Where to Begin?

Well, I suppose just with the knitting. I finished my Lintilla scarf, and it turned out so pretty !

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I had plenty of yarn, no issues there. I am glad to have used up an entire skein of such fun yarn on two of my absolute favorite scarves. I cast on for another right away, out of Marja’s yarn. She should have one of her very own!

Other than that, things have been so nutty around here that the idea of a holiday, or that I even have vacation at the end of the week, have receded so far into the background I’ve completely forgotten.

On Monday afternoon I found out that me and my grant submission team were going to be asked to do the impossible. Basically, pull together the equivalent of 7 grants, with foreign contracts, by 5 p.m. on Tuesday having absolutely no information on these grants whatsoever until Tuesday morning. It was truly an impossible task. But, I arrived, along with two of my team, at work at 6:30 am. We began the work, and as the rest of the team trickled in, they all began working on tasks I gave them. We all knew by 10:30 it wasn’t going to happen, but we had to work on it until 5. The entire team TRULY put in their best work, but after 3 p.m. we still had not received all of the documents we needed for it. It was….futile, irritating, and exhausting. And, really, never should have been agreed to in the first place.

I got home that night and Miss Butterfly said “Mom, I was sick at school, but I didn’t let anyone call you because I knew what a terrible day you had.” Sweet kind child that she is. She spent the rest of the evening sleeping and puking. We were up in the middle of the night for 3 hours. Then I had a doctors appointment for her this morning at 9. I’d let my team know I’d be out but that if there were any repercussions from the grant fiasco the day before, I wanted to come in and be there for them. So they had to let me know. As I was driving Miss Butterfly home, I got a text saying that the guy who wanted to submit the grant was still trying to get us to do it, despite the fact the deadline was over. And alternating between accusing us of not doing our jobs and pleading with us to still submit. I told them I’d be in as soon as I could.

I dropped Butterfly off at home, changed my shirt to something work appropriate, and headed into work. Took one look at the email we’d been sent, marched myself up to the chair’s office and defended my team, and reminded them that it’s our department and our people whose reputation is on that grant and that we have no business submitting it late, or in the condition that it’s in.

I went back to my desk without resolution, but knowing my arguments were strong. Only to get a text from Butterfly basically saying she’s now got a fever in addition to the puking and could I please come home now please? She’ll allow me one day away, but losing mom two days in a row to a person who doesn’t deserve mom’s time and attention was too much for her, so I began to make preparations to head home. It took slightly longer than I thought, but before I left I got the call that our chair was supporting our decision to not have the grant submitted, and furthermore, he didn’t even want us speaking to the person making this request of us, he wanted that person to be directed directly to the chair’s office, full stop. I filled my team in on this, and was grateful to have gotten the phone call so that I could go home and spend time with Butterfly without the anxiety of not knowing what would happen next.

Miss Butterfly finally napped. I finally napped. I finally ate! I hadn’t even managed breakfast yet, and it was well past noon. Definitely not a recommended couple of days to experience around the holiday season and I am so grateful it’s over.

We have one of the last two pre christmas holiday parties tonight. Not sure if we’ll make it or not, it’ll depend on Miss Butterfly. She gets to choose if we go, if she stays alone, or if she goes to dads, or if she just needs mom. All options valid.

That’s us for now! Hopefully more fun stuff soon, but the past couple days haven’t been that fun. Talk about putting a cramp on already behind christmas plans!!!

Things which I love

Staying in. Yep. That tops the list. And that is what I did all weekend, even though I had talked of doing otherwise.

Except for a walk. Mr. Ink and I went on a long walk yesterday in the bitter cold. Except, compared to Saturday, it didn’t feel bitter! I mean, instead of cringing in the wind and making it once around the block, we walked for an hour. Not much wind, and the sun was shining making all the snow sparkle. And the  -4 weather had the snow all crunchy sounding. It was really beautiful!

Unfortunately, my back has not been well lately. I can’t say why. But, it took pain killers every 4 hours to get me through yesterday, and a heating pad. Which is why I decided to stay in. I did get another 2 batts created, just one more for the set I am working on. And I got a little spinning done, more this morning.

