Hey, Does that wall have writing on it?

This afternoon, as I sat down to write to you about finishing (the sweater kind, not the getting anything done kind) I looked around me at my home and something snapped.

When I finally got home on Tuesday – late in the afternoon, I threw my suitcase inside the door, grabbed Sam and left, and we went downtown to meet up with the rest of the family so that we could go to the new aquarium.   Ken thought the thing up for us all and if you’d have told me we were going to like it as much as we did… well. I think that we had all sort of agreed to go along with Ken’s plan because he’s so nice and that’s really generous and we love him and want him to be happy. 

It turns out that Ken’s a genius, and of course it was brilliant and we had a ridiculously good time and it was super unbelievably fun. The girls all loved it, and it was a fantastic way to spend some time together as a family.

I don’t know why we doubted him for a minute. I think maybe the girls thought they were too old for a field trip like that, but er… look at those faces.

This is Sam touching a fish.

This is Sam finding out that the fish she’s touching is a shark.

Here I’d spent the whole day, in the airport, on the plane, in the cab on the way home thinking that all I wanted to do was pour a glass of wine the size of my head and drink it in bed while I got my knit on, and I even lied to Ken when he said "I’m sure this is the last thing in the world you want to do right now" and I said "No, no.  I wouldn’t miss it for the world." I’m so glad I went.

I LOVE family outings, and I’m never happier than when all three of my girls are in one room and I would have hated that they had fun without me.  Ken’s so clever.

It was a wonderful time, and then we had dinner downtown and I made everyone take a family selfie at the bottom of the CN Tower (they love me. It was about -20 and I’ve got everyone on the stairs outside yelling "SMILE! IT’S A FAMILY SELFIE"

(I’d like to point out that they are smiling, and I don’t think they were just humouring me, but they would lie and say they were – and also, this family selfie is much better than the first one, in which only my forehead and part of Meg’s face appear – but I did get the sawfish in that one.)

It was very good fun, and then yesterday I worked on finishing (again, the sweater kind, not the getting anything done kind) and then last night I had an evening out planned with our Bike Rally Team (yeah. I think we’re a little attached) and then tonight I’m reprising my role as "Joe’s Wife" for the studio holiday party and I’m really, really trying to find my lipstick – but after all this, being out of town and working and then all this other stuff?

My house looks like it was broken into by a marauding squad of macaques. No – let me be clearer than that.  My house looks like someone had a party, put up a tree, left everything to do with all that lying around, then forgot about recycling day, cooked several meals while thinking about the disaster, then shopped for Christmas stuff and left that out while bringing the wrapping stuff upstairs without actually wrapping anything, left a suitcase in the living room, dried their hair, then brought in a weeks worth of mail, studied for a test, put a layer of skeins of yarn and knitting projects over the whole thing and then brought in drunken macaques to "clean up." That’s what it looks like, and it was only when I sat down to blog I could see it all – and so now I’m totally going to have to clean it up, and that’s why there’s not a blog post about finishing. (The knitting kind.)

I’ll see you tomorrow, after I dig my way out of this.  Maybe I should just sell the house?

117 thoughts on “Hey, Does that wall have writing on it?

  1. Great to see that you were doing something fun and not stuck in a NYC airport still!
    Isn’t it amazing how soothing it is to watch fish? Let alone be with family and watch fish…
    It is a shame that the macques aren’t trained to clean up after themselves.

  2. When I get messy enough that I think I should just sell the house, I start working on getting the house clean enough to sell. By the time I’m about half way there (depending how bad it got!) I start to like my house again.
    And now I want to go to the aquarium next time we’re in Toronto. Which could be a while, but I have 4 kids who would love that.

  3. Cannot sell the house, you would have to clean it up, and pack it up and then unpack it all. And to do it inclusive means you start all over on the stash. No dice there either.
    Just enjoy yourself and enjoy being at home, as there is no place like home.

  4. Tackle the house, but for heaven’s sake, give yourself a break on the Xmas prep–not that you’ll take that sort of advice. We all know you’re manic about getting things just so.
    Can’t wait to visit the Aquarium in TO. We used to love going to the one in Baltimore when we lived in DC.

  5. Dang it! That same band of Macaques hit my house too! Those pesky devils.
    They hit my kitchen the hardest though. It’s so rude since it is my least favorite room to clean.

