Monday, September 30, 2013

In which we sponsor a doll from Japan and Richard gets a phone call....

But first, a big welcome back to Vicki and the residents of Hittyville!


"Who? Yes, I am..." I could hear Maddy on the phone in the other room. "Yes. I'll be over in about an hour. Great. Thank you." She hung up. "Yes! She's here. I was afraid her visa might be delayed."

"Who's here?" I said, looking around from the computer.

"The doll from Japan we're sponsoring," Maddy said, looking for her other shoe and the car keys. "Want to take a ride with me to pick her up?"

Wait. What doll? Japan? Why doesn't she like, tell me these things?


Turns out this has actually been in the works since before she made me. Pinky found out about the Friendship Dolls and their descendants while she and her band were in Japan back in the spring and thought it would be really cool to sponsor one of them. It's a program that started back in 1927 (read more about it here and here.) Maddy loved the idea, but the application process and red tape took far longer than anyone thought. She was starting to worry that it might not come through, until she got the call today that our sponsoree (is that a word?) had arrived at the airport across the river.

So without further ado, as they say, meet Moriko.

She comes to us from Shizuoka, near Mt. Fuji and the beautiful, if eerie, Aokigahara forest.

"I wanted to travel and see the rest of the world," she told us on the drive back. "Like many of the smaller dolls in the program, I was inspired by reading of your ancestor Hitty."

Okay, I like this girl....


Seriously, though, she's really sweet. Maddy being Maddy, she was intrigued by Moriko's stories of Aokigahara and its almost Lovecraftian reputation. John-John thought it sounded like Mirkwood from Middle Earth.

"Do you think Tolkien had it in mind?" he wondered.

Moriko, Maddy and I all kind of doubted it. But it was an interesting thought....


We showed her around a little this afternoon - we even got a close up look at some of the local wildlife.

Maddy emailed a pic to the agency to let them know that Moriko had arrived safely. Although she wore traditional dress for the trip over, she said she usually prefers more contemporary outfits for everyday. She said kimonos are worn more for special occasions now. I asked her what "kimono" translated to in English. Turns out it means, simply, "thing to wear." Maddy got kind of a laugh out of that.

I think this is going to be fun....


Richard Morris is going to have to wait until he gets back to meet her - he got a call from Dr. Armitage on Friday and hurried up to Arkham. Not sure what's going on....

(Maddy's note: I was inspired to make Moriko after reading an article in the Winter 2013 issue of "Doll Reader" about the Friendship Dolls of 1927. Perhaps in some small way, they did help make things right between the US and Japan. And Mt. Fuji and Aokigahara are indeed on my list of Things I Want To See...)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

In which Shel reflects....

A year ago this isn't where I thought I'd end up.

I know Caroline has told you all some of my story. I feel like I should finally own up to the whole thing....

I'm not sure where to start, but....I guess at the very beginning.

I came to life in Arkham, MA, the same place as Persephone and John Ashton Smith, by the same maker, a woman of actually about Maddy's age named Sally Bishop. Mrs. Bishop used to be a secretary at a private school in Arkham, but left that job to raise her children. I guess that's how she started making dolls. I don't know; she never did tell us much. I do know that two of her children are now on their own (and were nagged daily about "giving her a grandbaby") and one is still in college, albeit not Miskatonic. That much I picked up while I was still on her sewing table. At the time, she was working on the doll intended to be my companion, a flapper named Abagail. We were both dressed in Jazz Age style. The only thing I wish I had from my old life is the outfit I was given. It was pretty sharp. We were put up for adoption in her Etsy shop and quickly adopted by a woman in lower Manhattan, New York, NY. It wasn't the good luck it seemed to be at the time....

Our person was a rather severe woman whose age I'm not sure of. In hindsight, she reminds me of Margaret Thatcher and/or Nancy Reagen. Always impeccably dressed in head-to-toe designer suits, never a hair the slightest bit out of place. I don't know what she did for a living. Her apartment was cream-on-beige and always immaculate, thanks to her maid. We lived on shelves in her designated doll room. For some reason I would have expected her to have collected French fashion dolls or china dolls or something, but she had a thing for cowboys. Most of her other dolls were cowboys. One of them took an interest in me...

