Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Precious Metal Run

Well, if by 'precious' you mean stuff like lead, aluminum, brass, and copper. Because in addition to all the iron we've been taking to the scrapyard, we've also been putting aside stuff like small motors (which contain copper), bits of aluminum my dad saved, old scary wires (more copper), bit of brass and bronze from old pipes or fittings, and even the odd Volkswagen cylinder head made of magnesium. The scrapyard takes all these things, though they have to separate them out.

By today we had accumulated enough of this miscellaneous stuff to make up its own trip to the scrapyard. Witness:

Oh, and there's also a few old dead car batteries in there and, and this is nice, a catalytic converter from some latish car (since the Volkswagens are too old to have had them).

So off to the scrapyard we went; but when we got there instead of driving all the way round back to the post-apocalyptic piles of metal, where the giant magnet-crane was, we pulled into a building closer to the front, where we filled up a flat cart and two large plastic bin-cart things. Meanwhile, over in the back right corner of the warehouse-sized building, guys in blast-shield masks raked red hot stuff in a furnace/smelter. Seriously, this place is heavy-duty industrial. In Sim City, it'd be zoned in that dense yellow.

The kid there (yeah, he was pretty young-looking) pulled the carts over to a scale-plate set in the floor, then punched some buttons on the computery-thing there. Then he took some stuff out, and punched some more. Then took more out, punched buttons again, &c until there wasn't anything left. I don't know how he knew this stuff by looking, but we had the cylinder heads in with the aluminum, because that's what they looked like. But not only did he know they were VW cylinder heads, he knew they were magnesium too. So he knew his stuff.

When he was done the computery-thing (I couldn't see the front of it, and from the back it looked like some boxy once high-tech thing that you'd see on old Doctor Who) spat out a receipt, which he handed to us, saying that the guys up front would pay us.

Okay. Now you have to understand, this wasn't all that big a load. It wasn't as heavy I don't think (or Tara didn't think) as a regular iron run, which is about 1000 pounds at the heavy end. So we were a bit surprised, to say the least. But here, see for yourself. Oh yeah check out that tasty tasty scroll-down action—

I'd say that's not bad. Not bad at all.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ten Ton Iron Run

Another day, another iron run. This one was extra-special, though, because we topped ten tons!! I mean, counting the ones we have receipts for, anyway. Even if all the receipts are accounted for (and I suspect there are a couple missing), before we realized we could take the stuff to the scrapyard and get $$$ for it we used to just bring it by the carload to the dump. (Sorry, 'recycling center.' It's all gotten so hoity-toity around the neighborhood.) So we've really gotten rid of far more, probably something like double, maybe. And that's not counting the cars themselves.

Here's poor dear Larry, all loaded up. His muffler fell off somewhere along the way, too. He needs a bit of TLC, methinks.

So here's the grand total: we are now up to 20,540 pounds, or 10.27 tons, and a total of 23 accounted-for trips to the scrapyard for iron. We plan on a couple more this week, though, because:

There's still more.

Friday, October 22, 2010


The past few days Tara and I have been out in the garage and shop picking our way though the junk again. We've tossed more clutch pads, brake drums, suspension rods, and a couple of obviously broken transmissions; and I'm beginning to learn the names for these things, these Volkswagen parts, something I rather resent, actually. I want my brain space for other things. Pleasant things.

But in going through that we ran across all kinds of other stuff, some baffling, some odd, some scarily vintage, as in, whoa, I'll bet this chemical is banned these days. And a lot of the usual things only a hoarder would save, of course.

See, my father saved everything that... well, okay, that sentence doesn't actually need a qualifier, does it. He pretty much just saved everything. What I meant, though, was that he was especially fond of things which could serve as containers in which to store his other stuff.

So for example, digging down into the layers of a box we found this:

That's right, it's an old cupcake tin, now full of bolts and screws and washers and who knows what. (Oooh looky my favorite! Banana nut muffins dusted with cinnamon sugar! Oh, wait, that's banana bolt muffins. And that cinnamon? Is actually rust. YUM.)

But guess what was underneath it?

It's like this sort of fractal hoarding sometimes. He saved all that stuff, so he then had to save all this stuff, but then he didn't have anywhere to put this or that stuff so he had to save old bookcases and shelves and it just never ends. Turtles all the way down, you know?

I mean even to saving stuff like this as a storage container:

Anyone else recognize that? That's right, it's the little plastic package those Cheez 'n' Crackers snacks came in.

