The holidays are officially upon us, and we can’t even be mad at people for playing Christmas music, because after Thanksgiving, it’s fair game. It doesn’t make it any less annoying to hear “Frosty the Snowman” six hundred and fifty times before Christmas, but it’s within the realm of decency.
We were blessed with a nice Thanksgiving at home with all of our immediate family. George actually got to be at both the Thursday and Friday dinners, which is pretty unusual for a trucker, and we were very happy to have to time with the people we love most.
The holidays always get me in a crafty mood — I’m the idiot who thinks I’m going to hand-make every gift given between December 1 and Christmas. I generally get one or two actually completed and have suffered so much psychological damage from attempting craft projects way over my skill level and on a ridiculous time schedule that I sleep through Christmas and never get to see the startled looks on my family members faces when they unwrap their handmade creations that often resemble failed chemistry projects. This sometimes results in cryptic thank-yous for gifts I can’t recall giving.
“Thanks so much for the oven mitts, they’re so cute! And yellow!”
“Oven mitts? No sis, those were socks. I knitted you Mercury socks — they have wings on the heels.”
“I knew that! They’re … so different!”
(She then made a point to keep me from being alone with my niece, ever. I’m kidding. She did that before the Mercury socks, and it probably has more to do with me convincing the kid we were eating roast wildebeest for Thanksgiving, instead of turkey, last year. Consequently, my niece has elected to be a vegetarian at all family functions from here on out, and could possibly have developed trust issues.)
Being in the truck restricts my methods of craftiness, as George imposed strict “paint bans” almost immediately, or at least as soon as I got fingernail polish on the seat while attempting a rolling pedicure on my first trip out with him. These bans include sharpies, modeling clay or anything that can melt or stain the interior. I also can’t do Shrinky Dinks in the toaster oven, because they make frozen pizzas taste funny and I’m not certain if the fumes they put off are entirely safe for confined spaces, hence the walls breathing as a fond (and possibly the only) memory I have of making large sheets of colored plastic small by cooking them in the truck oven.
I thought knitting was the perfect truck craft, until I accidentally skewered the web between my index finger and thumb while attempting to knit one pearl two on 70 through Indiana and realized if we’d been on 69 in Oklahoma, I’d have likely lost an eye and most of the left hemisphere of my brain to a pothole incident involving knitting needles.
I finally settled on crochet as my preferred form of artistic expression while trucking. At least the hook is blunt, however I quickly learned a quality lesson about yarn choices. One of my first projects was a scarf I made out of this weird, hairy yarn I bought on a clearance table at the craft store. The larger the scarf got, the more it resembled a dead possum. George swore the thing was staring at him, and I frightened myself by leaving it on the seat one night, before hitting the bunk. I got up early, without glasses, and nearly clawed my way out the back side of the cab when I saw what I thought was a rabid animal sitting in my seat. Unfortunately, I didn’t give up on the project, and now have a lovely, warm, handmade wrap that people stare at, not because it’s pretty, but because it looks like I’m wearing a murdered muppet. It also caught the fancy of our cat, who developed amorous feelings for my hairy scarf, and now gets territorial every time I put it on.
Sometimes, holidays are hard.