hope you won the battle with that particular squirrel!

  82. Suspected rodents in attic. Set a rat trap. Two months later, sounds of terrific struggle in space over garage, rat vs. trap. Finally quiet. Three days later, smell commences. No hubby for two more days. Braced myself, got equiped with plastic bag, gloves, flashlight, climbed up. Retrieved rat. Took photo to prove it before discarding. Rat man, on Monday, sees picture: “Wow. Big rat.”

  83. I can relate. I grew up in a house where every few years squirrels would find a way into the attic. My advice. Quickly find the hole & get some chicken wire, brillo pads, etc, they cannot for some reason, chew through that. You may need a good contractor to board up the hole as well. Squirrels create an enormous disaster.
    2……I am kintting this dress – in linen – in the round about 400 stitches, it has twisted on me (how I have no idea) to the point where I’ve ripped it out 4 times.
    I feel your pain! Good luck.

  84. We used to own a little wooden cottage in the woods overlooking a lake and one particularly large and audacious squirrel began chewing on one corner next to the deck. We didn’t want to poison him because of the other ittle “friendly” creatures in the woods, so we put a price on his head and let the teenage boys down the hill know about it. They used him for target practice (avoiding shooting holes in our place). Problem solved and, no thank you, ma’am, it was our pleasure.

  85. No squirrels in the attic, but possums in the crawl space a couple of times–they really _are_ big ugly rats with red eyes and naked tails! Only ‘Black Friday’ shopping was a foray to the drugstore for my dad and then to my LYS, which had all their yarn 20% off–I’d brave more than rabid shoppers for that ;)! Tomorrow will be better–thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations and brightening all our days. Best, randmknitter

  86. It’s like a Random Monday post on a Friday! I love how you keep your relationship with your readers fresh by mixing things up every once in a while.
    I just bought some DK weight alpaca today to make some Brooklyn Tweed mittens for a friend who is moving from Houston, Texas to Bismark, North Dakota in January. He is going to need something nice and toasty for the holidays this year, I’m thinking. So I hope my alpaca isn’t in league with yours and that I can manage some stranded mittens without wanting to chew my yarn!
    Good luck with the squirrels!

  87. In admiration of 1200 castonitis as a nerve tonic with a book deadline… Laughed aloud outdoors 🙂

  88. I think the coffee-gods were jealous of your lovely post about tea-time and the comfort it brings.
    Hope things get better.

  89. I see you are having the same kind of weekend as me…..remember Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day? By Judith Viorst? http://www.amazon.com/Alexander-Terrible-Horrible-Good-Very/dp/0689711735
    “I went to bed with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair”
    We went to Thanksgiving, staying with relatives with three cars (long story….). Oldest DD left that night to go home to study (finals looming…..). 15 minutes away, car broke down. Eventually got towed and back to house, and took a different car home, arranged for other DD to get ride home with relative. Next morning piled into two cars to get breakfast. My car door hinge broken….parts that are welded in place cracked! Very nice man at body shop filed and pressed, and finagled the door SHUT (now taped up, DO NOT OPEN UNTIL REPAIRED) so we could get car home. Nice mechanic fixed DDs alternator. Home now….This is the Thanksgiving of the Broken Cars, or The Thanksgiving of the Lovely Car Repair Guys!

  90. Ever considered a French Press? No issues with filters or electricity.
    I feel your pain with the lying Alpaca twisting! I knit the first 8cm of my current EZ seamless sweater while in Emerg for an allergic reaction. Realized after 4cm it was twisted. …But I HAD to keep knitting to deal with the bodywide hives. …So it was ripped out after 8cm and not 4cm. (I couldn’t deal with cutting it).
    Now I’m currently at Starbucks on my second coffee (with whipped cream and caramel syurp). Just ripped out 8cm of the sweater again–this time just as I was getting to the join by the arms…I caught the endless stockingette brainless bug and decided to add waist shaping to an EZ seamless sweater.
    Is there something magical/cursed with 8cm of stockingette?
    PS Regarding the squirrels…ever thought of getting a Norwegian Forest Cat? 20+ pounds of Viking cat can make short work of them. My boy is even perfectly trained to not touch needles or yarn.

  91. Sorry to hear about the squirrels, pepper works really well as they don’t like it. Sprinkle it around the area they go to that you don’t want them to and they will stop. Not forever as you will need to reapply as needed. Also works for cats or dogs who like to leave doo doo in your yard, just pepper those areas and no more doo doo! Hope the coffee pot is not working and the roof is repaired. 🙂

  92. I have a German Shepherd who is excellent at killing squirrels. I can’t promise the condition of your attic though!

  93. Please don’t be mad at the alpaca. I’m hearing apologetic hums from my barn!
    The squirrels, however, are fair game – curses on them!

  94. Oh no! Not the squirrels again! Sorry I don’t have any advice re: squirrels OR coffee. What I really want to know is, what yarn is that? It looks yummy!

  95. I’ve got two words for you: French press. You can get them big enough to make several cups of coffee at once. You can’t run out of filters and as long as you have coffee and a way to boil water, you’re in business.

  96. ever since i heard you read an excerpt from your book at the detroit public library, i have waited with breath that is bated for it’s completion.
    i know that, if that small portion is any indicator, the book will be awesome.

