Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'm just going to go ahead and say that yesterday was a very bad day. But I'm going to share it because I think it's a mistake that anyone moving from one country to another country with a different electrical system could make.

When I came to Ireland, I brought only a handful of electronic items with me: my rechargeable toothbrush, my hair dryer, an heating pad, my macbook, and my sewing machine. I bought one of those plug adapters. I noticed that both the hair dryer and the heating pad ran a little hot, even at their lowest settings. No big whoop. The toothbrush seemed fine. For the macbook I bought an actual apple adapter, so that was ok, but even before it arrived it worked a-ok with the adapter. And I didn't use the sewing machine until yesterday. It has a normal-looking two-prong plug. I figured I could do like all the other stuff with my handy adapter.

I was wrong.

Finally inspired to sew my way out of the week's disappointments (no job, no cash, cold miserable weather, no local friends), I carefully pinned this silk top I'd been working on for years that I was determined to finish yesterday. I got out my machine, took off the cover, gave it a dusting, then opened it's little drawer and lovingly organized its contents. This machine has been my pride and joy since I bought it six years ago. I have often said that my sewing machine is cooler than I am. She is run by a micro-computer and has three different language, stitches over 360 stitches, does embroidery stitches, and has a 50 stitch memory. Aside from my bike and my cat, it's the only object I sent over that really, really mattered to me, because I've never been without a sewing machine since I started sewing over 20 years ago.

I plugged in the machine to the wall, threaded her up, and flipped the switch. There was an immediate, loud POP that made me jump out of my chair. I quickly turned the switch to off. I knew right away what had happened. I had just fried my machine. I got on G-Talk to a friend of mine and confirmed my worst fear. By looking on the back of my machine, I realized that although the plug looked like any old plug, the voltage was 110/120v and would have required a voltage converter to be used in Ireland. This voltage converter, he said, would weigh in the ballpark of 70 pounds. Basically, I never should have brought my sewing machine to Ireland. I should have sold it in the States, saved the 100 dollars I spent getting it cleaned before I left, saved the 100+ dollars I spent shipping it, and then taken that money and bought myself a nice sewing machine here.

But now I have a dead sewing machine that I cannot get fixed until I bring it back to the US, no money for a new one, or a used one for that matter, and a feeling of discouragement. And all could have been prevented if I'd done a little research on electronics! I feel pretty dumb.

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