Several years ago I became obsessed with mosaics -as in making them. It culminated in a gigantic wall piece that I made in the kitchen. It took 2 months and 25 lbs of grout – it also kind of sucked up my desire for the next project. But like with most things that grab my attention, I become insanely obsessed for about 3 months and then move on to something ….SQUIRREL! um…something else.
So whilst I was in the midst of my tiling insanity, one of my librarian friends offered me some mosaic tiles from a recent community mosaic tiling project that had just been done. I went over to the library with my son thinking I’d be picking up a couple boxes of broken tiles. Add 7 more boxes to that ‘couple’ and you’ll get an idea of how much TILE she had given me. It was pretty fabulous – and it took us several trips an a lot of muscle to get those from the library to my car.
I had no earthly idea where I was going to store all these boxes – and if you know anything about me, you know I’m a bit of a wack-nut about storing stuff. I have a small house with a lot of stuff. It’s a constant battle in our house to make sure we cycle stuff out before bringing new stuff in. I was able to store much of the tile in a bin on the porch outside and some of it had to sit exposed in another place in the yard. Most of the tiles were packed in the type of box that copy paper reams are packed in.
Fast forward at least a YEAR and I’ve done exactly zilch with the tiles (even more embarrassing, I had
asked well, forced, another friend to come draw on my wall because I have an idea for the next project…it’s been there for almost 2 years now). I was feeling guilty for not doing anything and annoyed with all the space it was taking up that I could be using for something else frivolous.
So I decided to try out freecycle.org. This fabulous little site allows you to offer up anything for free, with the idea that the person getting the free stuff (often crap – like used toothpaste and old newspaper…but you know one man’s crap is another man’s crap-treasure) picks it up and does all the work…because you know, it’s FREE.
I offered up my 9 boxes of tiles and within hours had an email inquiring interest. I figured it was first come/first served so I started correspondence with the mystery person (moniker ‘Mickey Mouse’). Meanwhile, I still kept getting emails from people that wanted the tile and had to tell them that someone else had responded but if that falls through, I’d let them know.
After several emails – Mickey Mouse (a woman) finally sets a date to come and pick stuff up. I warned her that there were about 9 big, heavy boxes of tile. NINE BOXES. Remember that number for future reference. In email, she mentioned that this was a good excuse to clean out her car.
So the day arrives – I have all the boxes on the back porch waiting for their new home. About 15 minutes later than the appointment time, a very dilapidated BMW pulls up to the curb – even from my living room window, I can see that the car appears to be filled with stuff. A somewhat ungainly woman in her late 60s/early 70s emerges (in an housecoat no less) and starts limping towards my house. I have very little faith that she is in the physical condition required for hauling heavy boxes of tile. We meet and of course she cannot lift any of the boxes. Yay me… I have to do it. So I grab the first box and she says, “I cleaned out the trunk for these” – and she opens the trunk. It is literally packed full – and there is one small space, the size of a PAPER BAG left open for me pack 9 BOXES OF TILES. I stood there mouth agape looking in the trunk with what can only described as an ‘incredulous stare’. The space wouldn’t even fit ONE BOX.
So we – well, I, ended up shoving the NINE BOXES of tiles in the front and back seats of her car (on top of other huge boxes/bags of things). By now I’m slightly annoyed about having to do all the physical labor and then she says, in an off-hand way, that she’s never even TILED BEFORE but thought it would be fun to try when she saw my posting! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Right then and there I realized that I might be face-to-face with a genuine compulsive HOARDER. I can only imagine how thrilling freecycle.org is to a dedicated hoarder. Endless free stuff… I was initially irritated that someone that wasn’t really going to use the tiles took them, but when I saw all the space available on my porch, the irritation quickly dissolved. Go forth and be happy, weird hoarder lady…I gave you tile; you gave me fodder for posting…a pretty good exchange, I must say.