Eight Months: Exploring the New Territory

Robert and I covered a lot of ground -literally and figuratively- since we moved in with Jackie. The friction of the first few days with our new landlady as we tried to carve out our space in her already organized single-woman’s existence is now past. We have grown again to appreciate the camaraderie and the understanding that stems from our mutual respect for each other. In contrast to Ron, Jackie is not judgmental, and is not on a mission to try and make me into a “better person”. I am accepted the way that I am and I believe I am liked well enough that way. For my part, I enjoy her sharp wit and the way she calls a spade a spade. We both have our blind spots when dealing with our emotional issues and conflicts with men, but of course we can see each others problems clearly and can offer sound advice, only not for our own problems. Most important is that we can have fun together, we are both good sports and can take the Mickey out of our respective backgrounds (Jewish and Arab), and can also make fun of the interesting realities of our South African existence.

Robert is getting a lot of attention from Jackie, as she loves playing rough with him and throwing him around, as he hoots with delight. He is crawling around and exploring everything. I need to keep a close eye on him since Jackie’s house is not baby-proofed. We are starting to use the vehement “NO” very often, and Robert can definitely understand it although he does not obey it most of the time. Like all small children he sometimes responds with an innocent face looking back at me while his little hand keeps inching in the other direction towards the forbidden objects. In other words he keeps testing the limits. Standing is now is very easy for him and he loves to pull himself up on the furniture. He also cruises from one side of the sofa to the other to get to a toy or to my cell phone.
The routine of feeding and bathing has settled. When we moved I decided it was a good opportunity to start dunking Robert in the adult-size bath. He can sit quite well without any help, and neither me nor Lucy have any problems with him, since he enjoys the water so much.

During the last week of April, Jackie took me and Robert on several outings. I had my first evening meal at a restaurant with him in attendance. Jackie and I enjoyed a lovely steak at a restaurant in Sea Point. On another day we went to meet friends in the northern suburbs were we had coffee in the mall. The mall had an outside area and a little playground, and Robert enjoyed his time on the rocking horses. Later on the same day, we enjoyed a seafood lunch at a posh restaurant overlooking the bay and Table Mountain. Robert spent most of the meal sleeping in his baby seat, and when he woke up he had a taste of clam chowder. For both of us this is a noted change from our stay-at-home routine, and we both enjoyed it. Dealing with Robert on these long and short trips was not too much of a challenge; he is a happy baby most of the time and doesn’t fuss too much.

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The Daily Routine

I am slowly getting used to new rules and my new housemate. She is definitely not as demanding as Mr. Negativity, and simply lets me experience my freedom. The first few days were tough, I drove myself nuts trying to find my things, and kept losing every item after a few seconds of putting it down somewhere. I was trying to find spots for my stuff, in the fridge, in the pantry, in the cupboards and on the bathroom shelves. It is difficult to move into someone else’s space, and I have to keep reminding myself that my baby and I are simply paying house-guests here, and we need to adjust to this house’s rules. Still, it is far easier to be myself here than it was with Mr. Negativity.

I spent my first weekend in years without going outside the front door. This was unheard of in my marriage where one needs to get out for some exercise or fresh air. I am now eating generous helpings of food, after years of watching my portions. I always ate behind the man’s back just to spare myself his scathing comments about how much I eat. It doesn’t help pointing out my slim figure, or the calories I need as a breastfeeding mother. Now I can indulge my craving for chocolate without being asked whether I need it or not, and as the weather turns cooler I have a tin of hot chocolate close at hand,  not hidden in some inaccessible corner of the kitchen cupboard.  In short, life is getting back to normal for me. I am living -mostly- by my own rules.

The price though is considerable. I hand-wash our clothes every other day. I walk to the shops to buy things and carry the groceries home. I bargain hunt, and count our pennies. Worst of all, I have to tell my sorry story to the people at work in order to get suitable shifts, and working hours. I hate the notoriety of walking in and out of the floor at odd hours, and having to endure the questioning or the pitying look. It is especially humiliating since some people know that this is my second trip to breakup land (with the same man). I know that even some of my closest friends think that I landed into this predicament because of my rare stupidity. But, believe me, it is easy to be fooled by someone you love (or someone you want to love). We give those we love the power to fool us because we want to believe them. Regardless of what brought me here, I will get over it. I will survive my foolishness and carry on.

