Friday, October 2, 2009

Sweater Season . . .

Shhhh. Do you hear that? It is the silent sound of falling temperatures and the equally silent sound of falling leaves. Yes. Yes. YES! Fall has officially struck the great state of Kansas. And I. Am. Excited.

Not only does this mean I can stop putting baby powder under my excess skin flaps (take a minute, process the mental picture, put it in the past and . . . let's move on) but I can start wearing my sweaters with reckless abandon.

The only real question I have when it comes to sweaters is how many V-Necks and sweater vests can a man own before he has to acknowledge he has a problem?! How many shawl and crew necks? How many cardigans? I would dare say there is no number too high to defend but, more importantly, the real question is how many sweaters can one man's dresser, closet, storage spaces, garage, rented warehouse, underbed storage containers and car trunk hold. Or whatever other space confinement references are actually appropriate.

I see a sweater and I've got to have it. Plain and simple. And once I own that sweater - I never let it go (until the forces of laundry, old age and spousal influence separate me from it, that is). That is not entirely true. There was ONE sweater I let get away.

When I was a freshman at Quinnipiac I got a sweater for Christmas from Eddie Bauer (almost exactly like the one pictured above but navy instead of "natural" and cotton instead of (presumably) wool). It was a 3XL. Instant favorite. I easily wore it every two to three days between the months of October and March for the next four years. Even after I had spread to a 4XL and 5XL I continued to wear it. I took excellent care of it and the stretch of the cotton and the fact that I didn't really care about my general appearance at that stage of my life allowed me to wear it well past it's physical proportions.

Once I officially could not fit in it any more (I ripped part of the seam one morning and didn't want to ruin it-ruin it) I kept it. I was sure that I would some day be skinny enough to fit back in it (oh the irony of setting a weight loss goal that puts me in the 3XL range as I know sit between a large and XL and hate myself for it). I kept in folded at the top of my closet for the next four years. When I moved to Baltimore in 2004 it went with me in a box with my high school, college and grad school diplomas, my SLR camera, four pictures of myself at what were the happiest moments of my life to that point (in Paris, Senior Prom with a group of friends, a get-together weekend with college friends at Father Lou in New Haven and a the first picture I had of myself and Joy when we cut down some trees in the front lawn of what was then her and later our home - to be exact). When we moved to Connecticut it went with me (in the same box even). When we moved to Kansas 16 months later I had been losing weight. I was down to a 4XL/3XL and fall was quickly approaching so the timing and my size would soon be right to bust that sweater out again - for the first time in seven years.

I went out to the garage. I found the box. I opened the box and there were my diplomas, a few pictures, my old camera and nothing else. The sweater was not there. I scratched my head. I searched a few other boxes. I asked Joy if she had seen it. I searched the whole house. I started unpacking things and looking under things. It HAD to be there somewhere.

WHY would I have kept a sweater for seven years, through two moves and a lifetime of changes and yet here I was - about to be ready for that sweater again FINALLY - and it was gone.

I never found it. I wrote a passionate and far-more-grammatically-sound-than-this-blog letter to Eddie Bauer asking them if there was any chance they might have an old sweater that matched in the archives (I have this very real mental picture of one "copy" of every shirt, pant, sweater and shoe ever made in every size it was made by every clothing maker that I know is totally irrational but I just choose to believe it happens). I included the date I got the sweater and a picture of me wearing the sweater (and very, very drunk, I might add) to help them along. I got an e-mail back a few weeks later expressing regrets but thanking me for my love of the sweater.

Yep. That navy blue sweater. The one that got away. Curses.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am online shopping for some sweaters and loving every drop of knitting coming out of Land's End this fall!

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