  97. Thank you for the lovely Thanksgiving greeting. We had a great time and we ended up as stuffed as the turkey WAS!!! I, being sane decided not to go to any of those horrific sales held today. Being wiser, a friend and I went to a YARN sale. Not sure that was sane either at this point. I am poorer, but it was fun!!

  98. Another bonus to a French Press: You can knit them clothes. (The Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders book has a cute pattern.) Electric coffee makers neither need, nor, I assume, would appreciate, a knitted cozy. But when lack of coffee has one mad at the world (and the squirrels), it might be comforting to knit for an inanimate object, especially one that is actively producing coffee for you.

  99. yikes – an eventful day. I do swear that those stitches and needles are in cahoots in getting twisted up – it just happens too easily! I think they have a little game they play and spring the surprise on ya later.
    Good luck with all of your events – start with the coffee maker – that will make everything easier!

  100. There is a lot of “sage” advice given out in books that teach you to knit that is not sage or even correct.
    Checking to see that your knitting is not twisted when you join in the round is one of them.
    Yes, it’s good to check it when you join, but the time when you REALLY need to check it is at the beginning of the SECOND round.
    At that point, there is ONE STRAND of yarn joining the two sides. If it’s twisted, it can be easily fixed at this point, and doesn’t make a difference if you twist it to make it right. In fact, it’s so easy to do that you could twist it accidently while knitting the first round, which is probably what happened if it’s twisted.
    In fact, you could even correct this at the beginning of the third round. Fixing it then would involve twisting two strands of yarn, but would be nearly invisible.
    I try to get it right when I join originally. But I ALWAYS check it at the beginning of the second row, and usually at the beginning of the third row.
    Oh, and by the way, if you discover it’s twisted later, you only have to tink back to the beginning of the third row, twist it the right way to untwist it, and go from there.
    Hope this helps.
    Feel free to write this up and publish it if you give me credit for it.

  101. my coffee maker did the *exact* same thing this morning. After working perfectly, last night. Then, I realized that I was so undercaffeinated that while I had filled the caraffe with water, I had failed to actually pour it into the machine. It used what water remained in the tank to brew, oh, about 3 drops of actual coffee that then were drowned on impact. So, Black Friday seems to have stolen all the black from a few folks’ brew…
    I’m sorry the squirrels seem to have been performing incursive maneuvers in the ongoing hostilities. We all knew they had to be up to something…

  102. Finish writing a book without coffee? I can’t read a book wihtout coffee. Thankfuly you live close to a coffee house, there still is hope.

  103. Sorry about the squirrels; have had the same problem. Can hardly wait to hear what the alpaca will become as I have found about a kilo of a similar yarn in my closet (in a nice grayish blue). Good luck.

  104. Let me ask you something. What have you ever done for the squirrels to warrant their respect and friendship? I mean, you knit for just about everybody in the free world, but have you ever considered just how cold a squirrel’s ears (and nuts) must get in those cold Canadian winters? Perhaps a little squirrel sized hat will transform their bitter little hearts. If you’re too busy to knit, then at least consider buying them underwear.

  105. In our household, it is considered a disaster of the first order to run out of coffee…and the man of the house will go to great lengths to secure his cup!
    Which is worse in the attic…a neighbor with a cell phone or fiber-stealing squirrels?
    And I recently was told that a half/half mixture of peanut butter and plaster of paris would eliminate the varmints…almost as well as the pellet gun.

  106. I strongly suggest keeping a french press handy for those times when coffee technology fails you.

  107. Awwwwwwww, I’m sorry for all of that and yet on the other hand I was almost on the floor laughing. With all that happened, you have topped any sitcom, even Seinfeld. Too funny.
    Don’t feel bad about the first few rows of a huge cast-on project not being good. The same happened to me today only my project involved cables. — I stared and stared at my errors wondering if I could fix them without starting over. Alas, I tore it down.
    Oh and Amelia is so right about the french press. I haven’t used a coffee maker in over ten years. You get so much more of the coffee flavor. Once you’ve been french pressed, you never go back.
    I predict you will have a wonderful day tomorrow.

  108. I think that by definition, “Black” Friday must involve squirrels. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves by participating.

  109. You poor thing!!!
    Coffee is necessary to wake up by!!! Evil coffee maker. And then squirrels… you have done amazingly well today! Hit the scotch before bed and get a good nights rest 🙂
    I don’t shop on Black Friday, but I unfailingly have to work it every single year. It is best to stay home and avoid the crowds!!! And awesome stores have 2 day sales not just a few hours sale.

  110. It’s amazing what you can cope with when properly caffinated. My advice is to switch to tea before looking for the receipt for the non-coffee machine. I don’t know what to do about monsters in the attic but I suspect I’d deal with that with a nice hot cup of tea too.
    (Yes dear reader, I am British)

  111. Woke up this morning to find I only had decaf coffee and had to cycle to the shops (0 celcius) to buy proper coffee. I feel your coffe pain.
    I hope you had a whiskey at some point yesterday. (:

  112. At a pinch you can make coffee in a pan (over a fire if need-be) – heat water up to the simmer, then sprinkle in coffee. If it’s very cold, or you want your coffee very strong, put it back on the heat from time to time, but take it off before it gets up to the boil. Strain through anything to hand (sacrificing a clean handkerchief is an option), or stir it up and let the grinds settle, then pour off the coffee very carefully. It’s not the best coffee ever, but if you’re hiking or in a power cut (or your machine has just died), it’s better than nothing.

