“So then the lady said, ‘but you told me there would be bicycles!’. Ha ha ha. We laughed so hard!”

“Funny, Toilivia. You’re just so funny.”

“Wow, I love that green thread you’re rocking on me. Isn’t it pretty? You have such good taste, Waco.”

“Thanks, Toilivia,” I said, for the five-hundredth time.

“Did I ever tell you about the time Tim Gunn…”

“Just a sec, ” I stalled, “I have to go try to blow my nose again.”

Toilivia was turning out to be quite the talker. Ordinarily this might not have bothered me much, but my nose was swollen shut and my ear hurt and I was tired. So, so tired.

Wow. I can already tell this post is going to be ALL over the place because now I’m going to force you to travel forward in time a few hours. We’ll skip over me folding up Toilivia’s size-L pattern pieces (because that’s way too big for me to bother continuing with) and sticking them in a baggie (because I can’t fit them back in the pattern envelope) and the fact that I sewed the bottom part of the blouse wrong-side out (a trend, as it turns out) and then hung Toilivia up because I was too tired to rip her apart (“it’s no problem,” she said, “you can make me into something else! Or – hey! – let’s learn how to take in seams!”) and then just poked a hole in the baggie so I could run the hanger through it and push the entire thing to the back of my closet. We’ll skip that part, m’k?

Now we’ve cut up an entire bolt of valentine pattern Snuggle Flannel for view 2 of the 1997 nightgown. Where did I find the strength, you may ask? Well, sick as I am, the one thing that sounded comforting was a new Snuggle Flannel nightgown. And view 2 – I mean, it’s basically six seams and that’s it, amiright? And also, I gain superhuman strength when we’re talking new nightgowns. Super. Human.

We’ve already had to cut one side of the front bodice and one sleeve all over again because we forgot to cut them pattern side down. We’ve already sewn the wrong side of the front bodice to the right side of the back bodice and demanded (in a whisper) that the sewing room, in general, have sex with us.

We’ve already ripped that out only to sew the wrong sides of the garment together, and then ripped that out only to sew the side seam to the shoulder seam, then ripped that out and started over with the sewing and managed to get all the bodice seams sewn the right direction (and location). We’ve already ignored the instructions about the 7/8″ bias tape and gone straight to the satin blanket binding WHICH WORKED EVEN THOUGH I’M GOING TO LOOK LIKE A CHARACTER FROM DYNASTY, as I now see.

Now we’re on the first sleeve. The first sleeve we have ever sewn. And now we are saying WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS? WHY ARE THERE NOT ENTIRE BLOGS AND BOOKS DEVOTED TO THE SHIT THAT IS SLEEVES, AND WHO INVENTED SLEEVES ANYWAY? TERRORISTS? AND WHO CAME UP WITH THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF ‘EASING’ WHICH IS CLEARLY CODE FOR ‘IF ONE PIECE IS TOO BIG JUST JAM IT IN THERE’? Meanwhile, our chest started feeling a little tight, and then it filled up with gunk and got tighter, and that was a pity because we needed to pee more than we needed to breathe, and that can spell something I don’t like to spell out in blog posts but, somehow, am about to.

So then we took a quick potty break before heading for the asthma medicine and Advil, in hopes of calming my fevered brain and breathing apparatus.

Meanwhile, comic recollections started coming to mind. For one thing, the Oonaballoona (was it Oonaballona??) blog post about the poor pattern placement choice when she made shorts and it made her look like she was on her period. For another there was that phase where Paco kept having to go buy me adult pee pads because I was coughing so much I wore out my pee-control muscles — and that was funny because when we were dating I once had to ask him to buy me a “feminine product” when an accident in an expensive hotel room ruined an expensive hotel robe and I was trapped and couldn’t go get any myself – and he almost didn’t do it; but when I asked him, apologetically, to get me some adult pee pads he not only said, “Sure, Sweetie,” but called me from the grocery store to give me the run down on my options. And then that made me think about how we can never really argue like normal couples because his nostrils flare when he’s mad, and that makes me laugh uncontrollably.

And then those two memories brought back memories of all the times I started laughing uncontrollably at inappropriate moments. Which Paco tells me must go in their own blog post so I don’t force pure-at-heart sewers to read them.

Which made me also remember the last time anybody gave me sewing lessons, because it was Neta, at her house, when I was around 11, about the same age I was when she made my cigarette blow up (which will make sense if you read the other post). I bought a pattern yesterday that is as close to the one we were working on back then as I could find, because that’s how long I’ve wanted that top. And because, despite promising her I wouldn’t, I deserted that sewing lesson like I had all the ones she’d given me in the past, and she didn’t finish that one for me, just like she’d told me she would not. And that pattern has sleeves that are shaped exactly like the stupid stinking sleeves I’m trying to set tonight.

Which makes me think that maybe I quit Neta’s sewing lessons when I was 11 because I sucked at sewing, and not just because I was a quitter (though I was a quitter, I always have been). I mean JEEZUS DOES SEWING NEVER GET EASIER?

Times I started laughing uncontrollably at inappropriate moments:

  • An important funeral
  • A high school friend’s wedding
  • Somebody else’s wedding
  • My high school drama tournament (to be fair, so did my partner)

And then also those times when I started laughing uncontrollably and also wet my pants, which happened constantly when I was growing up:

  • When Shannon Thomas and I were taking KC Jones to a toga party in high school, and we stopped on the deserted town square because something blew out the window, and Shannon’s toga blew off and down the street and she wasn’t wearing a bra, and I wet my pants and it filled up my cowboy boots and we had to take KC home with Shannon in nothing but a waist-length parka and panties and boots, and KC was mortified and didn’t talk to me ever again.
  • When my brother gave me a ride on his motorcycle when we were 10 and 11 and I started laughing for no reason while we were in motion and I wet my pants (and his, as it turned out, since I was sitting behind him), and when we got home his best friend was waiting for us in the driveway so we both just sat there like there was nothing unusual about the fact that we weren’t getting off the bike and I kept snorting because I was trying not to laugh, and his friend finally just hung his head and went home because we were acting weird.
  • When I was putting on a puppet show with some neighborhood kids for their parents and their parent’s friends and I suddenly started laughing uncontrollably and then wet my pants in front of the entire audience, and everybody actually laughed. Which was a relief.
  • How I used to wet my pants whenever I sat on a velvet chair, especially those at jewelry stores.
  • The time I wet my pants at the mall, and my grandmother, Neta, told me to stand up so she could clean me up and a man sat down in the plastic seat I had been sitting in so we just quietly left.

This makes me think of Neta, and the infamous night I spent with her.

The doorbell rang, and she didn’t answer it so I did, and there was a super creepy woman standing there. She had long, stringy gray hair and she was kind of bent at the waist, looking up at me coquettishly. I recoiled, and then she started cackling like a witch, at which point I started yelling for Neta.

The lady at the door was Neta, as it turned out when she whipped the wig off her head, and the cackling was just her laughing at me.

So then I ran for the bathroom because I was laughing so hard, and while I was in there I thought I’d smoke a little cigarette (which I’d stolen from her pack), and it exploded. And then Neta knocked on the door and said, “everything alright in there?” and I said, “sure.” And it took me awhile to come out, but while I was in there I stared at the figure she had hanging on the wall. It was a Laffun Head leprechaun and he had a tie that said, “pull me”, and when you did, he spit in your face. Neta kept him filled with water.

I remember thinking I had the coolest grandmother on the planet. And also the craftiest, and not only because she’d just played the long con by planting cherry bombs in a pack of cigarettes she’d left out just for me.