Monday, November 15, 2010

Me and Machines

Ok, let’s try this, then. It’s been a rough day for me and machines. It seems like everything is doing its level best to get in my way and prevent me from doing what’s important to me. I probably shouldn’t say that; next the car will die. On the freeway. On the overpass where it narrows to one lane.

It started this morning when I went to log into so I could get that chore out of the way before I went over to Vinnie’s so I could work on the shrines and boxes project. Computer was running its little security check so it was slow. Ok, I get that. And 750words won’t load on the version of explorer we’re running; it has to be Firefox. Ok, I can manage that, too. So I open a window . . . tick, tick, tick . . . open a window . . . tick, tick, tick . . . ah. Firefox is running, yay. Uhm. Two windows are open and sucking up resources. Fine. Go to 750words, close one window . . . tick tick tick . . . 750words opens, and promptly shuts down again as I go to log in.

Grr. Fine. Just fine. I'll do it later. Hop in the shower, wash up, head out. Get to Vinnie's, get set up on the patio. Ahhhhh. Coffee and paper mache and a belt sander to work on the boxes I started yesterday which are dry and coming along nicely. Having fun.

Vinnie needs to make a quickie store run, will I be okay? Sure, no problem, what can go wrong go wrong go wrong.

Yeah, like that.

So I'm sanding away, finish one box and pick up the next. Right there in the groove. Then I get a skitch too close to the belt . . . and the damned thing sucks up a chunk of jacket. I smell the motor overheating, get my finger off the dead man's switch. Stand there thinking "fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck."A minute later, I have run my diagnostics and determined that I'm ok. No skin caught, no shirt caught. No bleeding nowhere. Ok. Now what?

First things first. I reach over and unplug the sander so nothing else bad can happen.

Stand there attached to the machine for a minute, then look down. The zipper isn't among the part that's been sucked in, so I unzip my jacket and step out of it for a better look. I've got folds of jacket sucked up into the belt, so if I could just wiggle a little bit loose, I'd have enough slack to get the rest out.

Now, it's not like this is a jacket inherited from my great-uncle Ernie that cannot be replaced, but I am rather fond of it. It's the grey fleece jacket upon which everything depends, William Carlos Williams style. I've had the thing for something like fifteen years now, and it's important to me. In part because I don't have anything else old and grungy enough to replace it with once it gets eaten/worn out. It's my slop around mixed media go to the gym jacket.

So I pull and yank, and nothing. No slack at all.

I turn the sander over and over looking for some way to remove the drive in order to get just a skosh of wiggle room, but nothing.

So I go to work on the stuff that doesn't need sanding--I make sleeves for the shrines, and then I'm stuck because one of the things Vinnie went to get was tissue paper for the paper mache. Fine. Just fine.

I go in to knit for a while. I am going to finish Yggdrasil on time if it kills me. Just like I'm going to finish this damned novel on time. (50,000 words, I will WRITE YOU!!!)

Vinnie gets home, and I ‘splain what happened, reassure her that I'm fine, just a little chilly and concerned about her sander. Bless her heart, she's more worried about me and my jacket ("your good jacket, not even your work shirt") than she is about the sander.

(This, of course has kicked in a running joke about "can I use your blender/laptop/chasing hammer, as long as I don't get my clothes caught in it?")

We dismantle the sander, taking off the engine cover to expose the motor, and then as we're trying to get the drive belt off, I notice that my jacket fabric is moving . . . so here I am, grabbing and pulling on the jacket, Vinnie is cranking on the nut and pulling on the sander. Between the two of us, we get the sander to let go. Finally.

So of course, my jacket is filthy. (But untorn. Yay!!!) Fortunately, Vinnie is doing laundry, so I'm able to toss the jacket into the wash with the next load. Keep this in mind; it becomes important again later.

Ok. I get a bunch done that does not require sanding, and I'm very pleased with how the shrines are moving along again (finally. Finally!!!) (I may actually finish them in this lifetime.) (Oh, and the sander still worked even after we re-mantled it. Bonus round!!!) I get all washed up, everything is clean, and I spend some time knitting.

Then Vinnie has to make another run to the store because the anchovies have vanished. Oh, great! I can get my words in while she's gone, and I won't have to worry about doing them before bed tonight!

So I go to log on to her laptop, and while it's booting I grab my jacket so I won't forget it. No internet. Noneya. Fuck fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck fuck. Fine. Just fine. I'll use the word-cruncher (and curse the tiny keyboard, where nothing is where it belongs to be) and at least get things going. Vinnie gets back shortly after things get going good, and re-hooks the cable in the bedroom that the dogs have ripped out, and then she goes out to the garage to get the laundry . . .
And comes in turning grey before my eyes.

"Spike? Uhm . . . your jacket's not in the dryer . . ."

"Oh. Yah, I went and grabbed it so I wouldn't forget it."

Vinnie sags against the doorpost with relief. "I was trying to figure out how to explain that the dryer ate it."

Yup. Is has done been a day for me and machines.