My good friend Erin moved this month with her husband and baby up to Northern California because she had a job opportunity and it would bring her closer to her family. I went to her apartment in San Diego to say goodbye to her and of course I pirated through her closet to “help her” lighten her packing load- because I’m SO NICE!
As I was pilfering through a giant mass of handbags and clothing, she came across a suit. “Hey Trace, do you want this suit? It’s identical to the gray one I gave you, just black.” As you may have guessed, this wasn’t my first rodeo with closet robbery. At the beginning of the year I was interviewing for a new job and I didn’t have any good suits so I borrowed one from Erin. Erin is several inches taller than I am and since it was so long, I was going to have to have it hemmed. She had told me to just keep it, that she never wore it anyway.
“THAT suit!!!??? “ My eyes got wide. “Oh man, I still have nightmares about that suit!!” I exclaimed.
“Umm, so you DON’T want the suit then? And would you care to elaborate?” She asked as she dug more articles out of the closet and held them up for my approval.
I took a deep breath. “Okay here’s the story with the suit…”
It was a dark and stormy night….
No seriously it wasn’t dark or stormy- I live in San Diego, be real. But I really wanted a dramatic way to lead into the suit story because I’m afraid I built it up too much.
Okay so I had this interview with this dude who was totally scary as it was. For our first phone interview, he had written that we should talk at 1:03pm. I wrote him back, “Did you mean 1:30??” thinking he had inverted the numbers and he responded, “No. 1:03.”
Turns out it was just a type-o for 1pm and he thought he was being “funny.” Yeah I mean I don’t really think that’s funny either but what do I know?
Anyway so I was totally uptight about meeting him because he was flying in from Phoenix to meet me in person and I hadn’t had to do a “real” interview in so long, plus the whole funny/not-funny 1:03 thing….so I knew I was going to have to really make sure I was ready and polished for this interview. I had notes typed up, I had done research on the company, dug out my closed- toed shoes….the only thing left to do was deal with the long pant legs on the suit.
Well of course it was Sunday night before the Monday interview until I realized I hadn’t dealt with the long pant legs on the suit.
Here’s how the conversation with myself went down:
Tracy: “You eeeeddioott!!! Why didn’t you take this to the tailor?? Now what are you going to do?” I scolded myself.
Tracy: “Whatever. You know what, I can figure this out. I’m perfectly capable! It’s not BRAIN SURGERY.”
Tracy: “Yeah. You probably could handle this…if you knew how to SEW!!”
Errrr. She/I had a point. I did indeed NOT know how to sew. My mom had tried to teach me a few times but I didn’t have the patience for her annoying antics. See, my mother is insane but she’s actually a very talented seamstress. She used to make all 4 of us Easter outfits every year. She would spend hours cutting out the patterns, pinning the cloth, sewing, making button holes. The boys had 3 piece suits and we girls always had dresses. Now, her choice in style….that’s another story. Let’s bring back the insane portion of our programming I was talking about earlier.
Legit she would dress us like little freaking Amish kids. I mean EVERY YEAR they got worse and worse. I think she probably got the patterns from some “Pioneer Woman” magazine she found in the attic of her grandmother’s house.
But we’re not here to talk about how she traumatized us with these outfits. Because if we were, I’d have to tell you the story of how she made my sister wear an ugly brown dress when Mandy was in Kindergarten for Thanksgiving. And Mandy pitched a fit and Mom said, “It’s JUST ONE DAY!! ONE DAY! YOU WILL WEAR THIS!!” And Mandy was all, “Blah blah no I HATE brown and I hate you!” and then Mom was like “I don’t care if you guys have no friends because all the other kids dress normal, you will dress like pioneer people, dammit!” and so forth and so on. And then, our house burned down that day when the wood stacked up near the wood stove got too hot and caught on fire and the clothes on our back were the only belongings that we had for a while and Mandy never lets my mom or any of us ever forget that the clothes on HER back was the ugly brown Amish dress. And Mandy always tells her 3 year old daughter, “Mommy will NEVER make you wear brown!! NEVER!!! FREEEDDDOMMM!!!” (You know like in the Braveheart?) And Kailee’s like, “Okay Mom. I’m a princess.” And Mandy’s over in the corner painting her face and getting ready for war….But ANYWAY we aren’t talking about that, so let’s move on.
Okay where was I? Oh right. So I can’t sew. And so you can see why I wouldn’t have wanted to learn from my mom (because she’s kinda crazy and I didn’t want to encourage her “living off the land” dress debuts) but why didn’t I learn in Home Economics you might be asking yourself. Well, I’ll tell you why.
