Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tense much?

I feel as though I've been swatching my life away. I was swatching some Ornaghi-Filati Gong to make the Mason-Dixon After Dark Nightie and the gauge is supposed to be 20sts on US 6 needles. I was getting 24. Had to work my way up to an 8! Then I looked at the ball band and realized I started out getting the actual gauge called for on the label. I guess M-D wants a looser fabric. No sweat.

I was also swatching for the Ogee Tunic from Knitting Nature. Using Garnstudio Drops Alpaca. Supposed to be getting 23 sts on US 4 needles. I was getting 28 sts! Had to work all the way up to US 7's! (By the way, this is a fabulous yarn! Sooooo soft and lovely.)

I always do this with slippery yarns. I death-grip it in fear of dropping a stitch. Tomorrow I CO. (So much for my first summer goal - 5 WIP's indeed.)

We found this in our front yard this weekend....

A sweet, loooong garter snake buddy. (Had to be at least a 3 footer.) Reminded me of a story (which I dedicate to Knitiot Savant).

So there I was.....
(If I ever start a story this way, get a snack and have a seat. Or move on. Your choice.)

When Dave and I first moved in together, I was a package deal. I had a huge tabby cat (Oscar) and 3 dogs (Maggie, the embarrassingly-harmless-Rottweiler; Toto,the wire-haired-mutt-terrier-that-looked-like-you-guessed-it; and Squirrel, a little strawberry-blonde-with-amber-eyes-mutt). We lived in a 2 bedroom townhouse. The development it was in was across the street from a huge open field where people go and take their kids and dogs to run and play off-leash.

We lived there 4/99 - 1/03. When I was about 5 months pregnant with our first kid, I talked some friends from my Shiatsu massage class into going to a concert of The Molly's. Dave didn't care for them and had to be up at 4a the next day to go to work so he opted to stay home. When I got home at about 11p that night, I came in the house and saw the backyard light on, and Dave out there with a shovel and a flashlight. The dogs were going NUTS. I opened the back sliding glass door and said, "What are you doing? Go to bed, we'll pick up the poop tomorrow." He yelled at me to, "CLOSE THE DOOR, THERE'S A SNAKE OUT HERE!!!"

It didn't quite register at first but then I heard the rattle. No mistakin' that sound! I told him to come inside and bring the dogs. He didn't listen for a few minutes and he was actually trying to kill it with the shovel. Come on. Seriously? Did he really think he was faster then a snake? He did. He was wrong. He didn't get hurt and I finally convinced him to come in and let the dogs in the house (they were outdoor dogs).

Dave is terrified of snakes. (He used to run 18 of 36 holes at a high end golf course in Tucson and had seen his fair share of them.) I spent the next 20 minutes calling pest control places to get someone to come out and remove the thing. The weird part is that our area of town was considered city. If we were county, the fire department would come and get it. Apparently if you're in the city... you're on your own. All the places we called were closed. We finally got one guy on the phone and he wouldn't come out but he suggested we get a hose and spray the little beasty til it left our yard. Great, so it goes into the neighbor's yard? They're like, 80.

Finally, I had a brilliant idea. I called the hotel where I worked (at the spa) and had them transfer me to maintenance. I knew for a fact that they've had to collect a snake or two and had the equipment to do it safely. (One time they had to remove a 6 foot bullsnake from the second floor hallway!) I talked to three of them before I got a young kid who would do the job. I told him I'd come and get him and take him back. It normally takes about 25 minutes to get to the hotel from our house. I made it in 10. (Midnight, no traffic, excessive speeding, you know...)

The kid brought the snake-catching equipment (a long metal pole with a grabber on the end and a cage) and the three of us were in the backyard trying to catch this desert rattler. Finally, the kid had me go on one side of our tree and shine a light in it's eyes to distract it and he went on the other side of the tree and grabbed it with the pole thingy. (They use metal because it has no heat and snakes can't sense it. Seems good in theory, but in the desert, metal things are hotter then anything else!)

He pulled it out of the weeds and GODDAMM!!! It was close to four feet long!! (I always regret that none of us thought to take a picture of it.) We debated what to do with it. We couldn't take it across to the open field (because of the aforementioned family outings that go on there) and we knew that if you take a snake out of it's normal radius (5 miles?) it'll die anyway.

We ended up chopping it's (not-so) little head off with the shovel. It was so freaky. It actually did that still opening and closing thing with it's mouth that you see in the movies. The kid took the whole thing with it to be taxidermy-ed. I felt really bad for it, it wasn't pissed off or attacking or anything. It was just scared and defending itself. But, what're ya gonna do?

OK, just had a weird memory. A boy that had, at one time or another, dated all 3 of my stepsisters (and eventually married Janet) used to keep snakes at his house. He kept them in separate aquariums and hand-fed them all. Including the rattler. He had his own anit-venom kit. Crazy!

For those of you that've made it this far... I present my first sock heel.

Sweet, snakeless, dreams, Ruth!


Anonymous said...

" Snakes. It had to be snakes."
-Indiana Jones-

sophanne said...

Holy snake story- This girl here gets freaked out when the cat brings home a leetle babee bunnee.

nice socks- first heel ever??? it looks good.

Susan said...

Holy shit. I finished your story. My heart only stopped once. I think I would have moved.

Nell said...

That story gave me the shivers!

Yarnhog said...

Your story totally cracked me up. First, I love snakes. I had a six-foot boa constrictor until our second child was born and my husband finally convinced me that large snakes and tiny babies do not mix. I still miss her. Second, we live in Southern California, and rattlesnakes are practically as common as spiders here, since we live on the edge of a nature preserve. Every spring we get them all over the neighborhood. The first time we caught one, I called animal control to come remove it to the wild, and they laughed at me and told me to kill it. I was appalled.

Faith! said...

What a great snake story! My grandpa used to collect rattlesnakes for a nature museum and would keep them stacked in pizza boxes on the kitchen table.

Chris said...

Susan's comment cracked me up!! Your sock heel's looking good.