Sunday, November 29, 2015

Climbing a Mountain of Stockings

A mountain of Stockings.  More like a rainbow!That is correct!   Team Allenbrite has conquered Or a Landslide....another Everest–like peak of stockings.  I’m not sure of the count,  but resources indicate somewhere around 60 stockings.   We even had to purchase more pins to pin the tops!  

Sewing late last night.   This is how far we got before 11:30....notice the catWell,  Like all great feats,   Rome was not built in a day, nor did we tackle all of these within a 24 hour period.  We split them up over 2 days….Probably Hiro tries to be the shop cat....but he does not help much.should have done thirty one day and thirty the next.  But we decided to do as much as we could until 11:30 P.M. last night and then begin anew today.   Looks like we should finish the pack job around 5:30-6 tonight.   Then we get to do it all over again. 

He bats at things from under the table.You see,  these stockings are from last week.   The stockings that we sold while visiting the fam in Michigan.  Early this morning.   Let's Finish these guys!So after they are all packed up,  we get to work on the ones we sold over the weekend….About 30 more orders.   And since orders range from 1-4 stockings,  there is the potential of repeating this experience again tomorrow!

All buttoned and sewn together....Not to pin the tops.Add in the lovely fact that there is a trial scheduled this week and I have to call in on Monday to see if I have to show up for Jury Duty…YEAH!  If things go really badly….I may have to sit on some trial and Cheryl will need to put the stockings together all by herself.  ( Or wait until I get back from the trial.)   Fingers crossed that they settle on Monday and I do NOT have to go in for Duty.

So November is almost overCheryl tied on tags and prints labels. and I have not written anything outside of the blog since 26000 words.    So looks like I’m not going to reach the goal of 50,000 words this year.  But at least I have a serious start on the story.   And there will be plenty of time after the stocking craze.    Can’t write much when you are sewing stockings until 11:30 each night.  Quick note to future Ethan and Cheryl…who will read this in 2016 trying to remember how things were “last year in 2015”:   make sure you do NOT fall behind!   Seems like common sense wisdom right?   Ah well,  each year we do it at least once during the rush….And eventually we catch up, but not without a bunch of anxiety along the way. Lots and lots of tags!

Oh,  I forgot to mention Cheryl managed to “pull” something on the turkey trot.    Meaning,  She has an injury….Pulled muscle in her leg.    This was not a problem…until yesterday…..When we went out for a short run and it ended even shorter than planned.   And I just picked up my bike fresh from the Bike repair shop!    Her injury was not That bad…but being Cheryl,  She decided to ignore the pain and push through to the half way point.    And then it became “kind of bad”….But instead of listening to her husband,   she continued on until it was thoroughly “Really, Really Bad!”  ( It’s her process)   So today we stayed  home with Cheryl’s leg in traction….trying to catch up stockings while she dangles from the ceiling.   

Ok, I made that last part up.  My healing hands.....Are the Magic?   Ask Cheryl... She is still able to walk and sew just fine, ( luckily) but she has a bit of pain whenever she tries to lift her leg forward.  It works out for me, a little…..Although I may not be able to ride my bike for the next couple of days,   I DO get to message out her muscles in her legs….Which is kind of fun.   And she seems to like it…however,   she does become a handful when she can’t run for more than two days in a row.   So we shall see  if the “Magical Calming Hands of the Great Ethan Allen” can sooth the savage beast that Cheryl often becomes.   Hey!  It works on the cat…sometimes.  The Joy of being on Jury Duty.....

So…..Fingers crossed for no jury duty…..Or if the worst case comes into being…I don’t get selected because of my stunning good looks and far “Right Wing” Political Views.    And that we can somehow climb yet another mountain of stockings.   There is still a little unease when it comes to embroidery, but the Machine is new and has worked out swimmingly.           

Friday, November 27, 2015

Back Home! Alive and Well in Wellman!

Whew!  What a day…. We beat the weather, Managed to catch up on the embroidery and finish the stockings that were behind.   And it is only 6:30!  

Subie vs the Elements They had been predicting a storm front moving through our area today, and it was supposed to be filled with all kinds of bad stuff like Ice and freezing rain.   We started out early from Michigan with a constant rain all the way until Davenport Iowa.  We held our breath every time we watched the Thermometer drop a degree.Subie WINS!    It eventually got down to 34 degrees with dry conditions when we finally arrived Home.   Conditions outside currently are cold but still dry.   Hopefully things will remain nice and dry for the rest of …..The YEAR!New PE770 Arrives

So we came back to the New Embroidery Machine waiting for us at our door step.  YEAH, FED EX!   There was also some felt and other materials….YEAH UPS!   Both delivery guys are champs this time of year.  Let's Get the Party Started!  I hesitated little to open this puppy up and fire up the motor.   I spent the next three hours embroidering on the names while Cheryl put things away, cleaned up the house, fed the cat, and then finished up sewing the stockings that had the names finished.  It matters not with them completed.   I will sleep better tonight knowing one mountain has been conquered.

