Every year my family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve. My dear friend Lisa (special ed kindergarten teacher) comes in from out of town, I make a huge meal, and we dine in candlelight in the evening. Part of the daytime tradition is to deliver trays of handmade holiday cookies to friends and family. It all starts with me getting up very early in the morning to bake bread, pie, etc. In '08 I had more to do than that.
I had knit a pair of fingerless gloves with mitten caps for my youngest, and somehow never got round to blocking the 2nd one. I blocked it 2 days before and it was still wet. I had made sterling silver earrings for my eldest, and they needed polishing. I hadn't finished decorating. My house guests were sick, and one a diabetic vegan which made for a complicated time playing Florence Nightingale. And of course there was the cooking.
I threw pie in the oven around 7am, and moved on to polishing the earrings. The first one went great. The second one disintegrated in my hand. 7:30am. I'd think of something. Oh! Mittens! Darn. Still wet. Gift exchange around 2pm. Dammit.
I checked on the pie. Fine. I washed up from the baking trying to figure out what to do. Apologize to eldest and make another one soon. Ok. 7:45. Take soggy mitten and put in toaster oven at 150 degrees for ten minutes. Maybe it will dry faster.
I went to get the candle lanterns out of the basement and decorate with those so we would have light for our candlelit evening. 8:00. The pie beeped, so I grabbed that, and went back to the lanterns, one of which I promptly dropped and smashed. In my bare feet I put the dog out, and cleaned up the broken glass. I checked the mitten. Now it was a hot wet mitten. Damn again. I turned up the toaster oven. Just a little. Let the dog in. 8:45.
On to making breakfast for the sick house guest, and starting a vegan holiday meal as well as the turkey dinner. I was stuffing acorn squash for the vegans and turkey for the rest. I chopped, I sauteed, and then I smelled it. THE MITTEN! I ran over to the toaster oven. 9:40.
Wool doesn't burn in the traditional sense. It just smells awful and disintegrates. It still looked like a mitten (though a little brown) but when I went to pick it up it just crumbled. Damn, damn, DAMN!
Stuffing almost finished. Gravy started. Squash roasted for soup. 10:45. Vegan Lisa comes into kitchen and asks about the "Weird" smell. "Turkey's supposed to smell like that!" I snapped. She's a vegan - she'll buy that, right? 'Cause burned wool smells so "holiday".
I was frazzled, and decided to go drop off cookies to my LYS. "Lisa, I have to get out of here for about 20 minutes. Help me out; keep the husband out of the pie, the kids out of the presents, and the dog out of the stuffing. I'll be right back in a much calmer mood!" I grabbed a platter of cookies and left for the shop.
"This is all you brought?" MaryAnn (LYS owner) was teasing. I explained my crazy failure of a morning, and sat for a minute gulping coffee. She chuckled, wished me well, and I went home.
When I got to my back door Lisa and my dog were waiting and they both looked sorry. Aw, crap.
"The dog ate the stuffing."
"All of it? Vegan and regular?"
Yup. This woman can handle 20 special ed 5 year olds for 6 hours per day, but not my family and dog. I called my mother in desperate futile hope of recovering my day.
"Haven't you started drinking yet?"
"It's 11:15 in the morning!"
"Not in Australia. Things will look much more festive after your second glass of wine. Go for it!"
I took my wine and retreated for the tub. And she was right. Things were looking up.