Easy as 1,2,4.

This year my good buddy Lene gave me one of her standard gifts.

It’s a schedule. A pre-Christmas run-up organizational schedule. (This is one of the ways that we have discovered that Lene’s natural and incredible proclivity for running other peoples lives can be used for good.) Everyone has a talent, and Lene’s may be that she can, given a spread sheet, 15 minutes and a list of your commitments, whip up a schedule that will tell you, down to the very minute what you should be doing in order to have complete success (If not free will). This would normally bug the snot out of me. I would resist the schedule. I would lose it, or cram it in my purse or wander around making changes to it with a black pen while muttering almost unintelligibly, “Nobody tells me what to do. I do what I want.” Not this time of year. This time of year I find it extraordinarily comforting to have it all arranged. I don’t have to wonder how I will finish on time…I just look at my list.

Wrap 30 minutes. Cookies 1 hour. Knit sock 1.5 hours.

Lene is so gifted at this that if I follow the schedule she makes for me, if I suspend all independent thought, if I simply do as I am told unquestioningly and without suspicion….I will finish everything. It will all be done. This makes me mighty fond of the schedule.

This years schedule is a little tight though, and Lene? I’m going to need to make a few changes to it to make it work.

1. I started socks C (I noticed there was no time for winding yarn on the schedule, so I did that instead of wrapping gifts. The children can wrap the presents with tin foil in two seconds. It’ll be festive.) but I had a bit of a gauge accident on the bus and had to pull back the whole sock the size of the Hindenburg’s obese older brother and start again.


(Somebody will ask. Two Sheep Yarns. Yum.)

I’m only just noticing that there is no room for knitterly error on the schedule. It only works if I make absolutely no mistakes. This may be some pressure, but I’m sure I can adapt.

2. Clearly, responding to the pressure I have lost my ability to count. (This could have been what went wrong with the sock.) Lucky for me, the people who read this blog are smarter than I am and Edith caught my mistake in the hat pattern from yesterday. The cast on is 86 stitches, not the 88 that I carefully counted (twice) noted and wrote down so that other people close to the edge could start to knit a hat this close to Christmas only to discover that the Yarn Harlot has led them down the path to disaster. (I imagine the mail I got on that one wouldn’t be too friendly either…) Lene? I went back and fixed it on yesterday’s entry but that took an extra five minutes that was supposed to be for shopping…so then I missed the bus and that took 30 minutes more. I’ve changed knitting Socks A to knitting Socks C because my hands were to cold from being outside for that long to knit tiny needles on the bus. This change should still work, since I’ll swap Socks A for an hour of mittens on Friday.

3. There may have been a minor Christmas cookie incident. I was making meringues. That went fine, and according to schedule I baked them, turned off the oven and left them in there to dry. (There is really very little victory in life that I enjoy more than being on schedule.) I worked on Socks A,


just like the schedule said. Then I worked on some wrapping and the cleaning and put in a load of laundry and turned on the oven to preheat it for the gingerbread and knit on Socks B before realizing I was ahead for a minute or two and deciding that there was enough room in the schedule to break loose and call my mother. It took me a little longer than usual to find the phone because of all the smoke…so I wasn’t sure that I would…be….going to…..Smoke?

Damn. For the love of O(*&*^%$!@!!! just whack me with a metal spatula until this is over.


Immolated. A fiery meringue inferno of festive disaster. (Seen here in the backyard in the snow, melted in their tragic blackness to the parchment they were so tenderly placed on. Throwing them in the snow was the fastest way I could think of to get the smoke to stop.) I forgot they were still in the oven.

When I opened the oven the smoke was released so quickly that all of the smoke detectors went off and I had to go off schedule for another 15 minutes to run between all of the detectors in the house fanning them with a hand towel with a snowman on it to get them to stop.

After carefully assessing the time lost, I have decided in my infinite wisdom, on the best and perhaps only way to deal with the problem. I sorted out how to replace the meringues, move the knitting time the meringues take to replace by giving up an hour of sleep and moving the shopping for wrapping paper over to the evening when Joe can do it if I change his time to help me wrap until the morning and get the kids to decorate cookies tomorrow instead of tonight when the cookies are in the oven and switch mitten knitting for sock knitting so that we can still go to the Christmas party tomorrow night and I was starting to feel better…and then Lene? Then it came to me….

*&^%$# the stinking meringues.

I think I’m adapting to the changes in the schedule pretty well.