With apologies to Steinbeck.
Some have been following this story for a while. My friend and fellow blogger Darlene has been doing (a rather passive and Bhuddist-like) battle with a mouse that has taken up residence in her apartment. For the complete story, read this, paying attention to the comments, then this, again reading the comments, and then this.
So we met last night at Clewly Farm Restaurant in Eddington, Maine for a volunteer-thank-you-dinner. Our host Bob was most awesome and the food was plentiful and superb! By all means, I encourage everyone who finds themselves on the airline (that's Route 9 for those of you from away) east of Bangor to stop in for a meal. They will be treated well (in a manner of speaking) and fed well (no question), they will support good people working hard and they will be better for the experience.
One of the highlights of the evening came when it was time for me to present a special gift to Darlene. Keep in mind, now, that Darlene is a very powerful woman in political circles. She's a big shot with Equality Maine and does important things all day. She is fearless. Well, almost.
For those who follow Darlene's blog, you are aware that she has had an unwelcome visitor in her home in the form of a mouse (for her sanity, we are using the singular here). Said unwelcome visitor prompted Darlene to leap shrieking onto the furniture in a very non-power-dyke kind of way. Enjoying this image immensely, I offered to sew her a skirt so that she could have a hem to clutch to her as she danced upon the sofa. I even offered to make it a lace hem so she could clutch it like a proper lady.
For all of my efforts and offers, I was heaped with abuse and refusals. Who could think she would be so ungrateful?
Undeterred, I went shopping and found some fabric. A nice, decent, fairly thin cotton fabric. With cute little mousies on it. And cats. Of course the cats are not catching the mice, much like it happens in Darlene's apartment. I also found some nice lace trim. White satin with some of that frilly lace stuff underneath. Heh. I'll fix her wagon! I said to myself.
I sent her a quiz, saying that Laura and I were arguing about how tall she was and could she settle the bet. From that I learned that she was 5'6" or thereabouts. She asked what the prize was for our bet. A hem that doesn't drag on the floor, I told her. She was not impressed.
I spent two days trying to find out an inseam measurement. She had stopped offering any kind of personal information by now, so I had to go to others who might have an idea. I got an estimate from someone and went with it. Inseam: 28 inches or thereabouts.
All this while I am getting angry refusals and denials and "don't you even think it" messages from Darlene.
So I sent her a picture of the lace, only to get a vulgar reply. Hmph.
Now what she did not know is that I have no desire to make something that will never be used. This process has been fun and is truly its own reward, but if I present her with a garment knowing she's going to chuck it as soon as she gets home, that's just no fun.
Besides, I did not have a pattern for a skirt (did she really think I might?!). So I went with a thing I call "lounge pants" which really translates into "men's pajama bottoms."
Mind you, I made them in the 2X size that I am currently wearing as I type, and these have extra room when I wear them, so they're plenty big for Darlene. Only she was thinking "skirt - oh shit" through this whole thing.
I finished them up Tuesday night, lace hem and all (I HATE lace, by the way!) and my beloved L washed and dried them on Wednesday to soften up the fabric. We wrapped them up so they looked like a bouquet of lace atop a roll of fabric and put them in a shimmery pink gift bag with lacy pink tissue. It is only by a sad twist of fate that we did not actually find a Victoria's Secret bag in time for the party. All our girly-girl friends had just cleaned out and had none to offer.
So, the buildup was tremendous. Four days of emphatic and sarcastic e-mail notes. Darlene alone had more messages in my folder than I got from all of my favorite list-serve in one day. That's a lot. She was positively terrified as I handed her the bag.
By then I had the whole place cheering for her to MODEL the garment (her believing it was a skirt, mind you). I had contacted several folks who were leaders of sorts to ask their cooperation in this thing, so they had primed their respective tables and were leading the cheers. Darlene was grim-faced as she unwrapped the cloth bundle. And then huge relief flooded her face as she realized that what she held was a pair of PANTS! OK, they still had the scary lace trim, but at least they were PANTS! Hurrahs all around!
And yes, she did try them on. And yes, they were huge. But they were also the perfect length (thanks to my spies) and nice and soft and ready to wear (thanks to L). And they have a nice lace hem that can be clutched and held up when next a mouse appears in her apartment.
And Darlene was really a sport through all of it.