I was driving around at work a few days ago and noticed that there was a company clearing trees around a few abandoned houses. Correctly assuming that this meant the houses would be demolished, I stopped and asked the driver of an excavator (who was conveniently the company owner) if I could check around the house for any woodwork, windows, or the like that I could salvage. He said it was no problem, and to just let him know what I might like.
The house was something of a mess, and almost all of the woodwork, windows, and flooring were water damaged. The cabinets were falling apart, though they looked to have been cute once-upon-a-time. But then I walked into the bathroom and saw a nice, deep, old tub, just like the one in my mom's house.
I went back and talked to the company owner again, and he agreed that we could have the tub. I then mentioned that I had no way of getting it out myself; I was obviously working, and my husband was at home watching our baby. Since the house was being demo-ed the next morning, I didn't see any way to remove it. He (very generously!) said that his crew would take it out and set it off to the side for us. Awesome! He also mentioned that they were contracted to demolish a duplex in Mishawaka, and would we like to look at it before they took it down? You bet we would! He said there were old kitchen cabinets, woodwork, doors, and windows in it. He took my phone number and said he'd call me when they were a little closer to the demolition day.
I'm going to stop back by the destruction site today and offer him some cash for his time and effort. Cast iron doesn't have a high scrap value, so I'm confident it will be more than he would have gotten for the tub at a scrap yard. I'm hoping that maybe we can establish a good working relationship, and maybe we'll call us before he works on any old house.
Maybe my Aunt Virginia is right and I should have been a Sheeny Man instead of a cop (though I seem to be doing okay at both at the moment!)...
I'm still hoping that if/when we build our "new" house, that we can do it with as much recycled building material as possible. I don't want a new-looking home; I love the character and quality of old houses. It also saddens me that when old homes are demolished, so much usable building material is just wasted and tossed into a landfill. Maybe "sickens" is a better description. Our society and culture place such a high value on all things new, that I think people forget that there is nothing wrong with things that are old. Old things still work. Old things are much easily repaired by the layman. Old things often don't require electricity to do the same job. Many old things are crafted with much more attention to detail and with a higher standard of quality, and are often beautiful as well as useful.
I like old. I like knowing that other people have used and found joy in the same things I use. I like when items have a story to tell, or when I can tell a story about where I acquired them. It's so much more interesting than just going to the store and picking something out. I like knowing that I saved just one more thing from the landfill. Recycling isn't just for cans and bottles!