Peeves, Vexations, and the Golden Rule

My daughter and I went errand-running and shopping yesterday. At one place, a small “country” store, she took our cart back to the part where the various sized carts are kept while I paid for our items. She came back, seething. While she was there, at least three people “returned” their carts by shoving them through the doorway willy-nilly. She sorted them out and put them away. Right now, she’s wearing a medical support boot after her splint from ankle surgery was removed, and she pointed out that it really wasn’t that hard to walk ten more feet to put them away. She was very vocal about it. I bet the woman behind us put her cart away properly.

I sympathize with her completely, and in fact, she asserted that it was something she learned from me. I never understood and still don’t understand why people can’t return shopping carts in a way that doesn’t make it a headache for the person who has to come out and fetch them. Imagine taking 3-5 extra minutes to put a large cart in with the large carts and the mini carts in with the mini carts just so the cart fetcher doesn’t have to spend 10 extra minutes in pouring rain or blazing sun, or freezing air to sort the things into chains. Is that really so difficult? Is that much time so crucial that it would ruin your day to make someone else’s life easier?

When I was in college, if I had to empty someone’s clothes out of a dryer so I could use it, I folded it. It wasn’t entirely precise, but it had to be better than dumping it in a heap on top of the dryer. In that case, I used maybe 10 minutes of my time to treat a stranger the way I’d like to be treated. Now, I usually found my own dry stuff dumped on top of the dryer, but that wasn’t the point. I like to measure my life by what I do, not what I get.

It’s not that I think I’m perfect. I’m capable of selfish behavior, and at times I am even unapologetic about it. But there are a few places where I can rise above it, and I’ll do what I can when I can. I’m not looking for a medal for rearranging the cart corral.  I’m pretty sure the people who collect the carts might not even notice. Maybe they don’t care. But I know, and I care, and that’s enough for me. Even better, I’ve created a tiny legacy because my daughter follows my example. (At the Mart of K, our next stop on our shopping expedition, she counted three cart-abandoners, one right in the way of the exit door, as she waited for me to pick her up. (Slush plus an orthotic boot do not make a happy combination.) I daresay that she will carry on with the small tradition of restoring shopping carts to their rightful place.

Now if I could only get her to do the dishes more often….


Snow happens

I don’t understand why people complain about how awful snow is when it’s the appropriate time of the year for it to snow. I get it about shoveling and scary driving, but why does it seem to be a surprise? It often snows in January. In this area, though, we’ve had some pretty mild winters, so perhaps they deserve some slack, although the people who drive 15 miles an hour on a perfectly dry road because there are snow flurries ought to have their licenses suspended.

A supervisor I once knew grew up in the Midwest and drove in snow all the time. Deep snow. Uphill both ways. With bare tires. You know. So when people worried about getting home when it was snowing a bit heavily, she would laugh and mock them because it was nothing as far as she was concerned. Eventually, I pointed out to her that everyone else didn’t have the benefit of her experience and perhaps didn’t know how to drive in snow. Or, maybe they did know, but that didn’t guarantee their safety from all the other people out there who didn’t know but had to drive home.

I never learned how to behave. People don’t like it if you remove all occasion for superiority.

So yesterday’s snow wasn’t supposed to be much, according to a local meteorologist, but by 9:00, school districts were calling for two-hour delays which turned into closings this morning. Stephen left nearly 2 hours early to negotiate his way to work. I took pleasure in lounging in my pajamas a while. The down side, of course, is that the sidewalk had to be shoveled. H was recruited, and he complained bitterly because L couldn’t help her. She’s in an orthotic boot after ankle surgery. Shoveling is not in her cards at the moment. (She should be fine doing dishes. muwahahahaha!!!) 

He wasn’t outside long, but when I went out later, he hadn’t done a bad job. There was ice, though, a challenge beyond the scope of a plastic shovel. I chipped at it with my heel, then fetched some kosher salt to pour on it. It helped a little, so I can’t help but wonder why we don’t have rock salt. I imagine that Stephen felt we didn’t need it because we wouldn’t use it that much. I expect that I’ll go out and get a bag and secrete it away until it is needed.

It’s time to make pizza crust for dinner. It’s one of those things I find to be so satisfying on a wintry day.

Bless the Beasts and the UFOs

It is snowing. It was supposed to be a storm which was downgraded to a few inches, but just the promise has events cancelling all over town. I got home from the dentist with H and L before it started in earnest. Naturally, upon our arrival both Sheila (dog) and Ollie (cat) wanted to go out.

Sheila seemed to change her mind, and Ollie went out. He scratched at the door to come in (he can open our storm door), and Sheila promptly went out. I sat down at the computer, and Sheila barked to come in. I let her in, sat down at the computer, and Ollie whined to go out again. Clearly, he believes that the weather can change on a dime. I think he knows something important about climate change, but he’s not telling. I sat down at the computer and he started to scratch to come in. I opened the door, and he was gone.

“Ollie?” I said. He came around the corner and trotted inside. Now Sheila’s at the door looking glum. She can wait.

As for the UFOs–no, don’t make me a tinfoil hat yet. In KnitterSpeak, a UFO is an UnFinished Object. It’s the single sock still on the needles, the armless sweater stuffed in a bag, the last pair of mittens in the gift pile for numerous niece and nephews. It’s the half-finished shawl, the abandoned Christmas stocking, the unsewn afghan squares, the baby blanket that just needs to have the ends woven in and to be blocked. (That last one is one of mine.) (Oh yeah, the Christmas stocking, too. I can’t find it.)

There are methods for dealing with knitting UFOs. One is to make a pile of all UFOs and knit one’s way through them with clenched teeth and super-human willpower. Another is to gather them all together and pick out the one’s one thinks have a prayer of being finished. The hopeless cases can get frogged (KnitterSpeak for undoing or ripping out knitting–think “rip it. rip it. rip it.”) and the yarn and needles can be returned to their respective stashes to await another project.

A third way is to stare glumly at the heap of semi-demi garments for a while, then cram them all into one bag or box in hopes that their proximity will lead them to complete each other. Immediately after stowing the storage item in the farthest reach of the house, one must cast on a new project to cover the gash in the universe made by the concealment of the UFOs.

I think that this will be the Year of Finished Objects. I will keep finish one thing before beginning another. Actually, I usually have a portable project and a not-so-portable project going, and I guess the hoodie for H is still portable. I don’t know if I’ll get to my personal UFOs, but I’ll be sure to record any progress here. I have a sweater which is top down with stranded color at the neck and I stopped working on it for some reason. I’m afraid it’s because I dropped stitches and I didn’t want to deal with it. I’m not going to worry about it now, but I will finish it. Sometime. I think.

Oh. Sheila wants to go out.