Monday, January 16, 2012


I picked up a little side hobby when I was in college.  One day I was driving home in my Grandparent's neighborhood, on my way back to grandma's after a hard day at school, looking forward to dinner, when I saw something that was surprising.  There were two metal sculpture yard reindeer sitting out by the road where the trash would normally sit.  "Why," I thought, "are these quality reindeer out here by the road, soon to be crushed into dust at the landfill?"  This is how it started.  I stopped the car right in the middle of the road, jumped out, as if I was committing a crime, threw open my trunk and loaded up the little guys.  I felt a bit of a rush as I drove away.  I called my Mom and told her about my finds and I couldn't wait until they made it home to be wrapped in lights and displayed in the front yard at Christmas.  Since then there have been many such experiences.  I've found some really cool stuff this way.  In our current neighborhood, there are lots of young families, just like ours.  They sit out cool stuff sometimes.  I've gotten a couple of ride on cars for the kids, a turtle sand box, a really awesome toy box and I'm sure some other things I'm not thinking of.  I like this hobby because it is free, a little bit exciting and makes you feel good for recycling things that would otherwise go straight into the earth.  I'm not a big "save the earth" person. However, if I can help out by getting some cool swag out of the trash, I'll do my part.  Once I wasn't 100% sure that an item was meant for the trash, so I went back and put a note on the door that read, "I took your little car.  If you want it back, call me at xyz number."  When you have this hobby, you have to be courteous.  You can't run around thieving stuff out of people's yards.  It has to clearly be set out by the road, intended for the trash guys.  I have also contributed to the other "treasure seekers" in my time.  I love to put something out by the road and then later walk by the window to find that it is gone.  I once got rid of a horrible Gazelle exercise thing that way. I put it out by the road and like 5 minutes later looked back out.  It had magically disappeared.  I got rid of a desk this way.  My most recent contribution was our artificial Christmas tree.  Judah did a number on the tree this year, breaking limbs, shaking the "pine needles" off of the branches.  I put that sucker out by the road and the next morning it was gone.  You're welcome.  I don't know if this is the hobby that is "just what I've always wanted."  I do know that it makes me smile and laugh at myself.  Everyone needs to do that I think.  I saved my latest find for last, because it is probably one of the better things that I've found and because it's kind of a funny story.  Our neighbors across the street had this tree on their porch for the entire Christmas season.  I admired it from here and even mentioned it once when we were in JCPenney and I saw similar ones in their Christmas merchandising.  After Christmas, lo and behold, this beautiful tree was lying neatly upon some black bags out by the street on trash day.  One of the ornaments is scratched and will have to be replaced, but other than that it is perfect.  It has a nice solid frame so even if I wanted to re-purpose it, it's a great find. I will not be putting it on my porch though.  That would just be weird.  In this business, if you're going to swipe from your visible neighbors, you can't display their trash around your place.  However, this will be beautiful on my Mom's front porch next Christmas, many miles from here.  It may seem strange to give things that you've found in the trash to your Mom, but I think it is fantastic!  What began with a Christmas discovery, continues today with another score for Christmas decor!  Keep an eye out, you never know what you'll find.    

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