At first Avery (that was his name) seemed like the perfect boyfriend. He told me we were meant to be together, that we were soul mates, all that stuff. (Maddy, for the record, told me that if a guy starts swearing stuff like that on the first date, it's really bad news. She also told me never to trust a man who calls you "Cupcake" on your second date. I didn't have that problem.) And he was handsome. Tall and blond and tanned, with his big white hat and sheriff's badge. I was in love. Really in love. At first it was wonderful. But then - well, you know....

He'd always apologize, of course. Swear he'd never do it again. Said if I'd try just a little bit harder to be what he needed, everything would be all right. And I believed him. Truth was, I was feeling pretty low. Our person had only adopted me because of Abagail. She thought I was ugly. I'd been relegated to a back shelf in the doll room and pretty much ignored. Avery was all I really had. I thought that if I just tried a little harder, read his needs and moods better, then everything would be all right. I didn't know that there was no way it could ever be all right. The problem was him, not me, but I wasn't in any position to realize that. So I kept trying - and failing - and trying some more. And failing some more, too.

I don't even know what set him off that last time. He'd knocked me around pretty good quite a few times before. but this time he came after me with scissors. I don't know if they were sharp enough to cut and I didn't want to find out. I ran for it. I got out the door, but he followed me, caught up with me and pushed me down the stairs of the building. I fell over the rail and ended up landing about four flights down, right on my arm. The plastic Mrs. Bishop had used as an armature snapped and tore partially through the fabric. It hurt worse than anything I'd ever felt. I must have passed out; the next thing I really remember is the emergency room nurse at the NYC Doll Hospital saying my name.

There were a lot of questions about what had happened. Avery claimed that I had tried to seduce him, then attacked him when he refused. My person believed him. She disowned me and left. I honestly don't think I was surprised, but it hurt more than my broken arm did. All I could do was cry. I don't know what the doctors and nurses thought. but their biggest concern was that without a person, nobody was going to pay for my care. The usual procedure was to hand the doll in question over to an eBay broker who would use the adoption fee to cover his/her costs and theirs, but none of the brokers wanted me. So I was sent to a seller upstate who didn't want me either. He said I'd never sell; I was ugly and nobody wanted a boy doll, least of all a gay one. Well, he didn't quite put it that way, but - you get the picture. So that night - I ran away. I didn't know where I was or where I was going, but I knew I had to get out of there. I figured I'd end up dead, but that was preferable to being stuck in an indoor flea market with my broken arm and nobody wanting me.

I'd never been out on my own before, never mind outside. It was cold at night and I had to hide from dogs and raccoons and I don't know what all. I was terrified. I just kept running - or trying to - for three days. Maddy said I made about thirty miles in that time. I don't know how I did it. By the time I found myself under the tree in her backyard, I was too weak and exhausted to go any further, frozen to my armature and dangerously close to slipping into the limbo unwanted dolls fall into, some never to recover...

But that was when John-John found me.

I didn't know the world could be like this. I don't sleep on a shelf anymore; I have a real bed. (Well, it's an easy chair, but still...) I don't have to be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing without realizing it. There are other dolls who actually want to be friends with me. And I have a person and another doll who adore me.

I'm not sure what happened to my former person or the others after Hurricane Sandy. Sparrow, the doll who found her way here awhile back, said that my ex-person left Manhattan afterwards for Houston. She also said that most of the girl dolls, including Abagail, were left behind, but she took Avery with her. I hope Abagail's all right. She wasn't cruel to me, just not interested in me romantically (any more than I was in her, I admit.) I guess she was more my sister than my girlfriend, the way Mrs. Bishop intended. She was far too afraid of Avery to intervene - he would have had no qualms about doing her in, I think. He already didn't like the fact that she'd been given a place on display in the living room. That was his territory....

That's the real reason John-John and I are putting off setting a date. Well, one of them. He's waiting until his mom and brother can join us and I'm hoping to find my - well, I guess she is my sister.

Maybe I will. I hope so. But I didn't think I'd be this lucky....

(Note: there really is a 1920's tuxedo pattern here - it's called "Love, Forever & Always" about halfway down the page. (I can't link to it directly.) It's going to need some serious tailoring to fit Shel, though. Sylvia Schorr's "Dude For All Seasons" is almost two inches broader through the shoulders and chest than Shel, which translates to at least five human sizes. Her patterns are wonderful, BTW.)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

In which it's John-John's birthday and I learn about Findhorn and plants....

