Thursday, September 27, 2012

Like London buses . . .

. . . there's nothing for ages and then two come along at once.

I've joined the Criminal Minds blogging group at the kind invitation of the lovely Kelli Stanley, and my first tour of duty is today.

Also today, at the kind invitation of the lovely Donna Andrews (starting to see a pattern here)
I'm guest blogging over Femmes Fatales

Different topics, but the scholarly wisdom in both, naturally.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Diving for Treasure (in dumpsters).

So it's the end of August and the students of UC Davis are on the wing, flitting from one flat to another and leaving all kinds of great stuff behind them for wombles like me.

Last year's Dumpster Diving Bye-laws still hold:

DD1: any fabric you can wash on a hot setting is fine (or BOILWASH for short).
DD2: always save presents from elders to ungrateful wretches who've thrown them out. (GRANNY)
DD3: no hats, hairbands or earrings. (NITS)
DD4: always save good stuff you find in bad places even if you only leave it in a better place for someone who wants it. (RE-DUMP)
DD5: no food. (GACK)

But this year I added:

DD6: take nothing that needs painted, stripped, varnished, sewn, nailed, glued or screwed OR that's going to the garage while you work out what to do with it. (NO PROJECTS).

And here's what happened.

Trip 1:

Tomato supports, roll of garden mesh, wire basket, small vintage side-table (the undergardener mentioned (and not for the first time) his belief that I would spend good money on dried pigeon plops if they were vintage dried pige . . .), camping cooking pots (for gathering berries in), clothes-pegs, Hallowe'en decorations (see below)

and, in the basket, a perfectly colour-schemed haul of bathrobe (from Target but brand-new), neckerchief, suede card wallet and string of plastic peace beads.

No bye-laws broken or even bent.  Ding-ding, round two.

Trip 2

A fake mahogany (Mahoganee?) filing cabinet that I actually need because if you give every book three files (drafts, notes, contracts) and keep writing, eventually your filing cabinet is full, an army toolbox (I just tried to get the undergardener to say "vintage" by asking him what he thought it was, but he went with "old"), a tub of washing powder (what's wrong with these people? Are they going to Nudist Year Abroad?), a torch, two Christmas candles still in their wrappers, a bungee, oven mitts, scissors, a parmesan grater, and a drinks tray from the Korean Hope Church of San Diego (not available in stores).

What's that you say?  Something else?

Oh yes, a chest of drawers that needs to go to the garage because it has to be stripped, re-painted, possibly varnished, then get new handles and bun feet.  A slight trangression of DD6, I'll grant you.  BUT - we need it for when my sister comes to stay next month (and don't worry, Auds, it'll be transformed.  I'm even planning to get the new handles in the Carmel branch of Anthropologie and how posh is that?)

Before Trip 3 - a digression.  My diving buddy (who asked to remain anonymous so let's call her Rarah Sizzo) is a mosaic artist and her main task every year is to find brooms.  Mosaicing makes a lot of dust.  2012 was a bumber year for brooms.

And a gratifyingly light year for the GRANNY rule. But there was one shocking example of a heartless youngster lobbing out a present that should have been kept for ever. In this nasty, nasty dumpster:

we found this:

someone's fifteenth birthday present - actually inscribed! - and put her out on a plate to keep her bottom clean.  She was gone the next day.

And now for Trip 3

A document tray, a watering can, a bubble-maker, a(nother) broom, a carpet for the top of the compost heap and it's borderline even at that, a tub of dishwasher tablets (what's wrong with these people?) a tennis ball (?), some glittery, sticky letters, a quilt just the right colour for my spare bedroom and, on the quilt:

four bags of packing shreddies, a bag of feathers (?), rolls and rolls of ribbon (chopstick-based ribbon-roll organising system model's own) a tub of screws and Game of Thrones.  All served on a base of  . . . tah-dah . . . find of the year . . . a dishwasher.

Yep, we've got the whole set now.  A dumpster-dived dishwasher to go with our dumpster-dived cooker:

and our dumpster-dived fridge:

And after the undergardener spending one morning as underplumber instead, it's in and it's working.  I love students. (Except when the new intake arrives next week and starts cycling at night with no lights and no brains while texting, I'll get back to you).