Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Sew This Happened

So, have mentioned before the risk of one thing leading to another. Yep - an innocent remark, a shopping trip, a FB post - anything can set my path on a detour that mushrooms out of control.

It all started when a new neighbor came to the door and (horrors) stepped inside. I was in the middle of a project. Hard to even open the door. Inside, it looked like the aftermath of a fabric grenade blast. Not a first impression I wanted to share.

Next, a dear family member sent me some photos of her sewing room. Viz.

So lovely. So organized. And all hers.

Also, I have a new sewing machine - Mr. Wonderful's Christmas gift to me. I love the way it hums along. Not so much the crunchy noises my back makes when I lift my new toy to table level. 

And, point of fact, we do have a "spare" room. Okay, it's a guest room, gift wrap station, office, library, quilting, sewing, spring clothes, mementos, prom gown, American Girl doll, etc. storage room, too.

So what's the harm in looking at quilting cabinets with lifts? Um, new ones run about the price of a used car.

And dimensions would be tricky. We should probably still be able to open the queen-sized Murphy bed for guests. Heh-heh.

Craigslist and Quilters' Classified yielded options from time to time. In far-off places. Drive great distances only to find a squeaky lift or a noxious odor.

Then I saw these:
 Which opened out to this:

And which had not one, but TWO hydraulic lifts. And my machines would fit. And they were in the Outer Banks. And I have never been to the Outer Banks. Road trip!!!

God bless Mr. Wonderful  - he fit both cabinets into a Honda CR-V. 

And the cabinets are as advertised - in pristine condition.

Now the challenge. I had measured and graphed out the room. The cabinets would fit together in the lone open corner. Turns out they need about 3 inches of clearance. Ruh-roh.

Yep, the Murphy bed would still open. But only emaciated super-models could get in. Friends and family? If they were emaciated super-models, they would not be my friends and family.
Oh, drat!
Soooo, I took this photo.

I shut the door.

I looked for chocolate. (One reason yours truly is not an emaciated super-model.)

Round two. Graph paper has its limits. You really need to move things to know for sure. So even though I had moved the secretary desk and the bookshelves already, I unloaded them again and enlisted Mr. Wonderful's help to move them back. All the while I heard, "I cannot understand how you ever moved them by yourself." Heh-heh.

Now I was haunted by a single thought: my daughters would have had this done by now. By day one. By noon!!!

GET A GRIP! Most of the decor my girls employ comes from Pinterest or Google. There is nothing new in the world. I just need to find it.

First, organize fabrics.

Sure enough, a site showed a folding technique, and after about 3 days of folding around the clock, I was proud owner of this:

Mr. Wonderful asked whether this was a sewing room or a retail store. Pretty sure he was impressed.

But this works only for pieces that are at least 1/2 yard. I have a zillion of the small guys. Pinterest: 1/2 gallon Mason jars! Ordered a dozen. Worked like a charm! Also fun to see Mr. Wonderful's face when he saw the size of the carton they shipped in. (Did I tell him they were coming?)

Used my Kohl's cash (expiring that day) to get a tall bin and a roomy crate-sized bin. Woot!  I can do this!!!

A super bright lamp that adjusts every-which-way. Some cutting mats that fit the surface the cabinets provide. Thrift shop shelves for the closet.
An early set-up.
Bit by bit it was coming together. Still a work in progress, but figure I will need to use it awhile and refine it.

Later - much better!

D2 knew I needed this!
We got the chance to test the conversion to guest room with a grandson's last-minute sleep-over.

Even Mr. Wonderful was impressed - here is 10-15 minute conversion:

Voila! A guest room!!

There are two HUGE benefits to having a (partially) dedicated space to cut and sew.

First, I can finish an astounding amount of sewing in the time it used to take to set up my machine. For someone who is ponderously slow, this is gold.

Also, this: Mr. Wonderful happened down the hall as I stood outside the sewing room closing the door. "What's up?" he asked.

"I heard that one of the best things about a sewing room is being able to shut the door on the mess. I am testing it."

So worth it to see the look on his face.

And, yep - it's great!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Senior Chords . . .

At long last, my age may be getting to me. Maybe it's that Mr. Wonderful and I increasingly play a game similar to "Who Wore It Best?" except we call it "Who Remembered It First?" Or that we only count "misses" on "Jeopardy" if we think we actually knew the answer once upon a time.

Then there's my approaching high school reunion. Fifty. Yes, FIFTY years. I will not even try to convince anyone that I was a genius who graduated at age 12. I wasn't. And even if I had been, I would still be old now!

The Class of '68 numbered about 320 "cheerleaders," "jocks," "brains," and "popular kids." Now, there about 30 classmates we can't find. Hopefully they are well and happy and intentionally flying under the radar "just because" (no felons - kidding!).

More alarming is that other list. Our deceased classmates. About 50 of them.  How can that be? Their 18-year-old faces, bright, shiny, and headed for the future, are a vivid memory still.  (Note: most of those pictured below are still among the living. Do not, I repeat, do NOT assume you failed to notice your own demise because you are in a photo.)

Even after all these years, our dearly departed Gladiators leave a hole in our hearts. I so wanted to hear how their stories turned out. We were all part of the same story all those years ago. Many of us knew these classmates from grade school days. Even who cried at kindergarten nap time.

And who slipped the straps of her Mary Janes under her feet to look like pumps! (bottom row, left, Carol P.).

Now some of their stories are done. Unknown to most of us. I hope that they had good lives, good people in their lives. That they used their talents. I will miss them at our reunion. 

Lastly, I will miss all those "found" classmates who aren't attending. Some can't, of course, but many will choose not to. Don't worry, guys, we promise not to assume you look really old (heh-heh).

