adventures in craft shopping

(I went to go write this onto tumblr and realized that it was really long, so I deleted it and decided to write about it here)

Jamie and I went to a local craft store the other day. Our area has a handful of craft stores and, hell, even some of the local Walmarts have a decent craft section (not as amazing as they used to be back in the day, but working their way back to it). This particular one I wanted to go to because they have a better fabric section.

Jamie and I went wandering through some aisles, wandered through beads and papercraft sections, the woodworky things and the kidstuff. I found a kid’s dress and pointed out that a) Cricket would look super adorable in it and 2) I could probably make one myself. Jamie agreed on both things (it was one of the dress-up dresses. sequins and tulle. I don’t do sequins as a craft because of childhood and the constant dealing with sequins)

Jamie found a couple things that he wanted to try/play around with, so he grabbed those. I found some yarn on sale that was really pretty and really tempting. But, I reminded myself that I have no room for more yarn and while the stripe-gradient thing was really cool, I have no idea what I’d make with those. I have a skein of one of those stripe-gradient yarns and I haven’t messed with it. I have a plan for it, yes, but I’m not sure how it’ll go. And, I was mainly here for fabric.

Like I said, this particular craft store has a better fabric section. So, off to fabric we went, circumventing the yarn area. We found some fun print fabric that would be cool to use, some glow-in-the-dark fabric that was more expensive than I’m currently willing to pay (I have small projects and I’m cheap. cheap also means more various fabrics)

I’ve been looking, off and on, for a specific fabric for a few years:: white with red polka dots. I’ve found white with pink-and-red or pink-and-purple polka dots, I’ve found white with green-and-blue polka dots, and I’ve found red with white polka dots. White with red polka dots is hard. I had figured I’d have to use red felt, red fabric, or even a red fabric sharpie (which I have all three), but, just in case, I’d like to look.

I found white organza with red polka dots. Score. I can work with the see-through fabric, I have white fabric at home. So I go to the counter to get it cut.

sigh.

I am ignored by the woman at the counter, who has seen me walk up, and continues working on folding fabric in front of her. Ok, cool, finish up what you’re doing (the retail monkey in me is screaming “acknowledge your customers!”) and I can wait patiently. I work retail, I’m not going to be a dick. I was also raised to be polite and wait patiently despite my grandmother’s best efforts otherwise.

Another woman comes up and another customer just dumps all this fabric onto the counter, joking about finding more stuff (a woman after my own heart. more power to you lady). The employee asks if she has her ticket and calls out a number.

There’s a ticket system? Since when?

There’s no notation to “take a ticket” or “please have numbered ticket ready” or anything like that. The woman who has steadfastly ignored me demands to know if  I have a ticket. I told her: I’m sorry, I didn’t know I needed one. So she calls out another number.

Are you fucking kidding me.

A woman who has grabbed a ticket from a pull-out machine that I had no idea was there because it blends in with the surrounding area hands me her ticket. I told her I could wait, no worries. She insisted I take her ticket and she grabs another. She was super cool and I thanked her and said “Shows how often I’m here, doesn’t it.” and we chuckled a bit.

The woman who has ignored me and gotten mad at me about this whole ticket thing calls out the number and I smile and ask for half a yard please. She unrolls it and I can see where someone just eyeballed it and cut it haphazardly. She measures half a yard, does a cut, and then uses the handy-dandy little pre-made cut area in the counter to cut the fabric. She doesn’t smooth it or even seems to care when it bunches up.

I don’t care, I want my little bit of fabric so I can get out of here. It’ll be enough for what I need.

Without looking at me, she tells me that this fabric is non-refundable.

Really? Really. It’s fabric. It’s cut fabric. Why would I want to return it anyway? I tell her that’s fine, take my ticket and half-assed folded little peice of fabric, and walk away.

We walk away far enough and Jamie can see that I’m a little mad at the whole encounter. I point out that I’m glad I didn’t have a lot of fabrics I wanted cut and that I’m not going to come back for fabric, I’ll just shop online or something. (which sucks because I prefer physical contact with the fabric I want. I want to see it and feel it before I make a decision).

We go up to stand in line and the woman in front of us insists we go ahead of her because she “has so many things” and we have one or two (we had like five but they fit in the palm of Jamie’s hand). The teeny tiny girl in her early 20s was there ringing people out. She’s super nice and even if I look at her name tag I can never remember her name. She always has a smile on her face and is always wonderful. I like her.

We had a better experience with the cashier and the couple of fellow customers than we did when dealing with the fabric people.

As we were halfway across the parking lot, I told Jamie: the longer I work in retail, the more I fucking hate people. Jamie told me it’s because I have higher standards because I work in a retail environment and have higher expectations.

