Lack of Planning on My Part Constitutes an Emergency on My Part

I was in the homestretch of finishing Chad’s frock coat. To be honest, I was feeling pretty smug. The sleeves had gone in with little struggle – in both the coat and the lining – which I considered a miracle. Sleeves and I have a complicated relationship. We’re less frenemies, more nemeses.

There I was, pinning the coat for a final ironing. It looked good; like I knew what I was doing.

There was one last thing to be done. I needed to add the buttons. To be sure, this jacket called for a lot of buttons. I was going for the full complement of 4 small buttons and 26 large ones. Unfortunately, I was left to my own devices to figure out what “small” and “large” meant, since the directions were completely silent on the situation.

I went through my button box and came up with 4 small buttons that I considered appropriate. But try as I may, I could not muster 26 matching large buttons. Crap. I was getting desperate and even started mentally going over coats and jackets we had that might have been good temporary donors. Alas, we owned nothing with 26 gold  buttons.

As much as I hated the thought of it, I decided to run out at lunch and hit up a chain craft store for buttons. Strike One. Ok. The Evil Mart was just up the way, so that was my next stop. Strike Two. I was disgusted by the miserly offerings and getting twitchy. I decided to suck it up and drive to the other large chain craft store. Strike Freakin’ Three.

Panic started to set in. It was Tuesday afternoon. The jacket had to be ready to go Friday by 7:30 pm. I needed 26 large buttons and I needed them NOW. I mulled over driving either north or south to a proper SEWING craft store, but decided I would lose my mind if I did that and was still not able to find the buttons.

So I did what every panicked person does in 2017. I ordered from Amazon. They are due to arrive Thursday night.

chris on October 25th 2017 in Blogroll, Creativity

Goodbye, Mr. Duncan

October began bleak & gray at the Matlick house, as we bid a sad farewell to our boy Duncan.

Mr. D, Duncers, Dunc-Dunc, Handsome Boy, Duncan MacDuncan, and, when he was very much causing a ruckus,  Duncan Matlick, left us on Tuesday. We knew our time with Duncan was short when he was diagnosed with kidney failure in May, but our handsome little sable boy gamely put up one Hell of a fight!

Duncan and his sisters Fionnlaugh & Shadowfax took up residence in the ferret room in May 2013. They quickly showed their personalities, and got us humans in line.

Dunc-Dunc was the rock solid, what-you-see-is-what-you-get sort of ferret. He liked to dig in the dirt, drink from the pond, and go flat so he could demonstrate how sad and horrid his life was in hopes of securing something delicious from the humans. It usually worked.

When he first came home, he had a bit of a pudgy bottom, but a month of living in a house with lots of stairs got him in top shape. He would stand up on his hind legs for a treat for quite some time and managed to climb all the sofas in the house and the beds, the latter being a bit of a surprise to me.

Duncan’s true passion was bottles. He had an extensive collection, running into the hundreds. He preferred medicine bottles, but was an equal opportunity bottle stasher, his collection boasted shampoo, lotion, and soap bottles, as well as film tubes. Our boy kept his several key bottle stashes around the house: 1. Closet at the top of the stairs, 2. Back of Chad’s closet, 3. Under the dresser in their room, and the biggest and most important, 4. Under the sewing table in the attic.  

One year before Christmas, Mom brought us some of those seasonal scented pump bottles of hand soap. I put the bag on an end table, figuring to disburse them eventually. Inevitably, the bag ended up on the floor before I got around to it; I found it odd that Mom only brought two bottles when we have three bathrooms, but whatever.

A week or so later I was in the kitchen when I heard THUMP…(pause) THUMP…(pause) THUMP…(pause), the unmistakable sound of a ferret moving something weighty up the stairs. Further investigation proved me wrong. It was Duncan bringing the missing third bottle, completely full, back DOWN the stairs! Yes, he had nicked the bottle and taken it upstairs undetected. Then decided it belonged downstairs, because of course it did.

