Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No Animals Were Hurt in the Making of this Post

I've decided to begin knitting again, which I have not done in at least twenty years, maybe thirty. I used to make multicolored sweaters out of handspun yarns I dyed myself with natural dyes made of various plant materials and the process, especially the knitting, was extremely relaxing in a zen zone way. (My daughter has already requested that I not send her any [more] Charlie Brown sweaters.)

In August I bought some yarn from a seller on eBay, yummy, 100% hand-dyed alpaca. It will be like wearing a cloud, and I thought the price was a steal.

It turns out it really was a steal because although my PayPal account states that the money was paid, the charge has never appeared in my bank account which is linked to the PayPal account, so I called my bank to find out why. They said it had not been presented for payment, yet I know that the seller got her money, so I began the process of trying to get PayPal to correct their error.

Their website has a make-believe person named Sarah who is happy to answer my questions, provided they fit her very narrow range of issues. If they do not, she begins to recycle them until one gives up and tries to call customer service on the phone. Here is yet another example of customer DISservice. I was told that the wait would be at least 1/2 hour and it is not even an 800 number. I hung up and sent them an email explaining that they needed to return the money to the person who inadvertently paid for my yarn and charge it to me.

Several months ago, I got a double bill from the phone company which stated that I had not paid our bill the previous month, although I had. I had the bank statement to prove it, but undeterred, the phone company continued to charge us double for several more months, which occasioned countless upsetting phone calls involving very long waits to speak with people who couldn't help me. Eventually, they discovered that they had paid someone else's bill with my funds and rectified their error. I will never get back the many hours, literally hours, that I spent attempting to untangle this mess. It would have been far less stressful to simply pay it again and forget it, but that offended my sense of fairness.

The new yarn winks at me seductively from its basket. It has been wound into balls and every now and then I pick one up and hold it to my cheek. I don't know when I will use it, though, as in conscience (with a tad of OCD mixed in) I must first complete a sweater I started before I stopped knitting, whenever it was. Both sleeves were completed, and they are perfect. Unfortunately, I no longer have the pattern so I have spent hours on eBay looking for old knitting magazines from the late 80's and 90's, hoping that one will look familiar. I even bought six old McCall's Needlework and Crafts issues, none of which has the pattern, but one had an ad for Homemade Magazine, which I now think may have been the one. It is no longer published, although there is another magazine in Australia with the same name. I am not a good enough knitter, especially after such a long layover, to adapt another pattern so that the shoulders match the tops of the two completed (and did I mention, perfect?) sleeves I already have. I will have to rip them out and start over, of course, but I am stubborn. I will continue to put myself through unnecessary stress even though the act of knitting itself is a marvelous stress reliever.

As I was typing this, I actually received a response to my email from a person at PayPal named Hans. (I think he's married to Sarah.) The money was already in my account because I had returned a defective item and gotten a partial refund, so the yummy alpaca yarn purchase was made with that money instead of being deducted directly from my bank account. Mystery solved. I think I should get an accountant to tend to these complicated matters so I can spend my days zoned out and knitting.


nick said...

If we all calculated the length of time we spent sorting out simple mistakes and screw-ups like the ones you mention, I shudder to think what the total would be. What a waste of our precious leisure time. There seems to be no cure for disorganised, incompetent employees.

I hope that after all the problem-solving there'll be some time to progress with the knitting.

the walking man said...

Turn the perfect sleeves into hats or mufflers and tell yourself that was their destiny. That is after all what the corporacracy want believes when they keep you on hold or bounce you through the ether from phone head to phone head.

secret agent woman said...

I absoluetly detest workign my way through customer service on the phone.

TechnoBabe said...

You are a good sport none the less, and I for one am proud of how you handled this situation. Like you, I am getting the urge to return to some of the crafts that were fun for me in the past. I so hope you find the pattern you are looking for so you don't have to tear out all the lovely perfect stitches!!

meno said...

You can always send ME a Charlie Brown sweater. I would cherish it forever, unlike your ungrateful wretch of a daughter!