I don't actually know when he started the hoarding. They say it tends to be something that appears (or gets worse) with age; but given that my parents were in their forties when they had us kids (my father was forty-six when I was born), it's not like I knew my father when he was young. But judging by some of the stuff we found, it looks like he was hoarding from at least before we were born, since the stuff looks like it had been there for forty years or more, judging by the design of the labels. These for example:

Or there's this box.

Pull-tabs on cans have long since been replaced by the ones that stay attached to the can. So how long ago were they new? And how did you open your beer before that? With a can-opener?

Now for the scary stuff. First this 'rag,' which, honestly, rather gives me the creeps. They don't look quite big enough to be adult-sized.

This next one is, believe it or not, a battery, one that proudly proclaims itself 'leak proof'. (This, by the way, is called irony. Alanis Morissette, listen up.)

More containers:

Genuine Volkswagen windshield washer fluid, in regular and diet.

And then there was this. I have to admit that though I don't really get why anyone would go with this theme, it's kind of fun in a Spy vs. Spy way:

You have to use it whilst humming Love Potion #9, though. Or, I suppose, Revolution #9, well, not that you can hum that, really.

It's a wacky world.

Today's Iron Run

We took another load of iron away today; it wasn't very heavy this time, though, since it was mostly bulky but empty stuff (like this lawn flattener-thing which was completely hollow but big). So I'm afraid we won't actually top ten tons with this load. But I imagine we will next time.

The photo:

Our total: 19,540 pounds of iron removed so far (that we have receipts for, anyway), or 9.77 tons.

There's still more.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Garage Progress

All right, now for the money shots. We attacked three places in the last couple of days. First we (I should say Tara, really, as she did most of the work) cleared out and went through this little area over by the shed. It probably doesn't look like much, but under the leaves and tangled undergrowth was an entire wheelbarrow full of rusty pieces of rusty junk (including the wheelbarrow itself). There was also a bit of broken glass and of course one of my very favorite things, three more milk crates crammed with cedar shingles, which I hear bugs won't eat. So here is the before and after:

We were a little afraid to rake, as those fallen leaves are probably off the copious amount of poison ivy vines in the area.

Then when it got too dark to work outside, we went into the shop, where we attacked the northwest corner of the thing. It's a little deceptive, I'll admit, because a lot of those boxes in front just got moved; but we went through the shelves and sorted old parts into junk, things J might want, and stuff Tara might need (or might not) for her bus. (And then we threw out the shelves, too.) This was where the bulk of today's iron run came from.

The before and after:

If you look closely on the left, you can actually see the grey of the concrete-block wall.

And now, for the really impressive bit. We've been working away at the garage and moving stuff out of there for a while now; for example J has come by and taken some of the engines and transmissions that were beneath the benches on the side. However, since stuff was in progress it actually looked rather worse, since everything was sort of out in the open as we were dealing with it. Last night, though, we went in there and consolidated a bunch of stuff, also, of course, finding plenty more stuff to contribute to today's iron run. Tara also started in on the attic of the garage, since there were also parts up there that J might want. And with the room she made upstairs, the bulk of the seats could get moved.

I know, a lot of the time this feels like some intricate puzzle-game, which, I'll admit, I have little patience for, as it is very reminiscent of the way my father insisted things had to be done. The thing is though, given the nature of the stuff, we really can't just pitch everything into a dumpster. It has to be gone through and separated. Though on the other hand it isn't all that bad considering that it is netting us some cash now, which I, for one, as a self-employed freelance artist, really have no business turning down.

So we tidied the place up a bit and even swept. And it actually looks like we made some progress, holy moly. Contrast the last panorama, from the fifth of October (top), with the one I took today (bottom):


And comparing the panoramas taken from over by the door to the breezeway:

That's just Tara's old peacoat on the back of the Triumph; otherwise we got that car all cleared off. And, okay, the hood was stuck on the Saab for cosmetic reasons; but it really does help the place look better. I'm beginning to be able to see the contents of the garage as finite.

That is a really good thing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Iron Gone

We've been steadily working on the garage, shop and yard; Tuesday first thing (which for the two of us vampires means oh two in the afternoon or so) we threw some iron in the car and took it to the scrapyard; then until three in the morning or so (told you we were vampires) we gathered more from the yard, the shop, and the garage. I've got lots of pictures of the progress in all three of those areas, but I'll make that another post.

