Monday, August 2, 2010

The Art Of......?

It occurred to me this weekend, as I stood knee deep in trash behind a remodeled building, that this is not really what my parents had in mind when they carefully raised me with exposure to the arts, sciences, and literature. When they helped me through college and beyond I'm sure they, like many parents, hoped I'd have a more, er, expansive future than trash hauling and manure chucking. Not that these jobs are something to sniff at. But still.

Yet there I was Sunday morning, unscrewing glass lights from fans stuffed into huge trash cans, pulling wood and scraps from beneath, well, rubble, dragging marble shards out from under empty bottles and trash - happily tossing the loot onto our trailer. Clapping excitedly. For me, August 1 was Christmas come early. See, I'm a self-avowed craigslist junkie and every day starts with a cup of coffee and quick perusal of the "antiques" and "materials" section. An odd combination, no? No. I've found that often antiques can serve as materials, and materials are often actually antique, vintage, old, and beautiful. Garbage to some. Treasures to me. A particular ad caught my eye last week. A contractor had just pulled several huge old marble slabs from a remodel project and asked for offers on the lot of the slabs and various smaller pieces of the stuff. Obviously I was on the phone with him in under 2 minutes and had made a deal of $100 for the whole group. That is, if you know anything about marble, a totally ridiculous price. It's not that I had a specific use in mind for this lot. Between this score and some other previous antique marble acquisitions, I've got enough to plaster a small room with the stuff. But at this point I've transcended the constraints of reason and sensibility. If there's a deal to be made, I must make it. Handle the details later. It's a sickness people, really.

Fast forward several days to Sunday. After some quick planning, Jer and I managed to wrangle a few friends to help with the nearly impossible task of loading one ton (no. really) of marble onto a trailer - without breaking the marble or ourselves. It's important here to give a shout-out to Joe and Kelley (and Lily-the-wonder-pup) who rock our worlds in general, but made us truly indebted by lifting, hauling, and carefully placing my precious loot. Not only did they seriously risk life and limb for this endeavor, Joe particularly scored extra points by excitedly jumping into the jumbo trash can to pull out a few more finds that would otherwise rot in a land fill. Joe, we knew you were awesome when you became ordained via shady website to marry us (we're still pretty sure this marriage ain't legal), but you're now my personal hero for openly sharing in the joyful art that is: dumpster diving.

If you're scratching your heads over just exactly what we managed to pull out of that trash bin, or exactly why one might lose their sh*t over old marble then check it:

OH. And those marble slabs? They were bathroom stall dividers pulled from a shmancy old 1930's sorority house on the University of Texas campus. If you can beat that salvage story then I'll give you a free piece of marble. I'm just really generous in this way.


YourFinancialCoach said...

Ooh! I might be able to beat this one. So during our lovely stay at LBJ in the midst of construction madness, I convinced the foreperson(?) to let me take some of the marble slabs from the walkways around the school for free! We backed a trailer up into where they had stacked all the slabs and loaded up as much as we could. They are sitting in our backyard waiting to be used in a path around the garden. I think that was one part of the reno project that really irked me. So much good stone just being thrown out.

You can keep your marble. ;)

jennakl said...

I can't believe I was in the middle of such an awesome marble opportunity and passed it up! Clearly I did not have my wits about me during grad school. As my classmate, I know you can attest to that :)

Send pics when you install the garden paths - it sounds great!

Anonymous said...

Awesome score! I am one who appreciates such finds, though I haven't had time to really go on the hunt in earnest. I shall live vicariously through you and others for a while longer....