The other day I was reading a prepper adventure story–you know the kind, where a handful of people survive X disaster. In this particular story, it was an EMP attack, which means no electricity. In the story, it had been just 2 months since the power went out and the survivors were described as dirty and ragged.
Dirty and ragged? I’ve lived without electricity in my home for 10 years now and I hardly consider myself dirty and ragged. What could have happened to these people? Well, water might be in short supply. We’ve had that dilemma ourselves which has meant a gap of several days between showers. (See Ni modo) but we still wash our face and hands and any other grubby parts, even if we have to draw up a bucket of water from the ajibe (dry well). (See Water Woes) So what about that ragged part? If there happened to be no electricity, it stands to reason that the sewing machines wouldn’t work. But really, ragged? After just 2 months? Nobody knows how to use a needle and thread anymore?
Right then and there I decided that wouldn’t happen to us in the event of X disaster. Thus began my quest for a treadle sewing machine. Believe it or not, they aren’t so hard to find here. Everybody and their mother had one, or so it seems.
First, I asked my co-workers. The secretary’s grandmother had one. However, she wasn’t able to get ahold of grandma because her phone had been disconnected. I don’t know about you, but finding out my grandma’s phone was disconnected would inspire a visit at the very least to make sure she wasn’t kitty food for her houseful of now feral cats. But I guess every family is different.
So then the lunch lady said that she had 2. Yep, two. One had been her mother’s and she would not sell it for sentimental reasons. The second was in need of repair but she didn’t know exactly what it needed. Nothing came of that lead either.
At the Sunday tianguis (flea market) in Moroleon, I came across the machine part that the seller assured me was in working order. However, without a base, it wouldn’t be much good to me. I suppose I could have bought the base separately, but then I would have to see if it worked with that machine and get bands and well, it seemed too complicated. It was only $250 pesos though.
Then there was the trip to Patzcuaro to the Singer store where the lady refused to sell me the display model saying it was a piece of crap made in China, not Mexican-made. So much for that. (See Playing Tourist–Patzcuaro)
The other week, driving to the gas station, I spied one at a bazaar (an open-air junk shop). We turned around and asked. The one displayed didn’t work. The guy said that he had another one but his brother had it. He’d be able to have it there by 1:30. So we went back at 1:30. Well, the brother had taken it to a tianguis (flea market) to try and sell. He’d be back by 6:00. Meanwhile, the guy had another model in his house. My husband had a look at it. He said the machine looked fine, but the base needed some work. My husband went back at 6:00 and the brother still hadn’t appeared. The guy was willing to sell the crappy base, but not the machine to the one he had in the house. That wouldn’t work. How much you want to bet that the tianguis guy from the other week had the machine that matched the working base? Either way, it didn’t work out for me.
Coppel had a display model treadle machine, but I wasn’t impressed. Since I was disappointed with the quality of my bike recently purchased at Coppel (there seemed to be missing screws and the frame feels like it will burst apart at every pedal) I wasn’t going to shell out over $2,000 pesos for something I might not be happy with.
What I really wanted was one of the antique sewing machines–built to last and still running. I checked out eBay and found a few–even a Janome 131 Hand Crank Sewing Machine hand crank one. I was all excited about it until I saw that it would be shipped from Latvia. How much would shipping be from there? I didn’t even want to know. Besides, I had a bad experience or two with eBay and wasn’t in a hurry to give it another go. (See Shipping Fiasco)
Barring the antique sewing machine, a functioning new machine would work. So I went to Amazon. Regular old Amazon had nothing, but Amazon Mexico had 2 Singer Negrita 15CD Máquina de Coser con Mueble de Triplay de 5 cajones models seemingly identical but about $200 pesos different in price. As I couldn’t find anything different but the color of the base, I ordered the less expensive one.
Now that I have a viable shipping address (See Trade Route Established) I set about ordering it and waited anxiously for its arrival. Although there was a hiccup with my supplier (my friend) and her bank saying she had a fraudulent purchase for using a Mexican site, it arrived right on time. The school secretary accepted delivery for me.
It wasn’t sent via DHL, but Estafeta which makes sense as the sewing machine came from the Amazon warehouse in Mexico–and as there is an office not so very far from the school, it seems that they too had no problems in delivery.
We stashed it in the back of Myrtle and took it home. That’s one less thing I need to worry about when TSHTF!