May 1, 2020

winning, as Lucy

I described a whole sewing machine saga to my friend Delilah on the phone last week.  I am surprised we are still friends, because hello lengthy and boring.  You can all thank her in the comments (she reads but does not comment - one of my few friends who I have shared my 'anonymous' blog with) for politely yet silently alerting me NOT to blog the details.  Or you can berate her for NOT commenting, joking.  

The original 16 when Joann's was open and
we they had fabric set aside for mask makers.
If you don't sew, then you won't want the long story.  Abridged version: 

1.  I sewed 16 masks.  Joann's was supposed to collect them but then stopped doing that because of stores closing, etc. 

2.  Worried that the crisis would end BEFORE I donated them (silly me), I found a website called 'mask match'.  I mailed my masks to a place in CA.  The doc sent me a thank you note a few days ago.  Very unexpected. 

This blue fabric was the
 'sky' and the green with
 flowers was the 'grass' of the puppet theater
 that no one really recalls.  Cute, right?
3.  My machine broke MINUTES after I cut fabric for 20 more masks from the old puppet theater fabric (green with flowers) that my kids swore they felt no emotional ties to.  I can no longer recall where we hung the fabric to make a puppet theater at the old house- did I use a rod?  Do I have any photos of them using it?  This lack of a memory threatened to make me disproportionately sad, so I decided not to dwell. 

4.  Coach and I dropped off the machine to repair, but according to the owner -so did 100 other people whose machines were yanked from closets and dusted off and expected to keep up with mask demands.

5.  Fearing a lengthy repair, I borrowed a machine from my sis, Ann - just as her photo project demands were becoming unreasonable. 

This is the part that I
miraculously had two of. 
Don't sew?- then this
means nothing to you.
6.  Next day a call:  'Your machine is fixed.'  I never used Ann's machine, and thought 'Sweet, because I would probably have broken it and THEN she would've been EVEN more mad at me.'

7.  Set up my machine and after a bit of sewing the part that the bobbin loads into acted funky and wouldn't behave.  Found another part in my bag of mixed parts - many of which are from either of my grandmas, swapped it out with Coach's help, he asked:  Do you know what you're doing?  
38 more masks. Almost done.
I think I will have each person
 in the family keep one
and donate the rest.

8.  Before swapping the part -I was SUPER FRUSTRATED THAT MY NEWLY FIXED MACHINE WAS NOT WORKING, I did remove Ann's machine from the box (while unleashing a record breaking streak of cuss words) but I was uncertain how to load the thread on hers and soon abandoned that plan - see above:  fear of breaking her machine (more bad words - this was quite a night).

9.  With new piece inserted, I proceeded to sew but the fix-it place had jazzed up all the settings.  The tension was weird - the stitches were all loose and goofy.  Putting on my big girl pants aka old lady pants, because  WHEN DID I TURN INTO ONE OR BOTH OF MY GRANDMAS? - I adjusted the machine's settings and sewed the next 20 masks with no issues. 

Cutting the blue at the mini snack island in
the kitchen.  Every time I walked away, I tripped
over Tank's size 15 men's shoes. 
See them?  Ugh.
10.  The other night I cut out another 18 masks from the other piece of puppet theater backdrop (blue with stars) - again, refusing to become emotional about this 'not-so cherished' childhood heirloom.

11.  Called Joann's because I really preferred to use elastic for the straps - it's faster.  The grouchy lady eventually admitted that they just got elastic in.  She preferred I buy it online but without a skew # how could I?  There were 145 options on the website for elastic and how was I to know which one was in stock because it all said 'out of stock'.  

I still have this sign that my grandma used to hang
 at her craft table when she sold her wares at
church bazaars. And I have a nice collection of tomato
 pincushions compliments of my sewing grandmas.
Other than freezing meals in advance of a pandemic and accidentally hiding a case of TP and unintentionally stockpiling hand sanitizer, I DO NOT READ MINDS/SEE INTO THE FUTURE.  She sold it to me over the phone, and my turbaned chauffeur and I did curbside pickup an hour later. 

Yesterday I got my allergy shots.  It was raining.  Mini INSISTS on leaning over the wheel like an old woman.  Maybe she will one day know the in's and out's of a sewing machine like her mother whose aged mind cannot remember how I created a puppet theater.  Thank you, pandemic, for this necessary additional driving practice time. 

