Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's Always Something - Right?!

2010 has started off differently. First the weather was unusual being still and rather warm. This was replaced by a cold front that came through and put us back to a normal rhythm.

Then, our propane tank in the bodega which supplies gas for my stove started leaking. One of the connections evidently had weaken over the years and my husband had to address the problem.

We once had a small tank of propane which he used for his welding torch, but it has been empty for a while. We were unable to find a replacement on the Cay and so he tried other ways to fix the problem, none of which were successful.

While in town last week he questioned one of our friends who happened to have a spare tank which he was willing to sell us! Hooray, now my husband could re-weld the weakened connection.

He proceeded with the task at hand; cleaned the connection made what he felt was a good weld. He was successful too, however, the gas tank gremlins were not happy and decided that the second connection needed to come loose too!

Mike tackled this job with perseverance and re-welded that connection too. However, the little gremlins decided that they would make this job a little more difficult and twice now his new weld has failed. Our worker was in the bodega this morning and came up to tell Mike that, once again, he smelled gas and the tank is leaking. He is now, at this moment, downstairs dealing with the problem.

But that's not all. Yesterday, while sewing on a tablecloth I am making for a present for a friend's birthday this Saturday, I tried to use my zig-zag stitch. The knob one turns to establish the required stitch was sticking and to my dismay I discovered that no matter what fancy stitch I selected my machine would only do a straight stitch! I was not a happy camper as I wanted to finish off the tablecloth by adding some appliqu├ęs down the middle with my zig-zag stitch.

I wrote to the manufacturer asking for suggestions as to what the problem might be, but in the meantime I decided that my husband should take the machine apart in case something was broken. Another friend was planning on leaving the island today so I thought if I found a broken piece, she could order if for me once she was in the U.S.

Thankfully, nothing was broken. We found that the shaft that a lever moves along which then fits into the cams to create the required stitch was rusted and the sleeve riding on it needed greasing. Since the machine is over 5 years old, we were not surprised to find rust. We tackled the job in typical fashion; I held the light while my husband did the deed!

We finally got the sleeve moving but the lever still wasn't engaging in the proper place. After about an hour at work on the cleaning and greasing, my husband decided that we would put aside the task and finish it today.

So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that 1) his weld on the gas tank will finally hold and we won't lose any more expensive propane and 2) the greasing of the shaft and sleeve will render my sewing machine operational and functioning to my satisfaction.

If you are going to move to an isolated island in a Third World - make sure you have a working knowledge of machines and understand how things operate. Otherwise you will be spending a lot of time pulling your hair out. If you want a good example of hair pulling, read La Gringa's Blogicito today!

1 comment:

  1. Things I've learned while living in La Ceiba....

    How to fix the guts of a toilet tank (I have no idea of the names of pieces, but can now take it all apart, grease & replace pieces!)

    How to hook up a propane tank.

    How to fix, or replace faucets, drain pipes and other sundry bits of plumbing.

    How to open the holes in a suicide shower head, actually just learning to operate the damn thing was scary enough!

    How to set up wireless internet, printers and external backup units - "hubbie" always did the technical stuff for me, now I've had to learn!

    I just rent a very small apartment but if I wait for Don Stephan to fix things, well... let's just say manyana!