Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sew many dreams, so little talent.

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
Alexander Pope

Sewing machines hate me.

It's not that they don't enjoy my company... like the random person who happens to be somewhere in your social circle, but whom you try to avoid actually spending one on one time with, because you can never seem to figure out what to talk about.

No they hate me.

Harm themselves to get out of spending time with me

As in, if you walked into a restaurant and saw your worst enemy sitting next to your best friend, you would throw yourself onto the nearest open flame just to spend time in the burn unit instead of with this person.

At first I thought it was just my mother's machine.

I was convinced it was just old.  And needed my mother's years of experience to understand it's quirks.
The bobbin spits back out at me.

The thread snarls up.

Then I snarl up a bit.

 And eventually my mother just comes over and fixes what ever I just screwed up.

 Honestly, the last time I asked her opinion on how to sew something she just took it from me and did it herself.

Her exact words were "No it's faster if I just do it, if I let you touch it, you'll just screw it up"

It was said with love.  And it was the truth.

I decided last year, that now that I'm a real live grown up (with a baby of my own to prove my legit-ness in the grown-up department) it was time to buy my own sewing machine.  One that came out of the factory at least a decade or two after I came out of the womb.

 One that would work magically, would never tangle a thread, or pop a spool, or eat my shorts (or fabric intended to become shorts). It would make all of my crafty dreams come true.

Dreamer that I am, I'm also a skinflint, and could never justify spending $200 on something I didn't really need (because no matter how much I want to blame the machine, I know in my heart of hearts, I don't actually have any sewing skills).
 Then like the Fairy Godmother appeared to Cinderella. A beautiful Singer was dropped into my lap. Ready to make all of my sewing dreams come true.

 Well it was given to me... nobody actually dropped it on me. But for all the good I've done with it, maybe they should have just thrown it at my head and knocked some sense into me.

 I spent three months, on my last sewing project. It should have taken a normal person 2 hours.

Now please consider, that all sewing activities, no matter how much I may want to do them, have to come last on my list of priorities.

That list is not short these days.

First and foremost there is a cute little ball of energy that needs constant attention, feedings, diaper changes, and general guidance on the safety of climbing or chewing on anything he can get his hands on.

Then there is the dog... who as you may have noticed from previous posts, requires a fair bit of energy.

Add to that a business to run, a house to keep in some sort of order for fear someone call child services on me for only running my vacuum once a month, and on top of that, society actually expects me to keep up a certain level of personal hygiene.

 Somedays I accomplish most of these things. Others I'm surprised that my Stronger Half finds us all still alive when he comes home from work.

Sewing comes last. (um or maybe blogging comes last, if my lack of new posts haven't made that clear).

 But in the event that every other priority is either taken care of, or deemed reasonably non-life threatening to put off until tomorrow.... I haul out the machine and get cursing.

Tonight was one of those blessed nights.... I started a little project, and needed to sew eight simple lines to complete it. It was barely even worth dragging the machine out of the closet.

But like I said before.. fairy tale dreams of what I can do with this machine. I had come to the conclusion that all of my previous troubles were caused by dollar store materials.

My "out of the regular realm of sewing" type projects and my general lack of control when it comes to speed with a foot peda,l were also contenders in the "How the hell does she screw this up so much" mystery.

What ever the reason, I was willing to meet in the middle and take some of the responsibility for our past altercations. I needed to get on good terms with this machine, so we could go on to bring all of the magical fabric themed fantasies I have to life.

 So armed with Coats and Clark thread. Three different sets of three different name brand needles, and a project with out crazy material like PUL. I decided to rekindle our broken relationship.

 In response, the needle snapped clear off while I was threading the machine.

 Not even while sewing or using the presser foot... simply turning the wheel to pull up the bobbin thread caused this.

 That's the equivalent of a dog gnawing off his own foot when you  say you want to take it for a walk.

So tonight I give up. I will pack away my threads and bobbins and three packages of new brand-name needles, and dreams of being a professional seamstress for another day.  Tonight was a lesson, although I can't quite figure out which one it was.

"Don't quit your day job."

"Great expectations lead to great disappointment?"

Or, since I know I will forget the frustration of this evening, and like a herion addict returns to their dealer, I will haul the stupid machine out and try again someday.

"It is easier to forgive your enemy than your friend."

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Efficient or just Intelligently Lazy?

" It is more than probable that the average man could, with no injury to his health, increase his efficiency fifty percent"~ Sir Walter Scott

The other day I was reading an article about kitchens, and I can't seem to shake one idea that at first seems like a ridiculous luxury, but then starts to make alarming sense.

 In a small kitchen, to save space, they installed two dishwashers.

Yea, you're thinking exactly what I'm thinking... saving space, in fact saving of any kind does not usually come with the idea of doubling up on something.

The theory was you always have one washer with clean plates and one to be filled up with dirty.

 The epitome of laziness, I scoffed.