  6. My mother once bought a new oven to avoid having to clean her current one. The idea about selling the house is sort of the same thing. Worked for my mom. Just sayin…

  7. What a truly fun evening! I love how in the second selfie, the sawfish seemed to deliberately swim in at just the right time in order to smile in your picture. She wanted to get in on the fun! Lol and I love Sam’s face at realizing she’s petting a shark! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  8. Nah, don’t sell it. Ignore the mess and have fun. Knit and write and hang with the girls and shove the stuff into a corner and eat good stuff and all that jazz.
    Glad you got home!

  9. Wait, a house is not supposed to look like it was invaded by a marauding squad of macaques?
    Hmmmm. I may have to rethink some things at my house . . .

  10. My son was stuck in Montreal from Saturday until Tuesday, trying to get home to Dallas…I thought of you and your reverse-ish plight. Glad everyone is where they are supposed to be now!
    P.S. What is the Canadian-to-American translation of “macaques”?

  11. Glad you made it home and decided to go with the fam…. there will be plenty of time to clean later… but time spent doing things together as a family is rare and more precious than any jewels…

  12. I think it’s a riot that you had such a great time at the aquarium, unexpectedly – we are never to old for this stuff!! We learned this when we went to Toronto a few years ago. We went to the ROM and found the room with dinosaurs, and didn’t leave for three hours!! We were like kids in a candy shop, and now we look for dinosaurs in every city we visit. We will now have to make a trip back to visit the aquarium! I’m glad you finally made it home; if it helps, years from now you will all remember the trip and not the state of the living room!

  13. They did the Christmas shopping for you?! Can I borrow them pretty please?
    Welcome home, and very very happy pictures there. So glad you have an aquarium now! (Thank you, Ken!)

  14. Glad Things have settled down to your version of normal….but let us remember, Miz Stephanie….
    Increase your fee to cover convenient plane flights!!!
    I doubt there is a single person in either of the two photos of the Carolina do-dah who would not have paid an extra $5/10 to get you home in less than 24 hours!

  15. A clean and tidy house on this side…and a family outing none of you are likely to forget (with sharks and a swordfish!). Is this supposed to be a difficult choice? 🙂
    Glad you made it home safe and sound!

  16. So glad you made it home. At least it’s decorated and has a tree! I’ve got stockings hung (christmas card photo prop) and am making Yule Balls every day to count down to Yule with my boys (more fun than the Lego Advent Calendars, and cheaper, and longer lasting, and less fighting over who gets the tiny snowmobile), but no tree and nothing else festive til we have time this weekend (hopefully).
    Let the mess wait and enjoy the time with the family and loved ones. Nobody ever went to their deathbed saying “I wish I’d spent more time tidying up!”

  17. Dude, aquariums rock! Next time you’re in/near Seattle, go check theirs out. And, if you do ever go, please tell the spiny lumpsuckers (quite possibly the world’s cutest and most amusing fish) that I miss them.

  18. In addition to the above comments: You have my permission to not sweat a “knitting finishing” post tomorrow. You sound like you have your hands full and the blogosphere will be fine. So glad you had fun with your girls.. too bad Joe couldn’t join you!:)

  19. Most people say that, compared to MY living arrangements and housekeeperly habits, THEIR homes are pristine and squeaky-clean. I’d send you photos, but I’m not sure which layer of crap swallowed the camera.

  20. Just take a deep breath, break it down into bite sized pieces that you can interrupt with knitting and do the house 15 minutes at a time.
    It’s manageable; and don’t obsess.
    Merry Happy Fluffy….

  21. You know it’s bad when you’re fearful of a sunny day – ugh, the windows… I just know I’m glad I live in Seattle and, my best friend once said, never dust higher than your tallest friend. Gotta love that.

  22. I was there at your presentation in North Carolina, and I would have happily paid double the amount (for each of our seats)just to see you and hear you. So, please–include direct flight in your fees. You are more than worth whatever amount needed just to see and hear you!

  23. There was an eight year period when I was a renter and moved often. I claimed that whenever the fridge needed defrosting, I found a new place instead.

  24. Oh! This outing is totally on my list for Christmas break. I foresee dragging along some uninterested teens who end up LOVING it!