My little one and I survived the first few weeks. He had his first fever last week, and I had to miss work for two days because of that.  The next few weeks we endured the long walks back and forth to his father’s. Dropping him off before I went to work in the early morning, and picking him up after I finished. Baby is also getting used to Nanny. She will look after him three afternoons a week, when I am at work. Nanny brought up her fair share of young ones including my housemate. This arrangement means that I only need Mr. Negativity to babysit every other Sunday. This suits me fine, and I do not want to ask him for any more.  He has already metioned several times that is helping me babysit this month for free. Yes, he is the baby’s father, although sometimes I really wish it wasn’t so. I hope and pray my boy does not take after his sire.

A Little Help

Robert and I are struggling along and trying to cope around our busy routine. Things are starting to fall into place, albeit very slowly. I sat down with Lucy one Saturday and we worked out a schedule when she can look after Rob, then I came up with my own work schedule based on it. I presented the schedule to my managers at work, and they were nice enough to accept it. I will thus be working the same shifts every week: Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoons and then Saturday the whole day. I threw in a whole day on Sunday every other week, where dad has to look after Robert, to make up a 20-hour week. This makes me work every other day, with a two-day weekend only every two weeks, but I have no alternative at the moment.

Lucy is very good with babies and small children. She raised half a dozen of her own children and grandchildren, in addition to many others she cared for in her working life. On the very first day I left Robert with her, I came home to see him strapped to her back African style, and he seemed to enjoy it immensely. I am glad to have peace of mind in that area at least, my child is well looked after in my absence.

When we are not running around on some errand, Robert and I enjoy soaking the sunshine in the yard, on the beach or in the park. Sometimes Jackie came along too, and I took some photos. The effects of pregnancy, continued breastfeeding and the added stress of breaking up are finally showing. I look thin, tired and haggard these days. My hair has lost its luster, and has become brittle and dry. I received unflattering comments about the way I looked, and I know why. But, I am going to ignore my growing roots for now; I want to give my hair a break. If god wants me gray, then gray I should stay. The only reason why I dyed it before was in deference to my husband. Now I have only myself to answer to. I will find a solution that suits me this time, and I do not want to succumb to the pressure of looking younger and sexier, I am not young anymore, so who am I trying to fool. I am not scared of my scars or of my approaching forties. I have lived, loved, and born a child; I have smiled, frowned, laughed and cried and I have the scars and the gray hair as witnesses. I am not going to pretend otherwise.

I am not the only one trying to adjust to our new lifestyle. Robert is also going through this phase. He has started to wake up every night for a feed, and it is something else for me to get used to. It is good that I can survive on very little sleep, and I am also grateful that I do not have to work night shifts. I want to be the one to reassure and hold him when he wakes up during the night. My feeding routine has also been disrupted, back in the old flat I used to confine Robert to the Bumbo chair in the kitchen where he was stuck in a seated position until he polished up the cereal bowl. Here, I am struggling to keep him in place as I try to aim the cereal into his mouth. I do my best to anticipate the turning head and dodge the swiping hand, but we still end up both with splats of cereal on face, hair, and clothes. The solution came from the resourceful Jackie, who got us a feeding chair from the next-door neighbors. The family was in Israel for a holiday at the time, and the maid gave us the chair, but when they came back they were very happy to let us keep it.

Once Robert was strapped behind the tray of the feeding chair, he knew that it was mealtime and there was no more messing around. Since I moved in with Jackie I also started to let him snack with me on my food, so he has started on toast, avocado, rice, beans, and many different fruits.

In other activity news, Robert and I are going to Moms and Tots class every week. It is something that I can hardly afford, but I wanted to do it, to get some social interaction with other moms, and to give Robert a chance at some fun time with other babies. The first few weeks were a little challenging but soon Robert started to enjoy the activities and get used to socializing with other people. I also met many interesting moms and learned new games to play with my little one.

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Feverish Daze

I do not want to forget how difficult these first few weeks in April were. I was trying to cope with the new environment, the new territory, and the rules of my new house mate. However, I still had to be thankful for having a friend to stay with. I don’t think I could have coped by myself for the first few days. On our second day at our new home I was off from work, Robert was recovering slightly from the injection’s effects and I was busy trying to organize our room and our life. On Thursday I started what will be my routine for the rest of the month for morning shift work. I woke up at six – before sunrise, fed and clothed Robert, then took him in the pram towards his dad’s place. The walk takes about twenty minutes, and I always aimed to get there at seven or just after. I delivered Robert to his dad, with a bottle a change of clothes and diapers then ran down the hill to catch a taxi to work. When my shift was over I picked up Robert and walked back home with him.

