Shirley, you jest

I have now finished my first two sewing projects of 2015: a Renfrew sweater & a t-shirt for the January Monthly Stitch challenge (“make a garment inspired by your favorite beverage”–in my case, milk). I’ll blog them once I get some decent photos. Despite all my rambling in my last post about how I don’t take 150 photos in a scenic location during the Golden Hour in pursuit of the three perfect blog photos, I do want to put some effort into not being stuck with photographs of myself posing in front of the litterbox.

At one point while I was sewing, it suddenly occurred to me that I am so much better at sewing than I used to be. I mean, obviously if you do something consistently for three years, you will probably feel more skillful over time. But it was such a pleasant feeling to realize that the work I was doing was coming easily enough to be relaxing, but was providing enough of a challenge to be engaging. It was just such a joy, & it made me happy to realize how much more confident I feel in my abilities. At this point, I use very few pins. I might pin notches, but that’s about it. I just line up raw edges as I go, & the result is actually more precise sewing. I don’t know if that’s because I have become more precise, or if the lack of pins means the grain isn’t being distorted & pulled out of shape by foreign objects. Maybe a little bit of both? It makes sewing so much faster because I’m not wasting a lot of time pinning & unpinning seams.

The Renfrew I made is also probably my first perfect make. Everything I have ever made before now has had some little (or big) mistake in it. A lumpy seam, a rippling zipper, twisted elastic, something. The Supertote I made is very close to perfect, but I should have interfaced the interior pockets & the tacking I did to reinforce the gusset pleat on one side is not quite in the right spot. I haven’t found any mistakes in the Renfrew. I spent a long time admiring the neckband in the mirror because it is so perfectly flat. I think I was especially pleased with how it came out because the knit I used is so soft & loosely-woven. I expected it to stretch out of shape & snag really easily, or for seams to get misshapen somewhere along the way because the knit has so much loft. I’ve sewn so many Renfrews at this point, it’s not really the accomplishment of the century to finally nail one, but I’m proud of myself anyway.

Anyway, it’s good that I’m so stoked about my sewing because everything else kind of sucks. A mom friend was visiting the other day & we talked a lot about whether or not we want more kids. Lately I have been thinking that Ramona is maybe not what one might call “sibling material”. After my friend left, I took a pregnancy test on a whim & hey! It was positive. I kept my feelings, both positive & negative, in check, because you know. I did have that miscarriage in July. A positive pregnancy test is no guarantee of an imminent baby. Sure enough, it wound up being a chemical pregnancy (ie, an incredibly early miscarriage). I’m okay with it because we weren’t trying & I don’t know if 100% want another kid. & not being pregnant means I can keep sewing garments for myself without worrying about accommodating a bump.

But while I was driving to my OB’s office for some blood tests, I heard a weird bump from the passenger side of the hood. I thought it might be a tire so I pulled over & looked, but the tires were fine. When I got back home, I noticed steam pouring out from under the hood after I turned the car off. I pointed it out the Jared, but he was like, “Cars are hot & the air is cold. No big deal.” But the next time we went to drive it somewhere, it was flashing the coolant light at us. Turns out we were completely out of coolant. We refilled the tank & realized the overflow reservoir is leaking at the seams. It’s a pretty easy fix that shouldn’t be too expensive, but we can’t drive the car until it’s done, & you know. This is like the nine millionth mechanical issue we’ve had with the car, & we still don’t know for sure that the engine wasn’t damaged before we realized we were out of coolant. If it was, we are fucked.

We were going to buy a new (to us) car when I found out I was pregnant in July, but we scrapped those plans after the miscarriage. Now I’m regretting it, because we kind of need a new car.

Plus it was crazy cold this weekend & we desperately needed groceries. Jared bundled Ramona up & tried to catch the bus to the grocery store, but the driver just blazed right by them without stopping. So he walked there & back with our granny cart when it was like 8 degrees out. (He left Ramona at home with me.)

Then when we got up this morning, we discovered that our sink pipes had frozen overnight. We realized a few days ago that there doesn’t seem to be any insulation behind our kitchen cabinets, which are on the exterior wall of the kitchen. You can kind of feel a breeze coming in from under the cabinets. We were annoyed, but what could we do about it? Then we came down to make coffee this morning & had no water. We still had water upstairs so we were able to make coffee. We set up a space heater in front of the cabinets & I sat there for about an hour & a half, reading a book about mountaineering deaths on Denali & holding a hot hair dryer to the pipes. I did manage to unfreeze them & there doesn’t appear to be any damage. But we discovered that the exterior wall of the house (like the actual outside wall) behind the cabinet is being rotted out from vines & a sink leak that was going on for God knows how long before we discovered it & had the cabinet replaced. We didn’t realize that the rotted cabinet had actually damaged the wall as well. You’d think our landlord would be more on the ball with this shit, given that he’s trying to squeeze $12,000+ of annual income from renting this house. You better believe we will be moving out this summer, whether we stay in Lawrence or not. We’ve just had too many problems with this place, & the landlord has been too unresponsive to our concerns. We can’t even reach him on weekends when there are emergencies because supposedly his cell phone “has been malfunctioning lately”.

& then to cap it off, Ramona learned how to climb out of her crib. I knew this day would come. I mean, she’s three. But ugh. She is going through a phase where she only answers to the name “Shirley,” so she jumped out of her crib & was in her room saying, “What’s Shirley going to do? Shirley is going to go downstairs!” Think again, kiddo. Naptime is Mommy’s sacred time.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “Shirley, you jest

  1. Ugh! I am so sorry about the house and car woes. It felt like everything in our house broke this past year. Knock on wood, we’ve got the trail of broken appliances behind us. The nice thing about owning our house is that we don’t have to wait for someone else to fix things. The crap part is we have to pay for it all. My husband is also notorious for abandoning a project about 90% of the way through it. He is almost done with our 1st floor bathroom… he started it the weekend of July 4th. I got a great laundry room out of it, so I really shouldn’t complain.

    1. The car is fixed & it wasn’t that expensive. I mean, it’s still old enough to be in high school, so I’m sure something else will go wrong with it soon. & the house is at least liveable. I do fantasize about owning my own house so I don’t have to deal with idiot landlords anymore, but on the flip side, then I would have to get mad at myself for all the things that don’t get fixed, & that’s no fun!

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