Thursday, August 14, 2008

Modern Euphemisms: Recycling

Inspired by Elaine at Bless This DIY Mess, I decided to do a little dumpster diving-- ahem! I mean, recycling of my own first thing this morning.

Funny that I hadn't thought of it before. The elderly couple across the alley is moving out to a smaller home, with the intermittent help of various family members. For the past week they've had a full-sized dumpster out back of their house, being filled with all sorts of things. My eyes rolled over it every time I took the dog out to do his business, but I never bothered to investigate.

But this morning I went across to have a closer look-see.

Hmmm, what have we here? Two perfectly good picnic benches. I'd noticed them poking out before, but assumed they were both broken. But no. Just unwanted.

Me, I don't need two picnic benches. Not without a picnic table, anyway. At any rate, one of them was buried too deep for me to remove. But the other . . . it looked manageable, and it'd make a good low scaffold for taking down long pieces of doorway trim for stripping.

The bench was tilted up with one end above the rim of the dumpster and the other submerged in and under a lot of other stuff: Miscellaneous loose and outdated books on junior college subjects of no interest to me. A big black trash bag, torn, full of toiletries about to spill out. A funny oak chair missing a back slat. A small wooden outdoor table painted the same color as the picnic benches. A big piece of scabby plywood over on top of it all. I lifted the plywood, shifted the books, scootched the chair, managed to roll the bag of toiletries over without dumping it on the ground, and pulled out the little table and claimed it as my first prize. Then with an effort of shifting, pushing, and pulling, I finally got the picnic bench up and out and down on the ground.

I don't know what the rules are around here on dumpster-diving, but I felt a little sneaky as I picked up the bench and got it inside my fence and into the house.

However unsettled I felt, it didn't keep me from going back across the alley this afternoon and pulling out that funny oak chair, missing slat and all. The legs and seat are basically solid and I've decided it'll look cute on my back porch.

It's a church chair, as I realized when I saw the hymnbook rack on its back, and the dowel shelf underneath. Appropriate, since its now-former owner is a retired Methodist minister. Well, it's gone over to the Presbyterians now-- it must have been predestined!

At any rate, isn't recycling a modern virtue?


Jayne said...

Cool finds! I did the same thing the other night behind a commercial building that's being gutted, but I didn't find anything usable. Next time I'm bringing my little stepladder for easier access. I hear there are bricks in there somewhere.

Kate H. said...

Ooooh, loose bricks! I wish I could find a discarded stash of those. I need them to edge my garden borders.

Good luck!

Sandy said...

I think bricks are the most sought after thing around. I was just thinking earlier today that I would love to have some old bricks to make a spot for our barbeque grill to sit on when we get it out of the shed to use.

I am never above "recycling". After all, one man's trash is another man's treasure! And I must do my part to keep things out of the landfill! (My husband totally HATES when I do that! -- that's because I usually make him get whatever it is I want out of someones trash -- I mean recycle pile)

Jennifer said...

Very cool! DUmpster Diving is the way to go!

Elaine said...

The chair looks happy in the Sow's Ear. Nice work!

Kudos, too, on your woodword-stripping progress. You are a MACHINE!

Kate H. said...

Elaine, if I'm a wood stripping machine, it needs overhauled! It only goes in fits and starts!

Jayne and Sandy, good luck with your brick locating and hauling. I've noticed these people also have a pile of bricks stacked by the side of their driveway, and I'm watching for someone to come around, so I can ask if they'll let me take them off their hands. Haven't seen any cars or the U-Haul the last few days.