Saturday, February 28, 2009

Poor design alert

For those of us with no strength in our hands, sewing is quite a challenge. I have to use pliers to help me sew on a button.

And I use the Buttoneer to tack down upholstery. Buttoneers are great, but they get a little tricky for any of us who have trouble working with tiny objects. In my case, this is due to the lack of real feeling in my fingertips. But it is still nice to reach for the tool and make a quick repair.

And so, I was irritated to see that I was out of the attachers for the Buttoneer, and kept a mental note to find more. Usually this would entail going to Michaels or Jo-Ann Fabrics. The past few visits, they were out of the refills.

And so, I was delighted to find that Singer also has something similar. I purchased a kit and soon set out to repair the kitty chair. The kitty chair is a stationary lounger that Ellie and they use for naps and viewing out the window. It sometimes gets rather ratty looking after a few years of scratching and constant use.

And so, I sat on the floor with my Singer "BM," lets call it. I followed the illustrations, slipped an attacher into the slide, and stuck it into the fabric.

The attacher slipped through and didn't attach. This was puzzling, since I've been working with the Buttoneer for years with no problem.

And so I reread the directions and tried again. By now, it was getting difficult to insert the attacher. See, with the Buttoneer, if the first one doesn't work, it is simple to slide the second one in line down to the slide. There are two to a set, and it's easy to try again.

Not so with the BM. One must snip off each by scissor, those teeny, tiny little attachers that one easily drops and loses on the floor.

I did finally sink one, and only one, attacher properly, and littered the rug with all the rejects. At this point, the very, very delicate needle end is bent and must be bent back with a pair of pliers.

Rinse and repeat. A few more attachers later, I still had only one in place doing its job.

Okay, the think works, but it is very poorly designed. I'm not nuts about the tiny attachers of the Buttoneers, but the Singer's are a nightmare.

I am so glad that I could not find a refill when I bought the darned thing. I won't even waste the gas it would cost to return it to Target.

Little Pond

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cost cutting

Today I am "out of office" on unpaid furlough day. I will visit the river with Ellie, and pretend to dry clean in the meanwhiles.

In an effort to cut costs, I am now wearing old suits, broken up with jeans, blouses, etc. They never get much wearing because they are labeled DRY CLEAN ONLY.

I get around that by throwing the worn item in with a clean dryer load. In a normal morning, I can do this two or three times, allowing several trips through the dryer for the same piece.

Seems to work. Obviously, this is no good for a dirty item, just a one-time-worn item. Dirty items get a Dryel or "Dry Cleaners' Secret" treatment first, followed by a thorough airing.

Don't try this with a load of new clothes, or their dye will ruin your dry-clean-only item. Furthermore, a load of new towels could conceivably leave a lot of lint.

We don't have much trouble with "new" anything around here, these days. And with the long commute and its associated gas costs, we are not likely to buy much soon.

At least I have a wardrobe for the position in Johnson City. Four old suits equal (with a couple weeks dieting; hooray for Lent!) a lot of different mix and match opportunities.

Little Pond

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gannett update

The position offered to me is a lateral move. No surprise there; they are cutting costs and won't want to give me the extra pay for the advertising one.

Now I am looking at a 45-50 min commute each way. I drive a 95 Geo Tracker that is literally held together with duct tape. Literally. The body, anyway.

A new car will cost a monthly payment. The trip will use about 5 gals of gas each way. And we are still on the furlough system.

It's a pay cut.

Little Pond

Monday, February 09, 2009

Surviving the winter (now that it's sunny)

(If you've got sunshine, here are your marching orders: Get Out!!! See our comment thread.)

That's what it's all about right now. I am forcing myself to eat lots of fruit and veggies, or drink them, if I can't.

That means no fresh fruit for me except melons. The acidity is too hard on my stomach, which is already addicted to Prilosec. As for vegetables, they are mostly cooked or in my V8 drink at work. The occasional warm spinach salad works for me, too:

Baby leaf spinach
Green onions
Olives (I prefer black)
Bacon sprinkles (hot turky bacon preferred)

The above should be washed and dried, but not heated. The heated part is the dressing.

Honey mustard dressing mixed with
Sprinkle cheese (Crumbled feta, parmesan, bleue,
votre preference)

I don't like it sweet, so I cut it with olive oil, or a little dijon-style
mustard. This mixture goes into the micro for 30 secs., then poured over
the salad.

Don't forget the cracked pepper, but skip the salt. Too much in
cheese as it is.

My favorite winter salad. Forget the low calorie with this; it's comfort food.

And lately, I've begun to reintroduce dried fruit, such as dates and raisins. Eaten only in very sparing amounts, again due to the wimpy stomach situation.

And all of this is forced, because I really just want lots of comfort foods in the winter, including a dish of pistachio ice cream once in a while. When I'm miserably chilled, I substitute pistachio pudding instead.

Needless to say, the middle-age spread is my constant companion, despite tons of walking with the HuggaMutt, and incessant worrying over tight clothes.

Damn that Punxsutawney Phil.

Little Pond