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It was dark when I got this photo. Those are greens. I’ll show you better pictures soon. Almost done with this bobbin.

But mostly I knit. In fact, I knit so much that my hands ache today. Cumulative from the weekend I suspect. They’ll repair themselves during the busy work week.

I started another Christmas stocking. This is stocking number 23. I’ve got two to make in the upcoming months. This one is for my cousin. Or rather, her baby. She had a baby this summer, he’s cute as a button. And, while she and I aren’t particularly close, I know that with previous pregnancies has come unimaginable tragedy for her. So I know this baby is so wanted. I wanted to…I dunno…notice that for her? I don’t really know how to state that any better. But, I contacted her and asked if she already had stocking plans for him or if she’d like one of my “family famous” stockings. And she was eager for me to knit one. So that’s what I am starting on.

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There’s no rush though, I did tell her it wouldn’t be done for this christmas. I will then start another, as my nephew is getting a baby brother, and must have a stocking to match the rest of the family’s stockings. Unfortunately, one of the yarns I need is out of stock and won’t be in until the 29th of this month. So I am waiting. Thankfully, the above stocking just came from stash. Yep, that’s another stash buster!

In other knitting news, I am so close to being done with the Lintilla scarf. Looks like despite ignoring the 25% saved yarn rule and saving less, I’ll have enough yarn to complete the project. This is only because I’ve knit two other Lintillas, and had plenty of leftover yarn when using the 25% rule. Otherwise I never would have chanced it.

Once the current Lintilla is off the needles I am going to cast on another. One for Miss Marja out of her handspun. Handspun made from batts I created for her last year at christmastime. Full circle! I am looking forward to seeing how the yarn knits up, for sure. Here’s a photo of the batts from last year:

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The black is alpaca and everything colored is silk. She made it into a great 3 ply yarn. I think I must be going with a black with pops of color theme lately, this will be project number 3 in the span of 3 months that has such a theme. Though this one quite different from all the 3 ring circus finished objects. Much gentler overall. There’s over 600 yards of yarn for this project actually, so it’ll be a very nicely sized Lintilla. Biggest one ever. AND, between that at Mr. Ink’s socks, it should tide me over nicely while we are away for Christmas.

Now, with Monday Update complete, I must ask, where are you with Christmas plans? I have wrapped NOTHING, Mr. Ink still needs to get gifts for his entire family. I need to plan and make a dish for the work potluck this week. I need to send out my nephew’s gift to my parents today and cross my fingers it arrives in time. I’ve been making lists of cookies and bread and pie to bake for our upcoming trip. We need to pack next week which I always find oddly stressful. A secret part of me is hoping our new vehicle will arrive before we leave, but I know it’s wishful thinking. And, if it does, it just puts more on the to do list really. I am behind. VERY behind. And yet, I’ve done little about it. Preferring to sit with a heating pad and my knitting. And yet, I know I’d be less stressed if I got stuff DONE!

Bbbbrrrrr!

As you remember from yesterday, the high of 10F hit before I woke up, and by the time I was blogging it was only 7. Well, in interest of getting a reasonable amount of steps in, right after I blogged, I bundled up appropriately and tried to take a walk. I figured how bad could it be? I knew that the wind was blowing terribly, and it “felt like” -7, but I really wanted to get that walk in. I took off in one direction thinking “This isn’t so bad!” and then went around the block. The moment I turned in the other direction, that wind hit me hard. And I realized the only reason I could say “This isn’t so bad!” is because when the wind is at my back, no exposed skin is being directly hit. It felt bad, real bad, going the other direction. I made it around the block. About halfway around the block my hips ached, my lower back ached, basically that cold just penetrated my joints terribly. I was so happy to be back indoors, and I figured that I could do lots and lots of household chores to get my reasonable amount of steps in. Which I did.

