My dearest, gray day today, flurries and a squall this morning, snow since melted by mist and rain. A day of domesticities, including getting started on the pillowcase project. I began to reacquaint myself with my ancient Singer sewing machine. Most of the sewing projects I've ever done in this house I did on a tiny, shoebox-size made-in-China plastic machine that I bought at Sears in Flatbush for $30. It didn't work very well, but well enough, and most importantly, it was so simple that I could work it. It finally broke though, irreperably, definitely not worth fixing it was of such cheap construction. I liked that little machine though, it did the trick, plus it was portable, so I could easily set it up in the aerie. I would laugh about it, once one afternoon when I was working as campaign office manager for a local candidate. Somehow the subject of sewing machines came up and I laughingly described my little one, and then the candidate's partner bitchily totally one-upped me extolling some ancient heirloom Singer machine. She completely dissed me on my tiny Chinese thing, which was really a joke of a machine, only she didn't get the joke. It was as if my possessing such a thing proved something to her.
But when the thing finally died, I'd gotten used to having one, and being able to do miscellaneous sewing projects around the house, nothing fancy. So I looked at craigslists ads for some weeks, and finally pounced on one - $50 for a 1950s model housed in a wood cabinet, available in Woodstock. And so now it sits, mostly unused in the guest bedroom. I might use it more except - I don't like working in that room, I feel too cut off from the rest of the house. Also, for quite a long while now, I haven't felt very inspired to make anything for the house, I am so mentally out the door, I'm no longer actively feathering this nest, though of course I try to maintain things, keep things up neat and clean anyway - hence, fresh pillowcases.
It is an impressive machine, that Singer. Once I re-learn (a process anytime I sit down to it after a lengthy absence). It works like a dream, and sounds satisfyingly like a very well-made machine. Once it gets going it whirs and sounds like a high quality model railroad. D oiled it for me today - doing so involved a screwdriver, not that that was necessarily beyond me, but the whole, now-where-do- I-place-the-oil-dammit part - I didn't even want to go there. I don't wish for you to have any illusions about me - I am hopelessly unmechanical. I like to use machines when I can effortlessly operate them - so, for example, I like to sew when I'm actually sewing - but anytime I have to struggle in the slightest way with a machine - it's like my psyche can't stand it. I'm suddenly reminded of 1.0, he once wrote to me that he couldn't abide "emotional tension" of any kind, and honestly, I wasn't quite sure what he meant. But now I do - that's how I am with machines - I can't abide even the slightest difficulty. I have to say that in this regard D and I are very well-matched, in that he actually seems to thrive on figuring out the very problems that instantly vex me. He helped me today, for example. I plugged in the machine, flipped the switch - nothing. Instant vexation. I thought it might be the outlet, tested it by dragging over a lamp - no the outlet was fine. I could feel my blood pressure (figuratively) rising, so I left it, stood at the ironing board measuring lengths and turning up hems to be sewn up on the pillowcases-to-be. So I left it for D, and he came to my aid with it, and he wobbled the plug in the wall and then suddenly the sewing machine light came on. He left, and I tried to wind thread on a bobbin - the parts didn't seem to engage right. I asked D to help me, again, and he did - he patiently examined the situation, determined I had a faulty bobbin that didn't fit the dimensions of the housing, we fished out another one - I've now got a nice fat bobbin of beautifully wound white thread.
To boot, at my request, he oiled the machine for me, a prospect I've always found daunting (even D had to study the manual, fetch a screwdriver, figure out the various obscure spots to dot with oil from a tiny vessel that he cursed dispensed overly large droplets), though I know it's important for a Singer, like any machine, to be well-oiled.
Do you suppose that I pump my own gas or have the slightest thing at all to do with the maintenance of the car? Or of the major (or even minor) mechanicals of the house?
It's just the way I am, I'm afraid. But I can do other things. Wafting up the stairs now is the aroma of braising pork and cabbage, seasoned with caraway seeds. I try my hand at letters every day.
Here's where I don't feel the slightest "emotional tension" - all the moments of the day that I think of you, imagine being with you. That's interesting to me. I lay down for a bit this afternoon, couldn't quite fall asleep and it occurred to me that 1.0 had brought me nothing really but pain, but with you I feel this sense of pleasure, as though I had to get through 1.0 first.
Dearest, I should proof this post, but I am feeling really tired at the moment - so I will leave it "unfinished" -
Very many kisses my love - soon, soon -