Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Man About Town

So there I was this morning, standing in front of the bakery eating my Wednesday morning croissant and reading the headlines on the paper machines, when I woman approached me. She said, “You probable don’t remember me but you came to a garage sale I had a few years ago and asked about some stained-glass windows I had”. She was right, I didn’t remember her, which was odd because I go to maybe 2 garage sales a year. If they are more than a half a block out of my way I won’t bother

I like a good deal as much as the next guy, but I don’t have the patience for garage sales. There is just so much crap. In order to find something really good at a garage sale, you either need to be really committed and go to a lot of garage sales, or you need to be really lucky. I am neither. I struggled to remember her, and I tried to be polite, but I just couldn’t recall going to her house.

She described the windows to me and I still didn’t remember. She told me the garage sale was only a block or so from my house. Still, I drew a blank. Finally she described the house to me, and I remembered the sale. The house is on the way to a market that recently relocated to a larger location. I no longer go by there, but I now remembered the house and the sale. The house is another Victorian, although not quite as nice as The Petch House (as if any house could be). It’s a little on the plain side, but still a nice house.

I remembered the sale because I actually left with something. In her backyard there was a stack of 6 or 7 of those large foam, inter-locking pads you see put down on finished floors during construction. They were sitting in the backyard in the mud and I asked how much she wanted for them. She said they were free if I would just get them out of her yard. I happily scooped them up. Each pad is about 3 feet square and when inter-locked with each other they make a nice walking surface so you don’t scratch up floors or track dirt around the house during a major project. They were covered in mud but I drooled over them. They’re one of those things you would never see in a DIYers home. These could instantly lend an air of credibility to any project I do.

I took them home and threw them in my side yard were they sat for about 9 months until somebody stole them. I never did get to use them. Anyway, the woman said she still had the windows and asked if I wanted them. She also would be replacing the windows in her current home, a Craftsman Bungalow, in about 2 weeks and asked if I wanted those as well. I instantly said yes, and then asked how many there were. She said she has a “VW bus full” right now, and in 2 weeks there will be 28 sashes (I know the plural of sash is sash, but I refuse to use it) coming out of the bungalow.

Again, I said I was interested, but politely cautioned her that I wouldn’t be able to pay her for them. She said that’s fine, she just doesn’t want to pay the disposal fee to the company replacing the windows. At this point, it was all I could do to keep from asking her if she was putting in vinyl windows. I was afraid if she said yes, I might climb up on one of the newspaper machines and break in to a sermon decrying the evils of vinyl windows. I decided I didn’t want to spoil the deal of getting a bunch of free windows, so I didn’t take the conversation down that path.

We left the delivery of the sashes (there, I said it again) up in the air. She knows where I live and said she would bring them by. I told her if she sees my truck out front, I’m home, otherwise leave them on the side of the house. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them, but at least they’re not going to the dump.


jm said...

You, sir, are a true salvage gentleman! I salute you for saving those sash(es).

davidLBC said...

Salvage is a mixed blessing when it means something original, useful, durable and repairable is being replaced with something modern, inferior and disposable. Windows are the classic example, especially here on the West coast where we don't really need double panes and so much air-tight weatherstripping.

I salvaged dozens of sashes, subway & hex tile, and nearly 100 douglas fir single-panel doors (with all of their original hardware) from a small 1920's apartment building being "modernized" in my neighborhood. You just have to look for the tale tell Dumpster on the street. I grit my teeth to imagine the place with cheap ass home depot windows and fiberglass faux woodgrain doors. At least the old ones did not go to the landfill.

Similar doors sell for $100 each - sans hardware - at the local salvage yard. And by 'yard' I mean the small hardware store that manages to scrounge up a small collection of oddball doors. I've stripped and shellacked about 20 of them now, replacing crappy hollow core doors in my bungalow projects.

Save 'R' Sashes!