Today was John-John' birthday. We had a quiet little party for him today, although we're going to do something more over-the-top when Pinky gets back later this week. (At least I hope so....)

Maddy hasn't found a pair of boots for him yet, although she did find the other thing he really wanted - a book called The Findhorn Garden Story. 

"It's in Scotland," he explained to me. "It used to be a caravan park. A laid-off hotel manager and his family moved there while he was looking for other work and they decided to give gardening a try in the meantime - never mind the place was on the coast, there wasn't any decent soil for growing things and the weather was horrid. But they learned to work with the earth and nature and well - they started growing all sorts of things that shouldn't have been growing there. Their neighbors joined in and eventually it became this beautiful community out in the middle of what should have been more or less a wasteland. It's really pretty cool. Now it's a spiritual center." He looked wistful. "Shel and I were talking earlier. We'd really love to go there someday. I think Maddy would like it. She's good with plants."

"It's about connecting with the earth and her energies more than having a green thumb, sweetie," Maddy said, coming in.

"But that's part of it, isn't it?" John-John said.

"One small part," she agreed.


Looking through the book a little later myself, I came to the conclusion that John-John had oversimplified the story. But it really is awesome.

"But what the heck is a caravan park?" I asked Maddy.

"Trailer park," she said, looking around from the plant she was watering. "I can't keep this one happy. Look. Mealybugs again."

"Those weird white cottony things are bugs?" I thought they were just another symptom of her less-than-meticulous housekeeping.

She nodded. "My plants that are doing well never get them. It's the ones that aren't happy somehow that always get infested." She was wiping away bugs as she spoke. "I'll have to spray it with that Earthtone soap."

"Is that how you know they're not happy?" Somehow I never thought of a plant as being happy or sad or anything.

"Sometimes you can just tell. They don't quite look right. Or they're not growing despite your best efforts." She looked at a new weeping fig she just repotted last week. "This one's still adjusting to its new home. See how it dropped some leaves? I don't think it's really unhappy here, but it's still not what it was used to. Its friend here is doing better, though. No leaf drop." She checked it, but didn't water it. "I told John-John he should read The Secret Life of Plants. Most of it's really fascinating. I do, however, seriously doubt the one theory in there about music and plants. I really doubt that the woman who performed that "study" killed plants by making them listen to Led Zeppelin."

"Are you serious?" Given the fact that most of her plants seem to be very much alive, I doubt it, too.

"She claimed it was the music. I think it was having them too close to those big, old-fashioned speakers. This was back in the seventies. The speakers apparently put out the same kind of electromagnetic interference as the old CRT televisions. I know that every plant I set too near the old TV died a slow death. "

"This wasn't the same person who hooked a plant up to a lie detector?" John-John had told me about that, too.

"No, that was a man named Cleve Backster. He was just curious about what would happen if he did. He wasn't getting any real response from the dracena he'd hooked up to the polygraph, so he was standing across the room wondering what might make the plant react. He thought of burning one of its leaves - and when he thought that, the plant freaked out. He got the same reaction on the polygraph he would have gotten from a person he'd threatened. Only he hadn't said anything out loud. And no, he didn't have the heart to go though with it after he saw how much he'd scared the plant. But he left the plant hooked up to the polygraph and found out that it reacted to whatever was going on around it - sometimes good, sometimes bad if it didn't like someone or something. But it was aware of its surroundings, apparently."

She went to refill the watering "can" (actually, I think it's an old plastic water bottle,) leaving me wondering if all of that had anything to do with the saying "bloom where you're planted?"

Saturday, September 21, 2013

In which Sohalia introduces herself....

I'm really not sure where to begin....

Although I am Indian, I was born in China, like so many dolls in this day and age. There were many of us, and I don't know what became of most of the others. We were intended as "souvenir" dolls, a small remembrance of what one would hope had been a lovely and interesting trip. Dressed neatly in my shalwar kameez, I was sent to a small gift shop in Bhopal. Hardly a story to rival that of Caroline's ancestor, Hitty Preble. But it took an unusual turn...

I had actually been in the shop for about two months - there seems not to be much tourist trade in the city - when I was placed in the window. It was there that I saw, very late one night, perhaps toward the early morning - another doll, American and taller than I, accompanied by a brown rabbit. They seemed lost. I knocked on the window with a small figurine of an elephant to got their attention, and pointed them around the back, where I met them.

