Monthly Archives: November 2014

The things behind the radiator

I’m thrilled that our new-to-us house has radiators.

But they aren’t much to look at – just a single pipe covered with  a smooth boxy cover rather than an ornate cast iron multi-piped lovely.

The cover around the one in my office wiggled though, and didn’t sit flush against the wall.

radiator-the radiator

So I jabbed some pliers around behind it and found yet another pile of child detritus – further evidence of the slobs who owned the place just before us.

radiator-recent crap

But the cover still wouldn’t go flush with the wall, so I fashioned a slim jim out of a thin piece of aluminum threshold and went to town on the thing, once again playing archaeologist

radiator-motherlode of things

And unearthed a many decades mother-lode of kid shit.

More precisely, shit from the kids who were in here in the late 1950s to early ’60s (along with the last people here from about three years ago).

radiator-not art things

There are kid scribbles (properly on paper this time, not the walls).

(And I’d rather not think of what could have been munching on the paper.)

radiator-pencil things

The pencils that perhaps created scribbles.

radiator-old maid things

Part of a deck of Old Maid that could now never be won.

radiator-food things

Food things that have no business outside of the kitchen.

radiator-baby things

Correspondence that confirmed the owner’s identity (with an addition that could been viewed as ironic commentary on today’s ridiculousness of availability and popularity of weapons in this country and the truly terrible acts of kids killing each other).

radiator-knitted thing

Play things and a knitted thing – and it feels incredibly familiar to me – I may have had a doll sock just like this one…

radiator-red things

Cheery red things.

(And I almost bought a vintage toy tin washtub with these same little clothespins at a flea market recently, but though the design could be considered charming, and had in fact charmed me momentarily, ultimately I was disgusted that something like that was made to give to a child (girl) to play with instead of a book or a microscope or something enlightening and useful and creative and educational… )

radiator-precious things

And little once precious things – perhaps given to a child once they were deemed crap.

(Yes, I did get a little excited for half of a second when I thought the tie clip could be gold…)

radiator-puzzle things

And things that don’t make sense without other things.

radiator-butt things

And evidence of what I thought were nicotine stains on the walls (though this too could have been a teen-child act of hiding her/his own evidence…).

radiator-animal things

And finally a few random toy things that were played with by a far-from-child again for a few minutes…

And if you spotted the snakeskin, that was my contribution to the mess behind the radiator rather than a living snake leaving it behind.  I think part of the reason so much shit ended up back there is a perpendicular breezy window.   Moments after I took a picture of it, it blew out of my reach.

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Meet the rest of my sewing machines

A sequel to my first post about some of my mechanical herd…

I’m finally reunited with the two “lost” sewing machines trapped for too long in storage.

sewingmachines-atlas

I’m a sucker for a pink Atlas – my other  one has been a favorite over the years, and this one still hasn’t gone for a test drive since the cord is cut.  I found it on garbage day (or maybe the night before) on my old street.  I can’t remember if I was late for work and trotting down the long hill to the bus, but found this and had to lug it back up and start all over again and ended up being really late, or I found it at the end of dusk slogging up the hill after a long day at work and it made my day.  Either way, I schlepped this beast up a fairly substantial hill and haven’t gotten around to rewiring it for more than a decade.

And my fuzzy memory about rescuing it from its dump fate is because I found and lugged home lots of great sh*t on that street – including an old metal headboard from one of those old long narrow beds that prompted the comment by a passerby, “Do you always carry your bed with you?”  And I believed I said yes, I’m very tired.  But I don’t know what happened to that – I think it was a casualty in the move from that place…

sewingmachines-singer

And this Singer hasn’t had much love – I’m pretty sure it’s a 66, and maybe I already had that 99 and got this thinking it was the same and I could use it for parts?  All I know was it was an early thrift find and I don’t remember if it works now, and maybe I’ll part with it eventually.

So I am done buying old sewing machines… unless I find one that has stitch functions I don’t have, is non-electrically operated (like a treadle in a lovely cabinet), or something that is uniquely and fantastically awesome – and all must be for a great price and reasonably sound condition.  So, I’m really not in the market for them anymore unless I find something truly special.  And that’s a problem.  I wasn’t looking for a zig-zag machine a few weeks ago because I had been looking for the last 15 years or so and gave up – then, presto!

This lovely beast followed me home.

sewingmachine-new home 532

My current localish thrift is pretty decent – not a lot of vintage stuff, but good prices – I got this for $12.99.

