The Monkey Chased the Weasel

There’s real rain going on over here. This is… unusual… for this time of year. Creeks that by this time are normally dusty troughs are, instead, raging rivers. Small ones. But raging.

Good thing we bought new patio cushions in plenty of time for the warm weather.

We bought our patio set ten years ago, in the bliss of our first summer as a couple. We sat on the swing while we planned our backyard wedding. It wasn’t a fancy set, but we tried to take care of it. But in spite of  our winter habit of storing the cushions in plastic bags and tucking them safely into a waterproof shed, the cushions were faded, ratty, and moldy. I put up with the increasing ugliness for a few years, but after last summer, I could not make myself put them away for the winter. They had to go. I was unhappy with that choice, as I hate to just throw things away. I’d rather reuse, recycle… you know the drill. But nothing I did could make those cushions look better, and the mold issue was not healthy.

So after careful measuring and a few months of research, I made ready to order new cushions. We found some at Home Depot that fit our chairs pretty closely. The swing would need a special order for the swing cushion and for the canopy over it. I measured ten times and placed the order. I’m pleased with the results – it’s a gorgeous color and it fits the swing, and it looks great. Yay!

Then there’s the umbrella for the table. There was no way to find replacement fabric for that. I’d have to throw the whole assembly away and buy a new umbrella. But – the umbrella was actually in good shape. It’s possible to take the fabric off the skeleton and wash it. I’d done that every year, so while it was horribly faded, it was clean. I can live with faded, and who cares if it doesn’t match the new cushions?

Well, I do a little, but not enough to throw it away. So during a lovely early spring, we put our new cushions outside and enjoyed our yard.

Then the weather changed. We brought the cushions inside, but left the umbrella out there. A little rain wouldn’t hurt it.

No, but the wind… That was some wind. While we were eating dinner, we saw the umbrella get pulled right out of the table (all the way UP – it’s a long pole), and then topple onto the patio. Fortunately, the skeleton survived.

The fabric didn’t fare so well. It’s ripped in several places, especially on the ends where the spokes are held. Two of the fabric loops were ripped off entirely, and the fabric surrounding them shredded.

It’s either sew it up or replace it.

Will it surprise you to hear that I don’t sew? I can sew on a button, and I’ve done the odd hem now and then, but any more complicated than that is a joke. Even my hems are sad – long, weak, crooked stitches, that’s my style. Sewing takes patience, you see. That should sum it up.

But I’m not throwing that dumb umbrella away. No sir. I’m repairing it. I’m sewing. I dug up a ratty washrag and cut it up for patches over the shredded parts. I’m sewing the loops back on. A machine would be better, but I don’t have one and wouldn’t know how to use it, if I did. So I’m making many, many stitches as I sew, trying to keep them small. They have to withstand the pressure of the spokes, you see.

My stitches are not straight. Nor are they hidden. But you know? I’m not going to worry about it. When the umbrella’s hooked to the table and open, who’s going to see my lousy sewing job? Who will care? And as I work on it, I feel a silly sense of pride. I’m fixing something instead of throwing it away. Maybe I’ll get several more years of use out of it.

Assuming those stitches hold.

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