I was so pleased with myself. The Big Girl's passport exires in July, and I planned to apply for the renewal in Kansas City. Because she's under fourteen, I have to apply in person.
One of the drawbacks of New York is that if you're trying to do something, at least thirty other people are also trying to do it. And for something like a passport renewal--well, maybe it wouldn't be a hassle, but I wouldn't want to find out. And in Kansas City, you just hop in your car and go; somehow that makes it seem a lot easier.
At Christmas, I applied for the Little Girl's passport in Kansas City, and it couldn't have been quicker or easier.
So I gathered the application form, passport photos, and the notarized letter from the Big Man, allowing me to apply for a passport without his presence. Then, just before we were about to set off, I decided to double-check the passport agency's website. And I saw that I needed the Big Girl's birth certificate--which I'd left in New York.
I'm so annoyed with myself. Usually I double- and triple-check requirements like this; what happened?
Because I'd thought I'd avoided having to do this errand in New York, it now looms even more horribly in my mind. Aargh.
When I was young, I was puzzled by the adage: "A stich in time saves nine." I just didn't understand the meaning of the sentence. Then finally light dawned: "Oh, it means that taking one stich right away saves needing to take nine stitches later."
Like many wise old sayings, it's absolutely true. If I'd taken fifteen seconds to double-check the requirements on-line before leaving New York, I'd have made my task a lot easier. Plus I would have been able to do an annoying errand during a vacation day, instead of a work day. (Unlike many wise old sayings, "A stitch in time saves nine" isn't contradicted by some other wise old saying. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" and "Out of sight, out of mind." "He who hesitates is lost" and "Haste makes waste."
Oh, well. I remind myself of another wise old saying: "Don't make a mountain out of a molehill."
A Stitch in Time Saves Nine Meaning
Definition: If you solve a problem as early as possible, it will save you time by not becoming a bigger problem.
The proverb a stitch in time saves nine means that, if one solves a problem while it is developing, one will save oneself time and work in the future. It alludes to the art of sewing. If a seamstress is working on a garment and notices a hole, she may repair it as soon as she sees it. This will prevent the hole from growing larger and will save her some work in the future.
Origin of A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
This saying has its roots in the 18th century. One of its early appearances is in Thomas Fuller’s 1732 collection of proverbs.
The proverb was popular before its appearance in the book, but, as it the case with most English proverbs, the etymology of this one is unclear.
Another early print source in Francis Baily’s 1797 Journal of a Tour in Unsettled Parts of North America in 1796 & 1797, which was published in 1856:
After a little while we acquired a method of keeping her in the middle of the stream, by watching the moment she began to vary, and thereby verifying the vulgar proverb, “A stitch in time saves nine.”
The word nine in this expression is confusing – a stitch in time saves nine what? Because it is related to sewing, one can assume a stitch in time saves nine stitches. It is unclear why nine was chosen specifically; it may be because it rhymes.
Examples of A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
In this sample exchange, Robert and Natasha are working on their car. Natasha notices the air pressure is a little low in one of the tires. When she points it out to Robert, he encourages her to inflate the tire now because a stitch in time saves nine.
Natasha: This tire’s a little low.
Robert: Go ahead and pump it up.
Natasha: I’m sure it will be fine until tomorrow.
Robert: Yeah, but you could also have a flat tire before then. You know what they say – a stitch in time saves nine.
- The old saying, “a stitch in time saves nine” is even more true when it comes to road repairs. Road maintenance that costs $1 today on a decent road can grow by $9 when a road’s “Pavement Condition Index” slips to “fair,” or by $45 dollars when the road condition falls to “failed,” according to the California Transportation Commission. – San Francisco Chronicle
The English proverb a stitch in time saves nine means that one should fix a problem as soon as one notices it to save one some extra work in the future.