Thanks to everyone who commented last week with suggestions on how to remove the platen on the Remington. I spent part of last week finishing with the cleaning of the type bars, and then pulled out my tool kit to take off the platen.

Once I had an idea of what I was doing, it sounded easy enough. Loosen/take out a couple of screws, make sure you know where they go, easy peasy, right?

Except I never actually made it that far. Five screwdrivers, a putty knife, and a can of WD-40 later, all I had to show for my efforts was a nice big divot in the platen knob where my screwdriver repeatedly skipped out of what is apparently the narrowest screw slot in the history of man. Two of them wouldn’t even fit into the groove, one was too narrow to get any torque, and the other two just weren’t up to the challenge. Even after greasing and leaving it, that screw is in there.

I’ve done the compressed air routine repeatedly, but there’s what feels like 2-3 larger pieces of corroded metal that have fallen off of something else, and fallen under the platen. At first I thought it might be easier to take off the carriage than the platen (since that’s the case with my Oliver, and that’s the only machine I’ve been daring enough to attempt such a feat on), and at this point it looks like I might be right–not because that’s the way it was designed, but because this machine is just so damn stubborn.

I’m starting to get really frustrated with my typewriters. I think I got spoiled by having my first machine be a KMM in near-perfect condition. But in every case, the machine is just this close from working: The Oliver just needs a new draw band, which I can fix as soon as I get that little clippy-thingy reattached to the carriage (I guess I’m not dexterous enough for that; I’ve tried a few times and it keeps falling off). The Royalite was mostly functional, I just couldn’t stand it–my problem, not the machine.

And then there’s the Remington. Which, admittedly, has a laundry list of problems, but most of them are pretty minor. I know there’s something off on it, since the capital letters ghost when I’m writing in lowercase and often don’t print at all when I shift (Hm. Wonder if that’s related to any of the other problems?) I think I’m going to have to break down and take it to a repair shop, if I can find one that works on antiques around here. I found one that appears to be out of a nearby private home, but I will have to call first.

You know, right after I get my laptop fixed, since really, I need that more.

Arg. I give up.

At least for today.

Although, I did find a temporary solution to the laptop problem. Did you know that G4 laptop batteries have dropped from $70+ to less than $20? I just found out. So I ordered one and resisted the urge to order a spare. My old Powerbook has Word and a working internet connection, which is really all I need to write, and with the new battery it solves the “OMG, MUST SAVE EVERY THIRTY SECONDS BECAUSE I COULD LOSE EVERYTHING IF ANYONE TOUCHES MY POWER CORD!!” panic. Because when you’re really in the groove, you might not remember to save for ten pages. Or twenty.

Ask me how I know this.

Ahem.

So while one of my writing machines insists on merely limping long when I know it could sing if it wanted to (mixed metaphores, I know. Sue me, I’m writing this pretty late), I have brought another back from the grave. Zombie computers!

Okay, I’m done now.

Enjoy your Halloween.