Not wanting to wash your dishes is one thing, we've all been there. (I have a sink full of supper dishes as I type this.) But now we're to damn lazy to put them back in a cupboard?? We have to spend another 800 bucks to avoid unloading a dishwasher??


 Or is it??

The theory is, that you have all of your dishes in one of the two dishwashers so you don't need another cupboard to put the clean dishes in.

 As far as saving money, well, I remember building our kitchen cabinets. At $30 a door, plus the cabinet, plus hardware that can cost anywhere from $5 for the cheap stuff to $30 for the pretty stuff, not to mention the $25-$40 hinges that adjust, close quietly, hide neatly (pretty much do everything but set the table).

 It doesn't look so crazy to spend $800 on something that not only holds but also cleans your dishes, as opposed to something that simply holds them and costs $400.

And as far as it being insane, I happen to live with a man who will hand wash all of the dishes if the dishwasher is full of CLEAN dishes, because he seems to think washing by hand is less work than emptying and then refilling the dishwasher. So maybe we're the crazy ones for even owning ONE dishwasher in the first place.

Our kitchen, as it was being built, with one dishwasher too few... or one too many?

It does make you start thinking where else you could apply this theory to make life a little simpler...

Instead of buying a dresser to put my socks and underwear in, I'm going to start storing them already in my pants and shoes... then I've saved space in your bedroom, and taken my "get ready for the day" time down a  few seconds.

I think I could eliminate breakfast dishes altogether by simply pouring my milk directly into my cereal box. It would also save time, as I would only have to prepare breakfast once a week... of course I would need to allot some extra time on Friday for throwing up as I'm not really a fan of mushy cereal.

Or how about storing my dirty towels in the shower instead of a laundry hamper?

Then while I'm in there cleaning  myself I can also wash up yesterdays laundry. I've heard of people brushing their teeth in the shower to save time... I'm sure doing a good load of laundry can't be that much more difficult.

 (Of course, if we're going to be trying to save things, maybe I should invest in some cheaper shampoo before I go using it all to get my whites whiter and my brights brighter.)

Instead of storing DVD's in those flimsy little cases that eventually break, we should just house each DVD in an actual DVD player!! Each movie would be ready to play at the touch of a button. Of course, for the sake of organization and efficiency I would have the remotes to each one labeled.

I could store the remotes in one of those hanging shoe organizer thingys... cause thanks to Pinterest we all know that there are a million things you can do with a shoe organizer besides just hang shoes!

While we're on the subject of Pinterest, lets do some re-organizing there as well... for every photo that gets pinned there should also be a link to someone willing to make the damn craft for you.

It doesn't matter how many cute or useful things you can make out of an old pop bottle, a shoestring and a can of mushroom soup,  most of us are never going to get around to upcycling anything.

We're all too busy trying to get our clean dishes back into the cupboard before it's time to get them dirty again.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I've never been told to put my boobs away

There is no such thing as public opinion, only published opinion. Winston Churchill

Last night I read this article.

In short, a woman was recently asked to leave a store because she was breastfeeding.

At first, I liked the article, she did a very good job at understanding, not only the mother, but also the assistant manager of the store who is now probably in a lot of trouble for her actions.

But then she started dissing my province.

Actually her exact words were "Our province isn’t breastfeeding friendly."

Now I'm not interested in attacking her opinion, because as I said, she has some valid points. But I have to say, grouping every Nova Scotian into a "backwater boob-phobia" category, based on one person's actions is a little harsh.

I am Nova Scotian. I breastfeed my child. In public. Where ever, whenever.

I don't do it as a protest.

I don't do it to shove it in people's face that they should accept me and my life choices.

 I don't do it because I'm a  looking for a way to showcase my post pregnancy body (Heidi Klum I am not).

I do it because I don't have time to stop and sit and find a quiet out of the way place to feed my child. I'm too damn busy being a Mom.

And if I've learned anything in the past four months, it is that, if you can manage to do two (or three or five or ten) things at once without endangering yourself or your child, you better damn well do it, or it may not get done.

So I do what needs to get done. And I'm proud to say, that no one has ever told me to stop. Or acted like I was doing anything vulgar.

While I am sad this mother had to feel embarrassed and harassed, I don't want the whole province blamed for it.

Nothing dramatic has ever happened while I have nursed my son publicly. And if you've ever read any post on this blog, you would know, that if there is a way to screw something up, I usually figure out how to do it.

 This year I nursed while Christmas shopping. In fact, in Sears I did exactly what this other mother did.

I nursed my little Fuss-Bucket under my Stronger Half's large winter jacket.

 I didn't ask for a chair, as we were in a furniture store, and we were shopping for furniture, so I just sat in every recliner without asking.

In fact, instead of asking me to leave, one wise salesmen actually came up to me to talk to me ABOUT newborns... he has a daughter who works at the hospital.

 He was so friendly, we bought the damn chair from him.

