I hate to burden you with my troubles, but I need to talk! But more importantly, I want to let you know how crochet saved my day.

Cat selfie

Selfie with Rascal.

Because of a serious health issue in the family, one of my sisters is in California caring for her husband. For that reason, my Dayton-based sister and I are taking turns watching her house and its resident cat the rascally Rascal. Feeding Rascal, cleaning his litter box and giving him a little TLC was on the top of my list for today and, fortunately, those tasks were accomplished without mishap. I even managed to get a selfie with the little love bug after some missteps with the front claws (nothing major–no blood was shed).

I left there to return some library materials and then meet my husband for lunch. The DVD was dropped at the first library. I then zipped to the next library to return some magazines and catch up on this week’s People  (Katie Holmes is back on track!). With my spirits buoyed by that good news — 😉 — I left the library, climbed into my 1999 VW Passat and pulled away. Or at least I tried to pull away. Something was very wrong. The car was moving, but it was trembling and stuttering nearly as bad as I did after a hot yoga session (a one-time mistake). I looked at the dashboard control panel and the dreaded check-engine light was flashing, not just glowing like “hey, I need a check-up soon.” No, this was the automotive equivalent of “Call 911, I think I’m dying.”

Car in driveway

The spot where my car isn’t.

Because the car would not, or could not, exceed 35 miles per hour, we limped to the coffee shop where I was meeting my husband for lunch. With little appetite at this point, I delivered the bad news, but he was settled in with a cup of coffee and the confidence that lunch would make things a little better. As usual, he was right. I felt better after eating, but the hour break did nothing to cure my car which started right up, but continued its stubborn refusal to perk up and get back to normal. Slacker!

Made it to the service center with a significant line of traffic behind me. Before going inside, I peeked under the hood–maybe it’s something simple and obvious. No such luck. It looked the same as usual. So, in I went and shared my story with the polite, but unimpressed guy at the front desk. He did seem to wince when my husband mentioned the check-engine light was flashing! not just calmly glowing. Not good. As we drove home, I incessantly questioned (badgered?) my husband about all the likely problems (read, financial doom) I might be looking at. I had some theories: “Maybe just a spark plug came loose?” “Or, the fuel injector got clogged?” “God, I hope I don’t need a new fuel pump. That will cost me.” “Maybe it’s one of those weird, mysterious electrical problems that nobody can solve.” Despair was closing in. We made it home with a dark cloud over my head.

But then…CROCHET!

StorylineCreations hat

The hat that calmed me. As you can see, the final design is still a work in progress.

When the mind is in full story-spinning mode, there’s nothing like the rhythm of crochet–counting stitches, combining colors, feeling the yarn turn into a soft fabric right under your fingers and seeing something new take shape–to tame the monkey mind. After a few rows and color changes on a new hat, the mind had simmered down. Now I was better equipped to make a plan for the worst-case scenario, to consider the size of the financial impact without sobbing and once again ask myself if I really need this car. Even with no ready answers, it helped me to prepare for the inevitable: The cost of repairs on a 15-year-old car with more than 170,000 miles is seldom in my budget.

A few hours later, I got the news. Not good, as expected. But, I was surprisingly calm as Aaron gave me the lowdown. I didn’t freak out. I wrote down the names of the failed parts, the cost of repairs plus tax, agreed that these were urgent issues and thanked him for his call. He even sounded a little sad himself, which I appreciated. Misery loves company, right?

So there you have it. Another day hijacked by the unexpected, but saved my a hook, a pile of yarn and an idea. I had a great idea for today’s blog (hint: an offer of free hats for my blog readers), but went with this instead. Stay tuned. And, if you haven’t already, follow me on Facebook.


2 thoughts on “Cat, car and crochet

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