It’s another boon to our Methow Valley communities in the noteworthy quest to support sustainability: Methow Recycles Repair Café. If you’ve never been to one, it is worth the effort to check out the beehive of activity on the third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m.-noon at The Cove in Twisp.
In December, our turntable developed an illness. The symptoms were a squeaky noise and a slow-moving platter, the spinning surface on which the vinyl record rests. It was already secondhand when it was given to us seven years ago; so, the questions arose. Do we pay to get it fixed and where does one find that kind of repair shop? There are two in Seattle, I’ve learned. However, trips to Seattle are rare these days and especially in the winter. Would there be a $200 charge (as I was told was possible) just to walk in the door with the ailing turntable? So, the turntable sat, forlorn.
The Repair Café had entered my mind, but the function was on hiatus during the holidays. When a new schedule appeared for a session on Jan. 20, I gathered up the turntable to see what the skilled group of repair persons thought. My husband decided to tag along with a brand-new pair of $20 socks that the sock-loving pup had chewed a hole in (and a couple of knives that needed sharpening). I told him I thought there were people who knew the lost art of darning socks at the café.
Upon arrival at The Cove, it was immediately apparent that this was a popular event. There were folks with lamps and vacuums needing repairs, backpacks with worn out straps, and clothing that needed mending. We were quickly sent to the volunteers most likely to have the skills to fix our items.
Eliot was my go-to guy. With ease and a smile, he looked at the turntable, asked what it was doing or not doing, and methodically went about taking it apart — already believing he knew what the problem was. Wisely, he took photos of the innards before he began dissembling them to have a point of reference when he put it back together. Watching his nimble fingers unscrew each delicate piece in the underbelly of the player, I thought what talent and skill this young man has.
I asked Eliot how he learned to repair things. He said, “When I was a kid, my dad often had a broken item on the kitchen table in pieces. I asked him about each piece and what he was doing.” He grinned remembering that his father may have thought he was a pest, but what he learned is unequivocal. Currently, his father is replacing a mouse-ridden interior of an Audi, which sounds like a monstrous project.
Once the repairs were made, Eliot said, “We’ll plug it in to see if the noise is gone and the platter spins.” And it did!
I don’t know if the Methow Recycles crew had seen a turntable repaired before, but they seemed joyful when they asked if the repair had worked and the answer was, “Yes!” The socks were darned, and the knives sharpened, so our trip was a total success.
In a continued effort to keep “stuff” out of the landfill, think of the Repair Café first if you have an item in need of a fix. The next café is Feb. 17. The only criteria for what you can bring are: Items must be small enough to carry; must not be leaking fluids or hazardous in any way; and you must stay with your item during its repair — no drop-offs. It is of note that we arrived sharply at 10 a.m. and left at 10:45 a.m.! That’s efficiency.