On my mind today: Fixing little things before they become big problems. A bit of background to this one: I called the landlady today to talk with her about a few things that need to get taken care of before they take off for Canada in the middle of May. One of the things was the window in the winter garden that refuses to open. The other windows open two different ways, like this, tilted open at the top:
or like this, wide open from the side:
As an aside, the windows are on the very short list of things I’ll miss about Germany if I ever get to live in the States again. I love, love, love the windows. Windows, rolladen (the outside shades over the windows which are standard fare here), and the Autobahn are just about it on that list of “things I’ll miss.” Anyway, the window in the center of the winter garden would open about an inch, and then wouldn’t budge. After a lengthy, roundabout conversation with the landlady about it, in which she even tried to tell me that it worked when we moved in (as if we’d damaged it somehow since then), I gave up and told her I’d show her husband what I meant on Friday when he shows up with the plumber.
Later, I tried to open the window again with a bit more force. I didn’t want to risk really breaking it before, and maybe not even being able to close it at all if I was ever able to get it open, so I didn’t want to be toooo awfully strong-arm-ish about things, but heck, she’s already decided we’ve broken it, so I figured I had nothing to lose by being a bit more manly with it. Turns out it will open, you just have to fiddle with it, and it will only open wide from the side, and won’t tilt at the top. As far as I can tell, it has exactly the same hardware as the other windows, so it should open from the top as well, which leads me to believe that it really is slightly broken and it’s just not high on the list to get fixed properly, if it’s on the list at all.
Another item on my list for the landlady this morning was the electrical outlet outside on the balcony. It doesn’t work. I seem to be plagued by electrical issues lately, don’t I?? Her answer was that you needed to wiggle the plug a bit in the socket to get it to work. What?? So basically, you might be able to get power to the electric grill on a good day if the stars and planets are aligned properly and you’ve got the “touch,” but you’d better not bump the cord or the plug might move out of it’s careful alignment, and then you’ll be done cooking but the food won’t. Not to mention that it seems like a fire hazard.
Why on earth wouldn’t you fix these things before they either a) drive you nuts, or b) cause some further damage to the house or someone in it? (These kinds of things drive me nuts long before they are around long enough to cause further damage, FWIW) If somebody forgets that the middle window in the winter garden has to be fiddled with to get it open and just yanks on it like they do with every other window in the house, it might just break completely, right? Who knows what could happen with the electrical outlet, but why take the risk with electricity, especially when the solution is a $5 part at the hardware store and a half hour of your time?
Needless to say, I’m heading to the hardware store tomorrow (again) since the owners aren’t likely to fix the outlet for me. I’m not going to fix the window since it’s not even my house and that would probably cost a big chunk of my money. I’m the only one that would open windows up here anyway, and I can deal with it.
The point here (yes, there really is one) is that these two things don’t even have to be a big deal, it’s just normal wear and tear on a house. It’s called “maintenance” and it’s just something you do if you don’t want to live in a ramshackle place, drive a rundown hunk of junk on wheels, or buy a new sewing machine every few years because it’s been so abused it can’t recover. And just for the sake of full disclosure, right now my Pfaff needs a visit to the shop for a small repair, and my car needs some TLC with the dealer as well. Sure, it’s all little things that don’t greatly affect overall performance, but they need to get fixed so they don’t pile up and/or cause further damage that will be even harder and more costly to repair.
I think all of life is like this, at least it is for me. This same “fix it when it’s small” philosophy applies to so many things: health issues, mental issues, creative projects, family issues, and just everything. Even with quilting (of course 😉 ), it’s taking care of the small details, like those points that don’t match up properly when you’re piecing a block, that will save you from trying to “quilt-out” the hills and valleys of the quilt top later on. It’s taking out the machine quilting you’ve just done after you’ve discovered a little pleat in the back of the quilt that will save you from finding a gathering of puckers the size of small mountains later. It’s deciding early on in the design process to listen to the little voice inside that’s telling you that a certain fabric is sticking out like a sore thumb that saves your project from a terminal visit to the UFO cabinet.
What about you? Are you a “fix it now” or “fix it later” type of person? Are there some things in your life that demand immediate fixing, but others that tend to wait until whenever? Come now, satisfy my curiosity…