  113. I need to buy craft glue this weekend. I dare not go to the store to buy it because of the craziness. My wood projects will have to wait for their completion just because I didn’t have the foresight to buy a new container of glue before Black Friday and Scary Weekend.

  114. I planted several large pots of tomato plants this summer. Every time they came close to being ripe, the squirrels would steal them, take ONE BITE, then leave them on the doorstep. They would laugh when you found them. One even threw a tomato at my husbands head!! We liken them to a motorcycle gang, complete with little leather jackets and wallets on chains. Bastards.

  115. I’m sorry. I know that my life, too, revolves around coffee. I need to start a low-no carb diet, and one of the first things it says is to drop coffee, as it creates a need for sweets.
    That being said, I understand the squirrel issue as well, and had one exterminated a few years back and will never do it again. The carcass of the poor beast lay over the vent to the outside, and everyday I passed it was a reminder that I willingly killed another living creature. Block the entry routes with heavy wire, and use traps to capture them from the attic.
    On the other side of the conversation, I love alpaca.

  116. Willing to loan one psycho-killer of squirrels in the person of Carmen the dog. Willing to meet halfway between Rochester and Toronto.
    Here’s hoping your coffee, squirrel and alpaca woes are resolved quickly and with the smallest expense!

  117. I had a pot of under made coffee and discovered that the filter had folded over and most of the water had gone around the coffee. Check that before you toss the coffee maker.

  118. We had squirrels in our attic. Got rid of them when we put up vinyl siding. (Had cedar.) Also had starlings-noisy, filthy birds. Thinking about that French Press slipper with all those comments.
    And I ventured out into Black Friday, but avoided Best Buy, which was packed to bursting. People waiting in line to PARK.
    But every otber store was fine.

  119. Oh, Steph, I’m so sorry about the coffee tragedy! I’ve had that happen. My husband feared for his life…
    So the squirrels have decided on a full-scale invasion? Maybe you should offer them that twisted alpaca as a diversion: get them out of the attic while you and creepy neighbor get the hole in the roof repaired. The alpaca won’t mind being sacrificed for the greater good.

  120. My husband calls the #$%^#**()ing little rodents ‘tree rats’. Glad you don’t have to contend with the evil ‘Black Friday’ in order to get coffee. As my Mother would say “keep your sense of humor”.

  121. I’ve always thought you had squirrels or some other form of wildlife in your attic — just not literally, though!
    The original “Joy of Cooking” gives ideas on what to do with the squirrels. Can squirrel fur be spun into yarn?
    And the alpaca wants to be a Moebius.

  122. I had a similar day a few years back except that involved falling trees, a leaking roof, and a basement filled with water. I asked my mother if Icould move home, she said no. I vowed then and there that if my daughter ever asked me that, I would say yes – for 48 hours. But for the fact that you are in Toronto and I am in VT, I would have you over for 48 hours of coffee, good food, quiet work, and squirrel trapping.

  123. It’s the Squirrel Attitude that does it. Its not just that the little monster is digging up and eating the tulips my son planted for me, one by one; but it climbs the hackberry in the front yard, looks in my living room window, flips his furry little tail and MAKES EYE CONTACT WITH ME while he eats it!!!!!!! GRRR!

  124. I totally agree with Lesley on the sour milk. I can’t tell you how often I’ve made the coffee, only to find it rendered useless by sour milk (or a complete lack of milk because someone put the carton back empty). I can handle it on a pretty day when the closest coffee is a mere 15 minute walk, but on a lousy, wet, rainy day when the closest coffee shop is 15 freaking minutes away and I don’t have a car?? Those days hurt. I’ve been known to substitute Bailey’s for milk on those days, even at 7:30am.

  125. A while ago my husband caught a squirrel living in his business’ attic. He decided to let it free at the beach, far from his office. But before he did he spray painted the thing’s tail with red paint just in case it returned, so he would recognize it. So somewhere near Jones Beach, NY there is a squirrel running around with a bright red tail.

  126. I can’t wake up without coffee! We live in a small town and the only coffee shop is blocks away, which means I’d have to crawl out of my fuzzy bathrobe and into real clothes-they don’t have a drive through. And at that point I might as well stay there for breakfast!
    What you call semi-detached in Canada must be called a duplex here in the US as closely as I can figure. My son and family own a duplex, but I don’t think they share an attic or crawl space, just a common wall.

  127. Hi again. I’ve been reading subsequent postings regarding french presses. I had one that was stainless and thermal. Very nice, but unless you use it everyday and buy the grounds recommended for it, (next step to espresso), your coffee will still be under-strong. Also, they are a real mess to clean. I still recommend my Melita cone. It uses the same drip grind as the electrics and the paper filter lifts everything out cleanly. Actually, my electric pot uses the Melita-style cone filters, so if the pot goes I can use the cone over a large Pyrex measuring cup.
    Good luck with the varmints. I point out, however, that if you poison them (or they die of other causes anywhere in your house) they stink to high heaven for a good long time. We had a horrid stain on the dining room ceiling that took 3 coats of Kilz to cover from squirrel(s) that died up there. We had one die in an inside wall and the stench was so bad my husband had to remove the sheetrock. Luckily he guessed right and only had to replace one bay’s worth of wall.
    Just think. Winter had only begun. yipee.

