Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Apparently, Backroadsians Go About In Unclean, Ill-Fitting, Unpressed Clothing...Unless They Can Find a Septuagenarian Seamstress

Woe is me. WHOA is The Pony.

As you might recall, The Pony got a suit a couple of weeks ago. A suit off the rack, because it's not like he plans to have tea and crumpets with the Queen. He has never possessed a suit, and we figured it was time, but he still has some growing to do, so his suit was purchased off the rack at J.C. Penney. Not that he cares.

Because we were at the mercy of the menswear stocker, we found a fit in the waist and chest, but not The Pony's preferred length. His personal shopper, Genius, declared that this was the best-fitting suit for The Pony, even though the pants are 34 instead of 32, and the jacket sleeves are too long to show that colorful shirt cuff like Genius intended. He said to get the suit, and that we could have it altered. Then he skipped town without telling us where. J.C. Penney does not have a tailor to perform alterations. Shocking, I know.

Everyone I asked since the purchase had an idea about where to get alterations around here. Since I am the soon to be Princess of Procrastination once I leg-wrestle the title away from Sioux, I put off scheduling the alterations until today. And I only responded to those flames licking at my butt because The Pony needs all of his Boys State clothing packed on Friday.

Let the record show that Backroads has no tailors, no dry cleaners, no clothing alterers. We're an island entire of ourselves, it seems. So I had to get creative in my quest.

First, I called J.C. Penney. A polite young man informed me that, sorry, they do not have anyone to do alterations, but that SOMEBODY there in town, he can't remember the name, used to do them, and I might look in the yellow pages. Apparently, he does not know that my BFF Google and I are likethis.

My BFF Google had several suggestions. Several of them being one and the same, the name of a laundromat, same name, in three different towns. I remembered that Hick told me he always has his Goodwill jeans hemmed at the laundry between Subway and Save A Lot. And who better to trust with brand new suit pants than the people who hack fabric off of Goodwill jeans? I gave them a call. Huh. Eight rings and an answering machine. No thanks.

I saw that the place where The Pony rented his prom tux does alterations. Their website says they only do outside alterations between July and December. I figured it was worth a shot, so I gave them a call. Very politely, a lady explained that they have two weddings this week, but they might be able to do the suit alterations in about a week and a half. Which won't be feasible, because the suit will be in Warrensburg with The Pony.

Aha! I found a listing for a business called Sally's Alterations. Okay, that's not her real name. But the word "alterations" was actually in the title of her enterprise. It was in bill-paying town, about 40 minutes from our house, but plausible. Then I got to looking at the website. This lady does alterations out of her home. She has FIFTY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE! Oh, dear. The last testimonial was from late 2014. "I wonder if she's still alive?" Val asked herself. With curiosity, not snark.

I read more. A gal was happy that her prom dress had been taken in up top, without being ridiculed. A dude was ecstatic that a button had been sewn on his shorts, because he had a wine tour that very day. A lady was thrilled to have two pairs of jeans hemmed for twenty dollars. And another gal had asked if a leather vest could be altered, she was in no hurry (guess she didn't put two-and-two together about the age), and later returned to comment that she had found her ring. But the kicker was the directions to the house. "Google has the wrong directions. Call me and I will tell you how to get here. Any time after 9:00 a.m., you can make an appointment. I am open 24 hours a day." Oh, and I might have forgotten to mention that this lady ran a business selling (and altering) drapes.

Then I found a shop right here in Backroads proper. The only catch was about 29 negative comments on Facebook. Not that I have Facebook. But the BBB said this business was not a member, and that they had concluded their investigation, and the business owner comped the customer, but the customer had not responded to say if she was satisfied. Hmm...maybe not.

So there I was, leaning towards driving to bill-paying town to see if I could find this place (Google Street View let me down), and then call tomorrow for an appointment (after 9:00 a.m. of course) if it looked reputable. Because on the website, it said rush orders were possible for an additional fee, the fastest being SAME DAY for the sum of thirteen extra dollars. That's better than next-day shipping!

I gave one last call to the Subway/Save A Lot laundry. The phone was answered by a customer perhaps, a fluff-and-folder maybe, someone in a supervisory capacity who told me that she could give me the phone number of a person who does alterations, right uptown in Backroads. I thanked her and took the number and called and found out that I could take The Pony and his suit there this afternoon, and she could have the pants ready by Friday, possibly even by tomorrow. I did not ask the price. You'd think Hick and The Good Feet Store Faux Pas would have taught me a lesson. But I figured it couldn't be all that much. I asked for the address just before hanging up. "Oh, you can't miss us. We're right across the street from the Criss Cross Restaurant. We have dresses in the window!" And then she gave me the name.

It was the store with the BBB complaint.

Oh, well. In for a penny, in for a pound, in for a J.C. Penney suit. I broke the news to The Pony that he was going into a dress shop for alterations on his pants. He didn't seem to mind. The ladies, a mother and daughter, were very kind. The daughter led The Pony to a purple-and-white checked shower curtain that was the door to a changing room. He put on his pants and dress shoes. Not shoes for a DRESS, mind you! Dress-up shoes! Out he walked, into the circle where I was sitting with another mother and a grown-up girl who was gesturing at a wedding dress she brought in on consignment, I think.

The Pony trod lightly, pivoting to look at his hooves in the mirror. The shop daughter walked over and looked at his hooves. "You want the pants let down, right?"

"NO! Those pants are too long! His brother told us! Had quite a fit, actually, over the fit."

"Well, they look just fine to me. I definitely wouldn't make them any shorter."

"Oh. Well. His brother..."

"Let me ask you, hon, is your brother really picky and wants everything JUST SO?"


"I can turn them up about a half inch, I guess, if that's what you want."

"No. I think we'll just leave them. His brother might not even see him in the suit anyway. And I think he's got more growing to do. Thank you so much. I hate to waste your time. Can I pay you something for--"

"Oh, you're not wasting my time! If you ever need anything, come on back!"

So there you have it. A day spent getting absolutely nothing done. A suit that Genius will swear is ill-fitting. A Pony who doesn't give a rip.

And Hick, who came home from work, sat down on the long couch to talk to me for twenty minutes, and leaned back against the suit pants that had not yet been hung up, putting an awkward crease near the waist.


  1. If the suit doesn't fit, Pony don't give a spit.

  2. I bought pants for our trip and took them to our local dry cleaner to be altered.

  3. You have a fluffer that works at your laundromat? You country folk are certainly wild. (You DO know what a fluffer is, right?)

  4. joeh,
    And he's not about to go on a low-speed chase down the 91 Freeway, either.

    Oh, what a wonderful world it would be if we all had access to local dry cleaners! Excuse me. I'm off to a long hike down to the creek to pound our clothes with rocks. My washboard is on the fritz.

    We have a sometimes phone-answerer who works at our laundromat. Of course I know what a fluffer is! I went to college! Where I fell under the influence of a questionable crowd who engineered my abduction to a hole-in-the-wall X-Rated movie theater (note that I intentionally did not give the highbrow 'theatre' spelling) where I saw first-hand the fruits of the fluffers' labors.

  5. I'll just betcha that someone at that laundromat can fix that crease.

  6. Catalyst,
    Yeah. By leaning on it from a different angle.

    I have those pants hanging from a clippy hanger in my own laundry room, where the humidity and temperature rival that of the outside, due to no insulation in the ceiling because of an attic trap door. We hit 98 degrees today. It's not a dry heat.