Friday, August 8, 2008

Running Wild


Today was errand day - with gas the same price as a good steak, I don’t go out until I have a pile of errands and then I just plow through them… by the end, I’m generally twitching, but that’s the price ya pay…

Errands usually means I have to drive to the next town over - the only things I can do in my little town is Post office, bank and library… and a trip of 15 miles means I’d better have a bunch to do there! So I gathered up books that hadn’t won the unpacking contest - if they’ve been in the garage for 8 months, I don’t need ’em - and added them to the truck, along with a Hefty bag full of packing peanuts (I saw a pawnshop advertising they had a need - great chance to get rid of them!) and then decided Today Was the Day: I’d get the scrap metal to the recycler. It was the water tank that put me over the top -- not only was it butt-ugly in a way that shrieked “Hick!!” but my neighbor had been ogling it, so it must be worth money. It also was a few pounds more than I’m used to lifting… and that truck bed seemed to have risen a couple inches. Even backing the truck as close as possible and trying to just lean it in and push, I was sweating and trembling when I got that sucker in - I punched the air: Yes! Then the metal cabinet that looked like it had been rejected by an auto repair shop, and the twist of steel pipe that the old guy had used as a front handrail, and an old coal scuttle (I think) and some scraps of pipe that I’d inherited-- and the old lawn mower. I had to rest up a bit after that…

Eventually, I was dressed for public and ready to go. I am at the age where I have to list my errands chronologically or I will forget one… and even so, I occasionally shoot past an item, grind more enamel from my teeth and have to go back… today wasn’t too bad -- though I ended up with errands that took me 2 towns over, and went through the gauntlet of fast food smells just at lunchtime. Another rough spot was when I dropped the donated books off at the Friends of the Library, and I found that paper covers were 25 cents, magazines a dime, and hardcovers 50 cents… and ended up with just about as many books as I’d dropped off. But better ones. That’s the important thing - right??

The scrap metal place was like landing on the moon. Not being a guy, I had never been to an auto scrapper, and I hesitated at the entrance. A girl who looked about high school age told me she’d weigh me in - just drive onto the scale. Like I ever, ever get anywhere near a scale?? Well, sacrifices must be made… She said my stuff was “shredder” stuff -- I tried to picture something like my paper shredder that could handle the water tank. Sitting on the scale-bridge, I could see beyond to the scrap heap -where crushed-car sculpture twisted around unidentified steel filigree two stories high, and a backhoe-type vehicle, waving a magnet the size of a manhole cover, was lifting tangles of metal bits -- like that desktop toy that was all the rage a few years ago. The girl was telling me I had to drive into that -- “All the way to the end; you’ll see some appliances” … my little truck could too easily be mistaken for scrap (so could I, for that matter)! Full of foreboding, I drove forward, skirted the monster magnet as fast as I could without taking out the front axle (this wasn’t a road; it was a slag heap only slightly flattened by the haulers). Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a spark, looked over - and it seemed like ancient gnomes hunched over alchemical fires! Still trying to steer, I risked another glance - guys with hoodies were bent over large metal hunks, either soldering on or cutting off bits. Never did find out…

I got back to the appliances (including -- I wanted to cry -- an antique 1920’s washer) and parked near the Tower of Toyota. To think that people stacked car pancakes as carelessly as I stack books! In the shadow of that unstable avalanche-in-waiting, I unloaded my scrap, trying hard not to twist my back. An ambulance would flatly refuse to pick me up here, I was sure. Luckily I didn’t have to worry about damaging anything else, so I could just let the junk fall out of the truck. I noted a very flattened egg beater was part of the “pavement”, as well as a car’s rear view mirror (the metal, anyway) and a hubcap, and some large bed springs -- all as flat as Swedish pancakes. I cringed for my tires, and eased my truck back out of the hellhole. Back on the scale, I learned I was 180 lbs lighter! I was floored -- I’d hoisted one hundred eighty pounds in and out of my truck?? No wonder my muscles were trembling like a 90-year-old’s! I felt very proud of myself in that moment. The thrill faded somewhat when I got my check for $13.45... I risked a multi-thousand-dollar injury for enough money to treat myself to a KFC banquet?? Okay, lesson learned. But at least the crap was gone from the yard.

I wasn’t finished with the rural aerobic session tho -- at Home Despot, I had to get fence-fixin’s… four concrete deck-blocks that had a carved space so that a 4x4 would sit upright in it… dang expensive, but it had a much better chance of becoming a fence that my planning to dig a hole and pour my own concrete! I sucked it up and got the 4x4’s and 2x4’s in order to get my side fence finished (I hope)…and one packet of roofing shingles to get the pump house roof redone (man, I‘d forgotten how heavy roofing shingles were!)…The truck sagged even more on the way home, so I’m guessing another 180 lbs. at least…? I certainly couldn’t blame it on the front seat full of books.

Anyway, it’s taken me most of the afternoon to unload the truck, and that’s a good day’s hauling… with luck, I’ll actually use all the stuff I bought before the rains come back…but even if I don’t, it’s still cheaper than a day at the gym.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Hello Cathy - I found you over at Grandad's - only to find that you have stopped posting.
Couldn't resist a read tho - you sound as bad as me particularly with the book recycling store and lumping stuff around that is far too heavy!