  128. Did you really say you have a book deadline in LESS THAN THREE WEEKS??? December????
    A pox on the publisher/editor who scheduled such insanity for a knitter! I think the coffee/squirrels got the wrong address from the cosmic universe. They were meant to decend on the idjut who orderd a book deadline anywhere in December!
    Even under extreme duress, you are one classy lady. Thanks again for leading by example. (I would have been all over the wine box long before the end of your list!)

  129. Aww, well… your weekend can only get better from now right? (You may want to triple save your book, wrap your knitting in moth resistant wrapping and protect anything else for alittle while though…)
    Also, invest in some good luck charms 🙂

  130. I always say count your blessing at times like these. It could have been bats…which I hate more so than squirrels…you have scotch,you have yarn,you have needles and a wonderful sense of humour…I know coffee would have been good but we do have Timmies too…that may be a drive for you. Sounds like your book is making good progress too. Have a lovely snowy weekend- whatever it brings!

  131. Black Friday is an obscene institution that is avoided at all costs by hubby and myself. Some stores here actually opened at 10pm on Thanksgiving. We were more than glad to volunteer to babysit Grandma at 4am so mom-in-law could go try to do herself in with all the whackadoodles.

  132. I have a cure for twisted stitches.
    After casting on, knit one row flat,
    and then join to continue circular knitting.
    When finishing, tack the first row using the
    cast on yarn end. Saves time and effort.
    Love your blog. Laminaria shawl is gorgeous!
    Marlyce in Windsor

  133. I too feel the same way about squirrels. I believe squirrels are just rats with glorified tails.

  134. We evicted a squirrel from our attic in the late summer. We recently discovered he relocated to under the hood of our truck (which I drive to work 5 days a week and my husband drives to school and training 2-4 nights a week, therefore it is not often home). An hour was spent pulling walnuts out from every nook and cranny in addition to the nest that was resting next to the engine. We were not amused. Damn squirrels.

  135. We keep a vintage enamel French drip coffee pot for emergencies. With it and my tea kettle we can make coffee over the camp stove when the power goes out. These enamel over steel pots are still made and sold. They come from China now. Our is WWII vintage and came from Belgium.

  136. I’m in NYS and dealt with the whole Black Friday thing by boycotting shopping. It is the only way to stay sane.
    Good luck with the squirrels.
    Score to date-
    Yarn Harlot 0
    Squirrels 1
    I await the final score

  137. Be very careful not to close the hole in the attic until you know that the squirrel(s) is definitely gone. Don’t ask me how I know about this…

  138. I don’t have squirrels in my attic because I don’t have an attic, but I live in fear that they will break through the walls somehow. Not as paranoid as that sounds–woodpecker type birds are always pecking away at our house and we rush out to yell at them, but sometimes they get a hole big enough to nest in and then we have to wait for the babies to grow up before we can seal up the hole.
    They do not make sweet baby bird peeps. They have cawey voices. Hate them and hate squirrels who I suspect are just waiting to get in the holes if we miss sealing one.
    But my comment is really about the evilness of squirrels. We put bar bait (rat and mouse poison) in our garage since we have a field behind us. We are not dirty people, I don’t know why all the animals think they can live with us!
    Anyway, squirrels were stealing the bar bait–a lot of it. I saw one trying to drag a huge hunk of it (as big as a piece of paper and an inch thick!) out. I kicked it back in and a day later it was gone. My thoughts, “good, eat poison and die. You are a rodent.” Of course I would not intentionally poison them, but if they insist on stealing it…..But they don’t die! They have stolen all the bar bait from one side of the garage!
    My theory? Bar bait is squirrel crack. Like a little alcohol makes someone silly but a lot is poison? And what would kill a mouse just makes a squirrel crazy!
    I am trying to get my family to leave the garage doors shut because I refuse to support the squirrel crack habit in this neighborhood!
    I don’t know how you could ever read all the comments, but I enjoyed getting that off my chest!

  139. Just a thought but… what if you had an alpaca (i.e. the live one) in the attic to keep away the squirrels? Very locavore in a yarnish way. Might be rather noisy though. And you’d probably have to get clearance from the neighbour.

  140. Hi! I have had my moments with a squirrel this year – it decided to waltz in the door while I had it open for the dog to come in. He was in the house for a day and a half until he finally followed the trail of nuts out the open door.
    Then there were the mice…I finally had to cave in and buy a humane sort of trap (the Rat Zapper – scary!). Eleven mice later we no longer here scrambling claws in the walls. They were awfully cute, but I just could not convince them to go live somewhere else.
    Knit on, that’s what I say!

  141. I just had a similar problem, neighbour was sure it was squirrels in the attic. Turns out it was roof rats! Eeek! Hired an exterminator.