Below, Larry filled up with iron, twice:

The one on the right has the old furnace that used to be out in the shop all loaded into it; it was of course never hooked up and just sat there taking up space. It may look like a big empty tin box, but whatever is inside that thing was freakin' heavy.

We got it in the car okay, but, alas, in shoving the thing out at the scrapyard, we managed to mangle Larry's back bumper. Well, the bumper itself is okay, but the mounts broke off. (They tend to do that on Volvo waggons given the iron + aluminum interaction between the mounts and the bumper). Poor Larry.

The total for the two runs was another 2120 pounds of iron, bringing the total now up to twenty-one iron runs and 18,940 pounds of iron removed from the property (since we've been keeping track, that is). That's 9.47 tons.

Next run I'm quite sure we'll break ten tons.

There's still more.


I probably shouldn't have even opened the door, but I was pretty sure it was in there. My old flute, that is, the one I played in middle and high school. I needed it because I'm on a wicked prog-rock kick right now; and how can I really do that up properly without my old flute to (attempt to, ha) play along with 'Supper's Ready' or 'The Cinema Show'? Air flute is just not going to cut it. Trust me, it looks really dorky.

I won't say I was being brave. After all, I'd been in that closet under the eaves not all that long ago. And there, sure enough, under a layer of shoes, was my flute, yay!

But then my eyes wandered over to the side all innocent-like and THERE THEY WERE!!!

(Press the play button below for full effect.)

Oh arrrrggggh.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Let's talk about OCPD a bit, shall we? It stands for obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. It is a personality disorder, a fundamental mis-wiring or brokenness in the brain; other personality disorders include narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, and, oh yes, antisocial personality disorder. So, hey, these are not minor things. While it's true, people can have them to varying degrees, still, they are invariably disruptive. Especially to the people around the person with the personality disorder.

Now some people may say, Oh but they can't help it! Have some compassion! You disablist bitch! To which I say, guess what? I've had to live with my father's personality disorder, and the effects of that personality disorder, which hey, actually constituted neglect, which is bona fide abuse, for decades. I get to judge. I mean, really, what kind of asshole makes excuses for, say, a sociopath, or a malignant narcissist? (And yes, I have actually had this conversation.)

Now, all right. I'm going to quote Wikipedia here, which I am normally loathe to do, as I am rightly suspect of its truthiness at times, but. This seemed like a decent introduction to the concept. Wikipedia says:

These behavioral patterns in personality disorders are typically associated with severe disturbances in the behavioral tendencies of an individual, usually involving several areas of the personality, and are nearly always associated with considerable personal and social disruption. Additionally, personality disorders are inflexible and pervasive across many situations, due in large part to the fact that such behavior is ego-syntonic (i.e. the patterns are consistent with the ego integrity of the individual) and are, therefore, perceived to be appropriate by that individual.

In other words, a fundamental brokenness in the brain, which is taken as normal, since that is all that particular brain knows. And then everything else, all the other parts of what would be a normal psyche, are set to work around, and for, that brokenness. I suspect, and this is only just a hunch, it is something based fairly heavily in the organic structure of things rather than in a more strictly psychological sense. Or at least that's the way it looks to me, from my experience, which is considerable, after all, and which does make me some kind of an expert. I am not, however, a psychiatrist, or a research scientist; just a daughter.

But that means that all the usual tools the brain uses are then in service to the disorder: reason, rationalization, defense, logic, creativity, even I swear perception itself. Back when my father was still here, and we were trying to clean up the place, with him still in it (not something I would ever recommend, though I know a lot of times there simply is no other way), we came across yet another milk crate full of cedar shingles, which, judging by the number of them he saved, must have been one of his all time favorite things ever (up there with refrigerator drawers, empty bureau drawers, old coffee cans of bolts, and baby food jars). When I pulled it out it was crawling with carpenter ants. There were also numerous holes in the shingles, chewed out by said ants. They were really quite infested, and it was really very obvious. I tried to get him to throw them away; he resisted, as always. But this time I thought I had logic, and stark reality on my side—they were obviously infested, literally crawling with ants that eat wood. You can't put them on a house.

Do you know what he said? "BUGS DON'T EAT CEDAR!" When I pointed out, well, actually, they do, and in fact they are eating said cedar right now in front of your very eyes, he just said, again, "BUGS DON'T EAT CEDAR!" And kept repeating it, and repeating it, louder and louder, as he looked at the bugs eating the cedar.

