Thursday, November 29, 2012

Another Tipping Point

I don't know if you readers remember, but Tara has made it a goal to clear out the area by the shop before the first snowfall. Now, it snowed yesterday but didn't stick past overnight, so we'll assume the clock is still running.

As part of that plan, lately she's been attacking the bit right against the north boundary of the property, up against a tumbled-down old stone wall. There were some bits of cars there; I think I counted them as half cars in the total number in the yard, I'm not sure now.

At any rate, this is what Tara managed to come-a-long up onto the trailer a few days ago:

(Pictures by Tara.)

I honestly can't identify that. I think it's a chunk of Citroën DS, but it might be a piece of a Saab Sonett. Well, whatever it was, it was a damned heavy rusty hunk of rusty rust.

Tara had thrown some other peeled-off jagged bits into the Bus; with that and some generators off we went to the scrapyard. Lovely, isn't it?

Though the Bus wasn't too pleased about the heavy load, still we made it there without incident. Now that doesn't seem worth mentioning, does it? Oh, but it is. And right about now you'd be correct to be getting a faint sense of foreboding.

But anyway first we went to the precious metals warehouse-thing where they took the generators off our hands; it was a different guy there this time, though, one I didn't recognize. He gave us our receipt and then we drove around back.

Where we emptied the bus just fine; but then there was the matter of getting the huge hunk of former European car off the trailer.

Tara of course couldn't budge it on her own; she'd used the come-a-long to get it there in the first place (and then left it there because it was holding the thing on the trailer) but that obviously wouldn't work the other way. So we asked the guy in the Claw.

But alas! The Claw actually was not up to the task; it tried to grab on but couldn't get a good grip (or the guy operating it wasn't that good at it; he gave up pretty easily, I thought). So he tried the magnet instead.

Maybe he was new there, maybe it was just too odd a shape, I don't know. But he had a hard time picking it up with the magnet too; eventually he sort of half picked it up and then slid it off the end.

Yes, well. The trailer was still attached to the trailer hitch. Or it had been.

Granted, the hitch was sort of a homemade jury-rigged thing; I was always worried about how it attached to the Bus proper (I have no idea what there is left of the Bus under there) but apparently I should have been worrying about the construction of the trailer hitch itself.

Because with that much weight on the back end of it, the weld came apart.

As for the trailer itself the guy managed to mangle the fenders on it and pull the plywood up. I mean fair enough, it wasn't the sturdiest trailer on the planet, but still. The guy looked like he felt kind of bad, but not bad enough to actually do anything about it.

When we got to the front and told the guy there, he couldn't help us either. Tara was sure there must have been somebody there with a welder; but no. They just kind of shrugged. No, I'm not personally pleased with that. They broke it, they should fix it.

But at the time there wasn't much to do about it. The main concern was how would we get the trailer home, so the whole thing could get fixed?

Well, the bar serving as bumper that was actually part of the hitch was still there; and Tara managed to chain the thing up without a ball. And so we went home, somewhat less than legally, with frequent stops to check that the thing wasn't coming off. We made it, just fine, though we were plenty nervous. Tara got this picture later:

Yeeaaaaah, don't know about that. I mean it got home with us, but that was probably pure luck.

Tara has some ideas about fixing it, and making it much stronger this time; she also said, and I suppose she is right, that it broke sort of at a good time. I'm not sure it was the best time myself--that would probably have been at home, with nothing on it--but at least it wasn't on the way there. Because that could have been very bad indeed.

But anyway that area over by the north wall is slowly getting cleaned up. I looked around at all the photos I'd taken that were supposed to serve as 'befores', but none quite matched up. I had to make do with this:

It's pretty close. And here's the after, or the middle, since there are still things over there that need to go:

The posts will have to come out; and you can see that we still haven't figured out how to get rid of that stack of concrete blocks. Nobody seems to want the damned things.

So then. We managed to get rid of some assorted 'precious' metals (including everyone's favorite, irony aluminum) and another 1300 pounds of #1 iron. And so that tips us over past the 40,000 mark to 40,100 pounds, or 20.05 tons removed on our forty-seventh trip to the place. Twenty tons. All of it removed one piece at a time.

Thanks, Dad.

Friday, November 9, 2012


I was doing something work-related on the Mac today, moving things around and cleaning up the virtual desktop in preparation for something else, and this is what I saw when I attempted to empty the trash:

For some weird, glitchy, and sublimely inspired reason my Mac decided to use the picture of the trailer full of junk from the other day instead of the usual Trash icon, which I've never seen it do. And there it was, asking me to permanently throw away all this accumulated junk with the click of a mouse.

O! If only it were that simple.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tetanus Burger Combo Platter

Well on Monday it was time, once again, to saddle up the old Bus and git us to the scrapyard with another load of rusty hunks of rusty rust. This time it was a trailerful of the hideous remains of I think a Saab Sonett; although maybe it was a Citroën bit, I don't really know. It's a bit hard to tell once you get down to the, well, rust tacks I guess.

So Tara had loaded it up on the really very handy trailer and attempted to bungee it down along with some other jagged bits and I think some kind of axle something-or-other; with that and some assorted other things in the Bus itself, off we went:

(Pictures by Tara, except for the last one, which is by me.)

