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“What are you doing?” Thomas asked. “It’s 10 minutes before midnight.”

“With my life or right now?” I answered. “Because right now should be pretty obvious.”

“Okay,” he said. “What are you sewing?”

“I’m hemming curtains.”

“Is now a good time?” Thomas asked pointing at the bottle of wine next to my elbow. “How much hooch have you had tonight?”

“Dude! First off, it’s New Year’s Eve and I’m ringing in the New Year with a drink or two, like everyone else in the world, so no judging. And second, don’t ask me to do ‘wine math’!”

“Okay,” he held up his hands defensively.

“Now, be quiet. I need to concentrate,” I said. “Sewing requires ‘measuring math’.”

“This should be interesting,” he said, getting comfy on a chair next to me. “I’ve never hemmed curtains. Enlighten me, please.”

“Fine,” I sighed. “First you decide how long you want the curtains to be.”

“How did you decide?”

“I held it up to the window then grabbed the end where I wanted to cut it.”

“That’s a tall window. How’d you hold it up while simultaneously deciding where to cut?”

“All these questions,” I said. “OK, this is the way it worked. I stood on a chair so I could reach the top of the window and then used my ninja skills to figure out the rest.”

“I feel like you’re skipping over some important parts,” he said. “Details, please.”

“When I was on the chair, I threw the curtain in the air, jumped down, and grabbed the material at the bottom of the window.”

“Why’d you throw it in the air?”

“That’s where the ‘measuring math’ came in,” I said. “You don’t actually hang curtains at the top of a window, you need some space above it to attach the curtain rod. When I threw the curtain, it automatically adjusted for the extra space and then I knew where to grab the bottom.”

“What next?” he smiled.

“I ran to the cutting mat and used my straight blade thingy to cut the curtain.”


“What is this, a quiz?”

“No,” he smiled. “Just learning how to hem curtains.”

“I carried it to the sewing machine and folded the bottom up a bit then sewed it.”

“Aren’t you supposed to pin it?”

“Do I look like a newbie?”

“Have you ever hemmed curtains?” he asked.

“No,” I said. “But I took sewing lessons, so how hard can it be?”

“When did you take lessons?”

“In Home Ec.”

“In high school, 30-something years ago?”

“Yeah, so?”“Did your Home Ec class also give cooking lessons?”


“You do remember that as a family, we agreed that your culinary skills lie more in the area of clean-up.”

“My group gave me the same job in Home Ec,” I said, “but just because I can’t cook doesn’t mean I can’t sew. Besides, there’s really only one rule of sewing.”

“Which is?”

“Don’t get your finger caught underneath the needle.”

“Sounds like a good rule. What are you doing now?”

“OK, there are three curtain panels,” I explained, “So I have to measure each, cut them, then sew them. Since I’m a time management kind of girl, I’m doing them at the same time using the first panel as a template for the other two.”

“Are you supposed to lay them one on top of the other?”

“I literally just explained ‘time management math’ to you,” I said. “This part is like making a bed. You place one of the uncut curtains on the table, then the other one on it, and then the finished one on both of ’em. You smooth them out, then you cut off the bottom of the unfinished ones to match the one on top.”

I measured and cut.

“Shouldn’t you have given some extra room for the actual hemming?” he asked.

“Hey Mister, do you want to do this?” I dragged the three curtain panels over to the sewing machine. “I’m trying to get something crossed off my 2019 To-Do list.”

“I didn’t know hemming curtains was on the list.”

“Well, it is.”

“When did you put it on?”

“About an hour ago,” I said, placing the finished panel on top of one of the unfinished ones, and jamming them both underneath the presser foot of the sewing machine, holding them in place.

“That doesn’t look right, even to a non-sewer,” Thomas said.

“Well, you distracted me, and I cut the panels wrong and now I’m just going to use the finished one as a guide.”

I pressed the pedal, none too lightly, and, unfortunately, couldn’t see where my finger was beneath the fabric and broke the cardinal rule of sewing ... and broke the needle ... and my nail ... and about a quarter inch of tissue underneath my nail.

The only good thing ... all of this happened in 2019, and Thomas and I kissed into the New Year. Well, he kissed my boo-boo. I may have cried a bit.

So, 2020 is looking pretty good!

Krista Vance is a former Champaign resident. While she now calls northern Colorado home, she spent five wonderful years in Champaign and misses great friends, corn and big-sky sunsets.