A Post About Repairs — Now With Photos!

Seems everything needed repairs this week. First there was an elderly but sturdy machine at work, which required my second-favorite set of instructions ever: the now-infamous page 36 from the vintage manual I keep in a nearby cupboard.

Raise your hand if you had to stifle a juvenile snicker when you read the title above. Raise both if you were unsuccessful. Very good. You get three points if you’re the first to spot the spelling error, and ten if you can identify the machine in question.

Page 36 also requires a trip to the following diagram, which I would argue makes their assurance that it’s only “7 easy steps” a giant lie. Like the photo above, click if you need more detail, but do so with care lest your brain explode.

Despite my near-uselessness when it comes to anything mechanical, I managed to muddle through and get the mystery machine up and running again — just in time to go home and spend another evening trying to fix my book. Alas, that task doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

Aren’t they pretty? Good thing I don’t use red ink, or these pages would look like they’d been murdered, and that would ruin the tone of the whole book.

Then, of all the luck, I needed repairs, too. Yes, the flu visited again, just a month and a half after it last stopped by. So much for my weekend plans. Instead of going into the mountains to take photos like the one below, which I snapped a few years ago…

…I got to photograph things around home. This is not nearly as exciting — or as pretty.

Unfortunately, alien creatures kept popping into the frame at the last minute. The blobby heads and tails were so big that even Photoshop couldn’t help me fix the results. Too bad. I do hate to leave things unrepaired.

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  1. Mrs Lemon said,

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    I’m going to go for fax machine – and squeak instead of squeek

  2. Kyle said,

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    I do have to say that I got a little excited when I started reading the manual… *fans face with hand* I’m getting all hot and bothered!

    I notice you made all of the pictures enlargeable EXCEPT the revision ones! Sneaky sneaky! Though, that IS a lot of ink there… Wouldn’t be more productive to do it on the computer, eh? But at least you’re being ruthless with your own work… It’ll be all the better for it!

    FYI, the kittie picture is ADORABLE and I just want to PINCH THOSE CHEEKS!

  3. Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Three points to Mrs. Lemon. But, alas, the machine is not a fax machine. Thank God. The fax machine at work kind of scares me.

    Kyle, you made me laugh out loud! Thanks. :-D As for revisions, I always do a round on paper first because I notice a lot more that way. Plus it’s easier to flip back and forth, make notes, etc. Then I revise again as I put the notes into the computer. Most revisions take place on the computer, though.

  4. jenny said,

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    I L_O_V_E the picture of the cat nose!! That made me laugh out loud! May I save a copy of it?

    I too confess to be a grammar snob. It drives me crazy when people make presentations or publications with errors. I really need to learn to keep it to myself, because I have probably insulted too many people “enlightening” them to their mistakes.

  5. heather* said,

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    When I do paper revisions, they look exaclty like that!!! I even write on the opposite page too. :D

  6. Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    OMG, are you kidding about that manual? And what IS that machine–a laminator, maybe??

    Crazy-scary thing…I shouldn’t be looking at that diagram before bed, it’s gonna give me mechanical nightmares :).

  7. emily said,

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    i’m going to guess a camera.

    and your revisions remind me of what my music looks like when i’m working on a piece.

  8. PJ Hoover said,

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 10:19 pm


    Love the mountain picture!

  9. somewhat voluble said,

    Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 1:50 am

    A fax machine? The fax machine at work says stuff about housing covers sometimes.

  10. Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Jenny, check your email! :-D

    Heather*, so glad I’m not alone with that one! I really think revisions — for me, at least — are more work than getting out that first draft.

    Marilyn, I am dead serious. As soon as I saw it I *knew* it must be posted. And ten points for you! You were right.

    Really, Emily? That fascinates me because I have HUGE respect for anyone who can write music, and I always just picture it pouring out in a huge lava flow of inspiration. Ah, movies. They’re never accurate, are they?

    Thanks, PJ! I was hoping to get more this year. Rotten timing. Next year, I hope.

    SV, sorry, but no. This is much, much bigger. And heavier.

  11. Ilana said,

    Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Love the photos.
    My revisions looked a lot like yours.
    And if you had to pull that machine apart like it shows in the diagram, you need to ask for a raise.

  12. Pam said,

    Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 10:28 am

    What Kyle said about pinching kitty cheeks. Too dang adorable!!!

    Sorry your weekend trip was postponed. I like to think of events like that as something worse would have happened had I gone, so the flu was actually a blessing in disguise. (Is it working? ;-) )

    And your revision pages look oh so familar. I think that’s why I don’t use red ink either. I pick a color I like because I’m going to see a lot of it!!!

  13. Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 10:35 am

    A copy machine?

    These repair pages remind me of when I was in Asia on a tour boat–the handout said: “If in the case of the boat sink, you must flee for your lives.” !

  14. Alyson Noel said,

    Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 11:32 am

    That manual is terrifying! But then, I am hopeless with anything mechanical!

  15. David Rice said,

    Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    What a beautiful place you live! The technical writer needs Spell Check. Am sorrowed to hear of the illness; hope you feel better soon!

