A couple of weeks ago I came home from knitting group, checked caller ID and saw that my mother had called. She never leaves a voice mail, so I didn't bother to check and just called her back. Al (her husband) answered and after a confusing couple of minutes in which he assumed I had listened to a voice mail he had left me and I had continued to assume I was calling my mother back, not him, I got the point. My mom had fallen the night before and broken her hip and had just been rolled into surgery for a hip replacement.
They live just about a mile or so from the hospital, so Al was at home checking on the dog, having left the hospital after they rolled her into surgical prep.
That call was on a Wednesday, and as the next couple of days passed, I made plane reservations so that I could be there when she got out of the hospital and help out where needed.
Most of my help consisted of sitting around and knitting while my mom was napping, or talking to her while she was awake. Al normally takes care of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry so I didn't really have much "work" to do there. He's a former career Army mess sergeant, so he always has everything well under control. Also...the food at Chez Mother and Al's is top notch.
I took a lot of knitting with me -- my Manon which needed to be sewn up, little Quincy-ita, which was in progress at the time, a pair of socks for my sister-in-law that I'd been knitting as a demonstration for my sock class, and just needed to finish the foot. I also brought yarn to make Bella Mittens for a Twilight-loving friend, as well as two balls of sock yarn. I was prepared.
I was not prepared for my direct flight to be canceled and to be re-routed through Milwaukee, where I left my notions bag in the seat pocket. The notions bag that contained, you know, all my knitting notions, like my black sheep measuring tape, two very expensive Signature Needle Arts dpns, a 2.5mm circ for knitting socks using the sock yarn I brought with me, my scissors, my needle gauges, stitch markers, crochet hooks that belonged to my grandmother, and all my darning needles.
I finished knitting my SIL's second sock while waiting for my flight out of Milwaukee, which is when I discovered I no longer had my notions bag. It was too late to go back to the other gate, which was in another terminal. Milwaukee's airport is set up like a wheel, with each terminal coming out of the main ticketing terminal like spokes. In order to get from one terminal to the other, you have to go through security. I didn't have time to go through security twice with all my stuff in order to report a missing notions bag. So I couldn't graft the toe. I also therefore couldn't graft the Quincy-ita hat band. I couldn't start a pair of socks with the needle holding my SIL's sock, and I couldn't start a new pair with my other sock needle, because the other sock needle was in my notions bag.
I decided to start the mittens, only it turned out I hadn't brought the pattern, I had brought a PICTURE of the original Bella mittens used in the movie, which I had slipped into a page protector. It wasn't even a picture of the pattern mittens, so I couldn't just read the knitting in the picture and figure it out. Besides, the picture was a bit blurry. You can imagine how happy I was at this point. Luckily, I had my Kindle with me, too, so I could at least read.
My mom lives in Ludington, Michigan, a lovely resort town on Lake Michigan which is inconveniently located to any sort of mass transportation hub other than the Lake Michigan carferry, which was closed for the season. So after a delayed flight, notions bag loss, and a 2 hour drive from the Grand Rapids airport to Ludington, I finally got to see my mom, who amazingly, was ambulatory. Sort of. We had a nice long talk, and the next morning, I headed out to the excellent local yarn shop, Nautical Knits, intending to rectify my notions deficiency. I bought a new notions bag, darning needles, a needle gauge, and interlocking stitch markers. I figured that would get me by.
Okay, I also bought two balls of sock yarn, but that's to be expected, isn't it?
Back at Check Mother and Al's, I grafted SIL's sock toe, and moved on to weaving in all the ends on my Manon. Done. I was ready to sew in the sleeves, except I couldn't because I forgot to bring along the yarn to sew it up. It turns out that when you forget things like patterns and sewing-up yarn, and lose 2.5mm needles that can't be replaced out of town, bringing all that other knitting stuff isn't as big a packing overkill as it first appears.
I started a pair of socks on the freed-up 2.0mm circ using yarn I had brought with me, a beautifully bright yarn from Regia's Kaffe Fasset line. The two original Fasset lines were Mirage and Landscape. Landscape had defined stripe sequences (that's what I made my brother's Big Foot socks from), while Mirage came in the same colorways as Landscape, but worked up as a variegated yarn, appearing more like a camo pattern.
This yarn I brought with me was called Exotic Color (colorway: "zany") I was intrigued by the striping pattern, as there were places where the transition between stripes worked out to be more like interconnected waves. It was pretty neat. I started the first sock Tuesday afternoon and was finished with it some time Wednesday. I then started the second sock, and the pair was complete Thursday evening. Fastest pair of socks I ever knit, in terms of total elapsed time from start to finish. My mother exclaimed that they were beautiful. Our feet are the same size, so I had her try them on. They're hers. The woman was sitting in a chair with a walker next to her. How could I not give them to her?
I took some photos of them on my own feet out on their deck.
When I got back home, I called the airline about my missing notions bag. You're supposed to contact the airport where it was lost, but because of 9/11, airports don't post their phone numbers on their websites anymore (I know, I don't get it either), so the woman at the airline called three different numbers at the Milwaukee airport and no one would pick up the phone. And they don't have voice mail. She suggested I drive to the Minneapolis airport (well, first she suggested I go to the Milwaukee airport), make a claim at their lost baggage counter and have them forward the information to Milwaukee. Whatever.
My mom is doing very well now. She's ditched the walker in favor of a cane, at least for part of the time. I'm betting she'll be back at Pilates in no time at all.