My turbaned chauffeur wearing her fluffy
 coat that I think really completes the look. 
Note the steering wheel leaning. 
 Ann lives a minute from allergy-shot-place, so I texted her to say I planned to drop off her machine.  She texted back a curt: 'Working.  Leave on porch', because I am quite sure my refusal to be involved with her mandatory photo project has her not talking to me.  Since we didn't talk usually anyway, I am not feeling an impact.  Shun away.

12.  Mini pulled into Ann's driveway and I hopped out in the rain.  Took the machine out of the backseat.  Tried to balance the box on my arm while I used the other arm to close the door of the minivan.  In the rain - had I mentioned?  The box slipped and for a minute I thought I had it recovered and no family ties would be severed permanently.  But alas.  I dropped the box and it flipped over itself and one side of it landed in the mud at the edge of her driveway.  Insert more choice words here.

Mini and I fumbled around in the minivan that still has most seats down because of picking up college kids' stuff near and far.  We found a napkin and Kleenexes that may or may not have been used.  I worked to wipe the mud that was sort of nestled into the crevices of the corners of the box.  

I am confident the machine was fine as it was packed in the sewing  machine shaped Styrofoam inserts inside the original box.  Me, well - I am just not an original box kind of girl.  Cannot figure out why?

I recently suggested that Mini is kinda like Lucy.  Well, you know that apple and tree saying?  Go ahead, just call me Lucy.     


Beth Cotell said...

I love that she wears that turban! Sarah would never go out of the house in that (even knowing she wouldn't get out of the car) because "Moooommmmmm, what if we seeeeeeeeeee someone I knowwwwwww????" Which the chances of that are unlikely as all of her friends from school live at least 40 minutes away from us in multiple different directions.

You know the next time Ann uses that machine it will not work. I can't wait for that blog post! :)

Ernie said...

Beth - this is exactly why I am shocked that Mini leave the house ala turban. We live in very close proximity to all her classmates. One thing about Mini is that she gives zero shits about what people think, which is great - although there are times when school is in session and I am like 'Um, can you go to school NOT looking like you are wearing your pajamas?'

Yes, I assume the sewing machine saga is NOT over. I wasn't even going to blog about it, but when I remembered to tell Coach that the machine box fell in the mud he almost fell over laughing and I was like, hmm. Inquiring minds are gonna wanna know bout this one. I did try her machine out but the thread jammed because I didn't have it threaded right, so there is that complication too. I think I managed to get all the thread out that was jammed but she might figure that one out too. When I put it back in the box I saw the instruction manual in the bottom of the box. Oh. Duh.

Kara said...

I'm getting a very Edina vibe, from Absolutely Fabulous (it's a BBC show from the early 90's and 2000's, and it's HILARIOUS) from Mini driving in her turban and "fur" robe.

I don't know how to sew, my kids are getting on a plane in a couple of weeks, and our mask situation was not good. We ordered from various retailers online, but nothing has shown up yet. Finally, a local Facebook woman put up a table yesterday outside her house and was selling for $5 each. I sent the kids over there ASAP to pick out masks for the plane trip. This guarantees that all ordered masks will show up this weekend.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I SO wish you could have heard me laughing all through this. Sorry, laughing at your cussing miserable self. :)

Delilah, thank you for making her slim the sewing post down, but not lose the humor part of it.

My friends also don't comment on my blog; bastards.

Will you let Mini know that if the airbag goes off, she will not be a happy camper so close to the wheel. *sigh* I have images in my mind and they ain't pretty!
So, yes, you've both turned into your grandmothers. LOL

So, my blonde moment, I was thinking of Lucy from The Peanuts until I started writing my comment. *DUH

I love that you have your sewing stuff from your Grandmas. And tell your Coach; "I've been winging it my whole life"

Thanks for the giggles today.

greenglobaltrek said...

Wonderful that you took so much time energy and effort to devote yourself to making masks and then donating them to help others. Especially given the frustration entailed. I can barely thread a machine and no less sew anything on it.. so I am full of admiration. Bravo.


Gigi said...

I get the frustration with the sewing machines. I am not a seamstress AT ALL but often think to myself, "That looks easy enough" - which often turns into a mess; but sometimes I surprise myself.

When I yanked out my machine, I was befuddled as to why the thread kept flying off the spindle...turns out you have to pull it up...Google told me that after I turned to it in frustration. I should probably hunt down the directions for that darned machine and put them with the machine for the next time I pull it out. Because you can be sure I will have forgotten about that spindle issue.

Ernie said...

Kara - I have no clue what show that is - but maybe we will have to dig around on our new fancy (new and fancy for us) You Tube TV or something and search for old episodes. Mini is a character and she is quite entertaining. Have you seen the video I posted of she and Tank trying to imitate the commercial? Oh my gosh. Those two. Laughing at the image of a ton of mask deliveries arriving at your house as your kids board a plane. I sure hope not, but sounds about right.

