Last night I went to bed way too late, after rigging up a temporary new drawband for the Lettera 33 out of beading wire stuff. It sort of works, but the carriage still feels wobbly, the margins still aren't catching most of the time, and the carriage occasionally stops short and has to be pushed by hand. It also isn't always locking into place...you can push it back and forth without releasing some of the time. So there's obviously something pretty wrong.
This morning, after tossing and turning all night worrying about the thing, I got up early and started in on cleaning the stinky, stinky case. I set the typewriter off to one side for the time being. I'd set the damp case in a warm place to dry and was getting ready for work when I heard a weird sort of sound coming from the living room. I went in to discover Halvah, who has never shown the slightest interest in my typewriters, mashing her head against the keys of the Lettera and purring. She'd gotten some of the keys jammed.
Blurry cell phone photo of Halvah at work...
And then she *fixed the jammed keys*. She was still poking at the thing when I left for work. Considering I haven't cleaned it up yet, I suppose she can't do much harm. It's already broken. I'm a little perplexed by her fascination, though.
Given all the people who could have commented on my misadventures but didn't, the paranoid portion of my psyche is picturing the denizens of the typosphere around a virtual water cooler, gossiping about me behind my back and looking down their noses at my stupidity (as if y'all don't have better things to do...)
"What an idiot she is, huh?"
"...got what she deserved."
"I'd offer advice, but I'm speechless. What a knucklehead."
"I'm glad *I* know better than to buy typewriters off eBay, even once every two or three years. Unlike *her*."
"*I'd* never spend more than $7 for a typewriter. They're everywhere, after all, no matter what she claims. I mean, I picked up six last week for thirty bucks!"
"Taking typewriters to a repairman is a sign of weakness."
In my defense against these imaginary critics, in the entire last year, I bought three typewriters, and I sold one of the three. I've taken a grand total of one typewriter in for repair, back in 2009. As for why I risked eBay, in all my years of looking, I've found about four manual typewriters at local thrift stores, three of which were late-model SCMs (my Galaxie is the one of the three I kept--the others were scrubbed clean and received new ribbons, but ultimately went to new homes) and the fourth was the Olympia SM-9 I sent off recently. I've never ever ever ever found an Olivetti Lettera of any kind locally, the closest to it being the Olivetti Studio I traded for at the type-in. It isn't a Lettera, and it wasn't truly local.
And as for repairs, as I confirmed last night, I don't have the patience, the skill, and (perhaps most importantly) the tools. There's only so much I can do with a five dollar mini-toolkit, a cheap hammer, and a pair of tweezers. It'd probably cost me as much to put together a decent work bench as it would to pay to have someone with good eyesight and, you know, actual skill.
Also, I don't have the luxury of having x number of a particular model so I can compare the broken with the functional.
I did at least *try* to fix it. Can I get partial credit for that, you faceless imaginary Internet naysayers??