New Emboidery over the old one.   I'll Have the have the backup one repaired eventually.The next mountain is the current one of stockings we have been selling while on our trip.  54 stockings…..with is not too bad.   54 stockings!  The Next Mountain to Climb Almost 20 a day for three days is typical.   The fact that we allowed ourselves to get behind it unfortunate, but not unforgivable.   We can probably catch these guys up over the weekend.  ( Fingers crossed)

Other than that,   Cheryl posed with her new turkey trot shirt.  It is a little large.   Cheryl swimming in her Michigan Small shirt.But….things are always larger in Michigan.  ( Heck!  even WE were larger when we lived there!)   So we have labeled this shirt a “Michigan Small”  as it is possibly closer to a medium or large….on Cheryl anyway. 

If Only Hiro could smile like this.... So…that is all.    Stockings are within reason,  Embroidery is back online, and we missed any potential Ice Storm.    Hope everyone had a great Turkey Day.   It was fun visiting with the Fam.   But the Cat is very happy ( I think, anyway)  that we are back and can keep him fed and entertained.  Now it is time to Crack open a Honey Brown.   Yummy!   

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Turkey Trot Finish!

Arriving at the race before sun the rain Cheryl suggests I carry the Hello Kitty bag. So we did the Turkey trot this morning…..Early!    About 2000 people ran it with Cheryl….and although it did rain a little, the weather held at about 50 degrees….perfect running weather.  

The competition was good,   Cheryl said she had to work hard for her ultimate 2nd place age group finishers award.The Fam joins in for support   That is correct,  Cheryl placed second…in her age group….Everyone wants to see Cheryl in her racing atireagain in a 5 K.      The really great news was that she set a new PR just over 22 minutes.   Time to head out to the elite area( 22:11)  A mere 13 seconds behind the front runner.  Cheryl runs like a blur Add in that she pulled off her fastest mile ever, clocking in at 6:45!  

  And all this in front of the fam!   Everyone showed up to enjoy the rain,  the dark, and the crowd.    I was fortunate because Andy ( Cheryl’s Brother) has a much better camera and was able to capture several shots of her as she came in. Cheryl flies like a bird! You can't see him, but Andy, is behind the guy in the brown jacket.      The dim light and street glare waged war on my poor Nikon.    Cheryl likes the pictures because they make her look like a blur….Similar to the Flash!    

Holiday CheerIn addition tot he many “serious” runners,   And Dress up.Cheryl was joined by a bunch of festive ones who wore a variety of turkey hats and costumes.   It was  a fun time. 

Red Hawk mascot   And then there were the mascots!   There were THREE here…And I got them all!    I guess the first one was a redTurkey Mascot. hawk….not a cardinal.   The second was the turkey….And last was the tiger.   I’m sure they are all local schools or minor league mascots of variousThe Fighting Tiger Mascot sports teams around here.   Too bad Griff the Griffon was not on hand…..He is the Hockey mascot for the Grand Rapids Griffons.….and would have been a cool addition to the collection. 

It took a while to figure out if Cheryl won an age award, but eventually we stood in line and they announced her name.     Another medal to add to the monuments. Cheryl waits to find her place  

So then it was off to eat turkey and catch up on old times.   The others had to travel to other family obligations, so the events were kept fairly straight forward.   Cheryl and I , as usual, were the last to go. 2nd Place Age Group Medal! 

Wth a NEW PR of 22:11So now it is hot tub time and rest up for the long trek home.   Fingers crossed the weather holds until we arrive in Wellman…and HOPEFULLY,  our embroidery machine has arrived and is waiting for us when we get back…..Oh!   And the cat has not torn up the apartment too much.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Arrived Alive in Michigan.

Turkey Trot here we come So here we are.   Got the packet pick up.   Got the visit with the family,   Now we can relax and enjoy the hot tub in the room.   Well,  Cheryl does…i have to quickly post this.  

So tomorrow is the big race and Cheryl  gets to show off her running skill to the fam.  A runner Expression.   Thinnk Prefontain We are looking for Gold in Munic.   ( Runner expression)   That is,  Cheryl is looking for a last ditch PR and to show up and embarrass this Michigan Bunch. We shall see.    Sometimes during a bad week you are able to put all the good into one basket.   Meaning:   Twin cities Marathon was a disaster…except for the  Spectacular Boston Qualifying time. 

Cheryl,  Notice the chop sticks    Other than that,  Cheryl helped drive possibly more than half of the way.   I’m not sure why I allow her to touch the Subie, Cheryl eating grape with said chopsticksbut she does and despite her constant speeding and eating with chopsticks while driving,  we managed to avoid any catastrophic accidents and speeding tickets….With only one grape hitting the floor.  (  Think this picture is staged?    Think again!  Nectar of the GODS This is REALLY what she was doing!) 

So after our packet pickup,  we headed to Meijers  for some food and beer.   I was able to secure 7 cases Cheryl shows off her pre race food.of Honey Brown and Cheryl was able to find a salad she would like.   I settled on free chili at the breakfast room in  the hotel.   It is not bad….satisfied the hunger….and that is all I needed after a long trip. 