Then when I finished feeding, and Bucket threw up on me, instead of people thinking it was gross or unsanitary or indecent, they just laughed politely at my misfortune of being covered in baby puke (or maybe they laughed because I sarcastically thanked my child for helping me smell bad for the rest of the day).

I nursed all day in public.

The only time any attention was even called to the fact that I was nursing, was in Babies-R-Us.

I was nursing, but also needed to find a new diaper bag. So I grabbed three or four off the shelf, and sat down in one of their display rockers to rifle through the bags and see if any of them were worth the insane amount they expect you to pay for them.

As I hauled out the stuffing of each bag (with one hand -not only do you need to learn multitask, but you also need to do it with less limbs than you used to have available) and tried to shove my things in it (to test which one was big enough, not to shoplift) a grandmother, mother and baby walk by.

The grandmother commented to the mother "See, she can do it"

I looked up and smiled, not sure if I was being called out for hanging out on the display furniture, tearing apart merchandise before purchasing or simply not relegating myself to the "family room" to nurse.

Babies-R-Us does have a beautiful "family room" to nurse in. It's clean, set up with comfy chairs, and seems like a neat spot to hang out.

Why wasn't I there?? Because I had one day to get my shopping done, and when I tried to get in that room to change Bucket's diaper, it was locked.

I didn't have the time or energy to go find a worker to unlock it for me, let alone go sit back there for 20 minutes while I could be doing something productive.

 In the end, I purchased a bag, my child was fed, and happy, and nobody went blind from seeing me nurse in public.

 And nobody acted like they would go blind if I did it again.

 Thank you Nova Scotians, for not making life any harder than it already is on a stressed out, time crunched, constantly judged, sleep deprived, busy mom who is just trying to live her life.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I thought I lost a baby... oh no wait, it was just my mind.

I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know? Ernest Hemingway

People always say the same thing about having a newborn.... that you will never have a full nights sleep again in your life.

And then their next comment about parenting is usually "You'll be amazed how you can survive on such little sleep".

 Well I seem to be testing that theory. And "surviving" is just about all we're doing.

 You see on top of having a 3 month old -Who does not sleep 12 hrs at a time, and if one more person asks me if he does (and then looks at me like I'm doing something wrong when I say he doesn't)I'm going to stab them in the throat and then claim sleep deprivation as my defense- I also decided to go lobstering again this year.

 So take normal new parent exhaustion, and add it to lobstering exhaustion and you get a story like this one.

 The other night, I woke up to the sound of little Fussbucket crying. Like the dutiful mother that I am, I carefully got out of bed, so as not to disturb the baby lying next to me.

(I should mention that I co-sleep sometimes...this is not a political statement for pro-attachment parenting, or even a choice to cut down on laundry by not letting him sleep on the sheets in his crib. It is merely an act of survivalism while breastfeeding. Those who want to tsk tsk and say I'm spoiling my child by letting him in bed with me so he can feed while I continue to sleep can see the paragraph above, detailing how I feel about people who have opinions on sleep habits in my house.)

So I carefully get out of bed so as not to disturb the baby that sleeps next to me.

 And then I lean over the cradle and pick the crying baby up.

In the dark, I latch Baby #1 on, and then feel around in the bed, because I want to lie back down without rolling on top of Baby #2.

If some of you are starting to scratch your head and say "Wait a minute, I thought she only had one baby" well then you are way further ahead on the reality train than I was.

I feel for the right side of the bed. Nothing.

I feel for the left side. Still nothing.

I check under my pillow, in case my baby has suddenly developed the ability to silently crawl 2 feet and hide under things. Nothing

I start to panic.

How did I lose the baby that fast?

Did the Stronger Half take him?

I start to wake SH up...but I can see in the shadows there is no baby on his chest. We haven't slept with him on our chest in two months. He's not a newborn anymore, he doesn't like it and he wiggles off.

Oh Gawd.... now I'm really in a panic. I'm imagining SH picked the baby up in some sort of sleepfathering trance and put him on his chest, then didn't notice as the baby squirmed off and probably fell to the floor.

No probably hit his head on the bedside table and THEN fell to the floor.

Knocking him unconscious of course, which is why his screams didn't wake us up.

And then the dog probably snuck in the room and ate him. Or at least laid down on top of him and smothered him.

Cat's do that don't they?? Not dogs, but dammit, my dog never behaves anyway... so yea the dog probably sat on top of the poor baby... now I'm the mother of that smothered baby that rolled off Daddy, just like the stupid meatball that rolled out the door that I'm always singing about.

As SH starts to wake to my panicked cries of "Where's the baby?"  I realize I'm only searching with one hand.

Because my other hand is supporting the head of my baby who is calmly feeding as his mother has a nervous breakdown.

My only baby.

Because I only have one.

And he's safe and sound in my arms. Not rolling around like a rogue meatball waiting for a dog to confuse him for a soft place to lie down.