Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New Albin Free Garage Sales, a.k.a. Spring Clean-Up Day

Every spring and fall, we have one trash pickup where we are allowed to put all kinds of stuff out and it will be hauled away, as long as it isn't toxic waste or old tires. Barry and I are proud to announce that we had our biggest throwaway pile EVER. The pile diminished as the day grew nearer (we started putting stuff out Saturday and it will be picked up this morning sometime), not because we changed our minds, but because people actually wanted OUR JUNK.

I thought the word had gotten out that if the Stahls are throwing something away, it's really hopeless. Anyway one man came by for an old garage door, and another went through the whole pile and pulled out all the metal, presumably for scrap. At any rate, everybody considers everyone else's junk piles as fair game, so there is a lot of swapping going on in the days before a Clean-Up Day. Lots of pickups cruising slowly around the neighborhood, lots of kids on bikes rescuing toys from each other's piles. It's fun.

I was quite restrained, considering; usually I manage to scrounge more immeasurable treasure from other people's piles than we can throw away in our own. I did find one thing, though, that I couldn't believe: A vintage Pyrex Flameware 6-cup glass percolator, complete with the stem and filter baskets and everything, dirty but otherwise perfect. Unbelievable. I have it soaking in oven cleaner at the moment and am going to eBay it as soon as I can. People who hesitate to cook with aluminum love those things, and they're getting harder to find these days (I don't believe they have been made since the 1960s). In the same pile I found a bunch of unused padded shipping envelopes, neatly packed in a plastic bag. Nabbed those babies too, of course. Yesterday, in someone else's pile, I found an old wooden nail barrel, from a hardware store. I can probably get twenty bucks out of it on eBay.

I try not to go look at the piles but then it starts nagging at me, wondering what is being picked up by the Trash Men right this very moment, what is likely to be smashed beyond recognition in the truck, what is going to a landfill right now that I really need, so I jump on my bike and take one more cruise around. That's pretty much what happened with the Pyrex pile this morning. I had dropped the girls at Driver's Ed and was on my way home when I spotted a pile that hadn't been there on my last Junk Cruise. I'm glad I stopped.

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