  142. We had raccoons in our attic (more than one: we could hear them fighting and stomping up there) and an exterminator came and make a gate in the roof that they could get out, but not get back in. Wouldn’t it be great if you got an exterminator to come and he found all your fleece up there? That might make up for the coffee maker and the alpaca giving you attitude. You might have to clean a lot of “squirrel business” out of your fleece, though. Maybe you’d better go get that Scotch before I tell you how much the exterminator is going to cost.

  143. After posing this morning, we discovered a chewed out section on the eaves of the house. Guess who the culprits are? Yes….those damn squirrels!!!!
    Hubby is outside patching and I am casting on for new socks!

  144. sorry about your house troubles…I can sympathize as I have a leak we can’t seem to find to repair.
    The real reason I wanted to write is that the last NCIS episode has a flashback scene where Vance ‘Kinnears’ Eli David! They don’t credit you, or use the term, but he sure uses your technique! I thought it was awesome! Laughed out loud, credited you!
    It will get better!

  145. Someone scheduled a BOOK DEADLINE ONE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS?! Save yourself and have a catalog Christmas @ Chez Harlot!

  146. Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family and all our Canadian neighbors! I’d send some sanity your way bu I need to hang onto to every bit that I’ve got. Peace to you.

  147. It sounds like you had quite a day! I recently commented to my husband that i haven’t head anything about squirrels from you in awhile, then lo and behold, squirrels pops up. I hope you are able to find the yarn the squirrel stole from you and I hope your day gets better!

  148. ….I have two sons who are excellent squirrl eliminators. I could send them on a search and destroy mission in your attic and they could bring coffee to you as well. ….
    That could be my Thanksgiving Day gift to you….I just want to make it all better….

  149. I just lived through a very similar emergency. Here is the solution (as the universe is sure to pull this trick again)
    Place water and coffee grounds in a pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer till its how you like it (very strong if you are me) Turn off the burner. Add about 1/4c. COLD water. Let it sit for about 5 min. (if you add the water AND let it sit, the grounds will settle) Carefully pour the coffee into your cup so as not to disturb the settled grounds. Enjoy your cowboy coffee and laugh at squirrels and the jokes of the universe.

  150. Two words to work around any stupid coffee pot. Cowboy coffee. If you don’t know what it is, google it. A little cold water will cause the grounds to sink, leaving you to drink without fear of coffee in your teeth, and there’s no need to venture out on a cold morning to fetch some.

  151. I cannot WAIT to find out if this is the same squirrel from “The Yarn Harlot” book, and whether or not your yarn has been in your attic the whole time.
    Please please please don’t keep me in suspense!!

  152. Thank you for the Thanksgiving greeting My BLACK FRIDAY shopping consisted of a trip to a yarn shop plenty of parking no crowd personal attention and rooms and shelves and boxes and bags and piles of lovely,soft,beautiful yarns and one very nice owner\salesperson.I think I will do it again not wait for another black friday

  153. Oh my goodness. I hope you are able to laugh about this soon, because then I will be laughing with you, not at you, which just feels mean, to laugh at someone with no coffee and evil squirrels and alpacas! (What is the plural of alpaca? Just alpaca? Or does it get an s? I haven’t had any coffee either, so I shall blame that.) Good luck getting everything straightened out–I know you can do it! I can’t wait for your new book!!!

  154. Please, folks, don’t poison rodents! Owls in the neighborhood that prey on the rodents will be poisoned, too.

  155. I don’t like squirrels either. Especially not in the attic. And the thought of them getting in one’s yarn is quite upsetting! Good luck, and remember, these crappy days will pass.

  156. I agree with weeza, you need a good ratter animal. If the cat(s) don’t get the job done, a small terrier of your choice certainly will. Also, luv ya, Steph, but aren’t you working too hard? Ever thought about easing off a bit? Might bear some thought as a New Year’s resolution, maybe. We your fans will continue to adore you and follow your blog and buy your books – really.

  157. How are you able to cope without coffee? i would have killed at least one person already!
    We used to have squirrels in the attic… until my cat found a way into the attic… no more squirrels!

  158. For the first time ever, I’m beginning to understand your hatred of squirrels. The war stories you’ve told about them were, to someone so detached, hilarious! And while I don’t have one theiving my drying wool, I do have one that lives in the tree outside my second floor apartment who chatters and shakes his tail ALL THE TIME. At first I thought there might be something wrong and actually felt sorry for the little bugger, like maybe he was actually a she and there was a snake in the tree eating her babies. Or all his acorns fell out of his secret hiding spot and all the other squirrels were stealing them. Or maybe he/she was hurt!? The poor thing. Ha! Upon further inspection, it seems that one of the 3 reasons listed below are his motivation:
    1. He is seeing lots of invisible predators that are all conspiring to either eat him or take his acorns.
    2. He is a few cards short of a full deck, which I guess is not his fault, but still makes him annoying.
    3. He is just an asshole.
    At 7:00 AM on a Sunday morning outside my bedroom window (which is open because this time of year is gorgeous in Florida), I was leaning toward possibility number 3.
    So, I’m starting to get it, your hatred for squirrels. It seems that they are little arses that do premeditate to intimidate and harass when they want to. Good luck with getting them out of your attic. 🙂

  159. I went shopping on Black Friday at the one store that wasn’t overrun with frenzied bargain hunters – the grocery store. It was blissfully empty and I made record time, even with my 86-year-old mother in tow.

