A Little Bit Broken

 Author’s Note: Occasionally, readers have wondered whether I might shorten my entries. You have been heard! Starting today, I will alternate my longer essays–roughly every other week–with “Micro” blogs strictly limited to 500 words or less (not counting this author’s note, of course). Usually, I don’t have time to be brief, but today I will make the time. Look for #Micro.

You can’t be a little bit pregnant or a little bit one-legged. However, you can be a little bit tipsy and your things can be a bit worse for wear. Things which become a little bit broken force a choice. Repair or Replace?

Broken china cabinet
Broken window in china cabinet? Repair! Open carefully every single time forever. Photo by kajmeister.

You have to try to repair large pieces of furniture, like china cabinets or desks, when the cracks are small. There is always a little piece of plastic which breaks, rendering all unserviceable.

Curse you, cheap plastic! A tiny drop of Super Glue–correctly applied and cured overnight–may save the day.

My spouse has been on a Not! kick lately, as in Repair, Not Replace! She gallantly spent the three-day weekend swapping out a rubber gasket on the bottom of a leaky toilet. The only plumber interested pushed for an upgraded model ($350). Instead, a $20 trip to Home Depot, an hour viewing EZ Plumbing Hacks, two messy forays underneath the tank, and hey presto! toilet repaired! She looks great in sparkly five-inch heels, too!

Broken bathroom etagere
Unbearably discolored. Replace! Photo by kajmeister.

Mind you, this did call for replacing the etagere that held washcloths and cleaning supplies above the commode. It looked somewhat sad, its pressboard bottom eaten away years ago from a previous leak. My opinion was “still usable and who looks at it anyway,” but the person who swapped out the toilet ordered a new one.  I’m not entirely clear on the rules.

Broken suitcase
Broken suitcase, lovingly dragged around USA (Alaska twice) and Europe. Replace! Photo by kajmeister.

I had to retire/toss my favorite blue suitcase. It was relatively expensive four years ago, so I eked it through an extra year’s worth of trips with duct tape (Amsterdam hardware store) after being told it needed to go. Again, rules? On this last trip, the expansion zipper snapped off, a fourth crack emerged, and, after the baggage carousel, a wheel wobbled dangerously.  Twelve trips in all: a useful life. The replacement is smaller but… purple!  I tend to overpack anyway which increases the cracking propensity. I can learn to carry less.

My parents bought this statue of Mephistopheles in Spain, pre-me. Mom brought him to Sacramento after the divorce and stuck him on a flimsy apartment shelf. My visiting five-year-old cousin did something rambunctious, so Meph lost his nose, chin, and legs. Mom blackened the legs, which made the statue even more sinister. He’s stood in a corner of our house, sneering but also protecting since she died.

Broken statue
Broken Statue of Mephistopheles, repaired one last time. Photo by kajmeister.

Broken artwork should thus be repaired. The memories stay–even the memory of the breakage. When I took the statue’s picture today, his leg completely detached, so that may be the last time he can be moved.  Over time, the memories multiply,  though they also become fragile.

My cousin is forty now. When his rambunctious son visited, I moved the breakables out of harms way.



Today’s Micro blog inspired by the Daily Post word: broken.



14 Replies to “A Little Bit Broken”

  1. I hope the readers who wanted you to write less have truly compelling reasons, and not just they were too busy or too lazy. I’m really ticked at those people on your behalf. I save your emails if I don’t have time to read you right now, and I love every one of your posts, even if it’s a topic that doesn’t immediately interest me. Intelligent writing should be treasured.

    1. Oh, I am verklempt! I promise–every other entry will remain more ind-depth. Shortening some of them will be a good practice for me, practice I can use. I don’t want them to become what the Romans called “aria fritta” (fried air). I am attempting to entice more readers but don’t want to lose any loyalists. It is an experiment; time will tell. I truly appreciate the vote of confidence!

  2. As I’m currently going through and emptying out my mother’s house, I’m finding a treasure trove of things that are “too good to throw and out and it just needs a little fixing.” Most of this stuff hasn’t moved in at least a decade, and some moved from a previous house that they lived in for 40 years. My sister and I are being ruthless, knowing that my dad is shaking his head in disgust.
    I’m sorry for you having to shorten some of your blogs, I find them interesting. If I don’t have time to read them immediately I set them aside to read later.

    1. My friend Jerry (who can’t let go of his umbrella apparently) told me about a great book that I forgot to mention, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. You have permission not to keep things! Good on you. Thank you, also, for the vote of confidence. This is an experiment, but every other entry will stay at “essay length.” Particularly the travel blogs.

  3. I have a “Totes” umbrella from the 1960s that Judy gave me. I refuse to throw it away although I no longer use it. It just needs a little tender loving fixing and it would be perfect. I’m going to dig it out!

    1. Dude, you were the Death Cleaning master that I looked up to…the little old Swedish lady says you are allowed to let it go. I thought my Jordache 1982 umbrella–whichsat in the trunk so long that it appeared to have stripes–was bad enough.

    1. I have been wondering whether the exact same thing=a difficult swapout of a rubber gasket on the bottom of a toilet or arguing about whether to replace a slightly worn etagere or being frustrated over the tiny piece of broken plastic upon which a whole piece of furniture relies… probably all of the above.

      1. all of the above meaning assessing the parts and whle of the home. repairing what can be repaired, replacing what is no longer what it once was and is beyond repair

  4. LOL you sound like my Lee “the etagere … looked somewhat sad, its pressboard bottom eaten away years ago from a previous leak. My opinion was “still usable and who looks at it anyway,” but the person who swapped out the toilet ordered a new one. I’m not entirely clear on the rules.”

  5. I finally labeled two of our file cabinets. I think that means it’s time to replace them. It’s like a Sell By date.

    1. File cabinets NEVER have a sell by date. Like the cockroaches, they will survive the apocalypse, especially if they are metal and make a clunking noise when you close their drawers.

  6. Trust me. I have had cabinets with long overdue sell by dates. What happens when one buys them used.

Leave a Reply