This morning it’s -10. Yep, we went even lower than predicted. Thankfully this morning the wind has died down. We were to go out last evening to the bike party, but the driveway was a sheet of ice and the ice melt wouldn’t work as cold as it was, so we stayed in. Later today we should be able to get out again.

In the meantime, I knit. A lot. I have 7.5 out of 9 inches of Mr. Ink’s sock foot knit now. And, my Lintilla scarf is now at the point where I knit the final edge ruffles. With the vast stretch of a day before me yesterday, I also flitted from craft to craft a bit. I wound 3 skeins of Marja’s handspun, yarn which I’ll knit and then it’ll go back to her. I got a tiny bit of spinning on the wheel.

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That’s loop cloud, colorway peacock. It’s barely a start, but it’s picture worthy.

And I did some drum carding. Well, mostly planning, but some drum carding as well. I’ve got this wool/mohair mix that is all red, and I figured it might be fun to add some stuff and run it through the carder, making fun batts. I decided the first batch needed to move toward pink, so I added quite a bit of white to it, as well as some various pinks and greys.

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It’s got recycled sari silk, bamboo, and cashmere noil, along wiht the added colors. I only carded one batt, even though I planned out 4 batts. So, I probably need to get in front of the drum carder again today. I’ve got a lot more of that red, and I am thinking about taking the next batch toward purple.

As for today, I really hope it warms up enough to go out and get gifts for people, as well as get a walk in. Mr. Ink even said he’d like to walk with me. That’s highly unusual. But first, it needs to warm up. Oh look! It took me so long to write this that now it’s -7. That’s….hopeful!

Wrap Up

Well, last night was the last night of my month of self imposed exclusive knitting. It went well I think. Here’s what I knit.

Dino Mitts: These can’t count as stash busters because I did purchase the yarn for them.

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Then there was a 8 oz. skein of handspun which turned into a cowl, gloves, and an ear warmer to go with my new coat.

I completed the knitting of my dragonfire scarf, that was over 900 yards of handspun, even though it wasn’t enough to finish the pattern itself. I wear this. A lot. It’s amazingly soft.

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I knit a snow showers cowl out of noro taiyo sock, great stashbuster that it was!

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And then another 4 oz. skein of handspun went to a gothic spires scarf.

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One completed project left, just the latest martinmas shawl which busted 2 skeins, one of handspun and one of commercial yarn.

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Of course, I had a birthday in there and so that one skein of Marja’s handspun that went into the above shawl was replaced with a birthday skein of Marja’s handspun. I grin at this because while it begins to defeat the purpose of all this knitting, I can’t help but love it.

So,  completed project stash busting total, let’s count skeins at around 4 ounces. So the 8 ounce skeins I’ll count as 2. 8! 8 skeins knit into wearable items. In one month.

Now for an update on what got done last night. About an hour before I left work, it began icing. I can’t call it snowing. But, a film of ice formed over everything, the air was heavy, and then by the time I left work there were ice pellets falling and coating everything. It got very slick outside. So slick that I refused to attempt parking in our driveway. The commute home was ridiculously slow, there were cars in the ditches everywhere, but it seemed like slow was the way to do it, I didn’t actually have an issue with the drive.

It was Miss Butterfly’s winter concert as you may remember. I came home to her getting ready to go and a huge argument over her choir top (she doesn’t like wearing it, but I refused to let her replace it with a white tshirt) ensued. All the while I am waiting for a call from the school indicating the concert was canceled. But, it was only after the argument that the call came in. A sudden loss of evening plans resulted in Miss Butterfly and 2 neighbor girls using our upper parking lot as a “skating” rink, giggling and shrieking and running around. It was WONDERFUL. Mostly because I was in my PJs under a blanket.