The brokenness in my father's brain was so fundamental, so powerful, so impossible, that it trumped reality.

You cannot argue with that. There is no point to even trying.

Here's Wikipedia again, quoting the good old DSM-IV, for the diagnostic criteria of OCPD.

A pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts:

1. Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost
2. Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)
3. Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)
4. Is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)
5. Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value
6. Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things
7. Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes
8. Shows rigidity and stubbornness

Let's take those one at a time, in regards to my father.

1. Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost

One of the reasons he couldn't get around to fixing the water heater when I was growing up was that he absolutely had to do the pipes first. And he had to do them completely, and thoroughly, and in his way. It had to be done in a certain order, and in a certain way, and could not be done any other way.

So yes, I'd say, #1, check!

2. Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)

If he ever did get up the energy to try to do something, he'd stop in the middle (that is, if he could even get started in the first place). He would wander around the cellar, garage, shop, &c for hours because he couldn't find the tool that he needed. Mind you, this wasn't (just) because the place was so full of crap it was difficult to find anything there; there were plenty of other things he could have made do with. It was because he had to have that one perfect tool.

So #2, check as well!

3. Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)

This I would have to say no to. He was, as far as I could tell, perfectly happily lazy. He didn't want to do anything, ever, especially something that looked like work. Though, he was always out in the shop, fixing VWs, or, really, taking his time while fixing VWs. I suppose one could say he was devoted to not working or being productive. That would have been, almost, a sign of failure. Because someone else would have had some control, or have gotten their way, over him. My intuition tells me that the underlying reasoning for why someone else with OCPD would be preoccupied with work, and why my father was so adamantly opposed to work are actually the same, though I can't quite articulate it; still, we'll call #3 a miss.

4. Is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)

This one is a little odd, too. My father was not religious. Thank the Gods he wasn't, too. I can only imagine how much more miserable it would have been for us if he had been say a strict fundamentalist Christian. And he was reasonably open-minded, I always thought; we kids didn't get punished much (well, besides within the day-to-day reality of living amid junk and a lack of heat). But he was, actually, very honest. To a fault. His morality was pretty open-minded, yes, or at least he seemed to be; but he could get judgemental, too, of others, and though he was really quite liberal in all his views on the issues (I asked him once, bewildered), he always always voted Republican. I think it was a side effect of the miserliness; he'd freak out at the mention of taxes, you know, something the Republicans have always claimed they are against. So, he was, in a way, really quite rigidly inflexible as far as his beliefs and values went, just not in the usual way.

So with some qualifications I'm going to call #4 a yes.

5. Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value

Ha! Do I even need to explain this one? If you need some examples, see the rest of this entire blog.

#5, oh Hell yes.

6. Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things

I wouldn't call it reluctance, actually; more a complete inability to let anyone else do anything that he thought should be done his way. And that was just about everything, even things he had no interest in actually doing himself.

So, #6, check.

7. Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes

That's also a yes, though I don't think I can give any more than the most general examples, as I can already feel myself becoming enraged. Have I mentioned that the house was commonly kept at 55 degrees in the winter? It was not unusual that I could see my breath, indoors; and my fingernails used to turn this shade of bluey-purple from the chill. Now, we were poor, I know; but we were not that poor, I don't think, since we were never on Food Stamps or anything that I recall; and anyway this is an old colonial, and if there's one thing this house has, it's fireplaces. Six of them, to be exact. But we weren't allowed to use them, except for the one in the kitchen. I don't know what the logic was now. If it was fear of a chimney fire, I'd think they'd all have been off-limits, right?

There are other examples, but I'm starting to get worked up here, what with the memory of how every fucking time he came in from working out in the shop the first thing he did was pause by the thermostat and scowl, then turn it down. While we were already freezing. What a bastard.

By the way, when the house is now set at 65 degrees, it still reminds me of Christmas, the only day it was warm in here in the winter.

So, anyway, #7 yes in fucking spades.

8. Shows rigidity and stubbornness

Oh ha, again. Yes I think he had this one covered. I have never known a more ridiculously, absurd, to the point of insanity (literally) stubborn person in my life.

So, hey, that's a yes on #8, too.

Which makes how many yesses?

Why that's seven out of eight possible, six of them being oh Hell yes yesses, with one being a sorta mostly yes.

