No surprise that dinner with Lars on Wednesday night was a delight, albeit all too brief. Such a good fellow. I can't wait to see him again at Stitches. He's funny, smart, and cool as a cucumber. Even the sight of Dolores suggestively slurping her pad thai noodles didn't seem to phase him.
But we had to say goodnight early, as the next day was our departure for Knitting Camp. Martha and Susan anticipated swinging past our place at about 10:30 a.m. and we did not want to keep them waiting. As it happened, they called up from about thirty miles south of the Loop at 9:30 a.m. and said they were running early.
Dolores freaked; she was only half-finished with her morning toilette in nothing but curlers, cold cream, and a slip. She need not have worried. A combination of cataclysmic construction work and rolling thunderstorms slowed city traffic to a crawl, and the poor dears rolled in half an hour late.
We set off from Chicago in high spirits, although Dolores was miffed when Martha told her not to light up in the car.
"Just little one?" said Dolores.
"No," said Martha.
"It's filtered," said Dolores.
"No," said Martha.
"How about if I stick my head out the window?" she said.
"How about if we tie you to the roof?" said Martha.
Happily, before we even made it to the expressway the Lunesta tablet that had accidentally fallen into Dolores's traveling flask kicked in. She passed out with her head on the armrest and was silent for the next six hours, aside from one somnolent snort to "Viggo" to "do that again, but higher."
As it turned out, I couldn't have been driven to Wisconsin by two better people. Martha and Susan are a hoot and a holler, respectively. And so full of information. Before we even hit the Illinois border I'd been fully briefed on the personalities of the knitters I'd be meeting and what sort of knitterly frolics I could expect. However, as Susan had enabled the child safety locks on the back doors my attempt to leap from the moving vehicle was unsuccessful.
We arrived in Marshfield with just minutes to spare before the opening dinner. Camp is being held at a quiet, comfortable Holiday Inn on the main drag (the one with the traffic signal). There was some trouble checking in. I gave my name and the desk clerk said she couldn't find any record of my reservation.
"How do you spell your name again, please?"
"I'm sorry, sir, " said the clerk. "We have nothing under that name."
"Try looking under Van Hoofen," gurgled a bleary voice from the sofa in the lobby. I glared at Dolores, who gave me a sheepish grin.
The clerked tapped her keyboard. "Oh, yes," she said brightly. "Here we are. Would you care to swipe a credit card for any incidentals, Mr. Van Hoofen?"
"We're not married," said Dolores. "He just likes to play with my fleece."
The clerk pursed her lips. "I don't know what you may have heard about Wisconsin, sir," she hissed. "But this is a respectable hotel and we don't really appreciate that sort of thing."
As I rolled Dolores and our luggage (two suitcases, two knitting bags, three hatboxes, a makeup case, and a dozen assorted California varietals) up to the third floor, she yawned and stretched and smacked her lips.
"I need a pick-me-up," she said. "Does this joint have a lounge?"
"Yes," I said. "I think it's closed, though."
"I did see a bar across the street. But it looked a little grungy."
"Good grunge or bad grunge?"
"Well...there were two rusting pick-ups with gun racks parked outside, the windows are blacked out and the sign says it's called 'Nutz Deep.' "
"See ya," said Dolores.