Not sure what the inked-on “W” marks or means – hopefully wonderful or wondrous or woo hoo or wildly fantastic or wicked good or woot or wow, and not wonky or wah or wacky or whoops or whoop-de-doo…

sewingmachines-new home 532 detail

I’m also not sure if and how well it works yet, but the needle goes up and down which is the most crucial part.  So as long as I can get this up and running, and if I ever get around putting a hand crank on one of my others, then I’m really not in the market for another, right?  (Really, I’m not trying to jinx myself for the better, I don’t want more heavy old things).

I’ve never owned a new, or less than 40-years-old, sewing machine but I’ve been wanting a serger for some time.  I never felt I had a right (or the money) to buy one since I wanted it for making napkins and small bags and such, and those things can be made with any machine, just with folding and ironing added to the mix.  But I wanted to take out folding and ironing, and in some cases, preserve as many millimeters of the fabric as I could, so I asked for and received this for my last “big” birthday – thank you mom & dad!

janome serger

I took it out for a test run a bit ago, and it’s going to be fun and quite useful, but like the others, it’s waiting patiently and safely until I get its room in shape, and more importantly, I find the damn bolts and wing nuts for the tables to put it on.

(And my brain is on an endless loop saying: “janome-baloney, janome-baloney, janomey-baloney…”)

So it’s even more fitting that my last find was a New Home/Janome to go with my new serger – hopefully it will teach its younger sibling lessons in durability and perseverance.

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What’s in the basket?

Not my brother…*

basket-closed

I say I’m on a buying of all things, especially old things, hiatus… perhaps even a lifetime ban.

But I couldn’t resist a gourd.

 I could plant some gourds, I could probably get one free from a neighbor, but I actually paid $4.00 for this one.

basket-gourd

Why?

Because it was used as a darning egg!

And came with a basket filled with other useful things.

basket-full

Needles are always handy and I love that they used to be promotional items (not to mention I love the graphic design and re-use of other little packages)…

basket-design

And things that were once made in Europe but are now made in China…

(the notions, not the dust wads.)

basket-german

And evidence that the  original owner was perhaps a Nervous Nellie as well as a photographer…

basket-stress

And another mysterious notion – what is it?

basket-perfex

It’s got “Waldes Perfex” stamped on it as a registered trademark.  I couldn’t find the trademark, but several patents on “Perfex” exist for textile, cleaning, and photography products.  I find anecdotal evidence of others finding these with old knitting supplies, so perhaps they’re stitch markers?  They seem a bit pokey and impractical though…  I can’t think of an application for them with photography unless these were poked through the sprockets in film for some reason or another…?

Anyone know what they are?

*

I’ve never seen the movie, but I just might have to check it out…

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Get off yer asses and go vote!

This country has been f*cked up for some time (and perhaps always) but it’s not the fault of one man (maybe a bit because of the man before the current  man) but it is largely the fault of men.

Mostly white men.

Dividend yields, offshore accounts,  hedge funds, trust funds, mutual funds, stock options,  investment portfolios, tax loopholes, year end bonuses, wealth management, and even pension plans are meaningless to most of us – we’re not gaily frolicking under a shower of golden nuggets pissing down from above.  And yes, a few votes don’t have more strength than a fat wallet, but we can at least try to elect people who look and act more like us to represent us at the lower levels to push our sh*t up from the bottom, right?

I had a doctor appointment in a busy hospital on the outskirts of a poor urban area last week.  The the door to my exam room was left open and I could see and hear what was going on in the room across the hall.  In it was a young man who had been shot in the head while driving  6 months before.  Now, I’m going to make a whole bucket of assumptions here (and he could have been an investment banker for all I know) and say what options do men like him (before the shooting) have – join the military so he can legally pop others in the head?  Our education systems fails too many, our healthcare system is inhumane, our environment is getting scary, and our culture and humanity is disgustingly and alarmingly low or gone.

Last week we were also in DC to do some research.

washmonu

We had a fine view of the Washington Monument from the crapper in the hotel room.

xmarks

And I saw evidence that for hundreds of years people like some of my ancestors who couldn’t read and write or even make a decent X for “his mark”  lived and mildly prospered in this country.  They were able to slowly transition from hard manual work to have educated and more comfortable offspring after a few generations.

But somewhat more comfortable should not mean complacent, especially now the momentum on those generations is slipping backwards.

But the lower class individual can only do so much…

sock on second train

But you can do a lot of knitting while on trains to and from DC.

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