Now, how many are required to qualify for having obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, according to the DSM-IV?


We got lucky, didn't we.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mid-October Update

Thought it was time for another update. We've been plugging away at the garage and shop, with a little of the yard, too, though it's hard to tell. Mostly because what's been going on is that Tara's friend J has been by some more and has been taking one load after another of old transmissions, engines, &c. And while that is certainly very nice and quite welcome (and has given us some more cash) the things leaving the property have kind of been from all over the place, since my father stored engines and transmissions mostly at random (outdoors, in the shop, in the garage, &c). So no one place has gotten 'cleaned' in any kind of methodical or localized fashion. Stuff has come out from under benches in the garage, though, and I for one am beginning to be able to envision an actual end to the stuff in that one room, at least. We need to consolidate and tidy a bit though before I'll be able to get some photos that look like progress has been made.

We have gathered up some more stuff for an iron run (or two, now that there's a bus involved) this week, so that also is on the Plan.

So. It is moving. It is even, still, I think, accelerating, which is a wonder to me; and I will get some pictures. I know in the back of my mind that though I think it doesn't look like anything has changed, I will be able to see it in a picture.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cleaning Up

We went to a local Volkswagen event today, with Tara taking her newly-running bus and me following in a real car in case anything went amiss; now, I make no excuses and can give no reasons for my sister's inexplicable like (perhaps even love) of the goddamned things. Because for my part, I hate them.

I just have too many memories of my father driving them. He would never let my mother drive if they were together, of course. She could take the car alone, usually, though he did almost always have some excuse why it wasn't a good idea, and it generally took a bit of haranguing to get him to shut up; which was just another manifestation of that OCPD need for control, I think.

He always drove about ten miles an hour under the speed limit; I have vivid memories of the other cars swooshing by us on the highway. Now, granted, an old VW wouldn't go sixty if you dropped it off a cliff, as its terminal velocity is rather lower; but this was in large part him, too. He always took his own sweet time, because that way, he got to have control over the rest of us, and we all got to freak out, nag, and get frustrated. It sounds malicious, and maybe it was in part; but it could have been simple obliviousness, too. I don't know.

I still have dreams in which I am in a very bad way, say, bleeding to death, and absolutely desperately need to get to the ER; well, nightmares, I should say, because the only person who can drive me there in my dream is my father. But of course he takes the scenic route, drives well under the speed limit, and keeps up a constant chatter about the houses, buildings, cars, and the other absolutely desperately unfascinating crap he can see out the window. And no amount of pleading (or bleeding, for fuck's sake) gets him to understand or even see that this just might be a good time to, oh I don't know, shut the fuck up and get to the goddamned hospital! O my God I hate those dreams. They are so spot-on accurate.

Anyhow. This is supposed to be a nice story from today. Because we did pretty well, really.

So I almost thought I could like old Volkswagens today. They are actually proving to be somewhat useful.

Oh not in the way that a normal car is 'useful' because it runs and can get you somewhere; I mean Tara was taking back roads all the way since she didn't feel comfortable pushing the bus past forty-five mph as it was making a bit of a grindy noise in the back bearings. Also, it was a chilly morning when we set out and I for one was damned glad to have heat in the car I was driving.

See, what Tara did was load up the thing (well, okay, not properly a Thing, that's another kind of Volkswagen) with parts. You know, the stuff we've got a garage, shop, cellar, downstairs garage, garage attic, shop attic, shed, shed attic, and yard full of. You know. That stuff.

And then when we arrived at said Volkswagen event, she unloaded it onto the lawn in front of it. And then people, all lovers of old Volkswagens (and so, in my book, flat out of their skulls insane, though maybe perhaps we can all just agree to disagree), swarmed over and started rummaging through tubs and picking up bits of chrome and steering wheels and those VW medallion things that the Beastie Boys made fashionable, all excited; and then, and then, they started throwing $20 bills at her.

For several hours.

Here's a picture of all the crap, er, lovely vintage Volkswagen parts. Original high-quality German parts, some still 'new' in the boxes they came in, &c.:

Tara soon ran out of room in her rather inadequate pockets, and so actually had to start stashing cash in the glove compartment. Holy fuck, check this out:

We got kicked out eventually by a wedding party, who needed the space, though, honestly, who chooses to get married in front of a car museum, then pitches a fit when there is a car event there, especially one that has been an annual event for years and can hardly be a surprise? Groomzilla was especially charming. We were scheduled to be there until 3:30; around 2 he started talking about how he knew it was our event, too, BUT we had to get out NOW because OMG he had to start setting up chairs and holy fuck, dude, if that's how well you can handle stress and compromise and interacting schedules maybe you're better off single, you know? Or at least your bride might be.

