Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Friday, June 01, 2007 To the Curb
Trash is always on the lookout for a good deal. And where can you get a better deal than by the side of the road, where somebody has ditched something they don't want any more?
She also says it's better for the environment to reuse preexisting items than to buy new ones. I, however, am in favor of an environment in which I don't have to go try to fit stuff in my car before someone else shows up and takes it.
For example, a couple of weeks ago, when CorpKitten was in town, the two of them took M. Small for a walk and hadn't been gone for more than five minutes when they discovered a large stack of discarded picket fence segments. Since we've been planning to fence in a section of our backyard next to the garage to create a little play area, Trash smelled opportunity. All she had to do was call me on her cell phone, tell me to get in the car, come drive over to where they were, and start loading them into the back of the station wagon two at a time, while taking all possible care with the protruding nails that threatened to rip my upholstery and give it tetanus. CorpKitten helped me load and unload them, riding back and forth with me and holding them in place while my car was running on fumes and Trash was valiantly trying to keep M. Small entertained by walking his stroller up and down the steep hill where she'd found the fence. Obviously after an hour or so of that, M. Small had lost interest in a walk. Fortunately, so had everyone else.
And then a couple of days ago, Trash was on her way to a work thing in the evening when she spotted a bunk bed frame that someone had set out on the curb. She thought I should go get it.
"We only have one kid," I pointed out.
"He might have friends over," she said.
"I don't know how I'm going to get it into my car," I protested.
"You'll figure it out," she assured me.
"I don't wanna," I whined.
"Just go look," she said.
So I stuck M. Small into his car seat and we headed off down the street.
"Where we going?" he asked me.
"I dunno, kid," I muttered.
So we got there, and M. Small loved the white metal frame at first sight, immediately beginning to climb up the ladder. Clearly I was outvoted.
Fortunately, I could see how the bed frame could be disassembled. The thoughtful owners had been kind enough to take all the bolts out and tape them to the frame in a Ziploc bag. All I had to do was get it apart and put all the pieces in the back of my station wagon. While I was still cogitating on how exactly I was going to accomplish that, it started to rain.
I put M. Small back in the car, so now I didn't even have help from him any more. But then this old hippie came along, who had just come out to see if his car windows were closed, and he helped me get stuff in. We quickly realized that if M. Small was going to be in his car seat in the back, the largest pieces would be resting partially on his head, so he was just going to have to ride in the front for those five or six blocks, which meant I had to unstrap and reinstall his car seat next to me. And the bed frame, even disassembled, was far too large for me to close the tailgate even partially. I admit that I was in a hurry to get it in and get going as a result of the rain, so I didn't do the best packing I could have. It was pretty much built around the concept of jamming stuff in as tightly as possible and hoping the tension would hold it in place. This would have to be supplemented by an extra-careful driving style: slow, steady, and never, ever uphill.
We had just gone around the block and were at least headed in the right direction when I was not entirely surprised to hear a metallic crash behind me. In my rearview mirror, I saw a large, white, U-shaped bar resting in the middle of the street and receding behind me at about three miles per hour. The other U-shaped bar was half in and half out of the car, dragging along the pavement.
"What's that noisy sound?" M. Small asked me over the racket as we pulled over.
"Part of the bed falling out of the car," I explained. "I think I should go back and get it, what do you say?"
"Please," said M. Small happily, since that's almost always the answer to the question "What do you say?" His second guess was "Thank you."
So while I was running back up the street in the rain, an SUV came along and ran over the U-bar. It rattled noisily and settled back into the street with a couple of distinct new bends. I suppose I'm lucky it didn't take out the vehicle's transmission.
"I can't believe she didn't see that," said a guy walking past. "She was on her cell phone."
Despite the fact that it was raining harder, my second packing job was much better than the first, although it required me to drive with my right arm cocked uncomfortably behind myself, holding four large segments in place at once. With my tailgate open. With M. Small totally getting his Sean Preston Federline Spears on in the shotgun seat. In the pouring rain. With only one wiper blade.
When we got to the single traffic light on our way back, I took advantage of the pause to call Trash and tell her, "The next time you see something on the side of the road that you want me to come get, you can take a flying leap." And then I hung up before the light turned green. I would have hated to run over a bed frame or something.
It was still coming down in torrents when M. Small and I got home a minute later, but he didn't want to wait in the car for it to let up. I picked him up, got out of the car, and dashed with him to the back door and inside. I hadn't even put him down before he asked, "What happened to my shoe?"
Indeed, one of his socks was exposed to the elements. "Good question," I said. "Did you lose it in the yard or in the car?"
"In the car," he said after some thought.
"Then it's staying out there with your bent new bed until it stops raining," I informed him. He seemed to be fine with that.
When it stopped raining a little later, I went out and unloaded the bed frame pieces, surveying the damage as I did so. The U-bar still looked like a U from the right angle, but from the side it looked more like a ( than a |. And the two rectangular brackets that hold up the horizontal part of the upper bed had been flattened against the poles.
I decided to hang on to it for now, though. Who knows, maybe with a little bodywork it can be repaired. Getting it fixed might even cost less than a new frame would have, and we'll still be ahead.
Oh, and by the way? After the rain I found M. Small's soaked left shoe in the yard. So there. posted by M. Giant 11:10 PM 3 comments
Psssst to Trash - have you heard about Freecycle? Same "saving stuff from the landfills," environmentally friendly theory, only you can arrange a convenient pick-up time for items you are taking and there's no "hurry and get that off the curb before someone else does and/or it starts spewing weather down on us" stress.
And you people laughed, no, loudly MOCKED the rubber-necking yokels that sent their 8 year old hauling down the street for six blocks to pick up our old computer monitor. And bookshelf. And bar stools. You are SO THEM!! Teeth aside of course...