For pity's sake, don't feed the Oops!

There’s a gremlin that follows me around.  He moves my glasses, hides my wallet, takes my keys (he seems to have a special fondness for the key to my mailbox). He’s lived with me for years, since my college days. He lives mostly on caffeine, disorder and procrastination, all of which I generally have in abundance.

I’ve named him Oops.

My messy table
Oops has clearly been here.

Oops likes my tools.  Takes them when I’m not looking and returns them covered in gremlin slobber. Okay, so I’ve never found the tools with slobber actually on them, but I’m pretty sure he licks them.  Gremlin slobber is corrosive, you know.  That’s why my pliers break, generally at the least convenient moment.  And he plays with copper wire like a kitten plays with shoestrings.  Snarls and tangles and mystery loops, and once, what I can only assume was a gremlinish study of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, the blues and yellows done in splashes of acrylic paint.

Oops usually stays out of the projects themselves, once they start to take shape and there aren’t stray beads he can steal to play marbles with the house imp next door.  He seems to find it all a bit boring once it looks like...well, like something other than stray beads and strands of wire. But he must have been feeling neglected or bored, or perhaps ate something that disagreed with his gremlin digestion, because he got into my Celtic Cross tutorial writing project in a big, bad way.

First, this happened.

Broken flush cutters
The gremlin broke my flush cutters!

Flush cutters really aren’t supposed to look like that.  I wasn’t even cutting anything heavy, just some 16 gauge wire for the frame of the cross. Nothing they’re not designed to handle, and nothing they haven’t handled hundreds--maybe even thousands--of times before.  They weren’t even that old, less than a year.  But snap, there they went, one blade flying up and hitting me in the forehead.

Fortunately, I have other cutters.  So back to work I went.  Then the little spring on my chain nose pliers broke. They’re my only chain nose pliers.  The spring isn’t essential (but not having the spring sure makes my hands tired), so I kept at it.

Then the notebook I keep all my measurements in went missing.  It’s flimsy and cheap, and when I found it again, a bunch of the pages were missing.  If I’m making something on the fly or just for my shop, I don’t really need the measurements; by guess and by golly generally works.  But for a tutorial, they really are necessary.  Very necessary.  And those pages were nowhere to be found (I still haven’t found

Bits and pieces for the Celtic Cross Tutorial

them).  I had to start over, measuring all my weaving wire.  Again. My wires snapped, way more often than usual. It came unspooled and tangled and kinked. Oops kept distracting me with mesmerising music and such, and I kept forgetting to take process photos of some of the steps. I had to retrace my steps and undo work so I could take the pictures.

I was planning a visit to my parents’ home in Iowa, and I’d hoped to be done with the tutorial before we left, but I wasn’t.  So I packed up my tools, my wire, my beads, my camera and my notes, and off we went. At my folks’ place, I set myself up at the kitchen counter and worked while we chatted.

Oops had a heyday at my parents’ house.  Tools disappeared to be found in unexpected places (like the potted plant I watered for my mother), beads spilled all over the floors (Oops really loves the sound of beads hitting tile, apparently), water spilled on tools.  He even started taking my mom’s things so she’d ask me to help her look for her glasses or address book or the scissors she’d just had in her hand.  Progress was slow.  I mean….s...l...o...w.  I still wasn’t done when it was time to leave, although close enough that the end was (finally!) in sight.

One of those VERY NECESSARY process pictures

But when we got home, I couldn’t find my camera.  My camera!  I looked everywhere, turned the house upside down.  All of my process pics were on the memory card.  And I still had pictures left to take in order to finish the %*@! tutorial. And then my mom called and asked if the camera sitting on her kitchen counter might be mine. Oops, true to his gremlinish nature, had obviously taken it out of my bag and hidden it there before we left.

I won’t lie. I cried. My husband, desperate to stem the waterfall and to avoid Panicky Wife Syndrome (a condition in which the wife alternately weeps, wails and blames the nearest bystander, most often the beleaguered husband), overlooked the budget and made a trip to the electronics section of the closest big box store and got me a stand-in so I could finish up.  Bless him.

Oops must have been tired from all his shenanigans, and let me take the last few photos in peace, and didn’t even mess too much with the computer while I edited the text and made the PDF file.  He’s even left me alone for the last couple of days while I worked on other things.  I think he’s worn out, frankly.  I’m certain he’ll be back and up to his antics before too long.  

But if he’s wandered away and comes to your house looking for pretty, shiny things, and asks for some coffee with a side of chaos, for pity’s sake, don’t feed the Oops.

The Celtic Cross, all finished now that Oops is done partying.




Loved this post - and yes, Oops visits us all. I think he/she has mastered space-time and can be in many different studios at the same time. Your beautiful end result belies the trouble along the way.

I'm glad you liked the post,

I'm glad you liked the post, Pamela! Yes, Oops is prolific. I hope he doesn't visit you too often!


This Oops must be a very fast booger, or he has a lot of relatives.
He visits me at my home and on my workplace. every time I need something he placed it in places where I would never have put them and makes me look for them.

I do hope that he stays somewhere else for the time being. :)

grz Carina aka

I think Oops has a huge

I think Oops has a huge family -- big enough that there's at least one in every artist's studio. If you get time without him, enjoy it!

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