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14 Mar 2010

Fix-All Saturday

My Saturday morning was supposed to consist of lots of exercise - mental and physical. A visit to a temple i.e. peace of mind and a long ride on my bike i.e. physical exertion, TFN training. Instead, it turned into a day of fixing, cleaning, washing and reading. Before I know it, the sun is making a sly exit and I've not even started with my original 'plan'.

I woke up in the morning, to the maid's doorbell. It was my turn to stay up while the maids (my usual and her daughter-in-law) went about their business, make tea for them, et al. Somewhere in all this, I found time to water the plants, shoot off an email to a friend, walk Lucky and feed her. Then mum walks in.

As has been usual in the last few weekends, mum comes home (every Saturday) with a long leather treadle belt in her hand, begging someone to fix it on her sewing machine. There's blouses to be stitched, trousers to be mended and some other patch-work to get done. After vain attempts from both boys and mum's refusal to budge, I decided to take a look. I'm not exactly a tools person but well, what did I have to lose?

We first looked at how the current belt was looped. All we had to do was loop the new belt in the same way and bond them together in the end. Easy peasy! So, we looped. And stopped. I had no clue how to pin them together. I say pin because mum had a pin she had bought from a store, that was apparently used to pin the ends of the treadle belt together. 

I got on the internet and after browsing through half a dozen websites that google threw up for a search on 'sewing machine parts' (I had to first find out what the belt was called and then click on links that referred to the treadle belt). Nothing on how to fix a treadle belt but one website had a picture of a pin stuck in one end of the belt. Was good enough for me, better than nothing. Woohoo!

I had the pin, just had to cut the belt to length, stick the ends of the pin in both ends of the treadle belt and tighten. Simple! NOT! As I found out within seconds. The machine shops probably have a strong stapler to simply pin the two ends together and it's all done within a couple of minutes. Not so for me. So, we were back to square one. Mum came up with the brilliant idea of heating the pin to red hot and piercing it in the leather. I liked the idea but was a bit skeptical about using the pin. We had only one of it, what if it bent or turned too soft? We decided to sacrifice a safety pin for the deed.

Even poking a hole with the pin was not as easy as I thought it might be - hold pin to the fire, wait till it turns red hot, poke it into the leather and voila! Not so. Again. So, I got a candle to keep heating the pin ever so often, as I poked and pushed into the stubborn leather. 

Finally, had one end of the belt with a hole and stuck the original pin into it. It took a bit of strength, a lot of time and some sweating (it's only the beginning of summer, sigh!). That done, it was time to do the other end. If I thought making a pin-hole in leather was tough, I was truly mistaken. Not the first time since I started. I had to get the right length of the belt. I looped the belt around the wheel and took a measurement. One round and just a little allowance to turn the wheel. Neat!

Inserting the pin into the second end with one side of the pin already in the first end was a little harder than the first but I was prepared for it, mentally. That done, I had to cut the leather. Mum got me a pair of scissors, her tailoring scissors. I was pretty sure that wouldn't do but for want of a better tool, I decided to try it. This time I was not wrong. Mum had gone off to take care of more pressing house-hold chores, so I cried out to the husband for help. He brought me a sharp blade to cut through the leather and a pair of pliers to press the pin in once we cut the leather. Bingo!

The treadle belt is cut, stapled together in the most primitive manner possible but all ready to set the wheels spinning. Even as I loop it around I know it is a failure. The belt is loose and will come off. I call mum for a trial run and again, I am right. It won't work. So, restart from scratch. I open up the pin, cut the belt shorter, stick the pin in - fire, pin, hole, pliers, the whole deal - and try again. Many tries and stubs of leather later, I finally I get the belt bonded, the right size and the wheel goes round and round, merrily, without slipping out. Whoopie!

Mum is pleased. The husband is impressed. I am proud of myself. I had never thought I could do a tools-and-repair act and succeed where the men had failed. That was an hour and half worth of hard work. Of course, if I had a big, sturdy, stapler, all I had to do was stuff the pin in it and clamp down on the belt. Oh well! I'd have still had to worry about getting the length right. Let us just agree it was hard work. Ingenious too?

That done, I set out to tackle my next big task for the day. Cleaning the aquarium for my little ones. Another couple of hours and there I was. Big Black GhostKnife Sheldon familiarizing himself with the new non-smelly water, filter and fake plants. Penny, who just lost her BFF Baldy a couple of days ago, being bothered by the 5 little men. Three little ladies, yet to be old enough to be hassled. Thirty six young 'uns huddling and shivering as I move them from the dirty tub to temp bucket and back to clean tub.

If I mention the fishes, I must mention the dog. Lucky gets very jealous when I give the fish so much attention. This picture is of the remnants of the new game she was playing with the husband a couple of days ago. 

He placed 3 of her toys in front of her and asked her to pick one. A pink ball with blue polka dots, a yellow ring and a multi-coloured dumbbell that jingled. After examining them for a whole minute, she picked up the dumbbell. She's going where the rest of the family is, baby, it's exercise time! Okay, alright, that's not true. She doesn't like pink, so she wouldn't pick the ball. The ring is too big to carry in her mouth and run. That explains the dumbbell. Small, mouth-handy i.e. easy to grip and win in a fight between her and the husband -- yes, all her games involve running away with the toy and wrestling with the husband for it. No prizes for guessing who wins.


  1. Anonymouse says 'First!'

  2. 'First!' what? Comment? Fixing event? Mis-spelling (that's 2nd time)?

  3. Heheheeh!! I Like this post a lot!