  25. buy the house next door, only take what you need right now. Then over time, you will bring more things as needed. In a year or five just repeat the process. It is my dream, but hasn’t happened yet.

  26. KEN ABSOLUTELY SCREAMING *ROCKS*
    Of course, we’ve known this for years, but really.
    When I was a little punkin kid 50 years ago I visited the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and was (no pun intended) blown out of the water. YAY and CHEERS @ Ken for his awesomeness. Y’all the bunch of you cannot fail now for the rest of the month just because of this. Hugs@Ken

  27. KEN ABSOLUTELY SCREAMING *ROCKS*
    Of course, we’ve known this for years, but really.
    When I was a little punkin kid 50 years ago I visited the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and was (no pun intended) blown out of the water. YAY and CHEERS @ Ken for his awesomeness. Y’all the bunch of you cannot fail now for the rest of the month just because of this. Hugs@Ken

  28. OMG, those aquariums where you walk through the tubes and can see the fishes all up-close and from different angles …
    They are the BEST. We have one here in SF and I just adore it!!!
    Now I can’t wait to visit Toronto.

  29. So glad you got home and than went to look at fish and have fun! Another reason to go to Toronto…The aquarium! The mess, what-evah and when-evah!

  30. Maybe it’s time you made THEM clean up!!!
    From my own experience it was invigorating and self validating when I said ENOUGH!

  31. You can always clean up or hire someone to do it. Family Night at the Aquarium – WOW!! Priceless. Assign everyone a job . . . tomorrow. Drink wine, rest, knit, smile, today. You deserve it.

  32. Your traveling holdups made me smile in sympathie, over here we have a saying: to Amstderdam is 200 km, from Amsterdam to here is 200 miles, got it? They think we live fa-ar away and never think about us having to travel the same distance to meet them at their home, so km.’s and miles. Made me think of the song: home, I’m going home. Now I am sure of it after the marauding makaken in your home while you were away. I have “Somebody” living permanently in my home, Somebody left the lights on, not me,Ssomebody left wet washing go mushy, certainly not me, because Somebody removed my clean washing from the machine to do his washing without warning me, Somebody ate the last cheese and Somebody did not buy new cheese. Somebody is a pain in the .rse, so be prepared, your Somebody is only guesting at your house when you are away, be firm, show him the outrance (is that a word?) you get it) and ask Somebody to shut the door behind Somebodies behind on the outside, Do not allow Somebody to get the status of a five day old fish pr guest( guests and fish stay three days fresh). Maybe every house has a Somebody?

  33. Oh, and everybody who has a knitter in the family really gets tunnel aquariums, they are used to not see trough: slip, jump, on and ofs, dancing needles, put aside, kthrbl, fish do that all the time. Fish in clear water must be very refreshing and fun to them, finally a way to see all those going-ons of knitting.

  34. I think between October 1 and the second week in January, if YOU leave the house overnight, the family must leave the house when you do and not return until after you have returned, consumed your head sized goblet of wine, had a lovely hot soak, done your laundry from your trip and had a good sleep.
    Should they begrudgingly remain behind spouting nonsense including something about ‘living (there) too’ they are obligated to hire maid service to return the house to it’s previous clean, locked and upright condition prior to your return and sit on the curb until you allow them reentry.
    Failure to comply will result in the amount of time spent to return the monkeys party house to Stephanie’s house be deducted from said offenders knitted gifts.
    They will be fortunate to receive a swatch.
    Cheeky monkeys.

  35. We took the boys out of school one day last week to visit the Toronto aquarium and we ALL loved it too! Isn’t it beautiful? oh and the same “party” happened in our house too minus the tree which we are about to add to the mix later today. Merry Christmas, Stephanie!

  36. Glad you made it home safely in the end, and what a way to cheer yourself up! I love love love aquariums, the one in Monterey is fabulous, as is the one in Lisbon i was there in summer with a new camera, and took about 400 photos (not exaggerating) and spent about 7 hours there. I might just have to visit Toronto again to see the aquarium!

  37. There is this Magical thing. It is called a housekeeper. You can actually pay them money and they will come clean your house. The whole house! All you have to do is give them money, crazy I know! You could hire them for one day, like in an emergency. Cool eh?
    Also, I have been looking for an aquarium like that in Ottawa/Montreal/Toronto area. What is the name of it. I will take my family next time we are that way. Merry Christmas Stephanie.