"I hate to sound dumb, but - where are we?" the American doll said when I let them in.

"Unique Gifts," I said.

"He means what country," the rabbit clarified. "We arrived by box and I don't think this is where we were supposed to end up."

"You're in India. Bhopal," I said. Arrived by box? What does that mean?

"Well, we're in the right country, anyway," the rabbit said.

"I guess..." His companion didn't sound convinced.

They introduced themselves and told the story. Tim, the American doll, had been sold on eBay to a woman who bought him for her eleven-year-old daughter. The family, who lived in Boulder, CO, were moving to Bangalore. The father worked for IBM and had taken a two-year international assignment there.* She was apparently not happy about it - and not all that happy about Tim, either. She declared him "ugly" and "weird." He said she only had eyes for this one doll named Justin Beiber and a group of dolls made to look like the members of a band called One Direction. She had even abandoned her Barbie dolls for them. Edward had been a present from an aunt. He had been dismissed as "for babies," which had apparently not pleased the girl's mother. The mother had packed Edward, Tim and several of the Barbies up and had them shipped to Bangalore - or so she thought - ahead of the family's arrival. Without seeing the box and how it was addressed, I can't really be sure how they ended up in Customs at Bhopal, or why the box was seized and opened. But there wasn't much chance of any of them being reunited with the family - which Edward said wasn't necessarily a bad thing - if they could find Tim's brother, that is.

"I know where he went..." Tim had borrowed the shop owner's computer.

I believe he tracked Rich down that night, although we had to wait until the shop closed the next night before we could get his reply. I hid them out in the back storeroom. The owner almost never went in there. It took about a week to get Rich all the information he needed to get to us, and from there another couple of days until he was able to make all the arrangements with his friend John back in America to get us there.

"I hope his lady's person doesn't mind surprises," I said as they prepared to leave via Fed Ex. I really didn't want them to go - or at least, not go without me - but it seemed impolite to ask.

"He told her about it. She's fine with it," Rich said, then offered me a hand. "You're coming with us, aren't you?"

He didn't have to ask twice. Even if I ended up living at the university, I knew I would be better off going with them. (And if you're wondering, Rich did arrange to recompense the shop owner for taking me.)

So far I do like it here in America, although I'm still getting accustomed to the weather. Apparently it's been rather cool for New York, never mind for India, and I spent the first week or so freezing despite it being rather mild. I don't know how much I'm looking forward to snow. Caroline and her sister Valentine have been more than generous sharing their clothing, although it turns out that I'm a bit smaller than they are. They've both said they would love an outfit like mine. Maddy made a couple of more American-style outfits for me, which I like. They've all asked me about what India is like. I wish I'd gotten to see more of it, but sadly, I really never got to see more than the shop and its street. I know I missed a lot. I don't intend to do that here, though. Caroline has already invited me to come along on her next trip somewhere. I (and she) don't know where it will be to yet, but I can't wait....


*Maddy's note - International assignments are (or were) fairly common at IBM. When I was ten, my father was offered a two-year assignment in Germany, but turned it down because he refused to get on an airplane. It would probably have been interesting - the cafeteria in Boeblingen served beer at lunch (I don't think they do anymore, though) and the plant itself was near the Ritter chocolate factory. When I supported a group that traveled to Germany frequently, they used to bring me back chocolate. Hershey has nothing on Ritter....

During my years as an admin at IBM, I met people from India, Singapore, Austria, Germany, Taiwan, China, Iran (three of the nicest people I've ever worked with,) France, England, Australia, Japan, Cyprus and one guy who we seriously suspected was from another planet altogether. Good times....

Monday, September 16, 2013

In which we talk beads again....

That totally awesome bead show was in town again this weekend and of course Maddy went both days. There weren't as many vendors as in the spring, but they all had totally awesome stuff.

Not just beads, either. Maddy found this amazing shell for something like twenty dollars. Of course, it also weighs about twenty pounds and she had to carry it around for the rest of the show....

These are some of the Venetian glass beads she found. The one I'm holding is dark blue and green and looks kind of like it should be a planet.

And yes, that's the same fabric as my "sampler dress," but a different dress. Maddy finally found one of the leftover pieces and made a "not-unfancy" (in other words, fancy) dress from it.

