Christmas presents and Home Alone

IMG_2005Though I am a big fan of cowls and sweaters and whatnot, I must admit that this Christmas is a season of the little things. Don’t get me wrong, gluttony is my fav deadly sin, but bringing home 9 or 10 skeins of merino wool every few weeks really puts some wear on my poor credit card (and makes me uncomfortably familiar with the staff at my local yarn shop). So this year, I’ve opted for some single-skein projects to give to my friends and family as presents, and I can’t say I’m entirely disappointed with the results:

IMG_1988

IMG_2004First off, I had a request for a pair of gloves that my mother in the image above is so blurrily enjoying (#datfstopdoe). While I have made plenty of mittens and hand warmers in the past, I have always steered clear of anything with fingers or toes under the belief that my large hands and ineptitude with fingering weight yarn would make such ventures impossible. Fortunately for the recipient of my knitting as well as my own ego, all it took was careful circular knitting and yarn tucking (oh yeah, and 1 seriously botched, practice glove) to produce these perfect, purple, proportional gloves. And best of all, both gloves (all 3 if you include the perpetually-flipping-you-off practice one) took less than 1 skein of yarn, so I splurged a little and used a luxurious Madeleinetosh sock yarn.

These gloves were given to my friend’s mom, who I have never met but really hope has an incredibly large thumb.

IMG_2715As I’ve traveled around the country these past few months, I’ve come to realize that winter as I know it is a complete lie. Apparently, things get really cold outside of California (i’m talking like, below 50, guys. you wouldn’t believe it.) and peoples’ faces start coming off if you don’t apply moisturizer constantly (learned that the hard way #reallifemolting). And having experienced this weather firsthand, I now know the value of having a warm, wool hat. Combine this newfound appreciation with the discovery of Cascade Longwood (an amazingly affordable superwash merino wool) and you have me binge watching American Horror Story chugging out 4 hats in a week.

These hats were for the members of my ISG crew, a gang of introverts who spends hours on end discussing Revenge, Ed Sheeran, and delivering each other’s children (we also beat people up and sling dope on street corners).

I was hoping that by the time I wrote this post, I’d have some sort of Christmas miracle story to recount to all of you (like knitting an entire sweater out of just 1 ball of yarn). Unfortunately, nothing of the sort happened. Instead, Michael Tan happened.

For those of you who don’t know Michael, he is a child prodigy, having graduated from college at the ripe age of 19 (or something like that) and beginning medical school this upcoming fall. So you’ll be surprised to learn that, recently, Michael, in all his precocial genius, locked himself out of his apartment in Oakland, leaving behind just about everything him or I would never ever want to leave behind ever.

Things locked inside the apartment: Michael’s house and car keys, Michael’s wallet, Michael’s phone, my computer (it was a blogging day so def needed that), my glasses/contact solution (i have very dry eyes and at the time I had about 2-3 hours before complete ocular agony), my medication (I was feeling particularly asthmatic that day), and my knitting (’nuff said).

Okay, so here’s what happened:

1:30pm: Initial freak out. Exchange of insults followed by apologies and reconciliation.

1:45pm: I MacGyver a dustpan and pencil to open both locked metal gates separating us and apartment #1D. The door is deadbolted and we knock on the off chance that Matthew 7:7 was written in a literal sense.

2:10pm: Michael and I switch shirts (don’t ask).

2:15pm: I give Michael a boost as he removes the screen from the front window and learns that it is locked from the inside. Mother and daughter walk past us as we are trying to force the window open. They say and do nothing.

2:30pm: Michael and I open the 2 locked gates of the adjacent apartment complex and climb through a hole in the dividing wall and arrive on the balcony of 1D. We borrow a screwdriver and pliers from the neighbor and unscrew every back window and the balcony door to no avail.

3:00pm: Begin banging and pushing on windows in frustration. I contemplate breaking a window with a rock.

3:15pm: Michael gives a pep talk on how smart and capable we are and how we shouldn’t use brawn over brains. He calmly takes rock out of my hands and compliments how his shirt looks on me. I decide to go buy a shirt like it the next chance I get.

3:45pm: I open the top corner of the back window a tiny crack and use a rusty hook to open the blinds so we can see inside. 10 minutes of jubilant celebration ensue.

3:55pm: Michael realizes that the window we have slightly cracked open is locked in place by a wooden dowel:

dowel-window-securityHe believes that if we can remove the dowel, we can fully open the back window and climb our way in. I start undoing chicken wire with pliers so we can bend it to reach the dowel while Michael goes through neighbor’s trash to find a suitable piece of wood to hold the wire. I tell myself that I’ll just let Michael keep my shirt.

4:30pm: Several failed attempts at removing the dowel. Then we realize that I still have my car and my wallet and my phone and that we can go out and buy stuff rather than dig through someone else’s trash (facepalms all around).

4:55pm: Arrive at hardware store minutes before closing and purchase steel wire and wood glue. We feel like men at the moment.

5:15pm: I use pliers to form a mesh-like surface out of the wire that will be used to stick to the dowel. I apply the wood glue. Michael balances on overturned bucket atop broken step in order to stick it through the tiny crack and maneuver it so it sits flatly on the dowel. Sun is setting.

5:30pm: Wire contraption is failing. I spill the wood glue and it gets everywhere (except my chinos. geddit jcrew factory). Sun has set. I feel like crying.

5:45pm: I make a second wire contraption to stick to the dowel while Michael holds the flashlight. I am quite impressed with my work under the circumstances.

6:00pm: Michael maneuvers wire to sit on top of the dowel and lets the wood glue dry. We read the glue bottle and realize we have to hold it there for 30 minutes.

6:05pm: Michael asks if it’s time yet because his arm is tired. I lie and say almost.

6:25pm: Michael and I go back and forth seeing how long we can hold our breaths.

6:29pm: We pray that the wood glue will be dry.

6:30pm: The wood glue is not dry. Michael pulls the wire back through the crack and we pack up our stuff. I drive him to his parents’ house, then I drive home.

I know. I’m just as disappointed as you are. If we had gotten that window open I could’ve made a reverse Home Alone blog post (speaking of Home Alone…) and talk about how there really is magic during the holiday season and that hard efforts really do pay off in the end. But no. Instead, I got 5 hours of labor amounting to nothing (aside from deep conversations about life and the future and unforgettable moments of laughter topped off with a delightful dinner with Michael’s family, of course). So much for a Christmas story.

***As of 2011, there are 1,307.8 reported burglaries per 100,000 population in Oakland, California.

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