Monday, September 27, 2010

Iron Run

Now about that iron. For a few years now we have been taking carloads full of iron to the local scrapyard, big stuff like huge cast iron machinist tools from the industrial revolution (you think I am kidding, don't you) that we had to take apart piece by piece before we could have any hope of moving them, medium stuff like transmissions, flywheels, and brake drums from cars as well as, seriously, random hunks of just plain iron, as well as small stuff like buckets and cans and old refrigerator drawers (one of my father's very favoritest things to save) full of rusty bolts. Basically, anything somewhat solid and magnetic. We've been using Larry (and before that Leo, and before him Harry) the Volvo station waggon(s), which when loaded full hold about half a ton of stuff; and I'd guess we've made, what, close to two dozen trips so far? We have the receipts and I could count them, but I think that's about right. Which means we have so far taken somewhere around ten or twelve tons of iron out of here. Holy fuck. And I swear there is always more.

We loaded up the back of the car again last night with iron to take today. Full up, and an even 1000 pounds, so the receipt tells us. Just about all of it came from the garage itself, though Tara did scout about in other places looking for obvious stuff. But most of it was from the garage. I am really quite surprised typing that out; I hadn't realized just how much it was, and it doesn't look like we took all that much stuff out of there. Here's a shot of the back of Larry:

And another of the poor thing from the side:

He is not, actually, overloaded, though he's just about at capacity, according to the numbers on the inside of the passenger door, anyway.

So. We filled that up last night, to take today, when the scrapyard opened.

After Tara went home, I asked my Mom an important question I probably should have asked her before we started filling Larry up: did she need the car today?

She did. Uh-oh.

She had an appointment, it turned out. She said she would call and postpone it, though. I said I didn't think it would really be too much of a problem to take the car if she were careful with it; it wasn't that far, after all. She still said she'd postpone it.

I woke today to the sound of a ramp trunk and the clink of metal being thrown in the driveway. I throw some clothes on and see Larry up on the back of the thing, with the ramp truck guy pulling iron out of the back to make it lighter so he could get it off his truck.

Turns out Mom did take the car; and, Mom being Mom, and, honestly, not always the brightest crayon in the box, she'd managed to hit a curb parking him, and destroyed the tire, necessitating his trip home on a ramp truck.

The thing is she's done this before. In fact she's done it before on the very same curb in front of the very same place she had her appointment (my father's nursing home, actually).

Ramp Truck Guy took it upon himself to tell me that I shouldn't be putting all that heavy heavy iron in the back of a Volvo station waggon and that that was what caused the tire to go flat, all, incidentally, in a tone of voice that told me he thought I was just A Stupid Female. I gave him a withering look.

I called Tara. About fifteen minutes later she was here and I swear by the time it took for me to get up and walk out the front door to the driveway she had already changed the tire and was all ready to go. She really is quite good at this car stuff, you know.

After some mutual grumbling about Our Dear Mother, we were finally off to the scrapyard, where we rolled onto the big scales and waited for them to buzz to tell us they'd recorded the car's weight, then we drove around back and unloaded it into one of the giant piles of metal while a guy sitting in a pinchy-hand picker-upper giant yellow crane tractor thingy ate his snack machine lunch of some Reese's peanut butter cups and a bag of Fritos. Poor bastard. But he was nice.

Then back to the scales, another buzz, then we parked by the office.

I don't know if any of you have ever been in a good-sized scrapyard, but this place really is a kind of post-apocalyptic world unto itself. The place has huge piles of different kinds of metal, light metal, heavy iron, aluminum, piles of old rusty oil tanks that had been blow-torched in half, crushed-up cubes of what had once been entire cars all stacked up like something out of Wall-E, and lots of rusty iron mud and heavy equipment.

But just there by the office door? Was one of the best-looking rose bushes I've ever seen, I assume a grandiflora, taller than Tara, with huge hot pink double flowers the size of sorbet bowls completely packed with petals, blooming like crazy in late September. There's a metaphor for you.

We left that place with a decent wad of cash, as the price of iron has gone up again. Not a bad thing, you know; since somehow there is always more of the stuff in this place.


Anonymous said...

So how much money does half a ton of iron bring you? Please tell me, or I won't be able to sleep tonight.

Thalia said...

$100. It's $200 a ton now, apparently. Or it was the other day. I think it's one of those things that fluctuates daily.