  160. Herbe matte. Has all the lift of coffee with longer duration and a gentle fade according to my formerly coffee drinking son who has now converted to various teas that often fall out of my cupboards. No help for squirrels or twisty yarn i’m afraid.

  161. I use a French Press coffee maker. It’s never broken! 🙂 boil some water, pour it on top of grounds, steep for 6 minutes and enjoy! 🙂 Best coffee maker I’ve ever had! 🙂
    Alpaca is my favorite, can’t wait to see what you make!

  162. As for the coffee…put a filter inside a funnel and into a cup – add coffee and pour water over. It works in a pinch. Or, heat up the outside grill if no electricity and boil water and do step 1. As for squirrels – we have little red squirrels in MN and in the midst of a remodel, the covers for our heat vents in the floor were removed. With people in and out carrying wood etc. these little sneaks came in but when we saw them and chased them they would circle the perimeter of the room and voila, would disappear into one of the vents. Course then our animal love came out so we had to put a board into the hole (at a slant mind you)so these little darlings could crawl up and out…only to repeat their circle dance! Not my favorite critter for sure.

  163. Stephanie: You seem to live in a house filled with holes: man-made holes, woman-made holes, gratuitous holes, holes in the foundation, and now holes in the roof. You need a “whole” house.
    Coffee solution: bodum french press. You can make it as weak or strong as you like. I operate with a 1 and a 6 cup model. The 6 cup actually makes 3 mugs worth.

  164. My Aunt and Uncle had the same squirrel invasion problem. They put a big bowl full of ammonia up in the attic and let it sit. The strong smell was so uncomfortable for the squirrels, they left. It’s worth a shot!

  165. I’m not sure I get how alpaca makes you twist the yarn? I think it has something to do with foreign caffeine. I just got back in town from a Thanksgiving trip and I am now remembering I am completely out of coffee >:(( I’ll be getting up and heading for the drive-through Starbucks. I wish I had a little place to walk to!

  166. I believe what you have on your hands is a Nutrimatic, you know, almost but not quite entirely unlike coffee, you should sell it to the Sirius Cybernetics company for big bucks. :p
    – oh Douglas Adams what would the world be without you

  167. I only made it as far as Abbie Waters’ post before I seriously LOST IT. Hmmm…spraying fox urine to get rid of squirrels…well that suggestion just spawned me imagining how “pissed” the foxes must have been when they were forced into peeing into a collection cup! The mental picture of which, had me absolutely CRYING, bent over laughing, unable to catch my breath long enough to explain to people nearby WHAT the hell was so funny. Which only made it that much funnier.
    Girl, skip the scotch…go straight for the Cuervo Gold tequila! I’m with you “in spirit”.

  168. We have a geek coffee maker, a gadget called the Aeropress – you only need hot water, pour it on the grounds, stir for 15 or so seconds and press the coffee out from the grounds with a plunger. It’s tiny, really quick to use, easy to clean and makes really, really delicious coffee that is less aggravating to the stomach than normal machine-made filter coffee. Might be a nice backup for you to have, just in case you need coffee and the machine is broken…

  169. I say go for the scotch! RUSTY NAIL: 2 parts scotch, 1 part Drambuie
    (I find these taste best when I ask that they be served straight up. You may, however, request “on the rocks”)

  170. I have just recently stumbled upon your blog and love it. I have enjoyed catching up on all your yarn adventures and find myself checking in every morning to see what you are up to. I love how your posts literally make me laugh out loud. I am very sorry to hear about the death of your coffee maker. I hope you are able to move on soon.
    I am new to the knitting world and have taught myself with the aid of some good books and you tube as my teacher. My fiancé is still getting used to seeing me carrying my bag of needles and yarn all over the house and out and about on my daily errands. My friends are getting into my new hobby and have already started asking for hats and mittens to help deal with the approaching winter here in Ottawa.
    Today I am on my way to my favorite yarn store, Wool n Things, in Orleans to pick up the makings of a pair of beautiful soon to be my favorite pair of socks. I will let you know hostile turns out as it will be my first attempt with dpns and the making of socks.
    Your new fan,

  171. Snort.
    I got a snicker out of your format….you are so tight-lipped today. Were you afraid you’d stop being a lady if you spoke in other than terse little sentences? 🙂
    p.s We have what sounds like a wee mousie in our attic. My sympathies. I vacillate between wanting to ruthlessly exterimanate the little pest (3:00 am) and being Lady Boutiful (2:30pm).

  172. I feel your pain with the twist. Had the same experience, cast on over 300 stitches 3 times, joined 3 times, and each time I had a twist. Done with that pattern probably until I get over the horrible frustration/madness at the yarn. Of course, it’s probably not the yarn’s fault, but I can’t take the blame.
    So I found another sweather – not worked in the round.
    Liz L.

  173. First: Know that I feel all the sympathy that another 100+ yr-old-home-owner can possibly feel for you and the house and the squirrels and the coffee and all that, I do.
    A book deadline one week before Christmas? REALLY? Are you mad, woman?

