Managing my demons

We are at it again.  Salvaging.  Thrift stores.  Maybe even a garage sale or two – we’ll see how that goes into the new year. Definitely Craig’s list.   I’ve already got steel, windows and an old Honda 250 that doesn’t run (not yet, anyway) and I am still looking for more crap to pack in the old utility trailer. Picked up a great heavy-duty hammer drill last week.

This could become a syndrome of sorts.  Pro’bly is already.  I might be ill in some kind of recycling way.  A green hoarder?  Or just succumbing to the lure of excess junk in an over abundant society?

Hard to say.

Of course, I have the perfect rationale: I need this stuff for my projects.  The windows for the green house. The steel for the funicular cart, the Honda 250 for deer hunting (that’s a stretch on so many levels). I need the hammer-drill ’cause my old Hitachi hammer-drill kept blowing up (all the parts at the front – the chuck- just explode and I have to search for little parts, find them, replace them and try again).  The new (old) one is mint.

And I need more such stuff.  More!

The city is rich with such crap.  I confess that the asking prices are a bit higher than I would expect but – to be fair – we never pay them so I have no real complaints.  If I need, say, a welder (which I did last year) and the new price is $600 (plus tax), I go see a used one and the asking price is about half ($300).  If it is in really good nick, I will offer half of that ($150) and usually settle around $200 or so.  Real bargainers grind it down to less but I have a lot of ground to cover, a lot of crap to gather and I kind of get a bit intoxicated with the whole thing.  I feel as if the world is my thrift shop when I am down in the city.

The irony is, of course, that I may not ever use this stuff.  I certainly already have enough stuff for enough projects to last me til the end of days.  But those aren’t the projects I WANT to do.  I want to make an old Honda run again.  I want to have a greenhouse.  I need to make the lower funicular cart.  Some projects have priority.

At least – at this point in time, they do. While I am here in the city and have an abundance of crap to search through, I might find something off-the-agenda so tantalizing that I get it anyway.  Who knows where such whimsy might take me?

And therein lies the lesson………….there is a fine line between supplying for your needs and the madness of goofy acquisition for its own sake.  Worse, I find that it is in my character to cross the line and dabble now and then in dream acquisitions like getting an old bread van to convert into a guerrilla RV.  In fact, I found just such a dream machine a week or so ago and got so close to acquiring it, I had to step away and mull the dream over again. Mulled more than once.  But it wasn’t until I had that bread van in my cross-hairs that I came to my senses and did NOT buy it.  I stepped back over the line.  Sanity prevailed.

I bought a not-running 1976 Honda 250 XL instead.  I am not cured but it is under control.



8 thoughts on “Managing my demons

  1. Hilarious.
    I have a friend who lives in the city and is constantly aquiring used “stuff”.
    Unlike you. He starts endless projects and finishes none.
    His mania has resulted in his filling his basement, garage, and a huge rented storage locker at a local airport with crap that will never amount to anything except a headache to the executors when he dies. He has trucks that he is incapable of fixing. Tools that he is incapable of using. Lights, fans, electrical cable, components, engine parts, old shelves, tables, WW2 army surplus junk, flares, bulbs, plumbing parts, insulation, plastic toy guns, real guns, dozens of empty buckets, printers, monitors, huge tube tvs that work!, aquariums, nets, floats, fishing rods, unread books about everything, hundreeds of VHS tapes without a VHS recorder, rope, string, twine, paint of unknown ages, and on and on and on.
    And if I ask him what in God’s name he plans on doing with all this crap……he has a justification for it all or…..he’ll eventually sell it on Kijiji.

    The internet…..the last resort for hoarders.


    • It is kinda funny, but I ‘get’ your friend….so many dreams, so little time.
      I know my weaknesses and, if I didn’t, Sal would remind me. She’s proven quite capable in the past altho she was onside with the guerrilla RV (much to my surprise). I WILL do the greenhouse and the funicular but the XL may prove embarrassing. I hope not. I also have to do a guest bathroom but I have acquired all the crap I need for that. But by then I’ll be 70 or close to it and the rust may impede any XL repairs by then (it’s and mine). Who knows what will catch my interest by then?


