Many years ago, I loaned a sewing machine to a relative. It came back, shall we say, non-operational. I took it into the repair shop and was advised the circuit board had been fried, probably by a power spike.

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The cost of repair – $400. Uh, no.

I had another old machine in a cupboard somewhere and my grandmother’s half-ton treadle machine was under a pile of stuff in the basement somewhere. I’d love to give it away to a good home, but no one wants it, even with the original instructions and attachments.

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I dithered about whether to ask her to get the thing fixed, but decided the aggravation simply wasn’t worth it.

Of course I bought a new machine – my dream machine, a Bernina. Not top of the line, but as expensive as a desktop computer. I learned my lesson well, and began plugging everything of any value into Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) – those heavy black gizmos with lots of plug holes for power backups and surge protection.

The televisions, my computers, sewing equipment, stereo equipment – everything but the larger appliances are linked to these circuit-saving babies.

Thing is, the giant batteries die after a few years and buying new units is expensive. Luckily, Hub found a place in Markham that replaces the batteries for about $30, which suits me just fine.

But the man who runs the place is always incredibly harried. In fact, he looks like he just stepped out from his living quarters under a bridge somewhere. His mood is understandable – the workspace is breathtakingly disorganized.

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There are big logs of unopened mail everywhere. Power tools, opened cardboard boxes.

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Every time I step in there, I get the heebie-jeebies. I can feel the vibrations of dying battery cells and sense the emanations from the dozens of black boxes tumbled all around.

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If ever anyone dropped a lit match, the place would go up like a rocket.

Then there’s a nice kind of chaos – a mountain of plush toys in the lobby of the ScotiaBank Tower on King Street.

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Ah, tis the season. That kind of messy I could live with. Today is Christmas baking day. AJ is coming by to help. The kitchen will look like a disaster for a while, but we can eat the discards and anticipate munching through the perfect products in a few weeks.