I looked down at the fabric in my hand as I sat down in the car and saw that the red polka dots that I saw in the store are bright neon pink.

Jamie told me it was ok and I told him I can easily fix that. Hey, I’ve got fabric markers, I can do it.

 

making things

+ I finished the Combo Breaker blanket, it is folded up and sitting on a shelf until Jamie remembers to take it to work to give it to the parent. lol

+ I made Jamie a Bear Hat. It is a smidge too small, but he thinks it’s awesome. So, I’m working on making another one (I have the yarn so why not?) I still have a few more months before it gets cold enough for him to wear a hat, so I have the time to work on it.

+ I keep staring at the same documents doing nothing.

  • Weird Granddad story is just…there. I am at a point where I don’t remember exactly where I was going with it
  • Attempted Novelette is at a standstill. I’m at the point where I can’t remember whose name is for which character except for one, and that’s mainly because I keep making terrible jokes about it.
  • I’ve been jotting down notes for another story idea to try to get bits together with it

+ Nothing is finished and I don’t know if I’m fine with that. I don’t know if it’s an epic brain fart or just extreme apathy.

+ Bug and Firefly got into it the other day and Firefly needs to learn that Bug is getting her back for when they were younger and Firefly got Bug because Bug was too nice. Now Bug is a tank of a dog and has power behind her snaps.

Firefly is fine, we carted her butt to the vet, where her head was cleaned and parts were shaved. I insisted we take her because of the puncture under her jaw (which is fine, just squicky) and we learned that she’s got a couple more punctures than I had originally thought. She’s on antibiotics and has been happily spoiled by getting to sleep on the couch, getting various pieces of human food (cheese, peanut butter, things like that), and snoring on the bed.

Yarn hoarder

Jamie and I are working on re-arranging and “cleaning” the craft room.

Part of re-arranging the craft room was to take out the cat food and cat litter totes out of the closet and put them in the pantry, which meant that while I was sweeping and moving stuff around, Jamie had to pull out the little wooden shelf-thing from the pantry. It works out because now I have the wooden shelf-thing in the craft room and it is…stuffed with notebooks.

Jamie bought this reinforced basket hangy thing to put in the closet and shoved about a tote’s worth of yarn into the sections, and then realized I have way more yarn than that. So I have 3 totes of yarn in the basement, 1 tote of yarn (and hooks, needles, etc) in the bedroom, and I found skeins of yarn shoved up in other places (whoops).

Hi, I’m Manders and I have a problem. I have a lot of yarn.

I also have a lot of notebooks.

I’m not done with the craft room just yet. I have a few more things to do, rearranging things and putting supplies where I want them, and probably annoying the cats by moving them around when they’re in my way. Beric has learned that where I’ve put one of the shelves is the best place to catch some sun.

The end goal is to take the craft room back from the cats for the short amount of time that I can take it from the cats before we bring in the grow-lights and shelves for the indoor-growing portion of gardening.

Just Delicious

Short story, flash fiction (possibly, word count says it’s 246 words), and as usual a first draft. I wouldn’t consider it a second draft because all I did was type up what I wrote in my notebook.

I like it, it’s got a good oomph.


 

Just Delicious

“Dinner was a great idea.”

A fork scraped against the bottom of the bowl she held. Light music filtered through the room as she looked around the candle-lit kitchen.

She nodded, “Y’know, I think you were right. Salt makes it weird.”

She got up, bowl in hand, and walked to a cabinet by the sink. “Should I go for just regular pepper or the Old Bay seasoning?”

Looking over towards her companion, she realized his mouth was full and couldn’t answer her. She paused for a moment before grabbing the bright yellow tin of Old Bay seasoning, sprinkled a bit into her bowl, did a quick stir with her fork, and took a tentative bite.

She nodded, “Old Bay seems to be the best flavoring.”

Sitting back down, she set the tin beside her companion’s nearly empty bowl. “You should try it. Gives the dish a whole new zing.”

A wheezing grunt came from her dinner mate in a response as she grabbed for the serving spoon. She smiled warmly at him.

“You’re drooling a bit,” she grabbed a napkin to dab at the corner of his gagged mouth.

She re-positioned his fingers so they had a better hold of his chin.

“Now now, we don’t want dinner to spill onto the floor.”

His eyes blinked slowly, not really focusing on anything. She dabbed at a line of blood on his forehead before setting the napkin on the plate that held a chunk of his skull.


 

+ Word says “repositioned” is a correct word, however, wordpress says that it should be “re-positioned.” Strange.