Duncan and his sister Fionnlaugh were pretty much inseparable. They’d been together since they were kits and more often than not, when you found one, the other would not be too far away. 

In September, Duncan and Fionnlaugh  came along with us on a camping trip to Dolly Sods. They had more luxurious, and dry, sleeping quarters than we did on that trip, bunking down in their playpen in the back of the Subaru between excursions investigating our campsite.

We took them on a hike near Bear Rocks, too. They snoozed in their carry bag, enjoying the sunshine and nice soft breeze, while I did all the hard work, scrambling about and keeping them from being jostled.

Duncan left us sometime in the early morning hours of Tuesday, October 3, curled up in a favored sleepy sack. He will be sorely missed by his sister Fionnlaugh, and his humans.

Godspeed, buddy. We’ll miss you terribly. 

chris on October 3rd 2017 in Animals, Family

Creative Procrastinators Unite!

On Wednesday, I found myself at a $1.00 store stalking the aisles for poster board, markers, ribbons and anything that would pass for wheels. All things that would eventually reveal themselves to be a Roman chariot for our biggest ferret, Sasquatch. (Just to clarify, not like a real functioning chariot, but a box made to look like a chariot.)

Why? Solid and legitimate question. Our ferret club has a yearly picnic. Picnics mean games…like the ferret chariot race. The rules are simple, put your ferret in a chariot and pull him across the finish line. The catch is, if your ferret jumps out, you must stop and put the ferret back in the chariot. The race is ridiculous. Ferrets leap out all over the place; chariots capsize! It is 60 seconds of gut-busting hilarity!

All you only really need an open topped box with some kind of rope to pull it. But what fun is that?  So I decided that Sasquatch needed a cool conveyance – a Jeep. No, a flipped over Jeep! That was in June. I was still mulling it over in July when I thought perhaps a Conestoga wagon pulled by my collection of Breyer horses would be amazing. I had a brief flirtation in early August with a red wagon, but that seemed dull. The horse bit stuck with me and I was sure by late August we were going with a Roman chariot. August passed into September. Labor Day happened. I worked on Lederhosen for Oktoberfest.

Suddenly on Wednesday, I realized two things:

  1. The picnic was Sunday.
  2. We were leaving Friday to camp and wouldn’t be home until Saturday evening.

Which is how on Wednesday after work I found myself clutching photos of Roman chariots, prowling the aisles of the local cheap stuff store.

chris on September 14th 2017 in Blogroll, Creativity

Back to the refrigerator…

Back to the refrigerator issue.

The problem appeared to be a wonky breaker. A short internet search and a trip to the nearby hardware super store, because at 8 pm the local place is wise enough to not be open, we had a new breaker in hand.

Swapping out procedure was simple. Turn off entire house. Remove questionable breaker. Replace with new breaker. Turn house back on. Test outlet. And…nothing.

Maybe it wasn’t the breaker. Maybe the outlet was bad. It was kind of gnarly. A brief inspection revealed what looked to be a single outlet. Single as in only one plug. These are things you don’t really notice when they are hidden behind giant appliances.

A hands and knees closer inspection led Chad to find that we had a regular outlet, someone had simply wallpapered over the top part. Wallpapered poorly.  And then calked it in place instead of using an outlet cover. Because of course they did.

Entire house back off, Chad scrunched himself into the refrigerator cubby working to free the outlet. As luck would have it, we had an extra brand new outlet hanging around. New outlet installed, I headed down to flip the breakers while Chad lay on the floor, ready to test the outlet when it came back online.

I had no sooner flipped the relevant breaker back on than I heard Chad very clearly shout “TURN IT OFF!” This was surprising, since he was not directly overhead and the basement door was shut. He may as well have been standing right beside me for the volume and clarify of his directive.  

“So…” I asked, returning to the kitchen and seeing him still in one piece on the floor.

“Flames.”

“Ah.”

“Electrician it is, then.”

chris on August 31st 2017 in Blogroll