Thursday, August 19, 2010

What I Want

Sewing Machine

I don't often talk about work here. It's a touchy subject. Veterinary medicine has gotten expensive. And yet veterinarians are not walking around with wads of cash in their pockets. You see the cost of running a business is also quite expense. We have to pay for leaseholds and utilities, medical equipment and supplies, employee wages, continuing education, licensing fees, etc, etc. And, in order to stay in business, in order to be there in the middle of the night, we must charge for our services.

This doesn't sit well with some people. And I understand. Believe you me I know times are tough. I know money is tight. I know. Oh how we wish we didn't have to charge. If only we could provide free service to all. But we can't.

Now some folks will apologize for their financial state. Some will shut down and simply not talk. And then there are those who are flat out rude.

One frequent comment is "... well if I'd known it'd cost that much I just've taken 'ol Fido here into the backyard and shot him in the head." Now here I just smile politely and say that I don't recommend that particular route of treatment. A different commentary is simultaneously running through my head.

Another frequent comment is "... hell. This costs more than the emergency room." Meaning, of course, human medicine. Sometimes it's hard to keep my mouth shut. I've been to the human emergency room with my husband, my daughters, my son and myself. I've seen the bills. I've paid the bills. I will tell you emphatically our services are a fraction of the cost of human medicine.

And, finally, "... I can git me a new dog from in front that there Walmart. Why'd I want to pay to fix this here mongrel?" Why indeed? A question worth asking is "do you want a dog or do you want this dog." (Which, by the way, is how I've ended up with my menagerie of pets -- turns out if you don't want your dog (or cat or bird) I may just take him home).

And this is a very long segue into want I really want to talk about. My new to me sewing machine. The relevance will be seen shortly (I hope).

Recently I found a steal of a deal at a garage sale. A 1971 Janome New Home Sewing Machine (similar to one pictured above). She was missing a bobbin and needed a new needle but otherwise seemed to be functional. I brought her home and with one of my bobbins and needles got her running -- sort of. She placed a few stitches and then stopped.

Well as much as I'd like to know everything about everything I do not. And so, today, I took her to a sewing machine repair shop for expert advice. My husband came along for muscular (that machine is HEAVY) and, as it turns out, moral support.

It seems the check in gal at the shop does not have an appreciation for vintage machines. "Do you know," she said with disdain, " this machine blue books at $14.50?"

I stared at her blankly.

And your point is?

"I just want you to know you'll be putting more money into this machine that you'll ever get out of it."

"That's okay," I said sweetly, "I'm not planning on selling this machine. I plan to use it."

"Well," she asked, "What kind of machine are you using now?"

"A very basic, inexpensive machine." I replied

"You might find," she retorted, "that with a newer machine you wouldn't be frustrated and might actually enjoy the process of sewing."

Who said I was frustrated? Who said I didn't enjoy sewing?

And then she got to her real point. "We can always trade this one in towards the purchase of a new machine."

Now if I wasn't at the one and only repair shop in this small town I would have grabbed my machine and stormed out. Rather I would have made the hubbie grab the machine and storm out (heavy people, seriously heavy). But I didn't know where else to go.

Fortunately Mr. Peculiar chimed in. "We really like this machine. It's got beautiful clean lines similar to a vintage car. The colors are gorgeous. Plus we don't believe in simply throwing things into the landfill just because they are old. My wife and I feel sewing is an art, an old art, and how better to sew than on an older machine?"

It was the check-in lady's turn to stare blankly.

Finally she said with a little tsk tsk, "all right, whatever the customer wants."

And it is indeed what I want. For the price I'm paying to potentially fix up this machine (fingers crossed) I can not buy a new one.

And truth be told I don't want a new machine. I want that machine.

Just because something is inexpensive (or free) doesn't mean it doesn't have value. It might be easier to start over. To get a new dog. To get a new machine. But that's not what I want.

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~ Robert Frost


Joy! said...

I find it very annoying when someone tries to talk one out of what one wants. This reminds me of my rant about our disposable culture and trying to find a toaster with metal parts (that won't break within two years). And also of my 1990 sewing machine that I'd rather refurbish than throw out, because it has, yes, *metal parts* that won't wear out. Congrats on your vintage, eminently useable machine!

amy said...

it's a beautiful machine and a beautiful post. be true to yourself. and thank you for being there for those of us who need someone to care for our beloved pets.

sue maasch said...

love that poem....