Mr. Ink got home and got the old truck into the lower driveway just fine. I reminded him that he’d have to bring my car into the driveway as I can’t park out back overnight. I told him he’d need to salt the driveway, but he didn’t listen. Instead, he went out there and said “Either my shoes are really good, or this stuff isn’t that slick.” I rolled my eyes and went back to my knitting and listening to the girls, knowing FULL WELL what would happen next. I heard my car come around, get partway up the driveway, and then engine revving and tires spinning. For quite some time. Eventually the garage door opened and closed again, and then Mr. Ink comes up the stairs and says “Well, I guess my shoes are Just That Good.” And then he headed back out to put ice melt on the driveway. The slightly snarky part of me wants to mention that he clearly learned nothing from last year. But soon that car will be HIS problem and he will become very knowledgable in how it handles in the ice and snow.

Miss Butterfly went to her dad’s later in the evening, and Mr. Ink and I watched our favorite movie again, Mad Max Fury Road. I knit on lintilla for a long while:

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It has grown a ton. And I knit a bit on Mr. Ink’s socks. 10.5 inches of leg, and I’ll need 9 inches before I start the toe. I tried to get a shot of the scrap yarn so you could see how far I’ve gotten since last time I showed them off, but it’s not much farther to be honest.

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Sorry about the cruddy indoor photos. You know I love to take pictures outdoors. However, the high today is 10F, and that already happened while we were sleeping. The rest of the day the temps go down, with the predicted overnight of -9F. Let’s just say I have no interest in going outdoors for good knitting photos, this will have to do. If I had a finished object, I’d just save it for another day.

Mr. Ink agreed to some extra work today so he’s headed in to work in my car, since it was in my garage and it’s nice and warm. I warned him that he might have trouble getting it started in the cold, but then remembered two things. The first being that his 22 year old truck isn’t going to start any better in the cold, and the second being that he’s a mechanic. At work. If he can’t get the car started, he’s got literally EVERY resource at his fingertips. Not actually a thing to worry about.

And I haven’t decided if spinning is a thing I’ll do, or if I shall continue on the path of knitting what I have, or even cast on something new! I’ve got coffee, the house is warm and quiet, and the day feels full of possibilities after a good night’s rest.

Showing Off

I’ve got a finished object! Well, I have had it really, but I haven’t gotten home until after dark regularly this week. Last evening was scheduled to be more of the same, but I ended up spending most of the day at work not feeling well, so I canceled evening plans, went home, took photos of the shawl, then crawled in bed to sleep for an hour and a half. Then I went to bed early, and do feel much improved this morning. It’s official, we’ve moved into the season where I always think I am getting sick if I just am not getting enough rest. Taking time to rest generally cures it, and I can continue on. Good thing too, this is not the season to be ill, there’s always too much that must get done.

This weekend was packed full. Tonight we have Miss Butterfly’s winter concert which I am looking forward to so much! I missed the fall concert because I was at the conference. Her choir teacher has come to really appreciate her and use her as an example for the altos. She harmonizes beautifully, and sings out, and seems to really enjoy singing. When she began the school year, she didn’t particularly care for her choir teacher, and she wanted to quit choir. I didn’t let her, and I am really glad she stuck it out. She likes her teacher now, and next year she’s got a great chance of getting into show choir since she’s made a name for herself in class. She didn’t even try out this year! Mostly because she didn’t like the teacher.

Then tomorrow was our annual holiday bike ride, where we dress up our bikes in bike lights, and ride around looking at holiday lights on homes. Sometimes we even stop and carol at various homes. It’s such a great time! Except….it’s going to be -7F. Which is what they call around here “dangerously cold.” And, while I’ve ridden my bike right down to -11F, it’s certainly not for everyone, and encouraging a group to ride in that kind of weather sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. So it’s been changed to a party. Indoors. And, quite frankly, Mr. Ink and I have a full day of gift purchasing that needs to happen, so we doubt we’ll even get there. Then, there’s the birthday party of a friend of mine. He was born on Christmas day, so we are celebrating early this year, and with sushi, which I rarely get to eat since Mr. Ink does not like it. A full weekend, yes, but a good one I think.

In any case, I finished the Martinmas shawl. It’s quite wonderful. The blue, again, is Miss Marja’s handspun and the olive green is mad tosh.

