Sunday, August 10, 2008

Not a moron! An epic tale with a happy ending

Last week browsing a fabric store, I found some pretty but inexpensive material. I needed new curtains, and, shopping for them over the last few weeks, I wasn't finding the correct dimensions. So I decided to make them myself. A simple project, right? Three hems, and a larger folded-over pocket on top through which to slip the curtain rod.

First I drill the holes for the curtain rod hanger. This is drywall, so I'm using plastic anchors. I've done this many times before. It's cake. I drill three holes, slip the anchors in, no problem. On the fourth hole, I'm drilling and drilling and I hit something (the stud?) too tough for my drill to go through. I give up. I screw the bracket in with one screw missing. I let it go. The curtains and the rod itself are light. It will be fine.

On to the curtain. I measure, mark the hems, iron, pin, then start making the hems using my handy-dandy roll of Magic Tape. I love Magic Tape. It will let me finish these curtains in no time. La la la la la. Ironing, taping, ironing, taping. First panel side hems done. I go to second panel and ... I run out of Magic Tape.

Shit. No, no problem. I finish the side hems with another type of iron-on adhesive tape I had sitting around in my sewing kit. This tape is not as strong as the Magic Tape; it doesn't hold as well. Fine for the sides, but I'll have to get out my sewing machine for the top pocket.

I pin and prepare the top flap. The sewing machine's already threaded so I start to sew. First one gets done real quick. Second one, I start having bobbin trouble. "Fuck!" I lose the bobbin thread, have to start over. I manage to finish the second panel's top pockets, so all that's left now are the bottom hems. This "quick" project has now taken several hours. Back at the sewing machine, I have more trouble. "Fuck!" The machine has started to eat the material. "Dammit..."

"What?" Rad says from across the room.

"This sewing machine's jammed up!" Sigh. "I must be a moron!"

"Don't say that! You are not a moron. Why are you saying that?"

I'm certainly frustrated, that's for sure. These "simple" curtains are taking forever! "Millions of women use sewing machines every day! Why can't I figure out how to properly use mine?" (This is not the first time I've had sewing machine problems).

Rad says, "Millions of men know how to do construction; I don't. Does that make ME a moron?"

Good point. Rad is certainly not a moron. Me, on the other hand ... the jury is still out.

At this point, I take a break, because I have to go to a meeting. Curtains are NOT going to be complete before then. More cursing. "Fuck it, I'll hand-sew them when I get back," I say.

An hour later, I'm home and that's what I sit down to do. I'm determined to get these curtains finished and hung!

But the first needle is defective and it bends when I try to push it through a thick edge of fabric. I locate a second needle, which slips out of my hand as I am trying to thread it. Nowhere to be found. Is it on the chair? My clothes? The floor? We can't have someone stepping on it later; must find it now. I get out a flashlight and shine it around the area to catch a glint of metal.
"Ooh! What's that light?!!" my cat Buster says, and he comes rushing over. (Okay, he didn't say that out loud). He's chasing the light while Rad and I are searching for the damn needle. Fat cat Rocky is just watching the whole farce -- he couldn't be bothered to move. Buster calms down momentarily. "The needle's probably right under Buster," Rad says. We look some more. Buster finally moves. "Here it is!" Rad says. Right under Buster. Terrific!

Nothing is going to stop me now. I sew the bottom hems by hand, which takes about a half hour, maybe 45 minutes. And -- at last -- I have new curtains!

They look nice, don't they? (Yes, our kitchen walls are very yellow). This all wouldn't be so bad if the curtains weren't supposed to be the first of three or four other projects I was going to do on Sunday. Ha!!! Baby steps. I trudge forward...

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