The interim arrangement I had for April was to continue in this way, with dad looking after the baby when I worked morning shifts and Lucy, Jackie’s nanny/domestic worker taking over on the afternoons when she is off. Miriam let me completely down and I was left without a back up plan. To complicate matters further, I could not just employ whomever I choose, because Jackie is extremely paranoid about admitting strangers into her place.
I thought that the best solution to work around these problems was for me to work at night. I put in a request through to my managers for permanent night shift work. My rationale was that Robert sleeps through the night, and only needed someone to be there in case he woke up, which he rarely did. I was waiting for an answer for over a week now, and as luck would have it, I received my answer on that first day at work after moving out.
When I was notified by their refusal I was so upset I broke down and cried. It was something I have never done before in a professional environment, and it made me feel so ashamed. It was really enough for me to deal with the humiliation of telling my story, and asking for special working conditions, and now this. What I thought was the perfect solution for my problem was no longer possible but management compromised by allowing me to plan my own schedule, working whenever I can, until such time when my boy can be accepted in day care, and I can have normal working hours like everyone else. I was back to the drawing board on that one, trying to find another plan at work.

As if I did not have enough on my plate, Robert became feverish on Thursday afternoon. I gave him infant drops, bathed him and expected the fever to break quickly but it didn’t. I wasn’t feeling great either, my immune system must have buckled under the strain; I had a runny nose and the symptoms of the cold. I did not feel like facing the floor either, so I called in sick for then next day (Friday) and planned to take Robert to the doctor as well. Early on Friday morning I had a very bad fright; Robert woke up at dawn, and he was boiling hot. I took off all his clothes and started putting cold compresses on him, but I was in panic when the ear thermometer showed 42 degrees. I didn’t know what to do but wake up Robert’s dad and ask him to take us to hospital. In his usual calm manner he pointed out that at a temperature like this the boy would have been comatose, so perhaps it wasn’t correct. So I took another measurement with the rectal thermometer which arrived in Auntie C’s package, and this time the temperature reading was 39 degrees. This was still fever but not a death threat. I gave Robert more infant drops, and stayed up with him giving him cold compresses until he felt a little cooler and went back to sleep.

In the morning I made an appointment for him to see a GP in our area. Since I did not have access to the car I thought I might as well get used to the services available at walking distance from us. My appointment with the doctor was at eleven and after that I had also a meeting with the lawyer at 12 in town. The timing was a little tight but still doable. We took the long walk to the doctor, and made it just in time to see Dr. L. I was impressed with her gentle and thorough manner. It was clear that she was a good physician who was very good with children, she looked like she was expecting one of her own too. Robert’s diagnosis was upper respiratory tract infection, and Dr. L advised symptomatic treatment. She gave him a prescription for a different type of syrup to alternate with the infant drops I was already giving him. She also instructed me to monitor him for the next few days, and bring him for a follow up if the fever didn’t break. On Saturday I was supposed to work an early morning shift starting at five, so I had to get a certificate from Dr. L. to prove the reason for my absence. The last thing I wanted now was trouble with work. After the doctor I had to rush into town to catch my meeting with the lawyer. I had to call Robert’s dad to fetch him, and save me the time and effort of walking all the way up the hill to his place, then running down again to the taxi stop. Ron met me halfway up the hill and I rushed into town.

At the lawyers I had to sign some legal paper, then he gave me an affidavit that needed to be signed in front of a commissioner of oaths. So on my way back I had to make yet another stop at the police station to get this done, before walking back to get Robert. When I arrived he was asleep, and his dad said that he did not mind if I stay with him until he wakes up; he was leaving to gym anyway. While I waited I checked on my internet accounts and downloaded my mail. This turned out to be the last time I would use my computer in a month.