Suz - Even though I could not hear you laughing, you TELLING me that you did made my day. Thank you, I needed that as I am living in a hotbed of unbridled nitpicking at the moment. (kids vs kids, mostly)

I am happy to use the airbag arguement on Mini - duh! Coach and I operate from a PT perspective and the bad posture and rounded back for Ms. Too Tall are a constant point of contention for us. I will try the new angle.

I look so MUCH like my mom's mom it is uncanny, so makes sense I would become her. Inevitable. I might even have to go rogue and post a photo of me and of 'Grandma-Let's-have-a-beer-on-Maura' - a quote of Grandma's that has become her tagline. Remind me to post that whopper one day.

I almost googled how to spell Lucy's last name to make it clear on the blog that I was referring to the curly red head master of physical humor and then I lost my focus. So unlike me, must be the pandemic, NOT.

Coach and sewing: when I took my first class in 1997 he asked me about what I was learning to do and there was some confusion . . . turns out he thought sewing was paramount to taking fibers and creating fabric. Um, what? Me thinks my husband has been winging it more than he lets on. Bah ha ha!

Peta - Thanks a million, I feel like it is a small thing to do, until it turned into a bit of a headache, but back on track. I am one of those people who will find a way or die trying once I have decided to do something. Possible character flaw, or not. Makes me wonder why some business has not swooped me up, because dang if 'I WILL FINISH THIS' is not a great thing for an employee, right?

It was quite a night when the newly returned machine stuttered a bit and sent me reeling to get it on track. Coach and the kids were in the family room supposedly playing a game, but me thinks they were really having a prayer circle begging the gods to make the damn machine work.

Gigi - I am a one-sewing machine kind of girl. Trying to work a different machine makes me shake. I have more or less forced myself to sew something every few years so I don't forget the skill. Made a dance bag for Curly a few years ago, brushes hands against one another as in 'well that's done' - so after this project I will be good for awhile. I googled so many things when my machine initially got all goofy - google was not even an option back when I used to struggle. Holy cow were those videos helpful. Old Bertha just needed a tune up and then she was good to go though, but I was really hoping those you tube videos would have helped me fix it on my own. That would've been empowering.

Kari Wagner Hoban said...

People who can sew are like wizards to me. Like, you all have special powers or something. I cannot figure out how to even do a stitch with a needle and thread. I come from a LONG line of sewers (not the kind in the ground that you poop into) and the ball dropped with me. So mad props to doing anything with a sewing machine. For real.

Ernie said...

Kari - That explains why I always feel compelled to wear a cape while I sew. Hee hee. Um, I did take a class too, forever ago. I thought I would never figure it out, but alas there are directions and stuff and turns out it is actually DOABLE. I took the class with my sister Ann, and she sewed the inside leg seams together and her pants turned out like mermaid pants, which she held up to celebrate how great they turned out before she realized and then she was like 'Huh?' and I thought I was dying I laughed so hard. It was hilarious. This is why God created a seam ripper.

Bibliomama said...

I am similarly in awe of people who can sew - my mother and sister are wizards and me? The sewing spot in my brain must be dead and black. I can just barely sew a button on. I bought masks from a sewing friend and I love them. That puppet show fabric is darling! I so appreciate all the people who are making masks, even though I HATE having to wear one. Which reminds me, I have to go wash the mask I wore to Farm Boy today.

Ernie said...

Ali - I do enjoy a sewing project - more so when the machine cooperates and when my sister's machine doesn't roll into the mud. Details. It is annoying to wear one and it fogs up my glasses until I get it lined up just right. I try to congratulate myself on the money I am saving on lipstick and toothpaste - I kid. But I am not bothering with lipstick and mascara either. When the kids were little I only wore mascara for weddings and such. I might embrace that new non-make-up-ie look again even when I am able to de-mask. Fun fact - I only wear one shade of lipstick and I just keep buying the same one. Yes, I sew and I am boring - imagine?

Ernie said...

Ali - AND I meant to ask - Farm Boy - where was this?

Anonymous said...

My daughter drives the same way - leaning over like a grandma! I don't get it, it just doesn't look very comfortable. She definitely doesn't care what people think either :)

Ernie said...

anonymous - Exactly - why not be comfortable and not practically smash your nose up against the windshield? As hard as it is for teenagers to be their own person, I think not caring what the rest of their peers think is a gift.