+ I’m totally keeping the working title (“Just Delicious”) because it cracks me up and reminds me of the Alvin Schwartz retellings. But, instead of Just Delicious being about a butcher and his sausages, it’s just a fucked up little story about a woman and her dinner companion.

+ Old Bay seasoning is awesome on popcorn.

The neighborhood

Story! Like the others, this is a first draft. Honestly, I don’t know what else to do with it.

**

The Neighborhood

“Oh great, there’s a neighborhood,” he muttered to himself.

He turned off the main road, clogged with afternoon traffic, and on to a smaller road. He wanted to make a small short-cut in order to bypass the congestion.

He sighed, “There must be a wreck or something.”

He switched the radio off and continued down the road. It was a small, paved road, with no median marker and he began to feel as though he was riding down a country path. Large trees bent over the road to shade it with vines and shrubs growing up between them up to the edge of the asphalt.

“Looks like I’m the only one who thought of this.”

The road began to curve slightly to the left and he continued on. The trees looked as though they’d backed off from their original positions. A small field started on the right, edged up against a cluster of trees covered in kudzu, and a small house on the left.

“Good. I thought I was going to end up in some hidden industrial park.”

Another small curve revealed a small neighborhood. Mid-sized houses, painted white or beige, settled onto large yards. He hit a stop sign at a fork.

“Might as well go left. It’ll take me back to the main road.”

He made the turn, going up a small hill, noticing houses with classic cars in driveways and fences with “Beware of Dog” signs. He smiled and nodded, going down a gentle slope while passing a large, 3-storey white house. He hit another stop sign and took a right, realizing that a left would lead him right back to where he started. The foliage started up again as he continued down the quiet street. He had the opportunity to glance around and noted that a lot of the houses had their windows and doors open. The road began to curve slightly to the left as foliage began to take over the area from the houses.

“This must be a chill neighborhood,” he thought. “Doors open, screen doors keeping the bugs out, and no one playing anything loud.”

The trees began to rescind as the road straightened out, a small field began on the right and a small house on the left.

“Huh. Must’ve hit the wrong road.”

Soon, he was back at the first stop sign he had come across in the neighborhood. He decided to go right instead of left, which was straighter and didn’t go up a hill. A few of the houses, mostly painted beige, seemed to be a little closer together than the other houses he had seen. He decided to cut the radio back on, thinking that maybe he could catch the hourly news update. Static filled the interior.

Every station he turned to emitted nothing but static. He turned the radio back off and sighed. He must be in a spot with a lot of interference, he thought. There are a lot of trees around the area. He glanced around and saw someone walking along the edge of some of the yards. They were wearing a jacket with the hood up and looking down at the ground, so he couldn’t tell if they were a teenager or adult.

He shrugged and continued driving, eventually passing the walking figure. Another stop sign appeared at a T-junction and he went left. The houses looked a little bit closer together, some seeming to share lawns. A few had some simple little flags hanging out near the front porch. A flag with bumblebees on the right hand side while a flag with summer birds on the left a few houses down. A birdbath was off to a side, a swing-set peaked out from a backyard, and he noticed that all the windows and doors were wide open like the houses on the other street.

The road wound lazily, passing a small creek, and continued. He looked around as trees covered in kudzu started to creep closer to the edges of yards, slowly taking over the properties and tangles of wild honeysuckle made its way towards the pavement. It curved slowly to the left and he noticed that the same house was on the left hand side, just as the same field was on his right.

He groaned. “I’m going around in circles. It’s always circles. This town is nothing but freaken circles and I’m stuck in a little clusterfuck of them.”

He continued on, taking the right at the first stop sign. The person in the jacket was walking on the same side of the street but going in the opposite direction. Probably some kid going to a friend’s house or something, he reasoned with himself. The T-junction came up and he took a right, willing the small road to lead him out of the neighborhood.

He rolled the windows down, “Fresh air should help.”

The air was warm, like evening air at summertime but not humid. He heard no birds nor the cicadas which he had gotten used to going to sleep listening to the past month or two. He smelled no grill smoke nor the fresh scent of a log fire, which his neighborhood was filled with. Most of his neighbors had taken advantage of the nice weather in order to have friends around for hot dogs and roast marshmallows.

The road was straighter than the one he had taken when he went left, but it was starting to curve a bit. He passed a few more houses with “Beware of Dog” signs, but realized he hadn’t heard a single dog bark. Surely even dogs inside the houses would still bark loud enough to cause a muffled sound to waft through the open windows. The curving road started going left. The small house on the left came in to view as the field, surrounded by kudzu laden trees, appeared on the right.

