Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Man's Trash

We got a new oven about 16 years ago when we had the kitchen redone. In the past year or so, it has had its problems. The hinges on the top oven's door started to get stuck when the oven was hot, making it almost impossible to get it open. Our appliance repairman advised Laurie that the hinges were no longer available, but we solved the problem for awhile by having him switch the hinges with the ones on the rarely-used bottom over door. Along the way, the clock reset to 0:00 and could not be changed. The replacement hinges started getting cranky a couple of weeks ago. And then the heating element on the top, used for broiling, stopped heating up.
Because the unit is built into a cabinet, we were limited to specifically-sized replacements and, in fact, it turned out to be only one, the same model we had, only updated to a 21st century version, with digital controls instead of knobs. (I haven't looked that closely, but I guess the hinge assembly is different too.) So yesterday afternoon, our regular handyman, Mr G., came to install it. He did so quickly and cleanly, and put the old oven out at the curb for garbage pickup Friday morning.
Except that it won't be there.
Sitting at my desk, I look out on the street in front of the house. This evening, I watched while a minivan slowed to a stop. After a few moments, the driver then backed down the block into the nearby dead end. He got out, walked around to the back of the van, and opened it up. After moving some things inside around, he then backed up the block to the edge of our driveway. Looking around like he expected someone to come out and yell, "Stop, thief!" at any moment, he quickly loaded the oven into his van, slammed the door and drove away.

This is not thte first time this has happened. Many years go, when we first moved into the house, we pulled up a carpet in one of the rooms. The room had apparently been "home" to the dog owned by the previous residents and when poochie wasn't walked often enough, he relieved himself on the carpet. Needless to say, the carpet was stained...and smelled! I rolled it up, tied it and put it out at the curb. That evening, a car pulled up, two women got out, popped the trunk, and put the carpet inside. I have always wondered what their reaction was when they got it home and unrolled it. Maybe they too had a "doggie room"?

But that is not the most bizarre story. When we still had the detached garage, it became the repository for all the big boxes we'd accumulated. One from our TV, others from the air conditioners, and one from the electric typewriter Laurie got me as a birthday gift. Well, one spring day, Laurie decided to clean out the garage and found, way in the back, among the "treasures" we'd stored, a dead raccoon! After trying in vain to get a couple of the neighbors to help, she used a snow shovel and loaded the creature into the typewriter box. She then sealed it up and dragged it out to the curb.
That evening, as I was sitting at my desk, I watched a car pull up. The driver got out and looked at the box. He tried lifting it and, seeing that it was heavy, apparently decided there was a typewriter inside. He popped his trunk, hoisted the box in, and zoomed away.
One can only imagine what happened when he got his treasure home!


  1. Here in Oz, it's actually illegal (and is rated as a theft!) if you take something that's been left out for hard-rubbish collection. I've never actually heard of anyone prosecuted for it, but there you go, that's the law. I've heard stories of people putting things out at yard/garage sales with a "free to a good home" sign on them that don't sell, but if you then put them out for hard rubbish collection, they get "stolen" quite handily.

  2. We had a citywide clean-up this past week and I found myself putting out lots of perfectly good stuff that I'd never had any luck getting rid of at rummage sales. I made a point of piling the best "trash" so that it was plainly visible from the street and it worked like a charm. At 10PM, flashlights were still visible outside as people carried off stuff.

    A friend at work told me a better one, though. Her uncle put an appliance on the curb and slapped a "Free" sign on it. Two weeks later, it was still there. So he replaced "Free" with "$50." Someone snatched it within a couple hours.

    JOhn Wells



  4. How did I not know that Bob Rozakis has had his own blog for more than 10 years? And why did I compulsively jump to the beginning of the blog to start reading it?

    But yeah, stuff put out on the curb is a good way to get rid of stuff, or to get stuff, if it's good, cleanable, and/or fixable.