Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 Hot Item
I talked a couple of weeks ago about how we got rid of our old water heater. Or, more specifically, how we got a new one. I really didn't discuss how we got rid of the old one, which didn't really happen until Chao came over this past weekend.
The thing is, I didn't want to make my dad haul it upstairs with me, after he'd already saved our bacon and all. So I asked Chao for his help in that area. He was nice enough to show up over the weekend and help me schlep it up the stairs from the basement. I think next time I get a new water heater, I'll set it up on the main floor. Maybe my study or something. Because trying to get a water heater up the stairs -- drained or not, and it was drained -- proved to be rather difficult indeed.
Funny thing about a water heater, it weighs about nine hundred and eleventy tons. You'd be surprised how hard it is to get something like that up a staircase. And I wouldn't have been able to accomplish that at all, without Chao. But fortunately, the two of us were able to manhandle the thing up the basement stairs and out the side door, where we managed to roll it across the yard. At which point I was really glad that the previous owners had opted for a cylindrical water heater instead of one of those square ones. With some supervision from M. Edium, we got it to the curb, where the garbage people would pick it up. At least in theory.
The "in theory" is where it kind of falls down, because yesterday afternoon, after the city garbage crew had been through, it was still there. But fortunately, the "in theory" doesn't cover what our friend Chao calls the "Jawas."
Do you have Jawas in your neighborhood? The people who drive around on garbage day with a pickup truck, gathering stuff people put out for the trash? Obviously they serve a useful purpose, reducing the amount of net waste in our society, but I've been a little freaked out ever since I saw a whole swarm of them once. It was eerie.
Anyway, at some point yesterday afternoon, I became aware of a pickup truck that had stopped outside our house. I looked outside in time to watch a woman with a ponytail light a cigarette, then climb out with a wrench that she started to use to remove the gas valve from the heater. Well, okay, if she can get it off, she can have it. But she couldn't get it off, so she decided to take the whole thing.
The truck bed was already full, was the tricky thing. Oh, and a water heater weighs about nine hundred and eleventy tons, so that was the other tricky thing. So I went to the back of the house get my shoes.
But by the time I was back at the front door and ready to go out and give her a hand with the heavy lifting, she'd already heaved it up onto the truck's tailgate. I was frankly amazed.
I watched her for a few seconds longer, trying to situate the thing so it wouldn't roll off the back the minute she pulled away from the curb. I suppose I still could have offered my help, but packing and arranging aren't really my strong suit. And I heard her drive away ten minutes later with no crash anyway, so clearly she was fine on her own.
Next time I have to get rid of a water heater, I'm not gong to bother hauling it out of the basement. I'll just put up a sign on the curb that says "FREE BROKEN WATER HEATER INSIDE, DOWNSTAIRS" and wait for her to come back. posted by M. Giant 11:59 AM 7 comments
When I moved out of my apartment in Brooklyn, I left all kinds of stuff behind -- little stuff I didn't care about enough to move. Little junk, crappy knock-together furniture, stuff like that. And in New York, on the right days at the right times, you can just leave everything on the curb. So I left all this stuff on the curb, including trash bags and stuff.
Forgive me as I am sleep deprived, but why does Chao call them Jawas? I'm not getting that and I bet I should...
Our street is the main drag for Jawas, and we've been disposing of our junk that way for 15 years. We once had someone stop to pick up our old storm door before we had it completely off the doorframe. And despite the fact that it had our house number bolted to it.
Heather, Jawas is, I think, a Star Wars reference. The Jawas were those funny hooded-robe wearing creatures that bought and sold robots and other scrap.....
WHAT?!?!?! By HERSELF?!?!?!? I'm so emasculated right now. I have moved cast iron steam heat radiators up and down stairs and I don't remember them being as heavy as your water heater. Kudos to her (and her penis).
When my husband moved in with me in Chicago, we were putting things that he wasn't bringing to my apartment by the dumpster in the alley. We put an old desk there, then went back to his apartment for another load. By the time we returned, less than 10 minutes later, the desk was gone and no one was in sight. The Jawas will take anything here -- including the dumpsters themselves. Two weeks ago, we had to call the city to replace our large garbage cans that we put out on garbage day because someone had taken them (from our townhouse and 4 others).
For future large-trash reference, in Mpls the garbage guys take notes (on your recycling day), and the large-trash guys come by the *next* day to pick stuff up. I suspect they do it in purpose to keep the amount of junk the city has to deal with low, because pretty much anything metal or useful will be scavenged long before then (as you have documented).