Now maybe I just have a tendency towards animism, but I swear when we got there and drove around back this time I could feel the Bus getting nervous. Somewhere deep in its little metal Soul it was screaming in terror that it, too, would be left there with the rotting and crushed bodies of so many other cars.

Or maybe that was just my (vivid) imagination; though the smell there that day certainly didn't help. I don't know quite what it was, whether it was foul rusty oily mud, fumes from the smelter, or an actual corpse (or ten) of dead and rotting deer in the nearby woods, but something smelled horrible. It was like paper-mill awful, if you've ever had the misfortune to smell one of those (Savannah, Georgia, I'm looking at you). It was really truly ghastly, and I was worried it would cling to my clothes. (It didn't, and I am very grateful.)

So holding our noses we drove around to the towering pile of rusty hunks of rusty rust, which is always different, and always huge, and never seems to go down very much, and unloaded the Bus. But then we got to the car piece on the trailer. We were standing there, trying to figure out an angle of attack, when one of the guys there asked if we wanted him to do it. The guy with THE CLAW.

Several years ago now we got a new septic system installed; and one thing I learned from the experience is that dudes with heavy equipment are always looking for excuses to use them. The guy digging the septic system asked us after he'd finished digging the GIANT HOLE in my backyard if there was anything else we'd like him to move. We had him bury a very large tree trunk along the stone wall, pick out some rocks, and anything else we could think of and he still came back for more. It's like the best toy ever and they just can't stop.

So when CLAW-guy asked we said Oh yes, thank you. And he got in the thing and one



up it went in the claw and off the trailer.

All told, though, it wasn't all that heavy; and so Monday's total only came to another eight hundred pounds even. Still that brings our total up to 38,800 pounds of iron removed since we've been keeping track (remember, there was plenty of iron that we just brought straight to the dump back in the day, too) or 19.4 tons. And it was our forty-sixth trip, which is absolutely ridiculous. We'll make fifty, easily, I know. Because, yeah, hey guess what, there is still more.

We generally take the back roads to the scrapyard, especially in the Bus, and being children of hoarders who now have a name for it, we do of course notice other hoarded houses along the way. There are at least three of them I can think of off the top of my head, maybe more, along that particular route.

One broken-down looking old house had piles and piles of Godsknow what covered with tarps in the yard; it almost looked like someone was preparing for a yard sale, but we knew that wasn't really true. And out in the driveway was an older guy, the hoarder himself I could just tell. He was standing by his car (with a stars-and-bars license plate), with the trunk open, like he'd just acquired some more junk. Though we were driving past I got a good look at him and the smug bastard look on his face. And I knew he was a hoarder.

I reflexively flipped him the bird while he watched us go by. We were just coming back from yet another goddamned trip to the scrapyard cleaning up after my hoarder asshole father, and to see that look on his face was just too much. Because I know what that asshole's family are going through living with him.

Anyway. I don't know how Tara's plan of getting that area by the shop cleared out before the first snowfall is going to go, as that's a Hel of a nor'easter pelting us out there; so far, though, it looks like it's just rain. Who knows what we'll wake up to, though. I've seen pictures of other places that got snow from this same storm.

And I guess there's just something about this nasty cold storm that gets the 'hunker down' instinct going, because this is what greeted me in the living room this evening:

That, my friends, is a five cat pile-up, with a sixth on top. It's been a while since I've mentioned the cats around here; they are doing well, though I've come in for rather a lot of schlepping giant bags of chow and tubs of litter. On the top is old Maude, who's been here forever; on the couch, left to right, are, (the back end of) Rory, Ratty, Danny, Aleister Meowley, and Zeffie, or Madamoiselle Zéphirine Chatonne-Gris, who ended up staying when the person who said she would give her a home flaked out on us. (Thanks; I appreciate that, really.) You can see, also, that Ratty is still living up to his name. Oh Ratty. Never change.

Friday, November 2, 2012

You're not my father! That's impossible!

Growing up in the 80's recession, we had lots of hand-me-down toys,  toys from the dump, but rarely ever any current must-have toys such as Star Wars action figures. 

I'm sure we would have loved Star Wars figures,  with us being pretty much that perfect age (I was 6 when the first movie came out).     I don't think we were disallowed toys like this on matter of principle but I guess collecting Star Wars figures could get expensive, as I seem to recall them being like $3 each back when they were new.   (I do recall having a C3PO but that was it)

Of course, some years later I guess our hoarder dad saw these trays at the dump and thought they made ideal screw-sorting out trays!  Add to that the insult that 70's/80's Star Wars figures are much sought after these days, so stumbling across these empty cubbies with their tantalizing labels of what's not inside of them.. well it's like finding the empty box to something really cool missing from your childhood and inside is a bunch of dirt and rust, not that toy you wished was inside.

Makes we want to clean out these trays and spend $800 on ebay finding all the guys that go in these trays, just to recapture that lost bit of denied childhood.

"Obi-wan told me enough..  He told me you killed my father!

No.. I am your father!

NoooOOOoooOOOO! "

Yikes.. Imagine if Vader was a hoarder on top of being Dark Lord of the Sith.