My Pre-holiday chow.   Just like being in the army ...again!So tomorrow we are getting up bright and early and hopefully we will have some cool racing photos to add to the blog.   See ya then….The hot tub calls me!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Embroidery Troubles!

A Farewell to a Brother.....PE770 that is. And things were going so well…..    Yesterday, the Brother PE770 broke.   It has caused a bunch of trouble for us.   Without embroidery,  we have limited the options and reason people will buy our stockings.  Everyone wants a name!   And things have been getting crazy lately!   Stockings are literally Piling UP! We sold 26 stockings two days ago,  29 yesterday, and 18 today.   Cheryl became so worried she shut down the shop briefly because we had to figure out our embroidery problem and see if it was fixable, or not.  Add in to the mix that we are heading to Michigan during a snow storm for the next three days.  Cheryl on Pack Attack! AND the replacement machine will arrive on Friday…..the day we are traveling back.   Hopefully the UPS guy will leave it so it greets us that evening when we arrive home.  The only help the trouble shooters offer.
All of the trouble shooting websites and videos pretty much say the same thing.   “Don’t be stupid!”   Seriously, they are not very helpful.   Ok,  Maybe to stupid people, but they can’t help it.   Example:   Machine is not threaded right.   Solution:   Thread the machine properly.     Example:  Machine is not operating.  Solution:  Turn the machine on.   
vince was cool enough to show me how to Crack into the 770 without tearing up the Wires. This line of trouble shooting does not help me at all.  I don’t want to brag, but I know my way around a machine or two now.   I have taken every single machine we have apart and put them back together….and fixed the problem.   USUALLY it is simply an oiling or cleaning issue.  But sometimes a spring or bobbin will slip out of spec and need adjusting.  With the PE770 past its warranty now,  I cracked it open. ( as a last resort, I assure you)  Because of the electronics, I was very careful and cautious.   I thoroughly cleaned and oiled EVERYTHING!( this usually fixes the problem,)   While avoiding any damage to the green boards and wires. I put it back together and it turns on,   Operates the Pre-Operation movements as usual,  but still gives the error message that the safety mechanism has been activated.  Meaning…the needle will not go up and down for some reason……Usually because there is a thread tangled around the top or the bobbin.
There are No tangles.   Above OR below. However,   there are no tangles,  no fluffs, no mechanical problems.    My theory that it is the Motor is because when I try to wind a bobbin using the machine.  It disconnects from the drive shaft.   Namely,  there is no resistance from any thread tangled around the shaft.   However,  the motor will not spin the bobbin to wind it.   The Simple Bobbin winding test yielded a clue.The Computer thinks it is spinning and operating.  But no sound, no movement.    SO……I ‘m guessing after two years of fairly moderate work.   ( we use it for the Christmas Months.   quite often…then put it away for the year.)  The Brushes on the Motor may have given out OR…and this would be worse….the electronic part shorted out the connection between the motor Could this be the problem?  Cheryl is not sure...But I'm almost 90% and the mother board.  So no juice is getting to the motor.   I may know mechanics a bit, but I know very little about electronics. 
Aside from my own vanity and “can do” spirit taking a hit…  The fact remains that there is no embroidery offered at the moment, with a new machine coming and we are going to be out of town when it arrives.    With Black Friday coming up,  I’m sure the orders will be piling up as well. Turkeys are gonna run!   Cheryl plans on running the Turkey Trott  on Thanksgiving Day…but with all these distractions….it may be a bit of a challenge. 
Why is my bike in Pieces! The weather has warmed a bit.  Things were melting pretty good.   I could not tell you because my BIKE is in the shop with a broken spoke and gear replacement.   I guess riding in the snow takes it’s toll.   Besides that,   it has been a full year since it has been serviced and the chain and gears should be replaced every 2000 miles.  A mile marker that I  probably had passed a while ago.   Cheryl running alone.....( sniff!)So Cheryl ran alone….in the slush and melty ice.  While I prepared the Subie for the Trek to Michigan.  ( You know,  air in tires,  clean the interior,  polish the fenders. ) 
over 26000 words with very little time to write.  On a positive…. ( and there is so little of that in this posting)   I reached 26000 words two days ago.   I have not written since became of the embroidery issues and travel prep time.   I most likely will NOT reach the goal of 50,000 words by Dec 1.  It’s all good because I at least got back to writing.   Cheryl says I can still make it my goal to finish before 2016 arrives.   We will have time off after the Christmas Mayhem. 
So wish us luck!   We need it …as always..   Even our Chinese fortunes have been letting us down….with fortunes like “look on the bright side”  or  “Things are not too awful.”  Maybe they just stopped lying to us….Like when they said I was going to be rich and successful….or we were going to be vacationing along the ocean.  Perhaps the neutral ones like “you are a happy person.” would be more welcome.   Hiro in Cover....the mouse will be surprised. But Cheryl and I have to work on keeping our chins up and try not to hide like the cat.  This is how Cats deal with stress? Hiro may look like he is hiding…but he is stalking prey!   Yeah…I like that image.  We shall see how things go. 


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