Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sharing is caring

Lemme see...should I start with the quilt or the car? Quilt or car? Yeah, I'm going with the car.

About two weeks ago, my husband called me from work to say that he was having trouble starting his car. His car is a 2000 Saturn LS, and it has well over 100k on it at this point. We have only about 7 payments left on my car, and I was praying to whatever deities deal with this sort of thing that his car would last long enough to get mine paid off, so we wouldn't have to try to swing two car payments, even for a few months. Of course, any god worth his salt wouldn't grant such a wish since this is what parenting types call a "teaching opportunity." See, once upon a time (which, in my parlance, always means "before I had children"), David and I were hyper-responsible about routine car maintenance. Oil changes, tune ups, spark converter adjustments, valve bearing load bushing combustion alignments: all done precisely when the manufacturer recommended. Then I produced a live human from my own body and along with approximately seven million gallons of breast milk, she also apparently sucked out the part of my brain that deals with such things. This includes doctor appointments, insurance renewal, bill paying, even taking medication. I'm lucky if I manage to take my blood pressure medication every other day.

So, we haven't exactly treated the car very well, so asking it to last another seven months was probably pushing fate too far. He took it in for service, and $600 later we had a new starter and a new battery. Five days later, he was getting in the car to come home from work, and it wouldn't start again. Examination showed that the starter was working, as was the battery, so he had the car towed to a mechanic nearby and hitched a ride home with a co-worker. Yesterday, the mechanic finally looked at the car and pronounced it dead, killed by a broken timing chain. We could get a new engine or a new car.

I know someone will argue with me, but we've decided to go with a new car. I just can't see putting another engine in an old Saturn, and who knows what it would take to find an engine and whether it would be in good enough condition to use. So we called the credit union today and they looked at our credit rating, and after the laughter subsided, we were approved for a not totally outrageous rate on a car loan. But until we can actually get to the dealership to get the car we want, we have to play Who Gets the Other Unreliable Vehicle for several days. David tends to win, since he is gainfully employed and all, and I just sit around the house eating pizza flavored goldfish crackers and complaining about how he doesn't make enough money to buy me more fat quarters. I WONDER HOW HE FEELS ABOUT THAT? I'm not even going to go into the question of how we are going to pay for the car, because that will surely send someone over the edge. Possibly me.

On Monday, I finished the second of two feature articles I am writing for the December/January issue of Quilter's Home, and that accomplishment has freed up my time a bit to work on the HST quilt. I completed 720 blocks, each half bright batik, half white, and spent the weekend mulling over how to lay them out:

I ultimately decided to go with the latter, but because I am a stitcher of very little brain, there was no way - or so I thought - that I could figure out how to sew each row without laying out the entire thing first. I didn't want to try to do it on the floor, because that would be too much of a temptation for DESTRUCTO-GIRL, The Toddler Terror, Destroyer of Worlds. No, clearly it was time for a design wall.

For the 1.5 readers out there who are not quilters and don't know what a design wall is, it's basically just a large piece of flannel, usually tacked to a wall, upon which one can stick quilt blocks in order to see how they will look before sewing them together. Kinda like those felt things they used to always have in vacation Bible school when I was a kid, to show how Joseph and his coat of many locusts destroyed the walls of Jericho and turned into a pillar of Sodomites. Or something like that. I figured a flannel sheet would be easier than buying yardage and sewing it together, but as it turns out, you can't actually buy a flannel sheet anywhere in August. You can no longer buy a bathing suit anywhere (not that I would, but still) or a pair of shorts, and you can load up on parkas and snowboots, but apparently flannel sheet season is not the same as fall fashion season. WHO KNOWS WHY? So, yardage it was.

Once I got it sewn together and tacked up, I realized that I just needed to lay out the two center rows, and I could work outward from there without having to place every single piece on the wall.

Harper naturally asked me for whom I was making this quilt, and I told her, "Me." She seemed shocked at this. Why on earth would I make a quilt just for myself when there is a perfectly deserving six-year-old standing right in front of me who only has FIVE quilts? When I refused to cede ownership of the quilt to her, she countered with, "I think this quilt should belong to everybody in our whole family. You're supposed to share, Mom." That got Devon started. "Yeah. You're supposed to share, Mom." David just waggled his eyebrows at me, since he also feels I possess things I do not share enough. Wouldn't want to leave THAT out of a family conversation, now would we?

At the rate I'm going, it will take several weeks to finish, but it is going to be damn beautiful when it is done. Maybe my husband even have a working vehicle by that point. And he damn well better share.


