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Old 01-30-2006, 11:11 AM   #1
BigBearJeff
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The Bear Travels to Michigan (Get a cup of coffee)
Pre-Trip planning

Now you know how I am with my stories. There are always “pre-stories” that are required in order to give you an accurate picture of the various events in my life. So being that I am officially a “knitting machine” I have started to accumulate some various items. 4 sets of needles, various yarns, scissors, crochet needles, tape measure (though I have been told to switch to a ruler??), row counter, markers etc.. These things are really starting to add up. I took off the Friday before our trip as I wanted to get a few things done before our departure (House cleaning, laundry, etc. All the things my kids think magically get done by some leprechaun when they are not looking). One of my secret tasks was to get over to the knitting store near the house and see what type of bags they may have to help me organize all of this stuff. Unfortunately, the selection was a bit “foo foo” and “granny” for me. No offense ladies, but “Mr. Rugged” can only go so far. On top of that they were like $100.00!!! No!!!

Now don’t get me wrong, I will pay good money for good needles and yarn, but $100 for a bag…no! Thus, I went into ‘thrifty mode”.

Bear Goes Thrifty

So there is a store here in town sells all kinds of overstock items from various other stores. They have a whole section with various travel bags and gym bags etc. I did find a gym bag that would work, but it was $60.00 and was a bit too big for my needs. I was also a bit too collapsible; I was hoping to find something a bit sturdier. Then out of the corner of my eye.. I saw “IT”! There was this blue “luggage” type bag. It had a Hard shell, and was not too large. I opened it up to find that it was actually a ladies luggage bag for carrying toiletry items, and makeup etc. It had all kinds of zippered pockets, elastic holding straps and multiple compartments. It was hard cased and very functional. But more importantly $19.99! Yes Thrifty IS as Thrifty DOES!

Thus, I purchased it. Of course at check out I just gave the “it’s not for me smile”. (Why is it I care so much about what other people think??)

So I get home, pack all my knitting stuff. I have to tell you this really worked out perfect. It holds 4 skeins of yarn and all my other knitting tools/items. I love that it is a hard shell so my yarns and patterns are not getting crushed.

Bring that my knitting bag was packed I started getting the house organized before our departure. I am putting away CDs, DVDs etc.. and I freeze! I am looking at a DVD case, and realize that I am looking at Reese Witherspoon from the Legally Blonde DVD and OH CRAP! Is she holding my new knitting bag? Oh great! I have the blue version of this bag. I have gone from Legally Blonde to Legally Bear!! God help us!

The Road to Michigan

Well as some of you were aware I made plans to travel to Michigan to visit the in-laws this weekend. I was actually excited as I knew I would get 6 solid hours of knitting in. As some of you may recall I am working on the “Make a baby Afghan in a weekend project” that is actually taking me more like 2 weeks.

That whole northern Ohio/Michigan country side is really cozy. It often reminds me of one of those P. Buckley Moss paintings. We listened to one of those books on tape where the author of the book actually did the reading. It was one of those animated autobiographical books that made me laugh several times.

The drive up was nice, and I must say that these circular needless are the BOMB! They are so much faster and easier to manage. Someone warned me that I would develop a love affair with them. They were right. I reached the halfway point in the afghan before we arrived at our final destination in Brighton, MI.

The Arrival AKA “Smokefest 2006”

Now if you are a smoker, inhale. hold, and let me vent….

Both of my in-laws smoke. God love them. They have this beautifully spacious home, but the minute you walk in it hits you like a wall. I was once a smoker and trust me I know all too well that we do not notice it, but once you become a “born again non smoker”… well let’s just say.. Yuck! I knew ahead of time that there was NO WAY I could take my baby afghan knitting project in that house. The thought of presenting my pregnant co-worker with an afghan that smells like an ashtray is just too gross.

It was sad. The minute we arrived I thought… "Man I am going to have to wash all of these clothes the minute I get home." Keep in mind, “they do not smoke in the house..”, instead they smoke in the basement and in the guest room bathroom. (Like they are not part of the house??)

The Wakening AKA “Shower time with the bear”

Saturday morning I wake up and my nose and throat are going full force rebuking the smoke demons… I head to the guest bathroom to shower. Smoke smell is 5X normal in here. Thus, I open a window and turn on the shower. Now I am freezing, sneezing, and waiting for warm water to arrive. As some of you recall I am 6’ 4”. Thus, I get the great privilege of singing into the shower head.