Anyway we cleared out of there in plenty of time.

But not before we fished that cash out of the glove compartment and started stacking bills on top of each other. And stacking, and stacking. The twenties I swear just went on forever.

Would you like to guess how much it came to?

Eight-hundred and forty-seven dollars.

So, yeah, not a bad day's work, is it?

I could almost like them.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The way, way, way way WAY back machine...

Posted by Tara.

As bad as the yard seems now, it should be duly noted that it was much, much worse...

I've gone through my computer hard drive to find some photos from the dawn of the digital photo age, when 640x480 was "high resolution". Bear with me as a few of these panoramas and photos aren't quite up to today's standards (unless you've got that photo-enhancing software they always have in movies, where it can add detail that isn't there to begin with...)

So, first off, let's see where we were back in 2001. These are some of the earliest photos we took as we started to deal with a problem that had spiraled out of control for 30+ years. This was back in the days when Dad still lived at home. He wasn't working on VW's anymore and was cognisant enough to still be fighting our efforts. However, not long before these were taken, he actually gave up on 15 cars and let a scrapyard take them away at once. What we're seeing in these photos is after they had left (they were in an area called "the pen", which would have been in the right rearmost part of the next picture). At that point there were probably 50 or 60 on the property (down from a maximum of 78 in the early 1990's).

And here's the area (below) that is barely visible in the above photo, center right.

Out of these 2 pictures the only cars that remain non-crushed are the red Karmann-Ghia (inside the shop now), and the red camper bus (undergoing restoration elsewhere and soon to be back on the road - mostly to haul VW parts to swap meets!).

Oh, and I think one of the red bugs in the 2nd photograph is still around, but it won't be for long.

Fast forward a few years to Spring 2003, and sadly things don't look much better, but they are. Lots of other parts of the yard have been cleaned up, but what was left was stuck in one area, so it actually looks worse.

Now looking from atop the attic of the shop, we see that was behind it in then. I hate to admit it, but I wasn't helping things much as 4 or 5 of the cars here belong to me, either as a result of "That's cool, I want it", or I was driving it in the recent past. And I had recently bought the Citroen 2cv which is off to the left (and now nicely restored and lives elsewhere). Of what we see here, the only cars still on the property are the black Saab and the red beetle, both slated to leave, either whole or in pieces. And the random chunks o' Saab Sonnet are still there too (the blue and grey 1/2 cars).

Lastly, let's see a before and after of the area behind the two story garage. Before is May 2001, After is April 2003. Still lots to do, and nature had really taken over things at this point. Sort of like that show "Life After People", eh?

The only thing left in these photos is the fender-less Citroen DS (because is IS a bona-fide classic car), which is a parts car for a rust-free one I own. With parts being so scarce that's why it's still here. However, one needs to follow through with plans for constructive car fixin' which is difficult when you're constantly sidetracked by the getting rid of crap along the way.

So as bad as things look now, we have made progress! I don't live here anymore, but I do live close by. I often think of coming over to work on something constructive, but the story has been - for years and years- that any plans get sidetracked by the getting-rid-of-worthless (or worse, stuff you have to pay to dispose of) -stuff sometimes just so you can clear a path or clear an area to work on something. I guess I never realized that it would take a decade to get over this hurdle, but I'm happy to accelerate the pace just to get to the cool and/or worthwhile stuff.


And Another One

We did another iron run earlier today as well, the one we'd loaded up last night. Here's a fully-laden Larry again:

Which was another 1100 pounds taken away today, bringing our total up to 16,820 pounds, or 8.41 tons.

There's still more.

Garage Progress

We've been working on the garage pretty steadily the last couple of nights; and finally today I got a chance to get some pictures in daylight. I think my photo-taking routine needs a little finessing, though, as I didn't get all the before shots for the afters, even though I marked spots on the floor so I'd get consistent views. I will learn as I go, I'm sure.

We actually moved some engines and transmissions and other VW parts last night, as a VW guy friend of Tara's called out of the blue looking for stuff. Could you come over right now? says Tara; Sure, says the friend. He brought his pickup truck. A very nice man, that friend. We'll call him J. He took a bunch of stuff, then gave us some money. And he wants to come back, too.

