Thursday, December 29, 2016

Mad ninja glue skills

I read once that when you make a mistake you should take immediate steps to correct it...

Last year my friend's Auntie Mayweather lent us her parole (it's a traditional Philipino Christmas decoration, some are more elaborate than others but as far as I have seen they are all beautiful).  It came to us in a large black plastic garbage bag, the string of blue lights were burnt out and the cord was wrapped in masking tape where it had be twisted together with the plug end... but it looked wonderful blinking in the window - after I immediately replaced the masking tape with electricians tape of course.

Some months later while innocuously playing scrabble we heard a large crash outside and then nothing... probably cats, thinking nothing of it until the next morning when I discovered the wreath box I thought I'd so cleverly entombed the parole in on the floor... with a slightly bent and broken parole inside.

My heart sank.

On a number of levels I felt responsible. I shouldn't have put it in the wreath box without modifying (dremeling) it so it fit better, and I should have put some kind of padding in there with it... at very least a towel. *exhales*

 Of course this happened not long before Christmas, when people *cough* Auntie Mayweather *cough cough* would notice it was missing.  The initial look is always the worst, your worst fears manifest themselves and it's broken broken.  The second look, where I took a deep breath and actually looked was much better. I realized that none of the shells were broken, and for the most part things had just popped out of place.

It took a few days of mentally preparing myself to hunker down and start the project of "fixing" it.

The girls joked that we should take a picture and say that I was "making a parole" Martha Stewart style because I'm crafty like that, but I was still too nervous that I wouldn't be able to pull it off and that pre-emptively taking a picture would somehow jinx my chances of completion.

Also, I say "fixing" because it turned into six hours of hunched over tongue biting concentration, composed of vary degrees of holding my breath, sweating, swearing, crossing my fingers, praying and crazy-gluing my fingers together countless times before I had the outer half edge of the parole back into more or less the right shape. Save two points which were under slightly too much strain to crazy glue.

*exhales* This was when I started to feel like it really might be possible to fix it fix it. I took a drink of water, and then began "phase 2".  The purpose of phase 2 was to reinforce everything, and make it fixed forever.  I gathered some tiny clamps and a disposable paint brush and mixed up the small choose your own adventure travel size epoxy.

One of my favorite quotes of my Dad's is that:
"Epoxy is forever"
Another hour or so, a stiff paint brush and four quickly solidifying piles of epoxy later and I had dabbed each of the joints of the outer ring and clamped the two remaining points that the crazy glue couldn't hold.


Now we can talk about me building a parole *weak smile* at this point I was tired and relieved... there was still work to be done, but we had reached the tipping point where I knew it was doable and I was fully confident in my emergency arts and crafts abilities.  With the Ninja's help and her extra set of very patient hands, we hot glued all the lights that had popped off back in place, and found that with a little luck the first blue bulb she touched just needed a little jiggle to settle back in place and the whole string lit up again!

*grins* Now we're golden, not only is it fixed, but it's better than when we got it.

As a final touch I clipped and soldered the power cable with appropriate amounts of shrink tubing in all the right places, and called it a day.  The parole looks awesome in the window, feeling is slowly returning to my fingertips as the crazy glue peels off, and there are only two panels where we got the lights slightly out of order... but you probably wouldn't notice unless I told you muahahahaaa ;)

It is still a mystery why it jumped off the filing cabinets after all that time up there undisturbed, one theory is that it was the ghost of Houdini the bird that escaped his cage (Auntie Mayweather's bird to be precise) - but that's a story for another day... In any case, I feel as though I were able to live true to an old Girl Guide saying of "leave things better than when you found them."