The warm water finally arrives. As I reach for the shampoo I realize that it is the same bottle of VO5 shampoo that was in the bathroom from 3 years ago.. Good thing I brought my shampoo with me. Before exiting the shower I realized I had gotten suds on the painted wall above the shower. I went to wipe it off… and *cover our eyes and skip this section if you easily get grossed out* and I realized that the walls were about 5 times darker than they should be due to Tar buildup on the walls from cigarette smoke. Okay so now I am REALLY skanked out. I grab a towel from the rack and begin to dry off. As I wipe my face and inhale I realize OH NO! SMOKE TOWEL! I was expecting a clean smelling fresh towel directly from the laundry, but instead I get the ashtray towel!!! So now I am extra grossed out, and all I want is to get into clean clothes and fresh air!

My mother in law recently had surgery, and I decided that I could NOT leave those bathroom walls like that. So like a good son in law I scrubbed all the walls. If you could have seen the washcloth when I was done… Gross!


Well either way, I pulled out a hat knitting project that I had just started and worked on it Satuday afternoon. (Yes this story does have knitting!) I knew I could wash it later, and being that it was for me I was not as stressed out.

Of course I had to hear from the family about my new stylish “reading glasses”. I affectionately shared the “fickle finger of fate” with the family and continued.

It is so funny when you work on a knitting project around friends and family. When you first start the project you get the “Oh.. what is that you are making???” with a sarcaster smile. Then someone in the room will tellyou “I know how to Crochet” comment to which you shoot the “oh you are one of those” smiles back. After about 5 rows into the the project the stockinet stitch is starting to show very nicely. And all of a sudden they are all believers. Of course after the crowd leaves the room my father in law quietly admits to me that his mother had taught him how to knit and purl. (Busted! We have another “Knitters Anonymous member”!)

Either way, I had a really nice weekend, and we left Sunday morning at “dark thirty” for our 6 hour trek back to Lexington, Kentucky and CLEAN AIR!. I drove most of the way in rainy weather, but thankful that I was heading home to a clean air house.

I have a busy week, but hope to have the Baby afghan completed by this weekend. I will post pictures when it is complete.

All the best,

Jeff
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Old 01-30-2006, 11:30 AM   #2
monzogary
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I love your little stories, they are so fun to read! And the funniest thing about this one is that you were here in the city that I live in ! I myself am a reformed smoker so I know all too well just how bad it smells to us now . I can't stand the smoky smell and it literally gives me a headache and starts me coughing. Glad you did get a bit of knitting in while you were visiting and got a lot done on the afghan during the drive. :XY:
Have a great day!!

Mary, SAHM to Aimee 14, Heather 5, and Laura 2 1/2
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Old 01-30-2006, 11:38 AM   #3
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Old 01-30-2006, 11:57 AM   #4
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:20 PM   #5
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:44 PM   #6
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Great story and I totally know what you mean about the smoke issue. I just can't knit at my aunt's house because I don't want the smell in the yarn.

Thanks for the delightful story!
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:59 PM   #7
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Oh gosh that reminds me of my grams house. Its so horrible over there.. her walls have this shade of brown on it that's DISGUSING!

Whats even worse is that her food tastes like smoke too

Glad your back!
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Old 01-30-2006, 02:15 PM   #8
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It really is a small world! I live in Brighton, too! I know what you mean about the smoke smell -- I can't stand to be around it myself -- and there are certain places that I just won't take my knitting. I actually wash all of my baby blankets with Dreft before giving them away -- we have a lab and I'm paranoid that some of her hair will get on a blanket that is going to a dog-allergic home... Just me being anal, I guess! :D
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Old 01-30-2006, 03:05 PM   #9
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LOL Your stories are wonderful! My DH is a reformed smoker so I also know the before and afters. Ick is right. And I also know about the brown haze on everything from my grandma's house. :rollseyes:

Funny about the bag.. I used one of these types when I first started. Not expensive and would look very nautical and manly...unless you get pink. I actually don't have a take along bag yet so these may still be an option for me.
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Old 01-30-2006, 03:42 PM   #10
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Thanks for the rundown on your trip. :rofling: You are so entertaining. You really do need to start a blog--you make even the most mundane activities fun.
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