Thursday, September 03, 2009

Scratchin' backs...


(cue the Beverly Hillbillies music)

"Come and listen to a story
'bout a house bein' cleaned,

When two Georgia boys with
smiles and eyes a-glean,

I said 'Load yer trailer!
There's the stuff! Take it all!'

And the two did oblige,
and away they did haul....

'Stuff' that is...big loads of it...
all for free...."

Meet Lenny and Larry, from far out in western Georgia. Larry is the shady one, and if you could see his face he'd look like a thinner version of Ron White from the "Blue Collar Comedy Tour". That's why I kept callin' him Tater. Only those in the 'know' will get that, sorry! :-)

This week I've been in Kennesaw, Georgia helping a friend's family clear out a house from an unfortunate incident, readying it for repairs and sale. This is the same family I helped with their mother's Charlotte house last fall that I blogged about, though the scope of the work was a good bit different.

Bottom line is my job was to organize and remove everything in the house. Easier said than done, and it took longer than just the 3 days this week. Working on a project close to where you live is one thing; working long distance on such a project created some major challenges. As you might surmise, even the best laid plans can go awry at the last second, so I was 'on my game' as I had a limited time-frame this week to work.

You have your Goodwills, your Salvation Armies, your Amvets, etc. that in some cases are able to pick up items. The flip side is they only do it on certain days with advance notice, and you have to have everything outside ready for them that day. That presents a host of problems from my long-distance visitations, AND I'm left with figuring out how I alone am going to move the 'white elephants' like the 60" rear projection TV set that was close to 200 pounds, guessing.

The answer? Craigslist. You do have to be savvy with Craigslist, first from the scammers and secondly from the jerks who know no social etiquette. However, like any good 'tool', knowledge is Golden and you CAN make something work for you. I first tried to put a price tag on some items, cheap prices, and did sell a few things for the family. But the goal was to empty the house, hopefully getting the items to people that need it.

There was a dirty PVC outdoor patio set that needed some elbow grease to clean and repair, but was complete with chairs, table, umbrella, etc. I needed it gone, so I posted a "free" ad and OHMYGOD did the email box fill up almost immediately. Luckily, with first responders, everything is anonymous, so you don't have to respond to questionable inquiries, and your original email addy is hidden from them. It became a chore to decide 'fairness' on who got 'dibs' on the set...but I went in order received, and it was Larry's wife who wrote.

As my window of time being in Atlanta was closing, I still had the 'white elephants' and contacted individuals who missed out on the patio furniture and sounded like they might like something else...and the heyday began, or more appropriately the heynight. A basic bedroom suite was given to a couple who had had medical issues that ate up their cash at the last minute. The gargantuan TV and a partial sectional sofa was taken by a newlywed couple that needed the items.

And then there was Lenny and Larry.

Lenny and Larry and I became solid acquaintances by the end of their third round-trip from an hour away. Both were foreman for metal fabrication companies that folded, and in really rural areas there was little to nothing left. Larry had a heart attack recently. and Lenny had his home ransacked while he was at work last November, and the thieves even took the food out of the refrigerator, along with Christmas presents and just junk around the house.

They thought they'd won the lottery when I told them that this, that, and the other piles were free for the taking. I thought I'D won the lottery as I got free labor to accomplish my main job. We scratched each others' backs, and it was win-win around the board. Something tells me they'll be at a flea market this weekend making some money, and to that I hoist a stein and yell 'Cheer!' Good guys, they were. Real people. Real nice.

And so life goes on. Time to focus on this weekend's art show in Maggie Valley and get back to my Soul's work of flutes and making dusty messes. My knees are in horrible pain and shape, but I suspect they'll feel better now that I'm not moving furniture up and down stairs. It was a tiring start to the week...but it was also a satisfying one. Adios, dudes...!

The End.

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