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It really turned out lovely! And honestly? The shape is fantastic. Those higher ends lay very nicely around the neck and make the shawl stay put perfectly. I’ve not had to readjust at all. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

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I wanted to zoom in a bit on the handspun, as it really is lovely and tonal, and looks so nice with the olive green! This is definitely a shawl for my keep pile. Despite the fact that my give away pile has been recently decimated.

I had been worried about the amount of yarn I had for the blue, the first repeat had taken up so much yarn! But, as is the case when working from the outside in, the yarn use goes down so dramatically. I had no trouble achieving the 6 pattern repeats. Not much to spare, but not worrisome either. Just the way I like it. I’ve got a ton of the olive green left! I think I’ll ball it up and save it for heels and toes on  socks for Mr. Ink.

Technically my month of self imposed knitting exclusively is up on Saturday. I miss my wheel a bit, but have really enjoyed creating some lovely items as well. I’ve been hard at work on the lintilla shawl I have on the needles, and the only other thing on the needles is Mr. Ink’s wollmeise socks. Since we are traveling after Christmas, and I don’t think I’ll bring my wheel, it’ll be another opportunity to get some knitting done. Plus, I scheduled myself off for a full 11 days! And my first day back is a half day! This is mostly because Miss Butterfly is off for so long this year. One week from today I’ll be on a nice long vacation. I’ll have none of that terribly boring post Christmas at work feelings, where I can’t figure out what to do because no one is in the office at all. It’s going to be great!

And a Decision is Made

After my last post complaining about car purchasing decisions, I went home with the intention of telling Mr. Ink specifically what it was that I wanted in our new car, but with the caveat that if he, as the mechanic in the household, thought these were particularly poor ideas for a good reason, I’d defer to him. After all, I’d expect him to defer to me if I were the expert on a subject.

We then headed back out car shopping. And, we decided to test drive again one which has been top on our list of potential vehicles. Now, I currently drive a little civic, which fits nicely in our attached garage, despite the garage door opening being rather small. I think I’ve mentioned before, the garage door opening is 91 inches, and one of the vehicles top on our list was 88 inches. Now, the vehicle we drove on Monday evening we were told by a salesperson that it was 79 inches so we thought for sure this would work for us. But, being particularly nervous about this, I suggested doing our own measurements when we went in on Monday. We did, and the vehicle is more like 85 inches wide.

This wasn’t ideal news, but the sales gal, hearing our concern, said “Why don’t you take it home and try it!” so, we did. When I got it home, and opened the garage, I completely panicked. I didn’t want to even try. But, Mr. Ink was up to the task. He did it twice, saying the second time that it went much better the second time, as he’d rolled down his window to get a good idea of where the front of the vehicle was. In the morning, on the way to work, I pulled it out of the garage just fine, and really enjoyed my morning commute. So, because of this, I decided to work at psyching myself up to pull it in the garage after work. WHICH I DID LIKE A BOSS! It really wasn’t bad at all. It takes getting used to, yes, I mean an SUV, even a small one, is SO much larger than a civic. But I did it, and felt like I could continue to do so.

And, we also found our perfect car! Except….it’s in Texas. We are waiting to see if we can get it transferred up here. It’s a 2013 but only has 17K miles on it. It has everything I want in the car. And on top of that, it has everything Mr. Ink wants in a car. And we love the color, and it’s got some additional nice details going on that aren’t on most of these cars, like pinstriping and extra chrome detailing to snaz it up a bit. It’ll likely be after the new year before it can get here to Omaha, but we are very excited about the vehicle, and we are excited to have MADE A DECISION.

To be honest, I’d gotten so worked up about it I wasn’t sleeping well. We don’t even desperately need a car, and maybe that’s part of the problem. No incentive to rush the decision. So, I kept waking up at 4:30 a.m. worrying over a decision that really didn’t deserve my worry. I slept until 6 this morning!

This, naturally, means we’ve spent the last two evenings in cars or in car dealerships. Where I got Mr. Ink’s sock out to knit on during all the waiting moments.