Anne said...

I'm loving the layout you picked!

It took me years, but I finally realized I should put my medicine on the kitchen window sill so I'd see it every morning when I was getting breakfast ready for my son. Now it feels funny if I leave that out of the routine.

jlmquilter said...

I love the design and the bright colors. I can't wait to see the entire top done. Another thought for a design wall without spending a boatload of money is a flannel backed table cloth. A friend of mine brings it to retreats and it works great.

Paulette said...

Megan, that quilt is going to be SWEET!

Sorry about the tough car times. Sounds like you're doing the right thing in getting a different car versus a new engine.

Maybe I can help you out a little in the fabric department. I'm having some giveaways this week. Swing on by and check it out!

The Twilight Quilters Coven said...

How come is it when you bitch you sound funny and most everyone loves you, but when I do it everyone hates me and I sound pathetic? LOL

Love your blog!! Thank you for being a bright spot in my day.

The quilt will be awesome!!

Natalie said...

Megan this is looking f*ing fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing pictures of your ideas for putting your blocks together.

While the other options were very nice, I think the one you ultimately went with really shows off the fabric in a more elegant way.

You'll have to let us know what car you ultimately go with. My car is going to crap out on my pretty soon (2002 Mazda Protege 5 with 140K) but I am torn over what to replace it with since we're planning on having kids soon.

Happy Quilting!

Natalie said...

oh-ps, I use a flannel backed table cloth stapled to an insulation board I got at Lowes for my design wall. It's rigid (haha), I can move it around a little if I need to, and I can stick pins in it without damaging my wall. Not so great for taking with me somewhere since it's about 8'x4.5' but it works for my sewing area.

LizA. said...

Looking good -- love the layout! So sorry to hear about the demise of the Saturn -- there's nothing worse than car woes...

Lisa Bee said...

Quilting blogs very rarely make me actually laugh out loud. Thanks for that. :)

Anonymous said...

I liked the layout you choose better than the others. That is the way I'd go also.
Sorry about the car problems.
I enjoy your articles in Quilter's Home. That is probably the main reason that I still have my subscription. Keep up the good work.

Staci said...

You quilt really is going to be wonderful! Enjoyed hearing about your little manipulator! Aren't kids great? She figured out how to get what she wants, the quilt, AND come off looking all sweet and innocent & Miss Let's Follow the Golden Rule and Share.
You be tough, that is The Mama's Quilt!

Thanks for some smiles this morning!

Peggi said...

Whoa, that last comment should be money in the bank!

I love the layout, Megan. I'm also admiring your bravery with the HST's.

Good luck with the car - we had the exact same thing happen, timing belt broke at 65 miles an hour. The dealership told us it would cost $3K to fix it, which was EXACTLY how much money we had saved up for our wedding. I burst into tears right then and there. My poor husband-to-be!

I can't wait to see the finished quilt!

Sarah Craig said...

Beautiful quilt, and I love the layout- it's going to be bright, cheerful, and YOURS! Stick to your guns - they'll only hold it against you for the rest of your life, but you can remind them you gave them life......... ;-)

DivaQuilts said...

Oh my gosh - I came across your blog because you were listed on someone else's blog roll - and my spouse and I have been chortling away as I read out loud. Thanks for the laugh - I guess I'll be following you! :)

Megan said...

Welcome, DivaQuilts! I'm glad to have you here and sincerely hope that nothing I say offends you too much!

Anonymous said...

After reading this post I decided to share a little parenting advice with you. I have two daughters and when they were young I would discipline them in this way....Bring them to my sewing room, sit them down with enough distance between them where they couldn't touch each other and let them watch me sew. I would ramble on about how lucky they were to have such a talented mother and how much more fun this was than playing with Barbies! After 10 grueling minutes of this they begged for mercy, promised to be good and went on their merry way. This provided many advantages; I could provide discipline without missing a seam, I equated sewing room with punishment and they were so sick of quilts, they never asked for one. Now before you think I've scarred them for life, they are both in their late 20s, each have quilts on their beds and are sewers and quilters, too!

Brenda said...

Love the quilt. Hate cars when they are expensive and don't work when you put all of that expensive gas in them and paid all of that good money for them! Good luck.

Shady said...

Beautiful quilt layout!
Also, I'm so glad that there is someone else out there who get's "The Guilt Trip" for 1) Not sharing EVERYTHING that is theirs and 2) Who is never expected to want to keep a quilt they are making for themselves!!! LOL