Robert recovered slowly from his ailments and fortunately I had three days off work where I could finally relax from running around. I just sat at home, played with Robert in our backyard, warmed my chilled soul in the gentle autumn sun and read. Jackie is very supportive of us, she loves Robert and interacts with him all the time. He responds to her quickly when she asks him to “clap handies” and loves it when she rough-houses with him. Robert is benefiting from our different styles of play, and Jackie has somehow -at least during playtime- jumped into what is supposed to be dad’s role.
When I am home I still have many things to do. I need to go shopping every other day, because I cannot carry too many groceries while pushing Robert in his pram; I wash our clothes by hand on every dry and sunny day; and I cook us some extremely simple meals. In the meantime I am still taking a lot of emotional strain; I am deeply aware of the chaos of my life, and I find myself craving the perfect order I used to reject in my previous life. I know that I am grasping at the outward order to compensate for the complete emotional and personal collapse. I get stuck on small details, and cannot get past the need to organize things that under normal circumstances I would have found unnecessary. A few days ago I wanted to replace the silicon nipple on Robbie’s bottle, and I walked all the way down our main road, asking in every shop. Then I retraced my way back to the other end of the main road where I finally found a replacement set. The exercise took two hours and Robert and I arrived home past dark, both extremely exhausted. It was one of the few days where I put him to bed without a bath.

Although things are extremely difficult for us at the moment, there are also moments of happiness that shine through, and kindness that comes when least expected. Jackie’s mom bought Robert a set of colourful stacking cups which I am now use for his bath. She also bought him a couple of jars of baby food. I guess Robert now has a Cape Town granny.

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Surviving the First Day

I am ready to drop off with exhaustion, but I feel like I have to write a few word. Today was tough, but baby and I survived. In my panic to get things done before I become officially homeless and transportless, I begged Mr. Negativity to take me and baby to the clinic as he was due for an immunization. The timing was perhaps not so good, but I knew I will be overwhelmed with many new things in my new place of residence, and I did not want baby’s immunization to slip through the cracks. Also I do not see myself calling Mr. Negativity for such things once I am done with him. He likes to think of himself as a benovelent benefactor, but I know better. I would rather call a cab and pay the exorbitant fare than put up with his sighs and complaints about “effort and expense”. Right or wrong, I decided to go ahead and give my baby the injection, and we both lived with the consequences.

Today was really a bad day. The child had a slight temperature and an obviously sore leg. He whined a lot and did not want to eat. His father was so anxious to get rid of us he actually helped drop off my boxes at the new place. He made THREE trips, which is phenomenal. Unfortunately in the confusion of the last trip I forgot a few bags in the garage, one containing baby food and formula. I only realised that much later when he had left.

On that final trip we had an argument as Mr. Negativity implied that the flat was now his and I should hand over the keys. I argued that I am leaving my computer and some household items he will carry on using and will only give him the keys when I take posession of my things. Well, that earned me again a storm of his temper and added to the agitation of my poor child strapped in the back of the car. On the one hand I feel like giving him the retort he deserves and on the other I know I need to keep quiet until this is over. I am buying myself out with silence.

Divorce is final he says and we are no longer married. I point out to him that as far as I am concerned nothing has been finalized yet. The consent papers are awaiting his signature and my bank account is hemorrhaging and will soon be no more. I haven’t seen a cent yet from the promised “generous” maintenance. I suppose when the guy married me he never counted on me becoming old enough to answer back. So now that it’s happening he cannot control his rage. This is the mood he left us in at our new home.

A bad day continued getting worse, when baby started acting up. Either the bad energy of dad or the injection’s side effects caused continous crying fits. Meanwhile I was trying to find and organize things in our new room. It was then that I realised that his bottle and formula were missing, but when I called Mr. Negativity he said: “No way I am going to deliver it, let your friend come and get it”, then hung up on me. I managed to keep the little one sustained with some breast milk, but he remained hungry and unhappy, and I was tied down and couldn’t leave to get the stuff. I swallowed my pride and tried phoning again and this time the mood was slightly better: “Okay I will bring the things on my way to town”.  He was going to town to sign the consent papers for our divorce, he said.

The trials of the day left Mr. Negativity unscathed. He showed up in a fresh, nicely ironed shirt, asked me to phone the lawyer’s office to make sure they will still be there by the time he gets to town, and carried baby and talked to him (something he rarely did in the past few weeks, at least not in front of me). He also brought me along the stroller which I had forgotten in the confusion as well.

Experience has taught me that Mr. Negativity becomes nice only when he has something to gain, or has much to lose. I think after the argument we had in the car he figured it was too much of an effort and expense to live without the modem, the microwave and my few pots and pans, so he thought he will play softball for a while. He did not even ask me when I was going to get my cat. God help me until this whole thing is over.

