Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Land(fill) of the Free, Home of the Brave

I don't know if you know a man like this, but my husband is obsessed with free stuff. I'm all for recycling and re-purposing, but within reason. Jay thinks it's his responsibility to keep landfills empty by collecting things others want to throw out.

He has scored a few wins over the years (mostly by accident). Like the 1930's bedroom set from his grandparents. And an antique sideboard someone discarded. But the rest, well...

Most people have a junk drawer. Jay had a junk room. After we were married, I bravely ventured into this cave of horrors. Under mounds of clutter (out-of-date car dealership calendars, old magazines and newspapers, box tops, discarded clothes from friends who were never his size, textbooks from classes he never took, warped Tupperware, etc.), I found at least eight broken office chairs.

Me: Um, honey, what exactly do you plan to do with all these chairs?

He (enthusiastically): I'm going to fix them!

Me: And do you know how?

He (shrugging): I'll figure it out.

Me: Have you ever fixed an office chair? Or anything similar?

He (undaunted): Not yet.

Me: Do you know where to get the missing parts? Or how much the parts will cost? Because it would probably be cheaper to buy a new chair than to buy a missing arm, back, or wheel.

He: I can piece them together.

Me: Sweetie, they're all different styles. Which means that the armrest on this chair is a different thickness than the other chairs. And the back rest on that chair won't fit the screw holes of the others. And the wheels are all different sizes...

He also had two desks that Office Depot gave him for free because entire sides were broken or missing. These weren't solid wooden desks worth salvaging--they were banged up particle board and laminate atrocities. 

He tried to donate the furniture, but it was refused. So, with a heavy heart, he bade them goodbye at the junkyard. Which, by definition, is where junk should be released to pasture.

Months later, we remodeled the bathroom in our 1974 home. Jay was supposed to take the old sink and toilet to the above-mentioned junkyard where they could live out their latter years with the broken office furniture. A month later, I found them in all their harvest gold and avocado green glory under our back deck and filled with dirt, rainwater, and mosquito larva. 

They actually look better in the photo than they did in real life.

Me (able to only point and stutter): What are...Why, why are...

He: Oh, these? I'm saving them in case our new sink and toilet ever break.

Me: Yeah, no. Um, honey? I don't know how to express this strongly enough, but I will move out the day either of these come back into our house.

He (protesting): They're still good.

Me: Yeah, no. They're functional, but they're definitely not good.

He finally decided he wanted a wife more than old bathroom fixtures and reluctantly hauled them away.

On another day, Jay came home from work really excited about a coat someone gave him. I agreed that it was well-made.

Then he tried it on.

Me: Honey, that's a great coat, but it's way too short on you.

He: But it was free. And the sleeves fit.

Me: Yes, the sleeves fit, but the rest of it is length-deficient.

He: But the sleeves fit.

Me: Your ribs will freeze.

He: But the sleeves fit.

Me: It only works if you're moving to Spain to become a matador.

He: But the sleeves fit.

Me (exasperated): Sweetie, you don't have to keep a coat just because a short guy with monkey arms gives it to you.

He (laughing): Okay. Should I donate it?

Me: Yeah, to the zoo. Their hairless, pygmy ape will thank you all winter. 

Verse of the day: (Proverbs 12:27b) "...the diligent make use of everything they find." Jay takes this verse way too literally, God bless him.

Disclaimer: Jay wants me to add that he's better than he used to be. Yes, he is (thank God).


  1. You guys crack me up!! :-)

  2. The toilet and sink are too much! :-)

    1. Before we were married, someone dropped off a toilet for him so he could replace the avocado green one. He hurt his back the day before, so he left it in his yard for weeks until the neighbors wrote him a letter asking him to PLEASE take the toilet out of his front yard! Yes, the man needed a wife...

  3. Matador...short guy with monkey arms...hilarious!

  4. I must confess, I sympathize with Jay. But my husband has cured me of most of my desire to repair and reused broken stuff :) There is hope, Pamela!

    1. If we had a basement, or even a garage, it wouldn't be so bad. But we have neither!

  5. Your posts still crack me up. I look forward to them read them religiously. You could easily be a sitcom writer.

    1. Made me smile! Thanks, Rick! It helps that my husband provides me with so much material. Then again, his posts about ME have had some of the highest number of reads...

  6. (Mom laughed till she cried...)