  16. Amy said,

    Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Looks like a machine for developing camera film.

    Squeek should be squeAk.

    Sorry you’re sick. That’s the worst.

    LOVE the last kitty picture.

  17. Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Ilana, the good thing is that I only had to take off one part of the machine housing. Think I should still request that raise? ;-)

    Oh, Pam, it would be some consolation except I have that camera I just got this summer, and I’ve been waiting for months for the moment when I could get out and photograph the fall foliage. To have to wait another year is very disappointing. And LOL on choosing a color you like. So true! I choose based on how comfy the pen is, since I’ll be using it so much. Don’t want blisters…

    Conda, check your email. :-D

    Me too, Alyson! My brother and dad are quite handy. Why didn’t I get those genes, too?

    David, I agree about the spell check. But then, the machine has been around since before computers were a household item, and long before they had spell check. And thanks for the good-health wishes. I’m feeling much better, thank you!

    Amy, it does, doesn’t it? I hadn’t even noticed. And I’ll tell Echo that you enjoyed his photo. Not that he’ll care, but he’ll love the attention anyway. ;-)

  18. virginia said,

    Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    LOVE that cat picture!

  19. Katie said,

    Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Hi, Caryn. Sorry I missed your call about going to the mountains until after it was too late…I’d love to see some of the pictures you got!

    Incidentally, your machine with demons is a film-strip projector, and I hated those things, even when I was a kid. What can I redeem my 10 points for?!

    P.S. Echo sure has pretty eyes!

  20. Suzanne said,

    Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Hi ,Caryn,
    Absolutely love the photograph of the lake? mountains. Is this near where you live. And I thought I lived in the best place on earth. lol.
    Also I picked out the squeek. As for reading manuals, I never read them until the last resort. lol
    Btw, I’d love to see more photographs. :)

  21. Friday, October 3, 2008 at 6:41 am

    I’m raising my hand. I snickered at friction stud!! Hope you’re feeling a little better. And wow you are quite the revisionist!

  22. Friday, October 3, 2008 at 6:48 am

    And not only is it a friction stud, it’s one that may shudder or squeek (sic). I’ll be laughing all day at this one.

  23. Robin said,

    Friday, October 3, 2008 at 8:09 am

    I’m raising both hands. I’m terrible at reading manuals and following the directions so I avoid it at all cost. I hope the revising is going well!

  24. tendell said,

    Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    I just love that qoute: “Good thing I don’t use red ink, or these pages would look like they’d been murdered.”

  25. Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks, Virginia! It was an accident, so I was rather surprised that it was kind of cute and not too out of focus.

    Katie and Suzanne, check your email!

    Yay, Joanne! Now I don’t feel so juvenile. :-D As for the revisions, I am very, very picky. That’s why it takes me so long to revise.

    Oh, Carrie, I hope so! I think one of the highest compliments someone can pay someone else is to tell them that they made you laugh — especially if it was on purpose.

    Robin, I’ve gotten into too much trouble from not reading manuals, so I’ve (mostly) learned my lesson.

    Thanks, Tendell! I was hoping it wouldn’t be too gruesome.

  26. Monday, October 6, 2008 at 8:25 am

    I can’t say I know what that’s a diagram of–should I be embarrassed to admit that??

    And I hope you get over the flu soon! Twice in just a few weeks–how awful. I have to drag the kids (and myself) to get the shot next week. And then cross my fingers that we don’t get the beastly illness.

  27. Monday, October 6, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Love the cat and mountain pic.

    Printer? :)

  28. Monday, October 6, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Not at all, Alyssa. In fact, there’s only been one correct guess. As for the diagram itself, its incomprehensible nature is what I love so much about it. And thanks — yes, I’m feeling much better.

    Keri, good guess, but nope!

  29. Mary said,

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 7:31 am

    How boring it would be if your novel DID come with an instruction manual. Imagine sitting down to revise with the same bored sighs that accompany the repair of an overhead projector (?).

  30. Adam said,

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    “Friction Stud”, well… you have to allow manual writers some outlet for their boredom, otherwise you end up with many more vertigo-inducing diagrams like the one you provided.

    If only he/she could have kept the subtle metaphor going.

  31. writtenwyrdd said,

    Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Hope you’ve fixed teh flu by now, though! I loved the cat eyes and the mountain lake reflection.

    And friction stud. Well, it’s all been said (or implied) already. But still.

  32. Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Good point, Mary! Though it would make it so much easier sometimes. As for your guess, sorry! But if you look above you’ll learn who got it right and what it was. ;-)

    True, Adam! Actually, maybe that diagram was an outlet for their boredom as well. Perhaps they got a kick out of putting it in the book, trying to picture someone actually using it. And, yes, I’m all for metaphors; humor makes difficulties much easier to deal with.

    Thanks, Writtenwyrdd! I have indeed repaired myself. It took a while, though I suppose that was to be expected since it was the worst flu I’ve had in years.

  33. Christa J said,

    Monday, October 13, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I love the photos. The kitty photo captures character.

  34. Mari said,

    Monday, November 3, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    What a beautiful kitty!

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