In the papers I am filing for my divorce there is a letter he wrote to me when I tried to leave him for the first time. It was full of love, regret and promises. I keep it to remind me how false people can be when they have something at stake.

Moving Out

I am writing this long after the actual events, so the intensity of my feelings have cooled down considerably. Robert and I moved out today, after a few days of extensive ugliness, which I do not want to dwell upon much. I will just recall however that Ron wanted us out sooner rather than later.
During those final days I tried to steer clear of Ron. I spent lots of my time with Robert in the park enjoying the sunny days of autumn. Most of the time, however, I had my hands full, trying to get retrained at work, tying up loose ends here, transferring phone and fax accounts, getting dental checkups, and packing boxes of books. While I still had a proof of address at our flat, I opened a bank account for Robert and made out a cheque for his Canadian citizenship application. I also managed to convince Ron to take us to the hospital to get Robert’s immunization for this month. I wasn’t sure if he would agree to take us a second time because the nurse was on holiday when we went there last week, and I got into deep trouble for not phoning in advance.

In the end Ron helped us move, but there are still a few items of mine he still holds in his possession, and I trust that he will hand over in time. Among those are my computer and scanner, but there is also my psychologically disturbed cat. Ron wanted Petey out of there as soon as possible as well, but I was hesitant to displace him into a strange environment especially that Jackie’s house is the territory of her female cat Spliff. Ron has grudgingly agreed to give the cat food and board until a better solution comes up, and I am grateful.

In retrospect perhaps it was a bad idea to give Robert his immunization in the middle of all this chaos, but I had no other option since Ron is keeping our car, and I don’t have another mode of transport. Robert was terribly cranky, with the combined effect of moving and the injection. I could not cope with his consistent crying, at the same time, I could not control my own feelings of displacement and loss. Whenever I set down something I ended up losing it, and it drove me crazy. By late evening I was a complete zombie and went into a complete breakdown. My baby and I were both howling uncontrollably.

Robert’s changing table found a home in Jackie’s bathroom but he cried bitterly every time I carried him to it. I hung up his music mobile over it, which helped somewhat. But he still cried bitterly every time I wanted to change him. Later I figured out that his upper leg was sore from the injection, but on the first day I was beyond reason and help. We both crashed into bed late and exhausted.

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Well, the day has come and I am moving out. I am taking my baby, and my cat but the computer will be staying here for a little while until I sort out my connectivity at the new premises.

We are moving in with a friend, who has a sunny house in a quiet street of Sea Point. One part of me is perversely joyous, another is infinitely sad. I am closing a chapter of my life that has gone on for the last ten years. This is the tenth time I moved in this last decade, and I am not even done yet. Who knows where my son and I will end up.

Mr. Negativity will not take pity on my cat. He will not allow it to stay on in this (HIS) apartment until he moves out. He wants all of us OUT, out of his hair. Now I have to take my poor abused cat into the territory of another female cat, who is the favourite little girl of my landlady. My cat is worried and knows there is something afoot. Boxes and bags are moved about. Cupboards and drawers are being emptied. He is old enough not to trust such developments, but he has no idea what is coming. My landlady already told me, that if her cat gets upset, then my scrawny one has to go. I can’t blame her, we are moving into her territory and have to respect the rules.

So, the next few days will be full of challenges. I might be unable to update this blog for a week or so, but I will try to be back online as soon as possible.

Hit Me Where it Hurts

I think my brother-in-law is an idiot. But then again there are so many of his kind in my old country.

Recently, I lamented in this post the plight of women in my country of origin. The piece was brought about by what I think of as my sister’s digression into blind submission to the dictates of society. This submission is well-disguised as Islamic morals, values, and mostly dress code (wearing the headscarf or Hijab).

Today my good sister’s husband came up with another gem from my erstwhile people who have been dozing for the last thousand years. He splashed a “funny” post all over Facebook’s “Funwall” and forwarded it to his numerous friends – most of whom are WOMEN if I may add.

