Tuesday, July 2, 2013

free? I'm on it!

I have a longstanding addiction to anything that is free.  If it has a "Free" sign on it, I. Must. Have. It.  I don't know if it's a thrifty gene I inherited, or just the fact that I am cheap and I'm not ashamed to be a scrounge.

Someone put a big baby stroller (a nice one) out on the side of the street the other morning a couple of blocks from us with a free sign on it.  I think I gave myself a chiropractic adjustment whipping my head around to look at it.  I had to turn my head the other direction to stop seeing double.  But I kept driving.  Then I had to argue with myself for about two miles not to go drive back and put it in my car.

And then what would I do with it?  Try to find someone who needs it?  That’s what they’re already doing.  Duh.

I think it’s a disease or something.

And it gets out of hand sometimes.  I'm kind of hit and miss with Craigslist and online local liquidation auctions because after all, you DO have to pay money for that stuff.  You have the thrill of the hunt, but you have to fork out cash.  Ix-nay on the ash-cay.

Freecycle is my drug of choice.  Everything is free.  FREE!  And if someone tries to get money for their stuff, people report them and their posts get yanked for not playing fair.  I love that!

Yesterday on freecycle, there was a lady giving away a table and six chairs.  Well, since Phyl, my ever-so-patient husband, has mentioned numerous times that he does not like our dining room chairs, I jumped on the offer and asked if I could have them.  She replied and said I could.  SCORE!

Then I had to break it to Phyl, that once more, I had a mission for us, to go check out this table and chairs.  Well, I don’t need a table.  We have several tables in the garage that I need to give away.   I think I like the table I have right now.  But these chairs and table came as a set, even though I only wanted the chairs.  This could be a tough sell with my hubby.

So I sat down at the table, stared at him while he was cooking dinner, until he finally said—What!?

As soon as the “f” word escaped my lips, I saw his teeth grit together, and inside, I started to giggle a little.  I knew what was coming.  But I told him about the chairs and reminded him how much he doesn’t like our chairs.  They’re a little top heavy with the tall backs, and he’s always afraid that they’re going to fall over backwards when the grandbabies are on them because they bounce around so much.  And, the seats are cushy and covered in fabric, so we’re constantly washing them to clean the little kids’ drips and dribbles up.

These chairs, I told him, don’t have fabric that will collect cat hair or get stained.  And they are shorter and not so tippy.  He should have to admit that they were at least worth going to look at.  Reluctantly, he went with me.

So we get there, and this table I swear weighed about 75 pounds all by itself.  It's a behemoth of a table..about two inches thick.  Not easy to move.  But the chairs didn’t seem shaky when I tested them, so I said we’d take them, of course!

So we loaded them up.  We had two cars--I figured two chairs in each backseat, upside down, and one in the front seat of each car.  We could tie the table on the roof of the car because we didn't have far to go.  It wouldn't be too obvious that we were trying to make do without a trailer or truck to schlep our secondhand goods home.  Okay, that sounds good, but really.  I can't lie.  I have driven home from the opposite side of the city with my trunk wide open with a free piece of furniture sticking out.  I've piled stuff on top of the car, tied it to the roof, and driven home holding on to it out the window.   I'm not proud.

So we got them home, and yes, they need to be washed.  There are sticky spots, and little dried up rivers of milk on them (bleck), but nothing that a scrubbie and some soap and water won't be able to handle.  And Phyl discovered that the joints on the backs of the chairs need to be glued, and almost all of them have been reinforced with deck screws so that they don’t wobble, but whatever.

My motto is that a little change is good for the soul.  And they are about the same color as my beautiful (free) dining room hutch.   And we’ll probably keep them until there are no grandbabies living here anymore.  When the kids are gone permanently, I may raise my level of scrounging and maybe look on Craigslist, in addition to watching freecycle, to see if I can find some grown-up chairs that are pretty and not just functional.

I think there are only a few pieces of furniture left in our house that weren’t free: our bed, our TV stand, and a couple of cabinets that came with my old desk.  I think that's pretty dang cool.