Saturday, October 02, 2010

Repair or replace

So this morning I noticed the sun streaming into the living room and saw that the curtains in the bedroom were still closed. I went to open them and couldn’t. The string was stuck. Upon investigation, it was stuck because it had frayed and would no longer glide in its track.

Now I am not a curtain person and know very little about their care and maintenance. At first I thought it was a simple matter of replacing the string. But alas, it turned out to be the sort of thing where the string goes deep inside a track all encased in metal and there was just no quick fix.

So I manage to remove the track and switch the big heavy curtains onto the still working track of the liner curtains. So we still have curtains, just no liner ones. But I have the broken track in my hand and I had just been in a store down the street that sells all sorts of fabrics and upholstery and curtains and ribbons and buttons. So I plan to head there first. I look up the words for “repair” and “replace” and memorize several synonyms (in case they are used in a response).

First, however, I have to wait for this week’s protests to clear out of the street. Today, the syndicates are trying another tack to protest the retirement and pension reforms. They are having protests on a Saturday so that salaried employees and students and families can participate. Instead of starting in the morning, they have started after lunch (2pm), I guess so everyone can still do their Saturday morning shopping. And it is funny to me how they disrupt the very same public transportation that they took to the protest and that they will subsequently take home again afterwards. It is all carefully choreographed.

Once again, I do not understand the protests even as their grievences are being blasted at me from the street below. I don’t even get the basics, much less the subtilties. Chants, drum, horn, siren, vuvuzela reprise!

Meanwhile, Greg and the boys have gone out to the Bastille again. I call them to see if they can bring home a couple of rocks or pieces of concrete or bricks to use as bookends. Greg says they have a great view of the protests and the boys are imagining the crowds are orcs, swarming below, preparing for battle....

So while I’m waiting, I sew a scarf on the treadle machine and this time I even manage to wind a bobbin. I am super impressed by the 100% mechanical workings of this old machine. It is so cool!

Just after the marchers pass there is an uncanny silence. It is the brief pause between the protests and the time when the traffic returns. It’s nice.

Then I grab my curtain rod and head out on my mission. At the store, I find a group of clerks and give them my prepared spiel, which probably sounds something like this: “Hello, um, this work not. Can I repair such or do I need replacer?” The clerk nearest to me shakes her head, but she understands. The verdict is replace.

“You have?” I ask. She nods and takes me to the curtain track section. There is something about how the one I have is too old, so they don’t have the exact same thing, but they do have something similar in white plastic. She asks me some questions about whether there are one or two drapes on the track and she measures the one I brought in. She wants to know if I need brackets. I don’t think so. I’m all set with the track.

I also want to look for some webbing for a bag and some trim for my scarf, so I tell her I want to look at more things. She says she’ll leave the curtain track for me at the register. This is all going so swimmingly! I get it!

I manage to buy 1.5 meters of webbing from another clerk and then she marks a remnant for me that I somehow explain was unpriced. I do none of this gracefully, but I do it successfully. I leave with exactly what I came to get. The thrill is strong.

You know the feeling when you go to McGuckins (awesome Boulder hardware store) with a question and find a clerk and describe your problem and what you want and they find what you need? You know how good that feels? Well, it is even better in a foreign country, in a foreign language.


cda said...

You go, girl!

Tu vas parler francais—et tu auras un joli rideau en plus! [Or is it de plus?]

Grosses bises,


Lisa said...

I am SO impressed! Great going!