Sunday, April 12, 2015

House call by "the train guy" & "Long Sleeves"

Since my last update on the model railroad situation in January - "A Watched Pot Never Boils" - my model trains haven't turned a wheel.  I picked up replacement items recommended by the tech, and he agreed to come by the house to install them.  But due to weather in February and his own car problems (and our travel) in March, it never happened.

Until this week.  He came by, and this time there was no "gender confusion" with my appearance (despite my feminine outfit.)  He did a professional job of installing everything - all the parts I bought were necessary to make things work again.  But given the fact that neither train had been run in over 9 months, the tracks have become dirty from household dust and possible oxidation.  That's causing signal and power fluctuations to the trains, with some arcing from the power contact wheels.  So, I'll need to clean the tracks.  He gave me instructions of what to get, so I'll receive the performance the trains are capable of providing.   My plan is to pick up the supplies "on the other side" as we head south for the wedding...but running trains a lot will help, even before I clean the tracks by hand.

It was great to be able to "Highball" some trains again, after such a long are a couple of pictures of my newly-reopened railroad:

 The first "meet" in a long time...

Shiny rails again, at last!

It looks like I'll be following Marian's and Pat's suggestions about the shirt sleeve length for my new suit.

No stores that I visited today on "this" side of the bridge, sell short sleeve dress shirts.   Six different venues.   We don't have a big and tall place here, but I've found out from trying on shirts, that even if we did, sizing isn't at all consistent.  Unfortunately, 1+1 is not necessarily 2, and trying on is a requirement..

Before leaving this morning, I measured my neck size as 17".  So, I went into a Joseph A Bank store, and they had me try on a 17-1/2 neck shirt, knowingly with sleeves too long and body too big.  The neck fit me just fine. But the $70 shirt didn't. The clerk said they can provide one with the proper sleeve length, and for a small charge ($15) can take in the oversize body. But they can't take in the "balloony-ness" of the sleeves (to coin a term) without an even larger alteration charge - if the tailor would even be willing to attempt it.  So, I could easily become the proud (?) owner of one shirt, for which I paid well over 2/3 the cost of the $150 suit!  That's just not economical - or practical.  So, we left.

We stopped into 5 other stores, of varying size and name.  The results:  inconclusive.  A 17-1/2" neck was 3/4" small in some shirts, or 1" small in others. We thought maybe I could try 18" or 18"1/2" necks, but then the body would be too big (again.)  I found ONE particular shirt with a 17-1/2" neck that may work - if my wife moves the neck button about a half inch looser. The sleeves are 35" but she thinks she can put an overlap in them to shorten them.

My only problem with that approach: the overlap will be visible if I take my jacket off.  So I'll be stuck in the jacket, even if it's 90 degrees out.  Thus, changing clothes will be required as soon as the ceremony and pics are over.   I'll see if she can put the overlap where I can at least take off the coat and roll up the sleeves to disguise case for some reason I can't change for a while.

What a surprise...we're having an alterations place hem the pants...they'll be done next Friday!

And the beat goes on....



  1. The word I have heard for loose sleeves like that is "blousey". Which puts it in a much better light, in my mind.

  2. The word I have heard for loose sleeves like that is "blousey". Which puts it in a much better light, in my mind.

    1. Hi Unknown,

      Thanks, couldn't come up with the word...appreciate the thought!


  3. Mandy -

    Best place to shop for a shirt that won't bankrupt you is a big and tall shop, if you're in that range. Given you have a belly that doesn't go with your neck size, err on fitting the body, leave the neck loose (wish I could do that) and do a sleeve overlap if needed. But....

    How did the person size you for the shirt? Generally, non-custom men's short measurements are: Neck (17.5") - err on the big side here. Then length of "Arm" - from center of shoulder to wrist. On a typical male, this might be 33-35". They have standard bellies associated with each neck size.

    However, since men carry weight in the belly (as I do way too much), the standard belly sizes vary. Have you noticed the number of men who wear pants with too small a waist, where the belly hangs like an abutment over the pants' waistline? This is the sign of pants not fitting well (too low).

    If you had time (and a few extra bucks) a custom shirt can be a good investment - even for a single use, as the alterations needed on an off the rack shirt aren't worth it, save to take in the shirt for a smaller belly. Nothing else lends itself to reasonably priced alterations.

    Just some random thoughts....


    1. Marian,

      The extra bucks for a custom shirt are an issue right now, with all the traveling we've been (and will be) doing. However, given that the neck would still be tight after moving the button, your suggestion about leaving the neck open may be the way to go, to avoid inducing a more pronounced "double chin." BTW, the size I should be wearing is 17-1/2x33 (if I can find a correct 17-1.2!)

      There are big and tall shops on the other side, and after this is all over, I should be able to find a better fitting shirt there, since I need "one" to go with the suit. But I'll keep this one as never knows.

      Thanks for the ideas!


  4. I would think your best bet would be an outlet mall where there will be dozens of stores that sell men's shirts. I have actually bouth shirts at discount stores such as BJs or Cosco. I woulld not rule out WalMart or Target. The key is a neck that fits. If you have too much puff in the sleeves leave it along and just tighten the button on the cuff.

    1. We tried Wally World luck there.

      But the good news is twofold...I tried on the shirt at home, and put on a tie with the neck open. It wife said it looked OK. Even the "blousy" sleeves will work under my jacket - though they'll need rolled up immediately if I take the jacket off. But the second positive thing is that she found a source for what are called "button extenders" - a plastic clip on a tab (to slip around a button), with another button on the tab. They function much like "bra extenders" we've all heard about, which can help with tight bra bands. One of those will be in on Monday, and should let the shirt "look buttoned."

      As far as visiting an outlet mall, that's a fabulous suggestion, which I hadn't thought of previously...and there are at least two of those here on the Delmarva. That should be where we can find the "well-fitting shirt" that I'll keep with my suit for "the next time I need to wear it..."

      Thanks so much for the comment!