Real Friends and Imaginary Family

2x wr

So if you’ve been reading my blog, you know we’ve gone through a rough patch. Due to Ralph’s medical issues and the job market, we’ve moved twice in the past 3 years and became serial home buyers in the process. Just when it looked like the Oregon renters were about to buy the house, they called and said they’d bought…a different house. The North Carolina renters had fallen behind on their rent, but were constantly promising to catch up, and then failing to make promised payments. They just left, still owing some money, but at least they left the place spotless. (The only way to keep me from going after them for the rest of their debt. Whatever works.)

One bright spot: I’d been quilting and showing photos of my work to friends. They’re starting to buy wall hangings and crib quilts. I’m getting offers to show my work. Life is good, right?

Well, on Wednesday, my day off, I cut up a bunch of fabric and set up the machine. I only had a couple of pieces to go on the rainbow double wedding ring I’d promised a co-worker, and had gotten some interest in piecework-embellished tote bags from other co-workers. Two days to payday. I could knock them out.

Plugged in the machine, a trusty Pfaff my mother bought in 1963, old enough that all the internal parts are metal, not the cheaper plastic they use now. Flipped on the light. Put the pedal to the metal.

Bupkis. Nada. No sign of life from the motor. Life decided to mess with my head yet again and told me, “That light at the end of the tunnel? Train.”

That set off a spate of research and a trip to the nearest sew ‘n vac, about 15 miles away. Two weeks, the lady said. Two weeks without the means to complete my projects. Financial distress didn’t stop me from hitting the Hancock Fabrics in the same strip mall. (Yes, one can become addicted to fabric.) Picked up a half a yard of black and white print on sale and fat quarters of a gray calico with little red and orange stripes, just the thing for “Winter” in a series of seasonal quilts I have in mind. Then I did a little more research and got a cheapo Singer to tide me over the two weeks, planning to sell it on Craigslist when I got mine back. Ten bucks off if you open one of their credit cards! I bit.

The cashier was a very sweet elderly woman who had never learned to type. It took a while as she hunted and pecked her way through my eight-letter name and five letter address. Thank God I’m not named Kryszinskiopoulis.

Had my usual fantasies on the way home. This is embarrassing to admit, but since my daughter announced her engagement last year, I’ve been jonesing for a granddaughter. You must understand that their plan is to finish their educations, pay down student debt, and get their careers on a firm footing before replicating themselves, which I applaud. I have no desire to watch them stress financially while bringing a little one into the world, but as I walk through stores cute little outfits jump out at me. Books and toys accost me, screaming “Buy me! She will love me!” I see prints in the fabric store and think of cute little dresses.

Of course, Nathan is one of four brothers, no sisters, so the odds are against the whole granddaughter thing. But Ariel’s dad is one of four brothers, no sisters.

So there.

When she turns 5 or so, the age at which I started handing pins to my mother as she laid out patterns on cloth, my little Lily would start handing pins to me and go home with outfits. Maybe I’d even hang on to the machine (So cute! So little! So pink!) and give it to her.

Jebus. She, or more likely he, won’t even be born for 3 or 4 years and I’ve already named her without consulting either future parent. Talk about fantasy. But back to sewing. I set up my cute little sewing machine, which had a hilariously small foot pedal, like a toy version, and even had a skinny little toy-sized electrical cord, I put in the cloth and set the pedal to the metal.

Bupkis. Nada. It did click a couple of times, though. I looked closer. There was a switch on the front, labeled, “Low-Off-High” Of course! Flipped the switch to Low.

The damned thing took off sewing on its own. The foot pedal had no influence on it at all. Flipped the switch back, and of course it went too far, onto High, and just galloped across the fabric. Behold the stitch ripper!

I made a few attempts at seams, gaining a little control, but decided that giving my potential granddaughter a sewing machine that made the user want to drop the F-bomb every five minutes would not be an act of kindness, and might, in fact, destroy our entire imaginary relationship. I took it back to the store. That, of course, took two tries, since what I thought was the receipt was really the receipt for the credit card application.

Fortunately, there are friends and kindness in the world. I announced my need for a loaner sewing machine to my crit group, and Voila! Jason called his wife Lisa and she agreed to let me use hers.

It’s good to have friends.

ps–I reached for the phone to upload a picture of the double wedding ring wallhanging. No phone. Further, no wallet. Where had I left it?

Last used at the grocery store. Last seen in the shopping cart. I blazed out the door.

“Good evening,” said the cashier. “How are you doing tonight?”

“Not so well. Has anyone turned in a blue clutch purse?”

“And a phone in a blue case?”

Amazing. The wallet and phone had been turned in by two different people. I am so blessed. Despite what you may read in the headlines, there are so many good people in the world.

So sometimes the light is the end of the tunnel, after all.

3 thoughts on “Real Friends and Imaginary Family

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