I also got my new toaster in, but it's closer to John-John and Shel's size than mine. On the other hand, Maddy said it would fit an entire bagel - or frozen pizza, for that matter - with no problem. I'm not sure which would be the worse idea - putting a frozen pizza or a fork in the toaster.

It's been quiet the last few days, I know, but Maddy hinted at the possibility of a photo-worthy trip later this week. In the meantime, here's a photo-worthy sunrise from last week....

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In which I make some changes, it turns warm and Dr. Armitage gets back to us.....

"Okay, I'm going to have to call these people tomorrow - wait. What did you do?" Maddy came back in holding a printout.

"Changed my blog template to match my Woodstock dress. Why?" I looked around, "And who do you have to call tomorrow?"

"The eye doctor's office. I got a text message to confirm my appointment for 8:45, but them I got an email to confirm my appointment for 9:30. So I need to call them and find out what time I'm supposed to be up there Friday."

"Aren't you worried that it's on Friday the 13th?" Pinky said. She's seriously trixadecaphobic. (However you spell that!)

"Pinky..." Maddy shook her head. "Stop that."


And if you're wondering why I pulled out my most summer-type dress, it's because summer is making a guest appearance tonight and tomorrow. In fact, tomorrow is supposed to be 90F. John-John is far more freaked out about the prediction for severe storms Thursday when the cold front arrives, though. The irony in all of this is that Maddy also just bought some chocolate brown flannel to make me a winter cape and my sweetie a winter coat. (The only pink flannel had a pacifier, teddy bear and baby bottle print. Not exactly what I was looking for in an elegant winter cape....)


"Okay, so who names a baby North West?" Shel was running down the battery on Maddy's phone with the entertainment news.

"I've heard worse. Much worse. At least that's just a little odd," Maddy said. "I used to work with a Michael Hunt. And yes, he went by Mike. Try paging "Mike Hunt, call 433. Mike Hunt, 433" without it sounding really bad."

"I can come up with worse," Tim said. "The other family I was with was named Wiener..."

"As in Anthony "I'm on ur interwebz tweetin mah junk" Wiener?" I said.

He nodded. "The father's name was Seymour Wiener - the Fourth."

"The FOURTH?!" Maddy, John-John, Shel, Richard all and I said more or less together.

He nodded. "The fourth. Her little brother was the fifth."

Sometimes, OMGWTFBBQ just doesn't begin to describe it.....


We were spared any more discussion of all things wiener-y (although Maddy says she now has Led Zeppelin's "Hot Dog" stuck in her head) by my sweetie, who'd just gotten an email from Dr. Armitage.

"There's good news and bad news about that bottle..." he started.

"What's the good news, short stuff?" Richard went over to look.

'Not funny." John looked at him. "The good news is that he thinks he knows what it is. But the the bad news is that he thinks it's a soul bottle."

"Soul bottle? Like someone's soul trapped in it?" Maddy said.

John nodded.

"Whose is it?" I said.

"He isn't sure. That's what he's trying to figure out. He's having a hard time communicating with it. But he thinks it was one of the entities our "friend" Dr. West was trying to reanimate." John looked worried. "Which could be very bad...."

Monday, September 9, 2013

In which it's been quiet...

So today we read some sad (for us, anyway) news that after all these years, The Hittyville blog is closing. Vicki, we wish you the best of everything and hope you're planning to take that trip of a lifetime with Joe soon. Maybe someday you can come back and tell us all about how amazing it was?

As for me, I'm not planning on going anywhere anytime soon. There's still too much stuff happening around here. Now if I could only get John-John and Shel to Freaking. Set. A. DATE! Already......

Speaking of the World's Cutest Couple, John-John's birthday is coming up on the 22nd. And of course, none of us have the slightest idea what to get him.

Maddy: "Tell me that's not one of those Hammicker-Slammer catalogs...."

(I think she meant "Hammacher-Schlemmer." I think....)

Shel: "No, it's Home Sew. You said John-John needs boots...."

Maddy looked. "Those are for American Girl dolls, baby. They're not going to fit John-John." She often wishes they did because one, they're nice and two, she can't make shoes to save her life, which explains all the bare feet you see around here.

Shel looked distressed. "What am I going to do? I have to think of something to get him."

