Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An Adequate Mom's Sewing Machine of Choice

The closest I get to morning sweet rolls is cinnamon pop-tarts. The most innovative house-cleaning technique I employ is using the dryer sheet to clean the lint trap (if I remember at all). And the best wifely advice I can offer: a six-pack of Shiner on an accessible shelf in the fridge goes a long way.

So when it comes to the ideal sewing machine for all of my household needs? It's no doubt a vintage, 40-pound "portable" Singer.

1. There's no chance my bored kids can pull it off the table. In the time it takes for me to notice the suspicious silence of mischief, I can finish updating my Facebook status, one-click order a Kindle new release, and still have plenty of time for the dash across the living room to intervene. This machine is so heavy I can't even lift it without catching a good breath and bending at the knees for leverage.

2. There are no plastic parts, so it does not break.

3. It stitches forward. And it stitches backward. That is all!

My first home project almost drove me to chuck the machine across the kitchen in despair, but luckily, see #1 above. I can only place so much blame on Ikea for selling unfinished curtains when there's no international standard on window height (C'mon already, what's the UN for, anyway??), but maybe hemming the living room curtains was too ambitious a first task.

I hold the two pieces of fabric together (pinning is so over-rated), tentatively tap the pedal, more courageously pick up speed, and I'm sewing!!! $%#*&^! The needle broke. Not to worry! I have another! (My mom inventoried and stocked the sewing machine before giving it to me. Oh how well she knew that my ambition would surpass my preparedness!)

I expertly, for the first time in my life, crank out the old needle, slide in the new one, and I'm off!

$%#*&^! It's no longer sewing. The needle is moving, the thread is pulling, but no stitching.

I call my mom. But for all the sense I could make of Mom's veteran advice, it might as well have been a call center in India. Do you have a small screwdriver? Um, no. Still, not one to let the wrong tool get in my way of progress, I struggled with a full-size screw driver, scissors, and a kitchen knife (bad idea) before finding the solution in a small pair of pliers. And I was going again!

I was feeling so proud and capable that after finishing one-half of one curtain, I stopped to make a pin cushion. It was perfect. Doesn't lie flat, can't hold more than 10 pins, and might leak pins if turned upside-down, but perfect.

No matter that I don't know how to change the thread on a bobbin, so the inside seam of the beige curtains is baby blue. No matter that I didn't have the time, energy, or interest for ironing, so my double-turned guestimate of a hem is a little wobbly.

Four broken needles later, and three-and-a-half hours, I proudly admired our "new" living room curtains.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Best Purchase Ever: G-BOT

I don't usually buy luxury items. Seriously, we are a stick-to-the-budget kind of family! But I can already say, even with the years that we might be paying this one back, I have no regrets. I would group this with microwaves and cell phones as a necessity, and to be honest, I can't believe the government isn't offering a subsidy for this kind of technology.

I first realized that I was missing a practical amenity while sitting at the DPS office to renew my license. A slow Wednesday afternoon, 100 people from all walks of life, crammed uncomfortably together in 85 plastic chairs, anxious about making it to the next pressing commitment on our schedules, and yet, I noticed, even with all of this frustrated tension in one room, the DPS workers had all the time in the world!

I knew, whatever they had, I needed.

And turns out, it was just a standard-issue (albeit quite pricey) Government Block Of Time.

The G-BOT was such an impulse buy that to be honest, I didn't tell my husband I'd bought one. I could just imagine his response, ”You spent our hard-earned money on some government mass-produced what??!” I figured I could try it out for a few days, and if it wasn't all it's cracked up to be, just resell it on craigslist or something.

There's no going back though. This is the best thing the government has done since Hoover Dam and disposable diapers.

Even just two days ago, I was going crazy with the time crunch of keeping our private company on an insane timeline of clients and managers. I haven't had time to refill my coffee or take a bathroom break in weeks! The G-BOT arrived on Tuesday, and in ONE DAY I have broken down this well-oiled machine! And whew, personally, never felt better!

At one point, my boss even tried the line, "Hey, everyone's paperwork is complete, just waiting on you to process it!” I just sighed loudly, closed my YouTube browser of a dolphin playing with kittens, and gestured toward my new G-BOT as I went on break.

Thank you, U.S. Government!

I took an extended lunch today. but with my new G-BOT, no one could do anything about it!

haha, that was thirty minutes ago!

I'm definitely thinking of purchasing another Government Block of Time for home, pretty sure my husband will love it while home with the kids.

Sorry, Joe, looks like getting your shoes and socks on is gonna be another 30 minutes or so.

Once we get this paid off (or just paid down a little), I'll probably look into getting the Government Box Of Bureaucracy. Now THAT is a piece of work. (But man, you thought the G-BOT was pricey!)