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It’s progressing. At some point while sitting in the dealership last night I looked at Mr. Ink and said “Perhaps I should put this away, it’s getting ridiculously long!” Well, he took one look and said “No! Keep going, I would kind of like to have it be a nice long sock.” So I kept going. While at work today, I messaged him, asking specifically how long he’d like the legs on these socks to be, and he said 10 inches. So, I used my handy dandy wrist measuring tape bracelet, and established that I’d gotten there during my lunch hour. So, I’ll be adding my waste yarn for the heel when I get home tonight. And then so much more in the round knitting as his feet are size 13. Thankfully, it’s Wollmeise pure, so I should have 574 yards, giving me plenty to complete the project. BUT JUST IN CASE, I am totally going to save the heels and toes for last on both socks. JUST TO BE SURE!

I did also finish the martinmas shawl, so that’s currently soaking, waiting for my return home from work so I can get it blocked. I am so excited about being home tonight, I just can’t even tell you! The house needs straightening, and I need the downtime. It’s going to be great!

 

Monday Monday

Mondays are tough, especially this time of year! It was 8F when I woke up this morning. I know it’ll get quite a bit colder before the winter is over, but that felt harsh.

We had a nice quiet day yesterday. I went for a long walk in the cold, did approximately a million loads of laundry, cleaned up from the party, napped, and knit. Just the way I like it. We didn’t go look for new stoves, mostly because I decided I’d like to table that gift until after we’ve made the car purchase. I am on decision overload at the moment, and don’t want to make the wrong choice simply because I can’t stand another decision. It’s safer to leave it for now.

As for the upcoming car purchase, Mr. Ink, being an indecisive person, keeps giving me more and more options to consider. Now, I am one of those people who makes quick decisions and lives with the outcome. So, the more decisions I am given, the more apathetic I become. I get to a point where I am thinking “Ok, I got excited about this option, but we didn’t go with it, and I got excited about this other option, and we didn’t go with it, and that keeps happening and now I don’t want to or cannot get excited about any option.” Meanwhile, Mr. Ink sees this apathy and thinks he’s somehow doing something wrong. Making a wrong choice, or missing something. And his solution is to throw more options at me in hopes I’ll get excited about one of them. The more options, the more apathy I feel. See the problem here? We need to get out of this cycle now. To be honest, we are spinning our wheels so to speak, looking at all GREAT options, all good prices, all within a small amount from each other, all less than we had expected to pay. There’s actually no losing option anymore. Which is why we just need to go for it.

In more fun, and knitting news, my parents sent a couple amazing little gifts off my crafting wish list. The first being a set of 9 inch circs for sock knitting, I think I might have mentioned that yesterday. Originally I was going to wait to start socks for Mr. Ink until I could get to our LYS sale. However, as I sat knitting yesterday I thought “SURELY I have something in my stash he’d be ok with colorwise?” I mean, my stash really is extensive, though less so than it used to be. There’s no reason in the world unless he’s ridiculously picky that I cannot find serviceable sock yarn in my stash for this.

So I went to my stash and yanked out a VERY old skein of Wollmeise, probably one of the first I ever owned. And cast on a sock on those wee needles.

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As you can see, it’s been a bit of an obsession. I think it’s slower for me, right now, than knitting on 2 circs or magic loop. But I think that’s simply because hand placement is a little tricky, and I suspect I will get used to it. It’s been a pleasant diversion, these socks. They were absolutely my main project yesterday.

The other thing my parents sent which I am SO excited about as I’ve had my eye on it for awhile now:

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Fun little leather bracelet that doubles as a measuring tape. Seems so perfectly appropriate for a knitter! It’s also, as it turns out, VERY comfortable to wear.

I guess that’s about a wrap for me today. I don’t anticipate a lot of knitting time today or tomorrow. I’ll spend my lunch walking the fabulous Max, Miss Marja’s dog. Pretty sure that’s something I am doing for me rather than for her, as I really need the excuse to go out in the cold and take a walk. In the evening, I won’t have time as we are supposed to test drive again tonight. Test driving is now testing the limits of my patience, so hopefully that’s ONLY tonight.