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The eight-year-old singing seamstress

I see by the date of my last post that I’ve been gone a while. To give you a bit of perspective, this is what hits me come late November:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Daughter’s birthday
  • Husband’s birthday
  • Chanukah at our house
  • Christmas at my parents’ house

See? You don’t have it so bad after all with just two holidays! It would probably be OK except for the way that Chanukah bounces all over the place. Darn lunar calendar. Just when I get a fix on Chanukah that spans Christmas, I get Chanukah in November. Oy.

But daughter’s birthday leads me to my rant of the day, or rather, sage advice of the day. Too tired to rant.

Daughter loves sewing. She always enjoyed making little things by hand, then friend Heddi got ahold of her and she joined Heddi’s sewing club. Now, she is simply mad about sewing.

The other day, I had to tell daughter that I was sorry to inform her, but she couldn’t only do sewing in homeschool. She looked at me with that newly minted eight-year-old dismissive stare. And went back to sewing.

Till the darn machine jammed and she was crying again.

Now, sewing and crying have always gone hand-in-hand for me, but I thought with her things might be different. I admit that I got so mad at my old sewing machine, which never worked, that I gave it away. That was the better fate I’d chosen: if I hadn’t found someone to haul it out of my house, I would have pitched out a second story window.

So as her birthday approached, it occurred to me that what we needed was a sewing machine. One that worked, preferably. So I set the grandmas on the problem, and we decided on a cheap, cute thing that would probably break in a couple of years, but at that price, we could just buy a new one, right?

Now, you think I’m a writer because I have wisdom to impart, but I’m here to tell you today that I’m a writer so that I can find my various patches of idiocy and publicly purge them.

What was I thinking?

Am I not the writer who tells you to spend more money and buy local? Am I not the homeowner who will tell you that every piece of cheap junk I ever had cost me more time and in the end more money than buying the high-quality thing to start with?

Yeah, well I guess I’m just flappin’  my lips here, because I didn’t take my own advice. I e-mailed a link to the grandmas. A cheap, cute machine that she’d love. Free shipping!

For a year or two, I thought.

Try a day or two. The darn thing kept jamming. Finally I called a service center over the hill and he told me that I should already have told myself (and what Heddi, who is the patron saint of sewing machines, also told me): This was not the sewing machine for an eight-year-old girl. It was cheap. It was picky. It was going to keep on jamming. It was eventually going to get itself thrown out a second-story window. That would be its good fate. If it met its end on a bad day, it was going to become a science experiment, and the death would be slow and painful.

So we sent it back. I hauled my kids into a wonderful local sewing machine shop, Judy’s. Judy showed us the machines that would suit a highly creative, eight-year-old singing seamstress. I bought it. It’s now on our dining room table, happily purring away.

Now, this story may have an end that hasn’t come yet, but tonight’s end is a happy one. We stayed local. We spent more money. We got a good, solid thing (it even has some metal in it!) that will serve us well and make us happy.

Well, OK, I will admit that personally, I will still view it with suspicion, no matter how well it works. But for an eight-year-old singing seamstress, it’s a dream come true.

Posted in Culture.


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