  174. I’ve had so many coffee machines crap out on me at inopportune times that we finally decided as a family to switch permanently to the french press and/or stove top percolator and leave it at that. Now the only caffeine emergencies happen when we run out of coffee.

  175. sorry you had such a bad day.It will get better. I hope you have a good Thanksgiving Day anyway!

  176. You are indeed lucky to live where there is no Black Friday! Fortunately, one can stay home and knit /spin as the muse takes one…
    Hang in!

  177. We have squirrels living in the space above our kitchen ceiling. They are very noisy. We have already blocked up the only two holes that we can see and the animal removal guy has come and cannot find any other holes. We know they are still able to get it – and out – and it looks like we’ll be stuck with them all winter.
    I fully expect to find them all in the kitchen one morning rummaging through the cupboards looking for snacks. Hopefully they will think to make me some coffee while they are at it.

  178. PRETTY yarn…A NEW book, you say?! Did you know that there’s a French Press Carafe? Hot coffee (or tea) until you make another pot. It also tastes better than mechanical brew/filtered coffee. Hope that your w/e improved.

  179. We had a lovely Thanksgiving here in Yankeeland. I for one ate way too much and am having trouble adjusting to not eating pie every hour on the hour.
    Do you find chunky-weight alpaca too warm to wear? Well, obviously not, and I’m reminding myself that, hello, it’s way colder up there.

  180. Kindly forgive me for being so selfish.
    All of that wonderful writing . . . and all of your tales of woe — critters, crappy coffee maker, deadline looming large . . . and all I could do was smile and shout “NEW BOOK! WHOOOOO-HOOOOO!”
    Backtracking, thanks again for your earlier blog about tea. Thanks to you, I’ve returned to drinking more English Breakfast or Earl Grey.
    than coffee, especially in the afternoon.
    PS: Any chance of knitting squirrel tail instead of alpaca?

  181. As someone with an equally antagonistic relationship with squirrels, I send kind thoughts your way and hope for speedy (yet cheap!) resolution to both your coffee deprivation and hole-riddled roof!

  182. Once coffee maker is repaired/replaced consider topping up with scotch.
    Alternatively soak alpaca in scotch and offer to offending squirrel. Squirrel might then steal the alpaca, suck on it, get drunk and slip off the roof during escape bid. Solution. Squirrel dead, alpaca ousted and you still proud because you didn’t drink Scotch. And there would be coffee.

  183. Condolances, that’s all I can say really. No coffee, book-deadline, phew….
    Oh, on second thought, this too: http://www.backwoodsbound.com/zsquir17.html
    I seem to kind of recall you mentioned eating vegetarian food, I’m not sure whether that was ‘incidentally’ or ‘exclusively’. In the latter case you might want to reconsider. The link is the how-to on roast squirrel. Get some good use out of the little blighters 🙂

  184. I do not shop Black Friday in that I refuse to go to the stores. I did do some shopping online for Barbie doll house for granddaughters . . . the solution being that the stores didn’t have the one that I wanted, it gets shipped directly to them and the store provided free shipping. The additional plus is that my daughter gets to wrap the silly thing.
    As for the squirrel issue, get the movie Mousehunt and count your blessings.
    I agree with the solution to topping the coffee with liquor . . . my favorite . . . oh, and a friends just gave us alcohol infused whipping cream. . . . it is heavenly but doesn’t help at all with the knitting!

  185. Squirrels are nothing but rats with fuzzy tails. I hate them.
    By the way, if you decide to “live-trap” them (though I don’t know why anyone would want to keep them alive), you must release at least 20 miles away from your house. If you don’t, they will actually make their way back to your house and chew their way right back into your attic. (Go ahead and find out for yourself if you don’t want to take my word for it.)
    Once they move in, seriously, they consider the house theirs. It’s like this: If you came home one day and found another family living in your house, you wouldn’t just say, “Oh, okay then.” You’d do everything in your power to get back into your house. Well, it’s the same with squirrels. Sorry to break the news that you and squirrels have something in common. Anyway, I know, unfortunately, of what I speak.
    Of course, this is only an issue if you choose LIVE-TRAPS. You have other (better) options.

  186. I for the life of me am trying to picture a semi detached house only connected by an attic. Maybe its called something else here in the states, or maybe i just havent had enough coffee to imagine it. Can you show us a picture of your house so my brain can stop trying to figure out what a semi detached only conntected by an attic house looks like? 🙂

  187. If you call your local pest exterminator to deal with the squirrels, they will do all sorts of crazy things to get rid of the squirrels. They might try scaring them out, they might try poisoning them, they might even say that they are “humane” and use live traps, but exterminators are not in the business of respecting wild animals.
    If you call your local wildlife rehabilitator, they will come and humanely trap the squirrels, make sure the squirrels are healthy so they aren’t spreading disease, and then release them far away so they can’t get back in to your house.