**

Ok, I lied. It’s the second draft (just first draft digitally since the first bits are in a notebook)

The circles comment is a frequent here in Roanoke (it’s all damned circles!)

Writing is ridiculous

I’ve been working on the first draft of a short story that I thought would probably end up being around 600-800 words or so, but I’ve decided to write it in a 1-subject notebook that has both short story beginnings/pieces and comic sketches. I have no idea how many words I’ve gotten so far and keep reminding myself to not count them before I’m done because, really, what’s the point in that.

I haven’t been working on it every day because I am a procrastinator and life happens. I’ve been working on it while on my lunch breaks at work, so I have something to amuse myself with after I get irritated at getting killed by Stimpy or dying by mousetraps (argh! I can’t believe it. I get past Stimpy only to die by a freaken mouse trap?! wtf. I should’ve gotten Megaman. grr)

The other day, I was texting Jamie while working on it and asked him if I should make a Douglas Adams reference because I had already made a reference to the dolphin guy (double checking Mysterious Universe and I’m 90% sure it’s Aaron McCollum, which is mentioned on episode 309–I’d listen to it, but I’m currently listening to a podcast where they’re interviewing a guy who wrote a UFO/Extraterrestrial book and is trying to make it so it becomes “mainstream.”). Jamie said I was just doing this to procrastinate and keep from writing. I guess he was right, so I made a comment on twitter about how I wonder how many nerdy references I could cram into the story before I remember we already have that and it’s called Ready Player One. (a book that I have yet to finish and I doubt I finish it.)

Then I realised, fuck it. It’s my story, I can do whatever I want. If I want vampires to come out of the walls, I can do that. It’s not part of the plan, but I could do it. It’s not like anyone’s going to see the first draft. When I go to type it up, it’ll get changed. When I print it out so I can re-read it for the nth time and do a few edits, chances are the only person who will see it is Jamie (unless I go fuck it and post it up here to see what happens).

I’ve been tiptoeing on the line of crazy conspiracy theorist writing this. I’ve made references to the dolphin guy, a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference, Hollow Earth theory, and mentioned Reptilians. I mentioned anthrax in the mail (and there goes the beep for government tracking. Hi guys! It’s just me.), a Jello brain (an oldie but a goodie. I remember keeping an eye on the Jello mold from ThinkGeek’s HQ years ago), office hijinks, Anarchist Cookbook (there goes another ping in tracking), extra-terrestrials and star gates, NASA, “late-night radio shows,” and the Silk Road.

By the time I wrote down the Silk Road, I realized that I’m going to bring in the MIB into this story. Like the classic 50s/60s MIB, because witness statements make them extra fucking creepy. And why not? It works out for the story. The whole roundabout way to the ending is becoming hilarious to me, but it works because I don’t have to do much research on it. I just have to rely on memory for the most part (oh all those fun stories from childhood)

I realize I’m procrastinating on writing now as well. I have the notebook right beside me but I can think of a handful of other things that need to be done. I’m enjoying writing it, but I’m also at a point in the story where everything is just so damn ridiculous. There are parts of it that I find stupid as I write it, but I also realize it’s part of my process.

swift kick

I need a swift kick in the ass to get my shit together.

I went to go through a notebook to look for an unfinished story and then realized that story I was looking for wasn’t in that particular notebook (I’m looking for the one I’m calling “pig dreams”) I realized that I should go through the notebooks that I have written in to see what’s in there.

I had to grab an empty notebook to make notes of where stories were. Four notebooks and I’ve got 10 stories that are unfinished, not including the print-out of a story I had tucked in one of the notebooks.

10 stories. 10 unfinished stories.

I’m a little disappointed in myself (however, I did find a finished flash-fiction peice, so woohoo!)

I’ve been reading through what I’ve got so far and I realized: I want to know what happens next! I told Jamie of my little revelation and he just went “Well, so what happens next?” The downside is, I don’t know what happens next. At least, right now I don’t know what happens next.

But holy cow, I didn’t realize I had done that (started a bunch of stories and then went off to work on another story idea). I’ll be going through and seeing where they go, but this also means I’m going to have to set the printer back up. I prefer to hand-write my notes when I read over the drafts. Looking over on something on the PC to edit just makes it seem so…I don’t know, disconnected maybe.

Right now, I’m just making notes on which notebook has story bits in them. I plan on making notes on which notebook has one-liners or half-baked ideas or ideas that seem interesting but haven’t been even partially mapped out.

I told Jamie that with just the amount of stories that I found in those first four notebooks, I could probably self-pub a book. I mean, hey, why not? I’ve been planning on posting up stories and seeing how they go, but I don’t know.