  2. I still think my friend is a packrat loon but if thats what makes him happy….Just dont name me as the executor.
    Totally different subject.
    I was in an “eco-friendly” house a few weeks back that had an interesting “solar gain” wall.
    An interior, south facing 2 storey brick wall built from used bricks. The back side of part of the brick wall on the ground floor was a chimney with a wood fireplace insert. The wall was “heated” during the day by the sun shining through the southern 2 story glass windows. At night a fire could be lit to supplement the heat if necessary. It worked ok. Not great.
    The unintended consequence of the wall? House plants love the sunlight! Never seen so many Christmas cactus in bloom in my life. Orange, yellow, red blooms on various HUGE cacti.
    Quite a site.
    The rest of the house was an ‘eco friendly” pain in the butt. The lights and electric heat in the house was controlled by a computor. By a computor that is ancient. The computor doesnt work properly……..
    No light switches of thermostats in any of the rooms! All run by montion sensors and the ancient computor.
    After sitting in the freezing living room and watching the same light turn off and on endlessly for over an hour I unplugged it and told the owner his “system” wasnt working properly…..He took great umbrage to my suggestion that perhaps it was time to “upgrade” his Atari (yes Atari) computor to something built in the last 2 decades. “Everything works fine” was his response. His wife was shaking her head in the background( apparently this is an ongoing arguement) So I opened up one of the motion sensors on the wall and bypassed it. Voila! Heat AND light!
    I offered to bypass a few more and he refused. So we endured the evening with lights in every other heatless room switching on and off with annoying regularity.
    Stubborn stupidity and the freezing temperatures to prove it!
    Oh well, what do I know.


    • I am thinking of something like that for the greenhouse. North wall facing south absorbs heat and keeps plants warm for a longer period. But I don’t want that in the house. In August, it would become a sauna. Knew of some people who did that and then had to install computer-aided curtains to open and close to keep the house temperature livable…but intermittently dark!
      Honestly, I think you can overdo the smart-house thing. I like having a hot stove centric warmth and a cooler bedroom and all that. Uniformity of temperature is not a goal I want to achieve.
      “What do I know?”
      Sadly, DCBC, you tend to think logically and there is so little room or acceptance for that kind of thing anymore. Common sense is a rarity. And telling the truth……!!?? THAT’S politically incorrect! Much better to simply marvel and give compliments. REMEMBER THAT when you come visit. (Actually, it SEEMS to be an accepted thing to just say nice things about someone’s efforts and then change the topic if they press for honesty…….I know that for a fact… me…..).


      • hahahahaha,
        Yeah the thermo wall seems like a good idea….in the winter. I hadnt even considered the summer. Automatic blinds I suppose.
        Im not that great at bs’ing but his wife was pretty happy that someone other than her was telling him the damn thing “didnt work” . AND my 20 + years experience with troubleshooting building automation systems didnt hurt either. He cant say I dont know what Im talking about. He’s an architech NOT very “hands on” at all. All theorum, no practicum

        But the cacti were awesome!


  3. Number one rule crap sells! If you have the eye most crap can be turned into cash. Or traded. For what you pay pennies on the dollar to purchase pays off in tens, twenties and more. Been doing it for years and it pays. I could do a book on converting trash to treasure but I do not need the competition. My advice is keep on picking quality stuff and quality screams quality.


    • I know, I know. But it is hard to get my head around it – trading-for-profit, that is. I just want what I want or what I need and I just don’t care enough about the money. I should. But I don’t. I have seen things that were pennies on the dollar but didn’t want to ‘get involved’ to make the transaction. Now an old motorbike…? Now you’re talkin’. THAT strikes a cord! It will not be a NOT a profitable one but it might be a sentimental one – a bit of youth remembrance………..ya know?


      • Some stuff you can not walk away from: a peetz reel, fishing stuff, tools. A peetz reel will set you back $10. I’ve seen several over the years. Look for stuff you can flip or scrap if necessary.


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