  188. Years ago when my aunt and uncle lived in Ottawa, they had two dogs which could go freely in and out of the house through a dog door while my aunt and uncle were at work. The dogs had great fun going out in the fenced back yard through their little door, and the Labrador retriever would spend her days stalking (and killing) mourning doves which were stupid enough to sit on the ground. Anyway, one very cold and stormy Ottawa winter day, the dog door got stuck open, jammed with ice and snow, as one of the dogs came in, and a squirrel also came in. Immediately, the squirrel desperately wanted to get out, but of course couldn’t find the door it had just come in, so it spent the greater part of that day in a panic, racing from room to room destroying pretty much everything in it’s path, and of course the dogs had a ball chasing it around. It was near Christmas, so there went most of my aunt’s Christmas decorations, and as I understand it, some feather pillows as well. When Aunt Harriet got home, the house was freezing, the dogs were happily exhausted, and there was a big pile of snow in the middle of the living room. The squirrel was trapped and evicted.

  189. When we lost electricity right after moving to this house, I ground my coffee with my mortar and pestle (I have since bought an antique hand-cranked grinder).
    And I don’t trust coffee makers…or squirrels. All too cheeky.
    But filter drip coffee…ah. Pour the hot water over the fresh grounds. Heaven.
    p.s. My DH set up a squirrel–I mean BIRD–feeder. I won’t swear at him until next spring, when I am trying to establish a garden in the back yard.

  190. In answer to your tweet about whether mums ever stop wanting to be mean to boys who mistreat their girls, NO!
    My daughter is 39 and I would cloud up and rain all over anyone who was mean to her! Well, I would if it weren’t for the fact that she is way better than I am at retaliation, and would take care of it herself.
    They wouldn’t even know the knife was in their back until somebody told them.
    Way to go, sweetheart!

  191. I know how to solve your problem because I’ve had it too.
    Go to the feed store and buy fox urine and a little bottle to put it in. You put a cotton ball in and some and hang it by the hole. They run away because they are afraid of the fox.
    Then cover the holde with a thin sheet of metal like tin. Not a board of wood. Cover this metal with wood if you like. Paint and no one knows you have metal covering a wood hole.

  192. In response to the tweet about mean boys and daughters. Nope! Nor viceversa. Mean girls and sons. Nope! Best of luck with the squirrels. How are the eyes now? It seems like last year you tried to knit even though half blinded by drops:)!

  193. Was the previous comment about fox urine for mean boys or squirrels? Just wonderin’. Could maybe work for either one, you think? Peace. Rebecca

  194. Oh Stephanie,
    What a terrible day. Nothing could be worse than being tricked by alpaca.
    In a perfect knitting universe an extra twist would only be a half twist and all would be well when a lovely mobius came off the needles.
    We usually get a mouse or two over the winter, so I put out preventative bait. Can’t tell you how horrified I was to look at the box and see that it was empty. I am contemplating moving.
    Lest you believe all the propaganda, as an American, I would never ever shop on black Friday. No ‘thing’ is important enough to stand in line for. And, in a total stand of solidarity, I didn’t even go to the grocery.

  195. Here’s some non-sequitur good news if didn’t already know. You picked the same weekend for Sock Summit as the Oregon Brewers Festival (http://www.oregonbrewfest.com), which involves being able to drink hundreds of different craft beers in a riverside park in the sunshine. Mmm, yarn and beer, 2 of my favorite things.
    Well, if I could manage hundreds. I usually make it through about 7 tastes before I get too tipsy to enjoy them.

  196. Hi, Sorry about the coffee maker. I used to think I was above instant coffee, but then I discovered the amazing instants in the Mexican section of the grovery. I keep one on hand for “coffee emergencies” now.
    About the twisting thing, I cast on leaving a bit of a tail, knit 2 rows back and forth, then join. Later I use the tail to tidy up the 2 rows at the join. When you have a couple of rows under your belt, you can get the join right (untwisted) every time.
    Julie in San Diego

  197. What is ‘Black Friday’? sounds awful!
    Coffee – get a cafetiere (aka french press)
    Twisted yarn – gin. Or knit first row flat, then join – you have to sew that end in, anyway.
    Squirrels – all I can say is – my ginger cat loves them – for breakfast.
    Good luck!

  198. Can I just say that I love reading your comments almost as much as the original posts? I guess you do too. I’m loving the idea above of a peanut butter and plaster cocktail. I’ll bet it will help with all manner of varmints who think they should live in my basement/pantry/yarnstash, without poisoning my buddy the hawk who nests across the street in spring.
    Also, I’m another French Press kinda girl. That kettle you use for tea can work for coffee also.

  199. Like some of the other posters, I have a neighbor who FEEDS the d@mn tree rats/furry b@stards. We find the gnawed corn cobs in our yard and throw them back over in her yard (since she is maniacal about cutting her grass and keeping her postage stamp yard, we find this enjoyable).
    We have, however, found the secret to squirrel-free yards. Bassets. Or at least a fast basset who haaaaates the squirrels even more than we do and loves to chase them. (you would be VERY surprised at just HOW fast a basset can run. I know the squirrels were.) We ended up with numerous stub-tailed furry b@stards until they learned to steer clear. *sigh* Squirrel-free at last…

  200. Hoping you have recovered by now. Yowch what a day!
    We have 2 french presses (one a wee 2-mug, one a big 4-mug) and 2 stove tops of similar ratios. One can only trust a gas stove and running water when it comes to coffee.
    Best to you!!

  201. I am in awe of Numbers 10, 16, and 17! I would have given up about #11 – Please tell us that it got better?

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