Sunday, June 1, 2014

Little Critters

Most people feel compelled to tell me why they are selling or giving up the sewing machine I'm buying or taking home for free. Here are some reasons I've heard:

  • I just don't sew.
  • I don't sew anymore.
  • It was my mom's (and she must not be around anymore).
  • My mom tried to get me interested in sewing but I'm just not..
  • I'm tired of feeling guilty so I'm just selling it.
  • It was in my ex-wife's family but none of them wanted it.
  • Mom went to memory care.
  • My eyesight isn't what is used to be and I had to give up sewing.
Only a few times have I heard someone say they bought a newer/better sewing machine. Maybe that is tactful since I'm getting something they clearly have cast off as not being good enough. Of course, I'm delighted to take their unwanted gem!

Sewing machines are frequently stored in garages and basements, delegated to a spot in the corner with everything stacked on top of it. Years of storage in a basement leads to a musty smell but the garage is even worse because it is cold in Minnesota! Freezing a big chunk of metal like a sewing machine doesn't help it even when it thaws; lubricant on metal gears dries and it can't do the job it was meant to do. But even worse is having such an item in a place where little critters can come and make a nest.

I went after a Kenmore sewing machine this week that was being given away.

Decent small wood cabinet, accessories included, knee control and wiring were all there, but when we went to take the head out of the cabinet there was all kinds of junk that fell out of the head. They said that must have been from when the squirrels had gotten in to the garage where it was stored. Of course squirrels like to nest but I'm thinking inside a sewing machine is very tight quarters, more like mouse headquarters, not squirrels. I took it home and proceeded to pull out quite a bit of clean material that was used for nesting. It included string and fabric fibers, feathers, cat food, leaves, and other fairly dry materials.

Of course, I had to remove the motor to get to a large part of it and I wasn't too happy about it since I was cringing at the thought of finding the owners of the nest, but that didn't happen. Yet, this little exercise taught me a good lesson.

Once everything was out and I could look from the bottom through to the top, I could see the cord for the light had been gnawed and there was only bare copper wire for about 4 inches.

Two wires. Two wires that aren't supposed to touch. If I hadn't taken it apart I would have plugged it in and even without the nesting materials those base wires would have given me quite a shock. Do I check the internal wiring before I plug a machine in? Heck no. Should I? Yes, especially when someone tells me the sewing machine was stored in the garage. Some poor hungry critter tried to make a hospitable home but plastic coating on wire isn't much of a meal.

Glad to be alive and still sewing.

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