Thursday, October 01, 2009

Red Thumb!! Red Thumb!!

Oh, OK. It’s not nearly as dramatic as ‘red rum.’

But still.

I have a very red thumb. And a slightly blue ring finger on the same hand. And a speck of red that looks exactly like an open sore on my wrist, and a lovely splotch of black that looks for all the world like a nasty bruise.


Boo Bug noticed before she even got in the van after school today.

“Mommy! Your hand! It looks wiiiiiiiicked!” she exclaimed. (They are buttering me up, because Career Day is coming and they reaaaaaaaly want their mother to show up with vats of dye and maybe t-shirts and then they would be the Most Popular Kids At School Ever.) (Not gonna happen, but statistics mean nothing to them so they keep trying.)

And then Eldest did a double take as she got in. “Did you hurt yourself? You’ve got blood on your…oh…wait…is that dye?”

I’ve thought of many things I could say to explain these things when they are noticed by the uninitiated – by, say, a new childcare provider who has no idea just how insane these people truly are but is already slightly alarmed by the milling Chaos of the house because the Denizens have all pretty much just gotten home and are in that ohmygah, I haven’t seen you for, like, A FEW WHOLE HOURS! mode.

Running, yelling, ‘mommy guess what else’…it’s noisy and bustling and I find myself saying things like, “No, there’s ‘only’ four of them…” a lot.

In other news, I don’t think that poor lady will be back. She actually melted the rubber off her tennis shoes, this is how fast she beat a retreat.

I don’t blame her. I’d run too, if I had the option.

ANYWAY. Ever since I shook her hand with a bright red thumb and then felt obligated to explain what actually happened, I’ve been coming up with Better Stories.

I thought about saying that I had recently voted for a new President of the Super Secret Society, and then whispering, “Oh no, I’ve said too much! Quickly, out the back! I’ll call the Protectionators! They must hide you, you’re in terrible danger, oh! Me and my big fat mouth!!”

Or yelling, “Curses! I told Gerbbelfleck these holographic disguises would never work!” And then I’d start slapping my chest and saying, “Star Command! Come in, Star Command! The emperor has no clothes repeat! The. Emperor. Has. No. Clothes! Why don’t they answer?!

Or I could adopt a mysterious accent (a hybrid sort of thing that wanders all over Europe, maybe) and say, “Deees thumb, deeees one? I kill a man in Reno once, wid deeees thumb! Whhhhhhhhhisssss-kah!!! Like DAT!”

Or, I could keep it simple: Hold up the thumb, waggle it at the inquisitive one and chant, “Red thumb! Red thumb!” in a creepy voice.

None of these things could possible get stranger looks than the simple truth, which goes like this: I was dyeing some cotton handkerchiefs today (strange looks begin right there – you were doing what with which now?!), and as I was mixing up the turquoise dye I noticed that my right ring finger felt wet, which it shouldn’t because I was wearing gloves.

There was a hole in the glove. Well, drat…but no problem, I have plenty of those little latex-free (because guess who is allergic to latex as it turns out? oh yeah. Guess who kinda-sorta knew that already but hadn’t had a big problem with it because she never remembers to wear gloves in the first place, except that she decided recently that she was tired of her hands being drier than the Mojave so she decided to really try to remember the gloves so she wore them for half an hour while doing dishes and then got a MASSIVE ugly rash all over the backs of her hands and up her forearms that was not only ugly, but itchy to boot?) (also, guess who is striving to maintain her status as a Champion Too Long Sentence Writer?) gloves, so I’ll just grab a new glove out of the bag!

And I’ll mix up the red dye! Which never, ever comes off anything it touches! Ever!

Then as I’m cheerfully mashing away at the stuff, my thumb started to feel a little warm.

Noooooooooo, I said to myself. Can’t be. Brand new glove. Can’t have a hole in it.

I actually resisted looking. I told myself I was being silly. Please. What are the chances, anyway? It’s not like moths would have been attracted to the not-latex gloves, right…?

Sure enough, there was a hole in the new glove as well.

And now I have a bright red thumb. And while the blue more-or-less scrubbed off with some Reduran, the red…is probably going to go with me to the grave.

Naturally, this would happen on the day a new babysitter was coming over for an interview. She walks into a madhouse, with the Denizens all talking at once and they sort of mobbed her because naturally they want to see what they’re up against the nice lady who might be watching them once in a while and then Captain Adventure got super-hyper and not only proceeded to run like a mad thing around the Den, but even grabbed an extra-large Ziploc-style bag and put it over his head.

You know, exactly like the warning on the box says NOT to do?!

Sigh. So she’s sitting there watching me slapping some reins on the Chaos and I could tell she was thinking something like, “This woman is crazy. She barks orders like a commando’s DI. There are definitely more than four children in this house. I think there are twelve of them. And I can’t pronounce anybody’s name around here. And her hands look really weird, and I’m not convinced that’s dye on there. And who the heck dyes handkerchiefs, anyway? Who even uses handkerchiefs?! And why do they have miniature fields in their backyard?!?! That’s it, I’m outta here…!”

I think chanting ‘red thumb’ at her would have been less alarming.

And it was just cotton handkerchiefs, too. We didn’t get into the silk versions, or the scarves, or the yarn, or the ‘blank’ socks piled up everywhere waiting for dye, or…

Oh well. At least she didn’t ask about my peas. Because they’re mine, mine I tell you, allllll miiiiiiiiine…

(I’ll have pictures of this stuff soon, I promise. The first ‘wave’ is curing right now, and should be washed [several times, actually] tomorrow. I’ll try to get some pictures over the weekend. I think they’re fun, and anything that gets the word ‘fun’ injected into the subject of having to blow your nose [which is seldom fun at all] can’t be all bad, right?)


PipneyJane said...


Who knows? Maybe the babysitter will think you guys were normal. It's possible.

Now, if you could just do that "Hill & Sky Tie-dyed Merino" in a sock weight, I would break my yarn diet in a flash. (I love the colours.)

- Pam

Louiz said...


Hobby related oddities, me? No. Not gone to work with green fingers (literally)... nor covered with fluff.. Actually, yes I have. And got the odd looks to go with.

Lon said...

I have black leather dye that would probably laugh at your red, and it wears off of my hands eventually. So don't worry, sooner or later you'll lose enough layers of skin...

Science PhD Mom said...

It's possible that your dye has a chemical in it that is reacting with and dissolving your nitrile (non-latex) gloves. Hence you put on a glove and a short while later discover a hole. You might check out what else is in your dye, and what you add to it. Acids and bases for a start are notorious for dissolving certain types of gloves. You can get longer, acid-proof gloves from a scientific supply company. With your sensitive skin, I'd check into that and get some, before you develop an allergy to your dyes or something in them. Take it from a lab rat, you are better off taking protective steps now.