I am translating it from the original Arabic:

Behind every great man .. a woman

Behind every prisoner.. a woman

Behind every problem.. a woman

Behind every war.. a woman

Behind every traffic accident.. a woman

Behind every fight between neighbours … a woman

Behind the demographic imbalance… a woman

Behind the corruption of young men and their depravity.. a woman

Behind every mother and father who were thrown into an old age home… a woman

I want to know who was the stupid ox who called them the fairer sex.

End of gem.

Given my current situation, I am not very good friends with the male fraternity at the moment. But this particular post would enrage me even on a good day, and I do not think it is funny at all. It simply illustrates the male (and especially the Middle Eastern male’s) attitude of passing the responsibility of EVERYTHING onto a woman’s shoulders. Men get away with this because we women have broad shoulders, and can carry everything the guys throw at us: The groceries, the kids, and a good portion of the home-loan to boot. We do it with love, then we smile and ask for more of the load.

Yesterday I drew up a list of items I bought in the last two years and gave it to Mr. Negativity. I did that because in the settlement he stated that I will be getting X thousand Rand’s worth of household effects. I annotated the items I would like to have and added them up to come up with the amount HE said I would get. His response: “I don’t want to go into nit-picking”. Of course, it is nit picking, because I am the one who is asking for stuff. In contrast it is not nit-picking when he demands that I throw petrol in the car on the rare occasions I dare to use it, or when he makes me pay for his son’s passport applications.

His latest antic: I am not allowed to use the car for moving my few belongings to my friend’s house down the road, no more than two kilometers away. And of course it is too much “effort and expense” for him to drive me there. Yet, he wants me “out of his hair” sooner rather than later. Perhaps I should do a sit-in protest on top of my boxes, and wait to see who will break first. Believe me, I want out as well, but I have put up with this crap for nine years, what is a few days more?

Final Days

Sadly, my days together with Ron are numbered. Throughout this I am still trying to keep an outward facade to my family overseas who know no better. I do not want to add on to their worry. In the midst of all this, Robert’s long awaited Christmas present from Auntie Celia arrives. Its belated arrival made a sad testament to the changed circumstances. I picked the parcel up at the post office, and the it lay unopened for days. So I finally decided to open it and divided the presents, which were supposed to be shared. Ron got the tea, and I kept the chocolates, while Robert got the whole lot of baby goodies and a book.

During the past week Ron and I steered away from each other. He kept his usual morning routine, and at night he went to sleep soundly while I stayed awake, reading news feeds and blogs and writing my own. Just messing around on the internet to shorten the hours of the night and to keep the fear and desperation at bay. Many of my problems do not have solutions yet. Who will look after Robert while I am away at work? How will I manage work in the long term? what will happen next? I try not to think of everything at once, and deal with one problem at a time.

I had to explain my situation at work, thus making myself a novelty and a freak. People who have been at my work long enough know that I have been close to divorce before, and I can imagine the gossip that is spreading on the floor. I endured the pitying looks and asked for some arrangement to my shifts. The first solution that came to my mind was to work 20 hours of night shift every week. I thought that Robert slept through the night, and Jackie is home almost every night so she can keep an ear if he wakes up at night for some reason. I am still waiting for a response for my request, but if it is not granted I really do not know what else to do. Jackie is careful and paranoid about people who enter her house. It will be difficult for me to employ domestic help if they do not meet with her approval.
All these problems I try to forget while Robert and I are together. We are spending many hours at the park, and enjoying our final days there. Once I move in with Jackie it will be a much longer walk here, and I am not sure whether I can come here every day.

Robert crawls now very easily on the grass, and he can sit in the swing for a very long time.

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Crocheting and Unraveling

Two weeks ago I started crocheting a dress for Olivia, who was yet to be born. After almost finishing the dress I discovered that it was sitting too stiffly and was not the greatest piece. I unraveled the whole thing and started over with a larger hook, and crocheted a jacket this time. I always unravel stuff when I am not too happy about something, or when I spot a mistake that nobody else would Two weeks ago I started crocheting a dress for Olivia, who was yet to be born. After almost finishing the dress I discovered that it was sitting too stiffly and was not the greatest piece. I unraveled the whole thing and started over with a larger hook, and crocheted a jacket this time. I always unravel stuff when I am not too happy about something, or when I spot a mistake that nobody else would notice. This time my aborted project was an imitation of my life. I am unraveling my marriage because it is obviously not working. The jacket turned out beautiful, more so because the wool was softened and stretched with unraveling. Perhaps this is what will happen to me sometime in the distant future.