Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cuckoo for Cuckoo Clocks

I am sure I have mentioned Will's fascination with clocks. He loves 'em and sees them everywhere. Sometimes, he is actually seeing a scale in the produce department or the blood pressure meter in a doctor's office, but those sure do look like clocks and he gets very excited.

Will's Nana has a cuckoo clock on her wall that she has had since the mid-1950's. Every time he goes to Nana's house, he points out the clock. Ten years ago, M's mom moved in with Nana when her health started to deteriorate. At the time, the clock was moved to make some room for her things and the weights that make it work were taken off the clock and put someplace. The clock has been silent ever since. It has actually be a source of contention between the two of them.

With Will's clock fascination, we decided the perfect Christmas gift for Nana would be to replace the clock weights. I did some research and found that the weights would only be around $15 a piece and we only needed two. Nana was thrilled with her weights when she opened them for Christmas, declaring that we couldn't have done better, and she couldn't want to get the clock working so Will could enjoy it with her.

So, M took the weights in the other room to fix the cuckoo clock. I forgot to mention that I had to ask M's mom to take the clock off the wall to read some information on the back to figure out what kind of weights the clock would take, and that becomes important when M goes to put the weights on the clock and. . .

The entire clock fell of the wall, smashing into ten different pieces and pulling the chains and weights right out of the clock! M and I just stood there in horrified amazement. My "great idea" of a Christmas gift had just become nightmare.

See, replacing the clock would be about $200. . . but that would be a new clock, not this cuckoo clock that Nana has emotional attachments to. We didn't confess that it had been broken, just told her that it "wasn't working right" and that we needed to take it to the clock shop for a "tune up." We carefully collected all of the pieces and took it to the shop.

We were given an estimate of $180 to repair the clock, which considering the state it was in, probably was more than fair. But to be honest, that was a lot of money to us right now, especially on top of all that we just spent at Christmas. It's our fault the clock is broken, and we had to make it right, so I begged and pleaded to see if there was any way to fix it for less.

The guy took pity on our plight and put the chains back in, oiled the clock, reset the time, and even glued the pieces that were broken back together. Fortunately, the damage was cosmetic and the clock still works, despite it's fall from the wall. It might not keep the best of time, but it should work. And the guy did it for free.

We are heading up today to put the clock back on Nana's wall and hope it works there, too. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Edited: The cuckoo worked great! Every half hour, we'd get the little cuckoo, and on the hour, we'd get the string of cuckoos cheerfully announcing the time. Will would stop what he was doing to pay attention each time. Nana was thrilled. Finally, our gift was complete.

Oh, and if you live in the Seattle area and need clock repair or to buy a new clock, A House of Clocks is the place to go! Ask for Don.


HereWeGoAJen said...

You should put up his shop information so that he turns up when people are looking for reviews. Good service should be rewarded!

Danifred said...

Okay, I have quite the "thing" for cuckoo clocks. I don't own one, but I've always wanted to.

Katie said...

Danifred, I feel the same way. I told M that I never would have thought of clocks before, but having been in a clock shop, I am now pining for a grandfather clock and also our own cuckoo. It's amazing what they have in that little store.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I love clocks! I wish I lived near y'all so I could have an excuse to visit that store.

Anonymous said...
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Nicky said...

All the way through my teen years, my brother and I referred to one of my grandmothers as "Grandma Cuckoo Clock" because of the clock at her house. My brother has that clock in his home now, and I have a matching one at mine. So I totally get it.

A few things I've learned about cuckoo clocks:

1. We have dropped and smashed ours numerous times, and then glued it back together, re-attached the pendulum, re-hung the weights... and it's still going strong. Those things are made to LAST!

2. If the clock is not keeping good time, you can often adjust it yourself. Most cuckoo clocks have a weight on the pendulum that slides up and down to speed up or slow down the movement.

3. Living with a cuckoo clock can really grate on the nerves. The cuckooing is great at first, but after a while you kind of want to tear your hair out. We keep ours stopped, and when one of the kids is interested, we twirl the clock hands manually to make the bird come out. Another option is to put a little latch on the door to the birdhouse. This will allow the clock to function and keep the time, but it will stop the twice-an-hour cuckooing noise. When Will visits, you can unlatch it for his amusement.