"Enable at your peril."
Friday was Laurel's birthday. Yesterday we drove through four counties and rode two ferries to look at a Canadian Production Wheel (cited so frequently on her knitters' forum that it is abbreviated as CPW). The wheel itself is half Laurel's height.
Although our part of the country hasn't been hit with the snow and rain that has reached so much of the U.S., it has been setting records for cold, and the dryness has to end soon. I was concerned that we reach the home of the seller and return to ours before moisture on the roads turns to black ice. I've spun out on black ice with an old Lambretta and I've wrecked a friend's car being the puck in an unwelcome game of Giant Table Shuffleboard, bouncing back and forth against guard rails on a moonlit country road in New England. I've reached my quota of black ice incidents.
Still, although Laurel pushed me out of bed for an early start, we had a few chores along the way. Find a transfer station and empty the recycling; find a bank and get some cash; eat. We reached their island after crossing the narrow channel on the tiny ferry. Directions to their home were great, and we found the house easily, with banners hanging. Artwork was everywhere - sculpture, plaques, a tiny pond. Although we'd been told this had been a manufactured home, we could barely discern the old lines and were romanced by the cedar shakes and shingles making up the siding and roofing. The interior, once we'd been greeted by a hug from the seller and a friendly "Hi, I'm Leo" from her husband, continued the explosion of art. The walls had been plastered over and painted with colors like buttercup and ochre. A wood stove pumped heat.
Jane, the seller, brought the wheel from one room out by the stove, found an armless chair for Laurel, and we all plumped down. Laurel had brought her buyer's preparedness kit (tape, wire, ruler, wool-to-spin, and more and more). She looked up and down and underneath, searching for a maker's mark, examining the wheel itself for true (relying on her many years of bicycling experience), stifling her visible enthusiasm, checking out the wrought iron footpad of the treadle.
Knowing that the best course for me was to keep my mouth shut, I asked if I could look at the art on the walls. Leo enthusiastically guided me through and into his workshop and his studio. He explained piece after piece (paintings using gold leaf and oxidized composite gold leaf; poured brass sculpture; huge carvings of eagles and turtles from burled wood; epoxy forms gold-leafed and oxidized). Everywhere some beautiful piece to catch the eye.
Meanwhile Laurel had tweaked a bobbin here, a hook there, spun wool she'd brought along, laughed and spun, chatted and spun, calculated and spun. I politely tapped my wristwatch and Leo volunteered the time of the next ferry to leave. I believe that none of us was surprised when Laurel hauled out her crisp bills and agreed to pay Jane. She hadn't haggled much (they had already brought the price down by a third through email correspondence) -- Jane agreed to throw in a huge bag of fleece. (Laurel's insisting that I look at the fleece right now.) Leo and I hauled the wheel out and carefully placed it in the pickup, piling cardboard here, bag O'fleece there, propping up the wheel and securing it.
The little ferry off their island was very late -- we saw a Medic van drive by and speculate that they had emptied the ferry and then reloaded it to get the van at the front. Finally we boarded, the little ferry churned across the short passage, and we wound our way toward the Interstate full of returning holiday shoppers. Our own ferry was on schedule and we got home, carried the wheel inside to join Laurel's two others and another one she had borrowed. We ate leftovers from the Indian restaurant where I'd taken her for her birthday, she rushed to the computer to write her own report (much more knitting-relevant than this one) and we toddled off to bed.
This morning she got up before I did (a rare occurrence) and started playing with her toy (advice had poured in overnight on care and treatment of her CPW). Anytime now she'll eat breakfast or lunch or whatever.
She promises that she won't need another wheel.
Enable at your peril.