I cleaned out the garage a few weeks ago and at that time I brought the box labeled "speakers and stereo cables" inside and put it on the living room sofa, where I could not ignore it. There were two reasons for this, the first being that it is well past time that I get the stereo system up and running, and the second being that I needed to get everything that doesn't belong in the garage out in order to move to stage 2 of the garage storage plan, namely organization. Don't hold your breath, I have a remarkable capacity for sitting on projects, especially big projects with no externally regulated end-date.
Thursday the box got moved to the floor so I could sit on the sofa. Saturday morning I thought the situation was ridiculous. The simple truth was that I had attempted to set up the stereo when we first moved in only to find that the CD player didn't work. I made some attempt at replacing it locally but found nothing that was musically up to the standards of my existing unit, and the entire process of researching equipment and procuring it online was more than I could bear, as was, apparently, the thought of packing it up and sending it to the manufacturer for repair. So I shoved the cd player back on the shelf and piled entire process back into a box, labeled it speakers and wires, and stuck it in the garage. Out of sight, out of mind.
But it was time. I told myself I could at least open up the cd player and see if the problem was something simple and obvious, like a fuse. I can replace a fuse. But when I opened the box it wasn't as simple as I had hoped. It actually took me a few minutes, in my disappointed haze, to make the connection between what I saw, and what I know, or knew. I don't really know what I expected; what I found was a computer. In retrospect this is not really surprising.
Eventually it dawned on me that I might, in fact, be able to do something here. I still have my multimeter, I still have a few tools. Although it has been years since I have repaired or built computers and circuit-boards, and I have no knowledge of stereo technology, this looked fairly simple, and I thought I might be able to diagnose a simple power issue. In the end it was simple. The components in question were visibly damaged and it was a simple case of replacing a few wires and connectors, and then using the meter to check the power flows.
The most remarkable thing, really, was the way this connected me to a younger version of myself, my younger Jack-Jill-of-all-trades self, the young woman who worked for a computer time-sharing company back when PCs were new, the young woman who could make our mainframe talk to any pc program on the market; the young woman who could build a pc, fix a motherboard, design a database, reconnect a broken satellite link, the young woman who thought APL was fun. Even though I had long since realized I didn't want to design computers and didn't have the patience for programming, realized that since I didn't dream computing I had no future in a field where living and breathing your work were de rigueur, I have to admit I had missed that young woman's attitude -- her deep conviction that there were no problems without solutions. It was a pleasure to meet that girl again and to realize she had been with me all along: older yes, hopefully wiser, but still filled with hope and determination. Determination seems to have been dormant lately; I'm glad to have her back.
So I set up the stereo, connected the speakers, and listened to Olivier Latry playing the music of César Frank. Admittedly the sound will be even better when I get the bookcase speakers up off the floor and actually in the bookcase, but that requires moving books, and snaking wires through cabinetry, and I wasn't really up for that task this weekend. Just hearing music throughout the house, good full rich sound in all its glory, not just the limited sound of an MP3 through headphones was joy enough.
That was Saturday. Sunday I finished setting up the sewing room. Or mostly finished any way.
I'd been unpacking for weeks, and most every thing was put away. All that was left was unpacking and setting up the sewing machines. You would think that would be the easiest part, but it ended up being the hardest. Sunday I pulled the machines out of their cases, unwound yard upon yard of bubble wrap, and inspected each machine. I noticed that there were a few, hopefully minor, mishaps: a broken bobbin attachment; a few cracks in incidental pieces; a door to a compartment that would not close completely; mostly all cosmetic rather than functional. Then I started setting machines on tables: two sewing machines, my old Elna and newer Bernina; the serger; an embellisher.
I had hoped that I would get everything up and running, that I could take a photo, and I could begin actually doing some test stitching. But that didn't happen. Disorganization ruled. I laid out the machines in the positions I thought I liked for ease of use, pulled out their cords, and started crawling under the tables to plug things in, only to find that some of the cords didn't reach, only to rearrange everything and start over. And over, And over.
Of course, I should have just attached all the cords to the machines and lined them up on the center table to begin with. I should have assessed cord length, space requirements, ease of use, suitability of extension cord placement if necessary before I started positioning machines and crawling under tables. But I didn't. It was Sunday afternoon. I was tired. I let my excitement get in the way of my common sense. It happens sometimes.
Now all the machines are lined up, all their cords are attached. They stand at the ready, waiting. Soon I. too will be ready. But this time I will measure and plan, I will make sure that I have everything I need, I will be methodical. Who knows, perhaps once I'm done with this I will be prepared to climb on ladders and snake speaker wires through cabinets. Perhaps not. Perhaps I will simply sew.