Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sewing Machines—2, Trailing Spouse—0

 am destined to be without a sewing machine on my ex-pat adventure.  I have killed another one.  You will remember that I blew up the first one that I sent over with all of my other stuff on the shipping container.  One day, I forgot to plug it into the transformer before plugging it into the adapter before plugging it into the wall.  Apparently that was just one too many electrical gizmos for my brain to remember that morning.  TRANSFORMER, ADAPTER, WALL.  I bypassed transformer altogether.  KABOOM!

Any sane person would have then gone out to the local Swiss sewing machine store and bought a Swiss machine with a Swiss plug and Swiss innards and called it a day.  That would be what any filthy rich, sane person would do.  Being neither filthy rich nor entirely sane, I opted to try and save Mr. Big a couple of thousand dollars by waiting and just buying a new machine in the US the next time we went back, just because I am a nice, thrifty person like that.  Ahem.

So, you will remember, last November when we were in the US for Thanksgiving, I bought a beautiful, new Husqvarna sewing machine and schlepped it all the way back home as a carry-on item.  This was not a cheap machine, y’all.  It was a lovely, heavy duty machine that would have risen to the challenge of all of my lovely, heavy duty upholstery projects.

The mayhem that is the holidays kept me from using my new machine, but a few weeks ago things finally slowed down and I trotted out the new machine in all its’ splendiferousness to reupholster a leather chair cushion.  I was OH SO CAREFUL to get all my electrical ducks in a row.  Transformer, adapter, wall.  Check.  Begin sewing.

ME:  Mr. Big, can you come here for a minute?  There’s something wrong with this machine.

MR. BIG:  Huh?

ME:  Listen.  It doesn’t sound right.

MR. BIG:  (after listening for about 8 nanoseconds) It sounds fine to me.

ME:  No, really.  I’ve been sewing for 30 years and I’m telling you, it sounds funny.

MR. BIG:  You’re just paranoid because you blew up the last one.  It sounds--   

(Machine dies as he is speaking.)

MR.  BIG:  %#&^!!!!   @&^*(%#@!!!!!  You have done it again!!!

ME:  WAAAH!  I want my mother!!!!

Y’all!  It was so not my fault!  It turns out it was HIS stupid transformer that screwed up my beautiful new toy.  Ergo, I made him carry the broken, dead carcass all the way back across the ocean because he is under the misguided impression that the store where we bought it in the US is going to give him a new one.  Really?  I was just going to put it in the bottom of the closet with the other one as part of my new collection:  THINGS I HAVE RUINED IN SWITZERLAND THAT I CAN’T AFFORD TO REPLACE.

Mr. Big seems pretty confident that INADVERTENT FRYING will be covered under the warranty.  I’m pretty sure it says somewhere down in the fine print of that warranty that if a purchaser uses a piece-o-shit-made-in-China transformer and fries their own machine. . .well, let’s just say I’m not holding my breath in anticipation of Mr. Big coming out of Joanne’s Fabrics with a shiny, new Husqvarna any time soon.

I have to tell you, I did try to get it fixed in Switzerland at the Husqvarna dealer.  That didn’t go so well.  First of all, I had to study all morning to find out how to say “transformer”, “slow, painful death” and “it was not my fault” in French before I could go to the store and make myself understood.  

I know this woman in the store wasn’t actually laughing at me because the Swiss don’t laugh, as a general rule.  But it was darn close.  Her lips were quivering and it was warm in her store.  Basically, I had Mr. Big on my right spouting English at me, me and the broken machine in the middle trying to translate, and this poor Swiss-woman-Husqvarna-dealer on my left who thought we were raging maniacs.  She was a hair’s breadth away from running for her bomb shelter.

It is really hard for me to speak French when I have a crazy husband yelling in my ear.  TELL HER ABOUT THE ELECTRICITY ISSUE!  ASK HER IF SHE CAN FIX IT!  ASK HER HOW MUCH MONEY IT WILL COST!  ASK HER IF SHE HAS A SCREWDRIVER AND I WILL SHOW HER THE PART TO ORDER!  Wait.  Screwdriver?  I don’t know the word for screwdriver, AND WILL YOU PLEASE SHUT UP FOR ONE MINUTE so I can speak to this woman?

It was not pretty.  Needless to say, she called three days later and told us to come pick up our still-very-much-dead machine and never, ever darken her doorstep again.

This whole ordeal has just been too much stress for Mr. Big and so I think I am going to get a new Swiss sewing machine.  O Happy Day!  Unfortunately, because it will cost about as much as a CAR, the whole Swiss watch purchase that I had been toying with in the back of my brain where women toy with these ideas has been tabled.  For now.  Although the July sales are just around the bend. . .


  1. Dearest trailing spouse

    We are two European ex-pats gone Californian and we have thoroughly enjoyed your blog. Even though we do not perceive ourselves as particularly Swiss (we're Danish in fact) we can still recognize some of the European traits. Also, given your mystification about Europe we have come to realize things about the US. For instance about the use of bleach and the tipping etiquette etc.

    We feel a little sad that we have come to the end of your posts - they read like a good book.

    Best of wishes
    Ras & Maj

  2. Glad you were able to buy a new one. I am actually practically in tears after blowing up my Brother sewing machine. It didnt really go up in smoke, a small pop sound and that's it. Now it wont turn on. Do you think I can get this fixed? I am in India, and the machine is a US 110 V machine.