I'm a knitter. Not a good one, or even a consistent one, but on occasion I have been observed knitting. I can handle a scarf with minimal problems, and last year I even undertook my biggest adventure to date, a baby blanket for Jonah, Kevi and Mike's youngest son. I know very little about the craft but the repetition is good for me in moments of stress. One of my favorite things to do is put on The Music Man and knit while singing along. Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little, cheep cheep, cheep, talk a lot pick a little more. It's the gayest thing I do, but it's comforting and I'm not at all ashamed. My knitting had never resulted in any trouble, that is, until a year ago tonight.
I was thinking about it while walking Duncan this evening in the park. I decided to retrace last night's meandering path through the snow. I wanted to see if anyone had followed it and was surprised to see that someone actually had, at least until the second curly-q through the trees, at which point their path diverged sharply with ours and we were on our own again.
I was thinking about that morning a year ago when I woke up to discover what I thought were several tall piles of bloody vomit littering the floor of our apartment. Ken was out of town for training and I was on my own. If you've never woken up at 5:30 AM to piles of bright red puke, let me tell you, there are better ways to begin the day. My heart pounded in my chest, my vision blurred and I began to panic. It was worse for Dunc, though, by a long shot. The poor guy was hiding under the bed and refused to come out. I literally had to pull him out to get a look at him to see what the problem was. There was no blood on his face and he looked fine, although a little wilted, and once he saw I wasn't angry he perked right up. I gave him lots of love, coaxed him outside and prepared myself for the gruesome task looming ahead of me.
After grabbing pounds of paper towel, a moist rag, the carpet cleaner, a sponge and a scrub brush, I reached for my first handful and discovered it remarkably manageable, and only a little warm. It's the warmth that bothers me most, but the pile had cooled and I didn't gag at all. In fact, the whole thing seemed to lift off the carpet in one easy scoop, with none of the smearing or sliding familiar to anyone who's cleaned up after a pet mess. It was only when I picked it up that I discovered it wasn't blood at all but a huge wad of yarn, the bright red wool I'd purchased for a scarf only the day before. Apparently Duncan liked it just as much as I had, although for entirely different reasons.
Needless to say, the clean-up was quick and painless and I was in the shower and off to work without a second thought. Duncan was fine, he'd only tried to eat some yarn. It had come right back up and there were no problems. Never mind that nearly a third of one of the balls was missing, or that I'd carelessly left the yarn sitting in the same basket it had always sat in, right there in a corner of the living room where anyone, or thing, could get it. Again.
I quickly learned the error of my ways upon returning home nine hours later. While I was gone Duncan decided to sample some of the other year: a bit of the heavy black wool, which he left in a moist little pile right in the doorway, a bit more of the red, but the one that struck his fancy the most was the ugly brown ball with the metallic gold thread woven into it. That he'd consumed rabidly. And puked up with just as much fervor as I imagined he'd downed it. There were several large piles scattered throughout the apartment, with a single long strand running between them, connecting them and which formed one enormous, continuous piece when I cleaned it up. He didn't look too happy with himself but became even unhappier while on our walk when he began puking again. At one point when the yarn seemed caught I actually had to pull on it gently and guide it out of his stomach. We left another enormous pile on the grass at The Breakers, which would be re-discovered on another walk five months later when the snow finally melted. I took him home, made some rice–which he picked at only half-heartedly–and sat on the couch knitting one of the endless scarves I still had to knit prior to Christmas. Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little, cheep cheep, cheep, talk a lot pick a little more.
The adventure seemed over, but the next day I'd learn it had only just begun.