Monday, April 18, 2011

Eco-conscious? Or just cheap and frankly a little gross?

     The man I'm married to is not the same man I fell in love with 7 years ago. The man I fell in love with had frosted tips, a silver chain and was (In my opinion) a little too tan and well groomed for a guy. At one point I was even a little worried that he shaved his arms they were so smooth and clean; apparently he just doesn't grow arm hair very well, or much facial hair for that matter, which was a relief that at least he's not in a practice of shaving his arms. Anyway, his body hair has nothing to do with this story...

The man I'm married to now wears tie-dye and has a favorite pair of hemp pants. Our conversations have turned from party's with friends to our garden plans for the summer. He fishes, hikes and prefers not to shower daily. I actually love this version of him much more. There is one personality trait however, that I have to keep in check; he will bring just about any piece of free junk home that anyone leaves at the curb.

What do a silver spray painted dresser and 'matching' night stand, a child's toy piano, a garden hose reel, a smoker/grill and a child's kitchen set all have in common? At one point they were left on the curb by a family who felt their time was over and my husband excitedly scooped them up one by one and gave them a new home with us. There was also a pair of cowboy boots, a love seat with a pullout bed (yuck), a garden swing, stroller, a portable grill and several other odds and ends that only stayed with us for a short while until I kicked them back to curb.
A few years ago we lived in a 5 unit apartment building and word had spread that my husband wanted your old junk. So at least once a week something would be set aside from the regular trash in case he wanted to claim it. Some things I would allow in, others I'd send right back out. It was a hot sunny afternoon when he trotted down the stairs to our apartment with a grin ear to ear holding the 'new' cooler he had just acquired from the curb. It was medium sized, red, dirty, standard Igloo cooler with some duct tape holding one of the busted corners together. My response, which is pretty typical, "we have enough shit, go put that back on the curb." He insisted we needed it, set it down and immediately started using it as a side table. It was 30 minutes later that the neighbor came down wondering if anyone had seen his cooler, he had set it down for a just a minute to run inside and grab something and when he came out it was gone! Thank God, cause that was one ugly ass cooler. I wish he would have done the same for the cowboy boots that were brought home the week before...

Whenever I mention that I need something, my husband always scans the curbs before he will allow me to buy it. I know in my general circle of friends this is viewed as frankly a little gross. And can be frowned upon when my daughters latest toy had to be power-washed and bleached because it was a little covered in green algae the day my husband brought it home. But at one years old, my daughter couldn't have been happier to get a new toy and its obvious she has no idea what 'dumpster diving' is (for now). The latest was the kitchen set, we literally saw the same exact one at the Jackson Toy House for over $200 just a week ago, and the fact that it is completely plastic makes me happy that we were able to acquire a used one instead of contributing to the generation of a completely new hunk of plastic onto this earth that will never break down and continue to pollute for years to come.

It took me a while to come to terms with my husband being 'that guy' that brings random things home people have left on the curb, but we have saved so much money and we're able to give completely usable items a few more years of life while having the satisfaction of re-using instead of purchasing new. And really, a power-washer and a little vinegar and baking soda, or bleach if its particularly sketchy, pretty much fixes anything. So go ahead, dive in - I won't judge you.


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