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architecture, Indy, Personal, Refurb, rehab

Trash or Treasure: A Tale from Indianapolis

As we endlessly toil away on our house, I had a few interactions tonight that are worth sharing.

Paul: I met Paul last evening in the alley behind our garage. Paul wears a flannel shirt and a straw hat, he pushes a garbage can strapped on top of a stroller. We routinely put our metal scraps in the alley as it’s the easiest way to dispose of them. Paul was helping himself to the scrap pile when I told him that there was a furnace stuck in our crawlspace he could have, if he could get it out. He said he would rally some fellow scrapper buddies and that they’d haul it out today. Upon arriving this evening I found Paul in our backyard and the furnace still in its place. Apparently all of Paul’s buddies don’t work on the first of month, as it’s check day, Social Security check day. After awhile, he came back with another guy, with my help we were able to lug it out of the crawlspace and onto a dolly. They then each pulled a beer out of the stroller, took a short break and headed back down the alley.

We fixed the obvious bearing problem first

We fixed the obvious bearing problem first

Roy: We had a large pile of 2×4’s that we kept from the demo. They take up lots of room in the dumpster and I figured we may end up using them in the future for some project or for a bonfire. It ended up, however, that we needed to move them to get a Bobcat around the side of the house. So I decided to just throw them on Craigslist as free lumber. Roy was the first to call asking about them, he said he need some lumber to finish off the chicken coop he was building. He came by and took about 20 boards. “I’ve got more time than money,” he said. I wish I was in the same spot; I feel like I’m right in the middle, not enough time or money. He said he’d only spent 7 dollars on his chicken coop thus far, and that he was almost done with it. Sounded like a fun project. He also took a few of the old 2×4’s for some of the work he had planned for his foyer, he said it’s easier to use an old board than it is to fur out a new one. Old 2×4’s are about 2 1/4″ by 4″, new ones are 1 1/2″ by 3 1/2.”

Photo good enough for Craigslist

Photo good enough for Craigslist

Kevin: Kevin was the second guy to call about the 2×4’s. After Roy had taken what he wanted I told Kevin he could take what was left. He showed up in a company truck, looking a bit more well-to-do than the other two fellows from earlier. I was worried he wouldn’t be interested in our shoddy pile of used 2×4’s, I was wrong, very wrong. He was interested in just about everything we had in our lawn, wire scraps, plywood scraps, ripped off vinyl siding, cheapo doors, 2×4’s… everything. I told him he could take pretty much whatever he wanted, minus a few items. Even just having him take the vinyl siding was a huge relief, no one recycles that stuff, so finding someone to reuse it was great. The somewhat bizarre part of the story is that he is a general contractor. He was literally going to use all of this stuff to complete various projects. I asked about the vinyl siding and he said that they had a shed that needed siding and that once you re-install  it and give it a good power washing it looks like new. He was also quite shocked at the state of our house. “You should have just started from scratch.” I told him to take it easy as this was our first time doing something like this. Later I told him I was an architect, “oh, now it makes sense, only an architect would try something this crazy.”

The home's current state.

The home’s current state.

About bjmcghee

Architect in training.


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