  38. So great you and the family loved the new aquarium. I went with my genius partner and my two grandchildren. And the 5 year old boy said it was the best day of his whole life … twice. He said it when he was looking at the rays and they were swooshing around, and he said it when he got home and was telling his mom 😀
    And we got a selfie at the CN tower too. I’m so glad you went after your awful travel experience.

  39. Two comments:
    1) love aquariums. When we travel, we always make time for a trip to there if the city has one. San Diego, Baltimore, Atlanta and more. Watching the fish swim by is so meditative.
    2) keep the house. Getting it ready to sell and keeping it clean while it’s on the market will seriously disrupt knitting time.

  40. What a nice homecoming. I’m glad you are safely there, even if the reality of home is always messier (literally and figuratively) than you remember when you are trapped in the dreaded transportation corridor.

  41. +1000 internet points to you for invoking macaques in this post.
    (Glad you’ve made it through your travels relatively unscathed. Happy holidays to you and your family!)

  42. I love aquariums. Just another reason to plan a visit to Toronto! Back to knitting the 3 things I decided last night needed to be knitted for Christmas presents. Got the yarn balled and the needles chosen and the pattern chosen. If I only didn’t have a day job. Dang, that thing gets in the way.

  43. I was in Toronto for a conference about 18 months ago & wondered what they were building right there next to where the conference was held. Now I’m wishing the conference had been after the aquarium was built because it looks so fun! 🙂

  44. That last paragraph spoke miles to me. I’m mired in laundry. Everything is in a state of partial. I’m working up and through Xmas eve. Evenings have been sold to the devil… anyways. We still are having a grand time. The busy, is with great friends and family. And so even when I feel like I want to crack, because I swear there might be something dead in my fridge … we are having a good time. I’m so glad you had a wonderful time at the aquarium and dinner w/the family. all of that other stuff will irritate you, but it will be there, it will eventually get done. Happy Holidays.

  45. After reading that and knowing that my house on occasion resembles this post, I have to admit that dynamite has its appeal. But then the sentimental and sensible part of me says no and slogging though the work happens.
    I have stopped doing certain things for the house and holidays. One I have stopped with mixed feelings is the baking. Because of my non oven issues, I no longer turn my kitchen into a bakery. Maybe next year. Cleaning up is non negotiable with my husband and he helped decorate this year. Finishing will happen but it will take less sleep. My husband will wrap presents. The secret is that he’s better at wrapping than I am. All this mundane stuff will be done before the kids come home for Christmas hopefully but I’m not making bets.
    Merry Christmas to all

  46. Well, you’ve just given me the answer to – what do I spend a batch of frequent flier miles on? For some reason, for about 2 weeks now, I was thinking Toronto. In winter.
    The aquarium totally clinches the deal.

  47. My grandmother always said that she wanted her children to remember the time they spent together, not that she was too busy being tidy. I concur.

  48. Hmmmm. Your house sounds a lot like mine. I think I’ll join you in your cleaning frenzy . . . :o) Then I’m going to spin some lovely tiny little braids of merino and BFL I scored yesterday while the children are sent outside to play so they can’t mess things up . . .

  49. I just a minute ago got a spam email with the subject line: “Yarn Harlot: Sodden”
    So I checked to see where they harvested my address and the subject line: It was from
    “Dec 17, 2008 – Sodden”, another pre-Christmas post, the day Mr Washie lost his drive belt. Which sort of fits – the spam was about some kind of mechanical repair company with, obviously, a really stupid person in charge of their advertising.
    Oh, and to be on topic: tidiness is overrated. It’s nice once in a while – I’d love a tidy house – but even without live-in kids, there are better things to expend energy on.

  50. Your house and mine may be related. Either that, or the same sort of cleaning and decorating help came here, too. Anyhow, good luck! I’d have more to write, but the mess is creeping into more corners as I type this.

  51. My husband got back from being on exercise in the field over a week ago and has not put anything away (and he has a lot of stuff) and then last night my son came home from oarding school. So don’t worry, those macaques have moved to mine!

  52. I love going to the aquarium. Definitely in my top places to go.i haven’t been to the local one, but it is on the list of places to go once our little boy is a bit older!
    Also, the only reason our house is even a little bit clean is because our parents were visiting, so we cleaned up.

  53. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

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