There is a saying that goes ďIf you want it done right, do it yourself,Ē and I know just what that means, since lately, Iíve been trying to catch up with time.

You see, I inherited an antique, pendulum-type mantel clock, which has a reputation for keeping excellent time.

Itís been in the family for quite a long time, and thatís where itís going to stay.

I like it a lot, as it has pleasant and mellow-sounding ďbing-bongĒ chimes, and it looks just great, giving the place that touch of class.

However, age crept up on it, and one day, it stopped and refused to re-start.

So, clock man, here I come.

After cleaning the insides of more than a hundred years of dust and stuff, plus a complete relubrication, it was ready to go.

The job of regulating it fell to me, of course, and now Iím responsible for restoring its accuracy.

Well, this shouldnít be hard, so I met the problem head-on.

After all, whatís so difficult about getting a clock to keep time?

Weíll see.

To save you a lot of painful details, letís just say that after three months of setting and re-setting, the clock is still winning, but I havenít lost hope, and Iíve learned the key is obviously patience and perseverance.

After fiddling back and forth, which has to be done a week at a time so I could tell if I was making progress or not, I thought I could see the light at the end of this time tunnel.

Just as I was closing in on accuracy by adjusting the ďfine tunerĒ a little at a time, I ran out of adjustment!

And it was still gaining about six minutes a week.

This means to slow it down, the pendulum must be lengthened just a tad, the fine adjuster must be centered again, and then I have to go back to square one, tweaking and fiddling once a week.

This is where things stand at present.

Itís a case of adjust, wait and see how weíre doing, then adjust a little more, and so on.

All this must be done a week at a time, while I listen to the Ďbing-bongí telling me that itís quarter to eleven, or half past three when it isnít!

So far, the clock is Ďone upí on me.

Iím resigned to my temporary fate, which is Iím still adjusting.

Iíll probably be late for my appointments, but at least I have an excuse.

Where are we now?

As things stand, I presently have a good looking antique clock, which almost ó almost ó keeps time and sounds off with a very pleasant Ďbing-bongí every 15 minutes or close to it.

Well, I donít care about being late.

I still like my clock.

As a matter of fact, I like it even more than the clock that I set by the signal tone from the National Bureau of Standards.

I like it more than the satellite-controlled watch I got for Christmas.

I like it more than the fancy AM-FM clock radio, which wakes me every morning with music I hate because itís a sure way to get me up, and hereís why.

None of those has the romance that goes with a genuine antique timepiece that works really well.

None is made with true old-fashioned craftsmanship, complete with its shining brass, delicate inlays of exotic woods and mother of pearl, and is a pleasure to look at.

None of them can lull me into an afternoon nap with its subdued tick tock.

None of them tells me the time every 15 minutes with a melodic Ďbing-bongí that seems to say, ďRelax. Allís right with the world, because some things can be relied upon, and Iím one of them.Ē

So is it any wonder I like this clock?

Thatís why Iím going to remain faithful to my old friend, and though it may take a little time and trouble, one of these days, my clock and I are going to come to terms.

Thatís when plan B goes into effect.

Once I get that clock back to where it keeps accurate time, and I know itís capable of, Iím going to put it right next to my sundial.

Maybe itíll take the hint.

Mike Morton writes weekly for the Kansan.

He can be reached at

Mikeís book, ďOn The Loose Collection, Volume OneĒ is on sale in Newton at the Kansan, 121 W. 6th St., and at Andersonís Book and Office Supply, 627 N. Main St.