Posted on October 16, 2004 at 10:44 am

While everyone else in the freaking knitblog world goes off to Rhinebeck, I am just fine with not going. I am just fine with staying home and knitting. I am, really. You guys all have a blast and don’t even think about me. I have plenty to do, because I made a major mess in the kitchen yesterday. I don’t want any more of that fleece stuff, right now, thank you very much.

My friend Kathy dropped off my half of the Romney fleece we bought together during last weekend’s jaunt through New Hampshire, and it has been sitting there by the back door. I fed the boy his dinner yesterday afternoon, and I thought that while he plods through his ritual examination of every bite in between train noises with his spoon and lining up the utensils like boxcars, that I’d wash a lock or two of the fleece to see what colour it really is. For those of you who haven’t done this before, know that just about any fleece is filled with so much dirt and, uh, poop, that it is not the colour you think that it is. I mean, this is from an animal that lives in the field and hasn’t had a bath in a year. But me, after three years of changing diapers, I have lost most of my squeemishness when it comes to poop. Even animal poop. Even animal poop from an animal that doesn’t belong to me. Romney_in_the_bag

I open the trash bag it was in, and the scent of barnyard fills the kitchen. This I don’t mind. Nor does the boy. I fish out two locks of the Romney with particularly appealing crimp and prettily sun-bleached tips, and I take it to the sink to give it a gentle lather in Dawn. I am being careful to tease it apart, not to agitate, and to keep all the water at the same hot hot hot temperature. The locks come out after copious rinsing very nicely. The boy has only eaten half of his yogurt and two bites of his tofu burger (yes, we are the kind of household that feeds kids tofuburgers–albeit with ketchup. Gardenburger Chicken Grillers, as we call them. They’re really good.), so I figure I can wash a little bit more. This is fun, right? I pull out a bit more of the Romney, and I get out a stainless bowl, because this needs a lot of water. I soak the fleece bits, and I decide that there’s room in the bowl for more fleece, so I get more out of the bag. I stuff the bowl with fleece. I look at it sitting there, air bubbles rising to the surface, soap bubbles and wool mingling on the surface of the tea-coloured water. I get out another big stainless bowl, and fill it up with soapy water and fleece. I swish the first bowl a little, change the water, and work back and forth in the sink, checking on the boy’s dinner progress. Sand and grit and poop come out of the fleece. I dump the dirty water down the sink, run more water and splash around for awhile. I wash my hands and let the boy down from his chair when he’s done, and off to play he goes.

I have been mucking about with the fleece for only about forty minutes at this point when in walks my husband.
He is a little horrified that I am washing sheep fleece in the kitchen sink.
This, he says, is what we have a utility sink in the basement for.
That is where we take sheep poop-filled things to clean.
We do not clean things with sheep poop in the sink where we wash things we are going to eat.
What part of my brain, he wonders, thinks that this is the kind of thing a sane woman who cares about the health of her family would do?
I answer calmly, because I am unfazed by this line of inquiry, “The knitting part of my brain?” He throws up his hands, and leaves me to do what I was planning to do–I think–all along: clean up the mess. I am a reasonable woman, I know that sheep poop is not good to eat. I wash the sink, I bleach the sink. I wonder if I would feel okay about licking the sink, so I bleach it again. I put everything in the dishwasher and run it on super hot. I boil water and give the counter a good rinse, just in case anything splashed a little. I decide that I will not get carried away with the washing of new fleece again in the kitchen, and take the bag of fleece downstairs to sit on the floor next to the utility sink.

Now. While I am downstairs my beloved husband, who has put up with my marital and domestic neglect and with UFOs as decorative tableaux, and with my linguistic descent into a strange knitting dialect for so long, comes into the kitchen to survey the landscape. He sees everything is to his approval, and as a cleaning coup de grace, he decides to empty out the coffee grounds from the Bodum, and dumps them, as is our custom, down the disposal. The disposal where I have been dumping dirty water all afternoon. Then he runs the disposal. There is a brief sound of things as they should be and then it makes a noise that sounds like a SUV pacifying a MiniCooper. There is silence. I come to the top of the stairs, and I can smell his brain smoking. He has taken out of the disposal about a pint’s worth of fleece and rocks and coffee grounds, all mashed up together as can only be accomplished by two horsepower of garbage disposal. He smiles at me. You know the kind of smile I mean? The kind of smile that isn’t really a smile at all but is more like a threat? If this were a cartoon, a little bubble over his head would have picture of a piano dropping on me from the sky. But my husband is a darling and forgiving man, and he cleaned out the disposal over the course of the rest of the evening, got it running again, and I only have to write “I will not clean fleece in the kitchen sink” two hundred times.