Thursday, June 2, 2011

Heading Into The Dark

We're driving around Whitehorse, not as tourists, but as consumers, looking for a good place to buy material to make blackout shades for our bedroom.

I want them because the sweet kiss of the sun in the morning awakens me. And it's generally a cheerful awakening, a time for just me and the sun to reacquaint ourselves, for a few minutes before the start of the day.

But here in the land of the Midnight Sun, the sun gets up way too early to kiss me. Instead, it smacks me upside the head at 3 a.m.and screeches GET UUUPPPP! In a panic. Unkindly. Manically. What a grouch!

And, our dogs function poorly. Usually, they hop right up in the morning, excited to start their day, to go outside, to have breakfast, then to jump back in bed with Allen. And snuggle down for a nap.

Now, when I get up, they don't even raise their heads. They each open one eye, one glazed eye, and stare at me, as if to say, "You've got to be kidding." So I'm guessing their sleep pattern's disrupted, too, without the dark (well, with only three hours of it.)

So I ask around for a cure, and I'm told two things: Just get used to it. Or make dark. I chose dark. To make it, I need to fashion blackout curtains.

I visit Walmart's craft department. Nothing usable there. The precut fabric measures two inches too short.

Next stop, the quilt shop. (I find it in my visitor's guide.) The four smiling (and short) elderly ladies inside wear smock aprons and toddle around, constantly. Endless motion. They pick up swatches of their fabric and hold them up to the light, then assure me it just won't do. It's too thin. (They're the ones who told me to "just get used to it.") I tell them I want dark. They send me across town to a tailor/seamstress shop.

So now I'm at that shop, the Golden Thimble, where two young Asian men wait on me. Together, we find the perfect fabric (designed for blackout curtains ... even though it is white.) And I hand them the dimensions I need.
In inches. They can't covert to inches. I can't convert to metric. We're at an impasse. But wait! We notice their tape measure does both, so they measure in inches and cut, then measure again, and cut. And we discover, the material is TWO INCHES SHORT! Too inches short. Like Walmart. Only more expensive ($16 a meter; Walmart is $9). But I'm into it now. I can't back out.

So the two young men converse rapidly in their native tongue (Chinese maybe?). I can tell they disagree on how to right this wrong. Because they punctuate their conversation with scissors clacking and tape measures flying.

The front door clangs open and I see who must be Mom and Dad walk in to what must be a family business. Mom smiles broadly at me, then turns and frowns at her sons, instantly assessing the situation. She calls her boys over (in Chinese?) and gently and peacefully teaches them how to cut a straight line in blackout material.

There. Done.

Mom disappears and the boys finish the sale.

So I give the kids $2 each as a tip. Because Mom yelled at them. Because I want them to know i really appreciate their time and trouble. Even though I think, now I'm not sure, but I think the shade is still two inches too short.

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