My sunny outlook on the subject may have you correctly guessing that the third and most recent experience was this week. We'll get to that in a moment. But first, a trip down memory lane to examples one and two.
1. 1995. My almost new Plymouth Neon (ie Barbie's Dream Car) is not braking properly, and I am just about having to stand on the brake with both feet to avoid slamming into anything in my way. Concerned that this is a major problem as stopping is not generally optional in city driving, I take it to the local repair shop. Not naming names, but it is in Woburn MA and shares a name with a famous roast beef chain in the Boston area.
|I've actually never been, although I hear Ben and Matt love it.|
I arrive and explain why I am there. Without even looking at my car, mechanic laughs and says "Oh, you must just not know how to brake properly. With women it is usually their high heels getting in the way."
Can. You. Even?
I could not, and stormed out. Mr Quilting Hottie, who at the time was just plain old Mr Me and just barely that as we were just barely married, takes my car to the same place the next day whilst standing on the brakes with two feet at every stop sign, demands an apology and for someone to actually look at the car before passing judgement on his wife's braking abilities and/or shoe choices. Cue "I Need a Hero." Lo and behold, my rotors were so far out of alignment that the pads were barely able to touch whatever it is they touch in the wheel to stop the thing.
Score one for me not being an idiot, beyond not knowing how a brake/tire combo really works. Score negative one for certain good old boys.
|Not the culprit. Wear your heels confidently, hotties.|
You know where this is going. The conclusion drawn by mechanic: "Are you SURE you are hitting the brake and not the gas? Because there is nothing wrong with this car and I wonder if you are mixing them up."
How is this for an explanation - You are an !@#(**^ to suggest such a thing. I have been driving for longer than you have been alive and unless the gas and brake have been switched by elves overnight, think of another possibility.
After 12 months of on and off revving engine syndrome, cue "Greased Lightening," finally one day I managed to pull into the repair shop parking lot while it was happening, throw it in park, and for the first time ever IT KEPT REVVING FOR THEM TO SEE! I ran in to grab the young buck who thought I didn't know my gas from my elbow (see what I did there?) and he was in shock and awe over what was happening. It must have been magical for him. I mean, after all, my foot was nowhere near the gas. How could this possibly be happening without my stupidity playing a role?
The mystery could not be solved. Apparently apologies for blaming my natural stupidity when driving could not be mustered, either. They replaced a part and crossed their fingers and hoped for the best, but it kept happening. Eventually my father, who is neither chauvinistic about female drivers nor an auto mechanic, suggested the idea of a frayed wire. Which I told them to check out and which it turned out to be - cue the "Hallelujah Chorus". The look on their faces when my suggestion of what was wrong after their many looks at it turned out to be true was stupendous. Cue the band for "Who's Sorry Now."
Score another for me, and take several away from these mechanics who need a charm school lesson.
*Eventually we will get to the sewing related debacle. But first, lest you think I am a horrid unpatriotic human being, know that between the Neon and the Rendezvous, we also owned a Taurus for 16 months which really wasn't awful other than the fact that it made me feel about 85 years old, and an Explorer, which was in the shop more than it was in the driveway and whose back window fell out TWICE, once on my head while I was trying to get the stroller out at Kohl's, and once in the lot of the repair shop right after they had called me to tell me it was ready to pick up after some random repair. Imagine my joy, when after I had called a friend to come help me pick it up and we had strapped two infant car seats into her car, they called back and said "Oh, Mrs. Helfter, sorry. Don't bother coming. The rear window fell out again and is in one million pieces all over our parking lot."
I can't make this stuff up. Also know that we've had two Nissans, one of which we had for 13 years and the other we just replaced it with 3 years ago. Neither has been in the shop more than twice.
I rest my case.
|Cue a choir singing whatever the Japanese National Anthem is. Say what you will about me, but I love their cars.|
Longtime readers of the blog know that I came into possession of a mid arm industrial quilting machine about a year and a half ago. For $100, it seemed like a great deal and really has been, so despite the fact that it is made by a now-defunct company and came with the most ridiculously unprofessional "instructions" one has ever seen, it has helped me quilt some of my larger quilts in record time and with minimal swearing, so it has been $100 well spent.
|Just a little something I quilted yesterday, as proof this story, as long as it is, has a happy ending.|
Unfortunately, the fact that it was made by Design-A-Quilt, a company that went out of business apparently overnight and with no warning several years ago, and the fact that it is at least 150 pounds and set into a table 8 feet long means that any repairs needed are, in a word, a PITA. The parts list I have is full of numbers that mean nothing in modern day industrial machine world when I google them, and finding someone in the repair business who will make housecalls? Cue "You May Be Right, I May Be Crazy."
|That's going to leave a mark.|
After a few days of mourning the loss of the use of the machine and wondering how I was going to get it out of the studio and where I could junk it for free because wow that wall it is against would make a great big huge design wall and think of the shelving I could add, I made one last ditch effort to find a repair person. In the event, I found a person. There is no need to describe him with "repair," but we could describe him with "insulting to my intelligence - AGAIN!"
Since I couldn't take the whole machine in, I drove over 35 miles to the nearest shop specializing in industrial machines to show them the part. I was told upon arrival that the man who knew I was coming in did not bother to show up at work that morning, but that I could leave the part. Cue "You Gotta Be Kidding Me."
It's a real song. And had I known it at the time, I would have sung it loudly.
With no other option, I left the part. I was called two days later and the following is as accurate a transcription of our conversation as I can remember:
Part guy: There is nothing wrong with this part.
Me: But there must be, as it popped out of my machine and won't go back in.
Part guy: It's a tension knob. (silence)
Me: I know that. The note I left you in my own handwriting says that. What does that have to do with why it won't stay on?
Part guy: Well, it should stay on.
Me: But it won't.
Part guy: It isn't broken. There is no reason it shouldn't stay on.
Me: Obviously if it isn't staying on, there is a reason. Can I bring you some photos of the machine and that general area so you can maybe give me some guidance?
Part guy: Sure, I'm in the shop on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Not the best convo ever, but despite my feeling like he found me stupid, I managed to keep it civil. So on a Thursday, I brought it in.
Guy was not there. The best I could do, after internally screaming for 25 seconds and reprising "You Gotta Be Kidding Me" in my head, was a repeat of the conversation above with the lady working there, who also assured me there was nothing wrong with my machine "because he couldn't see any problem with this part" and I began to wonder if it is just considered normal in the sewing biz for parts to fly off without warning and if maybe I'm the only person who thinks this all might be a problem. Cue any Headbanger song from the 80s, because I did a little of that. And then I left, deciding mechanics of every ilk need to stop assuming everyone is inherently dumber than dirt.
I may also have begun to dream again of my big design wall.
When I arrived home hours later, I sadly attempted again to put a round peg in a round hole and get the thing to stay in.
|The round hole. As we can all see, there is nothing in there to grab a peg and hold it. But let's all remember, there is nothing wrong here.|
And what did I find? The part pictured above can be removed! There is a set screw in that part! Put the parts together and tighten and VOILA!
|Well, there goes my design wall.|
|Shout out to Angie|
|Shout out to Anne because if she is still reading and laughing in her office today she is my new favorite.|
|And once again, a Happy Ending. Cue "I am Woman, Hear Me Roar"|
- A good repair person who doesn't immediately assume we have no idea what we are talking about is extremely hard to find and may well be non-existent.
- When you see a screw, unscrew it.
- I won't be getting my design wall and shelving any time soon.
|Thank God there is always wine. Cue "The Theme to Cheers"."|