Molly said...

If you have a friend who can sew, get her to make you a woollen or tweed jacket, in fabric that matches or co-ordinates with your two perfect sleeves. Instead of sewing sleeves for the jacket she can use the perfect ones you already made---and more importantly, you can guiltlessly start on a new project with your new yummy alpaca yarn!

I used to love to knit. I think I have to knit some jazzy house socks from beautiful yarn this winter!

Jocelyn said...

I think Hans and Sarah's relationship may be more illicit than marriage. Whatever their private activities entail, I'd wager Hans is the dominant one.

So here I sit, marveling at how much I enjoyed reading about you and a pair of torso-less sleeves--you actually have made me breathless for resolution.

Lauren said...

Oh yeah, put me in line for one of the Charlie B sweaters too.. Not a problem...
Enjoy the relaxation of knitting.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


If all those hours could be returned to us, fresh and unused, we would live many more years than we will. If that makes sense.


As hats, they would be reminiscent of the Coneheads on SNL. And the sleeves are oddly shaped for mufflers, but maybe if I sew enough feathers and sequins on them, nobody will notice.


It is one of the more frustrating experiences in life. I strongly suspect that they do it on purpose so people will hang up and go away.


Oh, I would give anything to find it again. I think I just got bored with the project because all the yarn is the same color, a silk/wool tweed, while all the other sweaters I had made were multi-colored with stripes, designs and other cheap tricks to keep me interested.


You're probably bigger than a seven-year old, yes? (So is she, now, but apparently the trauma lives on. In my view, the sweater and the child were both beautiful, and neither resembled Charlie Brown in the least.)


I actually considered that, but frugality/guilt kicked in because I have enough of this lovely yarn for a whole sweater.

I bought a Bernina sewing COMPUTER (!!) a couple years ago but it so intimidates me that I still haven't learned to use it although I have wondrous projects in mind. I also have no place to permanently install it, which makes things more difficult as it has to be hauled out and set up at the kitchen table every time I get the urge.

Your quilts are exquisite. Please post pics when you make the socks.


You're probably right about Hans' dominance issues, plus Sarah is an indecisive twit.

I am normally breathless for resolution.


You're very kind to volunteer for a sweater.

Thanks for your visit!

Bob said...

use the PERFECT sleeves as leggings and get on with the new knitting, already.

oh, and count me in on any CB sweaters you happen to turn out.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Wow. A man who knows what leggings are. I always knew that you were one in a million.

Maria said...

Ah. Glad the puzzle was solved. I used to knit all the time, too. But, no...didn't dye my own yarn.

I miss it.

Lex said...

I will never understand you perfectionists with OCD. I am certain Katrice is applauding your not moving forward until you complete what you started....albeit twenty or thirty YEARS ago!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yarns dyed with natural dyes are such soft colors that they always blend beautifully, but I am not set up to do that anymore. Nor do I really have the energy or let's face it, that much interest.


It's not OCD as much as frugality and guilt. The yarn in question was very expensive and in conscience I can't just waste it. But if I can make Katrice happy, it's all worth it.

Pamela said...

Once at my bank it turned out tht they had assigned someone else's bank account to my atm. I only found out because I misplaced my card. Tells you how good I am wiht finances.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Maybe you should consider getting an accountant, too.

Thank you for your visit.

On a limb with Claudia said...

Whacha making?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Sweater. But maybe I'll make two more sleeves and give it to a dog I know. I'm sure she'd love a rose pink silk and wool sweater to go out and pee in.

Meggie said...

I agree that knitting is the most amazingly relaxing -& rewarding- way to spend time. However I find no one wants my knitted treasures any more, & my knitted scarves are now "Old Hat" ...Just saying.

Laura Lee said...

escusa mia, but it doesn't sound like YOU are the one who needs an accountant...
similar things have happened with the electric company when I lived in AZ - WE have to be on top of things and spend time unravelling their glitches... I LOVE IT: customer disservice. Indeed.