Maddy kissed his cheek. "We'll come up with something, sweetie. Don't worry. I'll help you."

John-John overheard that. "You don't have to get me anything. I have everything I want."

Shel looked at him. "I can't just..."

"Hush. I have you. What more do I really need?"

I think Maddy is thinking boots, though. Love doesn't keep your feet dry.....


Apart from that, it's been quiet. John (my fella) and I rode up to the car dealership with Maddy today so she could get the Rogue inspected and new windsheld wipers installed. Apparently this inspection thing is something you have to get done every year. I hope next year they have the TV on something other than the morning-whatever show with that Kathy Lee and Whatshername Chick. Some older guy muttered something about them having "stuffing for brains." As someone who actually does have stuffing for brains, I found that highly offensive. Maddy said she's pretty sure that morning chat shows kill brain cells. (She also said that, for the record, the "pet expert" they had on is an idiot. For one thing, she's always heard it pronounced "Bet-tah" fish, not "Bay-tah" and the common name is Siamese Fighting Fish, not Japanese....)

(Maddy's note - It's a "to-may-to/toe-maah-toe" sort of thing, but growing up as a tropical fish geek, I really did hear it always pronounced BET-tah. But the "Japanese Fighting Fish" part really did have me facepalming. At least get something right.....)


Maddy wanted to get some pictures of me and my sweetie outside, but between the deer poop and what looked suspiciously like poison ivy, it wasn't safe to actually sit anywhere....

Maddy: "I'm not taking any chances. Remember that picture I showed you of the sky the day before Irene? After I took that I realized I was standing in a huge clump of poison ivy. I raced home and more or less hit the shower fully clothed. I must have gotten it just in time, because I never did break out."

So she settled for a few through-the-trees shots....

And Dr. Armitage has sent that little bottle thing for "further study." Richard Morris said that can't be good....

Thursday, September 5, 2013

In which John Ashton Smith tells a little more of his story....

It's me again. I do hope you don't mind. My lovely lady and her person are measuring the other bookcase to see if the terrarium on the shelf below will fit. I think it will be about an inch too small, but we'll see. Maddy said she'd like to give us space for a living room, even though we haven't any proper living room furniture at the moment. It's all quite different than living atop a file cabinet. Shel asked me if I missed life at the university. I quite honestly don't. He said he didn't remember Mrs. Bishop making smaller dolls. She actually doesn't....

She had an idea to market a doll family she named "The Cuddles Family." There was to be a happy, handsome father, a beautiful doting mother and two adorable baby twins - myself and Persephone, in other words. Obviously she didn't name us John and Persephone, though. What she did name us, I shan't reveal. Suffice it to say that we were given the most thoroughly humiliating names and outfits one could imagine. Worse, by the time she was actually finished with us, it was obvious that we weren't tiny children - just tiny dolls. I think we rather horrified her. I don't think she's comfortable at all with the fact that sometimes, we dolls turn out to be very different from what our maker intended. We were sold to Dr. Armitage at a crafts fair that next weekend. He intended us to be a birthday present for his daughter, but - you already know how his wife reacted to that idea. So he took us to his office. His secretary felt quite sorry for us and made us some actual clothing - not onesies and diapers - and redid our hair. (In my case, it wasn't redoing so much as actually doing it. Mrs. Bishop hadn't given me any.) Oddly enough, somewhere along the line she decided I quite resembled the human bloke my lady (and her person, I should add) fancy and nicknamed me John Ashton Smith, a cross between his name and the great paranormal writer Clark Ashton Smith. It was far more dignified than my original name, so I kept it. Percy obviously took her name from Greek mythology, although I'm not sure why she chose Persephone. It was because of Percy that I first heard of the original Hitty. Percy discovered her autobiography in the university library and was utterly fascinated. I was, too. Up until then I hadn't thought there were any other dolls even close to our size. Richard Morris is taller by some four inches - quite the difference when one is a doll. We were even privileged to meet the lady herself when Dr. Armitage had to travel to Stockbridge in search of some documents related to the building of the Arkham reservoir in the 1920s. Suffice it to say that she is indeed as delightful in person. From there we learned of her many descendants. Although I never expected that one would be the love of my life...

"Well, crud...." Maddy's voice interrupted my thoughts. "It's about an inch too small..."