So when I was in 7th grade, we had one semester of Shop Class and one semester of Home Ec. You had the same kids in the class when you switched. We had Shop Class first and our teacher, No Fingers McGee was scary as hell. He didn’t really have any RULES when it came to 12 year old children operating the saws and drills and you can bet your ASS I wasn’t about to donate a finger to the cause. So, I paired up with a bunch of dudes. “Look guys, it’s really simple. You take me onto your team and build this shit and say I helped. Then, next semester, you’ll take a cruise in Home Ec and I’ll do all the work, you know…since I’m the girl.” Of course they agreed and I took the bathroom pass and came back to Shop class at the end of the semester to collect my A.
Well that was all good and fine and pretty decent scheming on my part except the part when Home Ec started and the boys looked at me expectantly.
“Oh. HAHAHA You guys don’t actually think I know how to sew or cook, do you??? HAHAHA”
Then I spent the rest of the semester trying to not flunk us all out of Home Ec. The cooking part was bad enough but the sewing part was its own tragedy. I guess that story doesn’t really explain why I never learned how to sew in Home Ec. Sorry for the false advertising. I just didn’t learn because I suck at stuff like that and I hated it.
ANYWAY, so here I am at the ripe old age of 32 and I can’t sew a GD button back on, let alone hem a pair of pants! Crap crap CRAP!
Due to my procrastination, I had no choice but to attempt a do- it- myself fix. I went in search of the travel sewing kit in the laundry area. It was nowhere to be found. Finally, I climbed on top of the washing machine and saw the little sucker down behind the washer! “AH HA! There you are!” Reach and reach as I might, I couldn’t get to it. I tried fashioning a piece of tape at the end of a broom handle to try to get it to stick and pull it up, but that only resulted in me ripping off the laundry doors and smashing one into the doorway of my bedroom, leaving a huge gash in the wood. Super.
I admitted defeat and decided I had to go buy a new sewing kit. But where might one who doesn’t sew look for a sewing kit? I walked down to Cost Plus World Market because….I don’t know why, that seemed like a good place to start. It wasn’t a good place to start for the sewing kit but I did pick up a few bottles of wine and a scarf…
Several hours later (read more procrastinating)I found myself in CVS. Thankfully I scored a travel sewing kit and headed home with all of the day’s treasures. I was so happy about my find that I forgot I was actually going to have to figure out how to USE the thing.
It took me approximately 72 hours to thread the needle each time. By midnight, I had “finished” my project.
This is the fruit of my labor. Admit it, you’re impressed.
I’m not going to lie here, I was pretty darn proud of myself. I threw the suit and my shoes into a bag. Now for a shirt…hmmm….I should really make sure I have a nice ironed oxford shirt to wear with the suit. Meh. I guess I’ll just put on a tank top and make sure I don’t take off my jacket, I thought. I went to bed with my bloody, needle pricked fingers feeling preh-ty confident about this whole interview thing.
Finally it was time for the interview and I quick- changed into my newly- altered suit and rushed to the hotel lobby where I was meeting the guy. And just before I got through the front door…I ate shit. Yes, I fully fell down flat on my face.
How hard is it, you might be asking yourself, to WALK. It’s just one foot in front of the other, right? Sure that’s how it is but not when the heel of your shoe is getting stuck in between the GIANT HOLES you’ve created in your long- ass pants with your shotty “sewing job.”
Thankfully I don’t think he saw, but I picked myself up and was march-walking toward him, holding my pant legs up at the thighs to hike them up a few inches so as not to trip again. Finally we sat down. By now I’m nervous. When I’m nervous I talk too much. I also sweat profusely. Side note: These are two things you might want to try to have under control for an interview. Or a first date.
We’re in one of those little seating areas with 2 big chairs facing each other. I crossed my legs and realized that the pant leg was wide enough that all he had to do was look down and see the enormous jagged, unmatching white thread marks and ask about my handiwork. It was all I could think about the entire interview. I was so nervous there were cascades of sweat pools forming in my bra. I wanted to take my jacket off but I remembered I was wearing a wife-beater suitable for the gym.
I tried to keep both my feet on the ground but I would subconsciously cross my legs. Then as soon as I crossed my legs, I would panic again and start the whole process over. The more I panicked, the more I sweat. I literally have no idea what I said to the guy. I probably wasn’t speaking in complete sentences. I probably just Tourettes- style yelled, “FUCK! PANTS!! HOME EC! AMISH! FUCK!!” a few times for all I know.
At some point I recognized that the interview was over. 1:03 had some other dude lined up to meet him so when he said goodbye to me, he turned and watched me march-walk the 50 yards back to the front door.
It goes without saying, he didn’t call me for the job.
“And so, that’s the suit story.” I finished with a sigh.
Unfazed, Erin said, “Okay well I can see why you don’t want the black suit…but can you take it anyway? The movers are charging us by the pound for the wardrobe boxes.”
And so I left Erin’s house with a pile of pirated loot in the form of clothes, and Erin left for the Bay Area knowing she’d never meet anyone up there who could come close to my level of insanity.
Good luck Erin and family…and thanks for all the booty!!!
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