Sunday, April 1, 2012
Decorating on a Dime
We did this with no money. Fixing, cleaning, decorating. I’m not saying that I picked things out of the garbage. Wait. That’s a lie. Yes, I did. Every time I go to the dump, I come back with something good. I’m kind of on the barter system down at the dump. I bring some garbage, I come back with a milk-glass hobnail vase. I bring some garbage, I come back with a glass candle holder. I bring some garbage, I come back with decorating magazines still in their plastic covers.
I’ve been trying out glass globes. The only thing that broke during all the moving was a glass globe that sat on the top part of my red antique lamp. It’s an odd size. Every time I go to the dump, I fling a couple of Hefty bags filled with kitty litter and coffee grounds, then I rifle through the pile of things the dump man put aside because he thought something was too good for the garbage and someone else might be able to use it. I find a glass globe that might work, take it home, try it, and when it doesn’t, I bring it back and trade it out for another one. One of these days I’m going to hit on the right one.
The dump man is cranky. Someone gave me a heads-up about that. He takes his job very seriously and you’re in big trouble if you try to sneak a Betty Crocker cake box into the regular garbage instead of putting it in the cardboard recyclables bin and he catches you. But that doesn’t worry me. I look at it as a challenge. Not just the recycling but the relationship. I get along great with grumpy old guys. Especially if they’re anal. Because let’s face it, I’m a little anal. I admire it that the dump man is out there with his broom directing people to the green glass bin and the brown glass bin and watching that someone doesn’t get his tin cans mixed up with his aluminum. Because if you’re not going to do a job right, why do it at all? And recycling is no joke. You should see those bins filled with the colored glass like boxes of jewels glimmering in the sunshine. It would be a shame if that was just thrown into the landfill with all the diapers and chicken bones instead of melted down and turned into new Mountain Dew bottles.
So I don’t mind him. I go out of my way to be friendly to him. We talk trash, him in his orange vest with the yellow tape on it, leaning on a broom, me all dolled up now because you can’t go anywhere in New Jersey unless you have makeup on, even the dump, leaning on my truck door. We discuss the characteristics of the globes I take home and the likelihood of the newest one fitting. We complain about taxes and the people who run the town who won’t let you put fluorescent bulbs into the dump. He tells me that I can sneak some of the wood that I’ve been cleaning up from my property into the regular garbage if he doesn’t see me, wink, wink. I think, someday I’m going to bring him cookies. You might call that a bribe. I call it a thank you. A bribe would be something you give to someone before the fact. That would be like if I gave him some cookies and then he looked the other way when I came with my truck filled to the brim with items on the violation list. But that’s not the way it went down.
It wasn’t only garbage that I availed myself of to get this place shaped up. I also charged a few things. I splurged and bought vintage wallpaper for the kitchen. It’s just the thing to bring back some of that old fashioned look someone stripped the place of back in the 70s when they thought replacing doors that had crystal knobs and porcelain sinks on legs was an improvement.
The olive green countertops had to go. Kurt is making a new counter out of sheets of laminate. He is actually fabricating the counter; not just buying a stock counter and cutting and installing it, which would be hard enough. He is going to glue sheets of laminate onto the old frame and make it himself. When Lowe’s refused to order the counter we wanted unless we paid them two hundred dollars for them to come out and measure, even though we assured them that Kurt measures for a living and even though we humored them by going home and measuring again because they insisted that Kurt’s measurements were wrong, and even though we agreed that we would be responsible and not Lowe’s if we made a mistake, they still wouldn’t let us order the counter unless we paid them to come out and measure. So we got our asses up. Now we’re making it ourselves. Visions of that show Renovation Disasters going through my head but screw them. We can do it! Thanks to them trying to squeeze another two hundred dollars out of us, we’re saving thousands of dollars.
We also got paint. We got spackle. We got faucets, door locks, weather stripping, fencing, gates, and new fluorescent bulbs. But we didn’t get a mortgage so if we’re maxed out on a credit card, we’re still ahead of the game.
I also got gifts. My girlfriends brought me things. This is the beauty of having good girlfriends. They know you and your quirky tastes. Micaela gave me this funky lamp.
Monica gave me this rooster.
I got this crystal candy dish from Jenise.
I have good friends, good family (a special thank you to my sister who went above and beyond the call of duty to help me with this place), and I didn’t even have to give them any cookies.