It's a little tricky with these pictures, as a lot of the stuff we got out of there last night was underneath the benches, and so is hard to see anyway. But it's gone, and hurrah! we were able to move one engine J didn't take sideways. It was from an old VW bus, and the 'mustache bar' (I am not making that up) was sticking out into the path. I don't know how many times we banged our ankles on that stupid thing. Actually, you can see it in the first picture below on the right, sticking out menacingly at ankle height. Evil.

We'll do an overview first with the panoramas. The first pictures in these sets are the ones from the other day, followed by today's picture. From by the stairs:

And from over by the breezeway door:

You can actually almost see that old Triumph now, which Tara tells me is a TR3A. In theory it once looked something like this, and, perhaps, in theory, might someday look like this again:

(Picture horked from the internet, and so I take no blame for the atrocious rubberstamp job on the right)

Most of what we did the other night was work on the southeast corner of the garage. As you can see in the pictures below, we went through the three low chests on the left, then got rid of the chests themselves. Tara then attacked (and I mean, seriously, like with an axe) the top bureau, the one with the mis-matched drawers in it. There may have been just a tetch of pent-up hostility with that thing; one of my father's favorite things to hoard was empty drawers, though oftentimes he'd just put them aside for future potential use (the best kind, according to a hoarder's brain) and so they'd take up all this space while being filled with air. So, we tend to hates them forever O yes precious we does O we does. It was certainly gratifying to watch Tara smash them up.

Smashy pictures first (I love those breaky noises!):

Then the b & a:

We think that TV, which was buried in the corner, may have been our grandmother's. It has genuine rabbit ears on it, and given its Sputnik design sensibilities I'm guessing it's from the 50s or so. The painting is my cousin's; it had been wedged between the south wall and the Triumph. It fit the newly opened space perfectly, though it's probably sideways, judging by the direction of the paint drips on it. Then again, it's Abstract Expressionism. Who can tell?

We got the boxes of books on the north wall moved up to the attic, which is a better place for them, and so opened up that bench a bit. Behold—the wall!

This corner is a little harder to make out, as there isn't really space, and it's dark. But we got some transmissions out of there, too:

This last one is another of the south wall; I didn't really get a before, but you can probably tell from one of the panoramas up top. We got two cabinets out of there and then they got the axe treatment (ask me some time about our ninth cousin thrice removed, the infamous Lizzie Borden, and no, I am not making that up either) and went smashy smashy!! So satisfying.

Overall, a lot of work. Of course walking around in there today it didn't look like much had changed; but that's what the pictures are for. Looking at them I can see some concrete progress, and that is a very good thing.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Holy Scrap!

Took that load of iron to the scrapyard today, and was given another chunk of cash for it, which is most excellent. Here's Larry all loaded up:

Though I have to say, being at that place makes our mess seem very small indeed. Though I suppose they're professionals, aren't they. Check out their pile of iron:

I think these are transmissions? It's some kind of ginormous pile of engine parts anyway:

All told it was another 1160 pounds of iron taken off the property, which brings our grand total to 15,720 pounds or 7.86 tons. And we loaded Larry up when we got home yet again, for another run tomorrow.

We have been so busy that I haven't had space to get a good set of after photos in daylight yet, since by the time it's done it's really too dark to get them. But after pictures of the garage are on my to-do list, that is for certain, and soon.

When we loaded up Larry again today we obliterated that freestanding cart o' junk that had been out by the shop. I did get a picture of that. Here's the before, from the other day:

And the after:


I am so tired now; but it's a really good tired.

More work tomorrow.

Shop Work

Just a quick note because it's late and I'm really freakin' tired right now; since today Tara and I spent a full eight hours going through stuff in the shop and then, when it got dark, the garage, in preparation for another iron run, hopefully tomorrow. Here are some befores and afters of the shop. I'm waiting to get the afters for the garage in daylight tomorrow, and after we get the stuff that's set to go out of there (since we've learned our lesson not to load up the car if Mom needs to use it, which she does again tomorrow).

So here are a couple of befores of the shop. They don't quite line up with the afters, but you can still get a good idea of the progress we made:

And the after. It was starting to get dark, so the picture isn't the greatest, but you can still see well enough:

And the pile of metal to go to the scrapyard: