* PITA, of course, standing for, “Pain in the Ass.”

Last night, after having worked until 9:00, I was sitting on the couch, trying to relax and wind down enough to go to bed, and I picked up the Branching Out scarf I’ve been working on/screwing up lately. [A word of advice: Don't use mohair for your first lace project!] I had messed up the preceeding pattern repeat, but after much frustrating ripping back, I was back at Row 1 again, and I was certain that I’d have smooth sailing as I continued to knit away in front of the TV. Somehow, and perhaps not surprisingly to anyone who has tried to work on lace while watching TV, I missed a couple of yarnovers in the first row, and didn’t realize it until I was at the end of the third row and didn’t have enough stitches there to finish. More frustrating ripping back — those mohair fibers get all entangled just looking at each other, don’t they? — I was ready to start Row 1 again. I had made my way across the first four stitches when my husband’s cat, Belfry, decided to walk across my lap.

Belfry and I have a love/hate relationship. He can be very sweet and snuggly, but he is more often an annoyance to me. He’s a fat (16+ lbs.) black and white shorthair with autism and eczema. He can’t read a person’s mood the way Mike’s other cat, Basil, can, so he always begins an interaction with the same grating meow and assumption that you are in love with him and want to lavish your attention on him. He likes to rub up against you, and because he sheds both black and white hairs profusely, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing: you’ll always have his hair showing wherever he does it. His self-image must be that of himself as a young, lithe thing, because when he can’t jump up onto something (the back of the couch, for example) due to his excessive girth, he walks across you as though it had no impact on your bladder, chest, knitting, etc.

So, Belfry walks across my lap and gets his toe tangled up in the yarn running from the ball to the scarf. He gets freaked out, and tries to jump away from it, but can’t. He gets more freaked out when I try to disentangle him, and succeeds in pulling live stitches off my needle, yanking several yards out of the ball, and generally pissing me off. Seething, I finish off the row before getting ready to head upstairs (some relaxation, huh?), and then I notice the kicker. Apparently, when Belfry freaks out, he loses control of his bowels — I know this because I’ve lifted him suddenly off the bed when I’ve been folding my laundry on my clean sheets (to avoid the cat hair, of course), only to find the sheets aren’t so clean anymore. And apparently, having a strand of mohair around one’s back paw with human people yelling and grabbing at one’s legs is enough to freak one out. I had to clean cat poop off the couch before I could turn in.

PITA, indeed.