Yesterday morning, having seen my husband off to work and settled in to catch up on the doings of the xangans, I heard a horrible noise from the garage. I ran to see what was wrong, saw nothing, and went back to my morning.
As fate would have it, I had decided I could have a lazy Friday morning and did not go to the gym. Thus, it was not until I went to leave for work that I discovered that the garage door would not open and my car was trapped inside.
I roused the troops (well, my sons, actually) and we all tried in vain to open that door. I commandeered #1 son’s car and got to work late.
That Man and The Empress had been waiting for an air conditioning repair man since 6:30 that morning. The fellow eventually showed up — at 9:30. The Empress admitted that she had not been as nice to him as she ordinarily would have been.
She was nice to me. She gave me a piece of her home-made peach cobbler.
Fortified by cobbler, she and I tackled the third technical malfunction of the day. I had been thinking of calling my husband to come fix it, but it seemed to me that the demise of the garage door might be enough excitement for him for one day.
Never mind how this happened. We will draw a veil over that. It was, as The Empress summed it up, “user error.”
The cutter of a laminator is about 2″ square. It has this minuscule razor blade held to it with a teensy tiny screw and nut. In order to put the blade back on the cutter, you simply insert the blade into the cutter, push down the lever, line up the holes in the lever and the blade, insert the screw from the back, and tighten the nut.
Do not forget that the cutter is attached to the laminator, so you have to do this whole thing on your knees at the back of a machine. The blade will fall out if you let go of it for an instant, and there is an opening in back of it about 1 inch tall, into which you have to put your fingers in order to put the screw into the cutter. You also have to hold down that lever the entire time. So you hold the screw with one hand, the blade with another, the lever with the third, and the nut with the fourth hand.
I’m making it sound easier than it is.
So there we were, me holding the blade as carefully as possible, since blood would just complicate matters, and the lever, while The Empress attempted to put the screw in. We were contorting ourselves into various odd positions while on our knees by the machine, trying to keep out of one another’s way as we worked together on this 2″ square device.
I thought how helpful it would be to have a knitting needle with which to line up the holes. I could then hold the lever down with one hand and keep the blade in place at a distance with the knitting needle while holding a position like the kneeling port-a-bras popular in the 19th century ballet — Well, I did not have a knitting needle.
At this point the phone rang. I kept the blade in place while The Empress answered it, and she came back with some wire. The phone rang again. I used the wire and a magnet to get the blade into position without having my hands in front of the spot where The Empress needed to be working. By the time she returned, I had the blade in place at a bit of a distance, and a horrible cramp in my shoulder.
The process of getting the screw into the hole was lengthy but the feeling of triumph was delicious.
Then I set down the magnet and — still depressing the lever — picked up the needle-nose pliers and put the minuscule nut onto the wee little screw. The smallness of the space meant that the nut had to be turned one-fourth of a rotation at a time, at which point the pliers would hit the edges of the available space and have to be moved. One-handedly. While The Empress held onto the screw.
When we finished, she said, “Who needs men?”
The entire process was enlivened by our customers’ enjoyment of the spectacle. We weren’t laughing much, though, because laughing caused dropping of the screw (that’s why we had the magnet — to fish it out of the trough when it fell) and dangerous joggling of the blade.
Meanwhile, my husband was able to get the garage door open. It is still broken — the gigantic spring snapped, and I guess after 40-some years of service it had a right to — but my car is no longer trapped.
I do not have to work today. If my car had been trapped, I might have had to spend the entire day at home, reading and knitting. Fortunately, I am able to get my car out, and therefore can do the eight hundred errands that have piled up since I’ve been working on Saturdays.
I may be exaggerating slightly when I say “eight hundred.” But only slightly.
It is the last day of the Sew?IKnit summer top sewalong. I have made a bunch of tops during this time, but I have also fallen prey to peer pressure. All the girls over at Sew?IKnit have been making this type of top, and I have been looking at their pictures all month, and , well, you know how it is. You begin to think that you want one too. Never mind that the pattern requires double seams and topstitching on knits and that my sewing machine doesn’t have any of the features normally used for that and that I am not really good enough with a sewing machine to do this kind of thing with a plain straight stitch. Never mind that Chanthaboune has told me straight out that I am simply too old to wear this kind of thing (but I have seen older women than I in them, so she may be wrong). Even knowing that I will probably be unsuccessful did not prevent me from cutting this out last night, as I watched detective programs with my boys. Today is the Sew?IKnit deadline, so I probably will not even finish this in time for that deadline, but I am still using it as an excuse. The fabric is a remnant from which I cut a top for Chanthaboune, and still had a lot left over. Enough in fact for this top, so I can think of it as being made from scraps.
I’ll let you know how it turns out.