As to those of us lucky enough to be there (including several favorite teachers!), here are my prayers for us:

  • That the font on our name tags really is large enough for us to read (taking a pocket flashlight just in case). 
  • That just for a bit, the years will fall away as we will relive old times.
  • That we share long-forgotten stories (hopefully not the same one over and over).
  • That we catch up with old friends (or, if memory fails, make new ones!!).
  • That we know how blessed we were to be the Class of '68. 
Senior year, we loved being the envy of the underclassmen, as we sported navy pullovers and Senior Cords - wheat-colored corduroy pants or skirts. Could not wash 'em. Signed and drawn on - even in a few then scandalous places. It was a great time to be in high school.

Now we are a different class of "seniors." Here's hoping the memories still strike a pleasant chord. (I know, cheesy.)

And there is comfort in knowing that all of us are now 68 years old. We started out together. And those of us blessed enough to still be here are fifty years older. Together.

Way to go, Class of '68! See you soon. I can hardly wait.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Oh, Baby!

All three of our daughters are soooooo efficient. Definitely a trait from Mr. Wonderful. It took me three weeks to do "Quilt In A Day." Seriously. 

So when D3 was on high alert awaiting a baby sister for Little Cutie, I decided the hour was at hand. THE NEW, IMPROVED, ORGANIZED GRAMMY! Ready to come up and watch Little Cutie at a moment's notice.

Maps to hospital. Check. Garmin. Check. Dog, cat, and rabbit feeding instructions. Security System codes. Little Cutie's medical authorization. Check, check, check.

Duffle bag packed. Lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and medicine refilled. Yup.

Hair washed daily. (Stays with Little Cutie mean iffy hygiene for Grammy. No details. Just trust me.)

And then - D3 was scheduled to be induced! 

I confess. I let down my guard. Sure, the baby could arrive before the scheduled day. But Little Cutie took hours of labor. Hours.

So, one morning, I somehow conclude IT. WILL. NOT. BE. TODAY. 

I do not wash my hair. I put my decent jeans into the washer. And my contacts into the six-hour-cleaning solution.  

Immediately, a text from D3: "I think I am in labor. I am having trouble talking through my contractions. Getting ultrasound shortly, will let you know."

Wait . . . WHAT?? Okay, put duffel bag in car. Wet jeans on hanger in car. Glasses cleaned. Why the *&%@ didn't I wash my hair? 

New D3 text:  "Come on up. Contractions right through ultrasound. Why don't you go straight to daycare? Will leave carseat there."

Carseat? In Mini Cooper? Ruh-roh. Did not figure on that one. Carseat goes in (if at all) one way: through the boot (British for "tiny opening where trunk lid should be"). 

The process? Open boot. Put down one back seat, force the carseat through, slide it over and attach tethers. Gulp.

Divine inspiration. I get everything into the Mini in a truly unique (okay, helter-skelter) way. To insert carseat, just remove duffel bag. And complete the process, above. Genius, right?

And I am rolling. About 150 miles to Miss Debbie's Daycare. 

D3 is calling now. "Mom - what's your EXACT e/t/a for daycare?"

"4:48 p.m." I reply. (Thanks, Garmin.) Good news! Miss Debbie will wait! Still, I am wishing Baltimore was not in the way. Also, that the rain would stop.

But St. Christopher is my co-pilot. About 4:30, I look wistfully in the direction of the hospital and head to Miss Debbie's. 

At 4:48 on the button, I arrive! Assure Miss Debbie it will be "just a minute" while I put the carseat in. 

Through the boot. In the rain. Crawling in and out of the rear seat (not an actual back seat) of my 2-door Mini. Old jeans and bad hair are not such a bad idea.

Carseat in, but I can't fasten the seat belt tethers. I pray. Loudly. I-will-not-swear-I-will-not-swear . . . 

Text from son-in-law: "D3 is officially in labor."


Grab Little Cutie. Stay calm. Don't scare him.  We're in the drive-thru line. Get some nuggets and get him home. Almost our turn . . .

Text from son-in-law: "7 lb. 9 oz. 20 in. Just perfect."

What????? WHAT????? Baby Girl is here

Yep. at 4:31 p.m. Just as I passed the hospital. 

Breathe. No details coming. The word "perfect" is a huge comfort though.

But then I start to remember that Miss Debbie said D3 was having trouble driving when she brought the carseat. Mentioned possibly waiting for son-in-law to pick her up from somewhere. 

Did she have the baby in the hospital?  Or, "Proud to announce the birth of our little girl in Target's parking lot." Focus, Grammy! PERFECT!!

At the house, Little Cutie and I pick at our dinner. 

Then, a call from D3 and son-in-law. The baby was born in the hospital! Yay! (Son-in-law did pick D3 up at Target on the way.)

"We want Little Cutie to be the first one to see the baby.  Can you bring him up tonite?" 

Didn't I just drive 150 miles? In the rain? Without bathroom breaks? Wait - first to see the baby?? "ON OUR WAY!!!!"

We make an impressively quick exit. Okay, we only find one shoe for Little Cutie, but whatever. Special childbirth rules.

At the hospital, it is clear that D3 is well-known around the maternity ward. Everyone knows Little Cutie is The Big Brother. He is grinning like a little rock star.

And there they are - mother and baby. Such a precious little one. 

And D3 - WHAT THE HECK?? - her hair and makeup looking fresh as ever. Because (wait-for-it) 45 minutes from admission to birth. See, D3 is efficient!!

We are all in love. Some other day Grammy will become organized. And no one will notice Little Cutie has no shoes in the photo. (Or if they do, they will have the grace not to mention it to Grammy!)

For today, it is more than enough to greet our new little blessing!  

Welcome to the world, Baby Sister!