Although not explicitly stated anywhere, I had intended when starting this blog, to write primarily about the subject of building a timber frame home…or at least to share the follies encountered during my attempts to do so. Well, in looking back over the various posts of late, there is very little –well neigh nothing- about building much of anything…a new life perhaps, but no large wooden structures. Which, you know, is OK what with my not having explicitly stated anywhere that that was what I had intended.
And besides the house project itself is still a rather long ways off. I WAS however supposed to be working on the timber frame shed…as practice. So along those lines, as described a couple weeks ago, I did some overhauling of my living quarters. Somewhere during that process I got the idea that I would reclaim the garage; wrestle it out from the clutches of the long standing half-assed apartment that I had been trying to make it into. It seemed like a grand idea to make it a shop instead, thus giving me an interior space to work on the smaller timbers for the shed.
So there was this sofa –a futon in point of fact- that was in the way. Now it was in no way stuck inextricably half way up a winding stairwell, but that is the way I was beginning to see it. First I tried to sell it. Then I tried to give it away. Nothing doing…there it sat. Every couple of days or so I would peek in on it and there it was. I tried craigslist…people would respond and ask if I still had it. I would respond with yes and then…crickets. So me -not fully able to comprehend the issue- would begin to doubt my senses and would sneak back out to the garage to see, if in fact, I really did still have it. “Maybe”, I would think to myself, “these people on craigslist know something I do not and when I say that ‘Yes, I do still have it’, this means that in fact I do not.” But no, every time I looked it was still there –stalwart and unwavering in its position. This simply would not do. Days went by and nothing continued to happen and so I finally determined that I had to take the situation into my own hands. So yesterday I forced the situation. I, with the assistance of a friend, manually and unequivocally loaded said futon into the back of my truck and I forthwith shuttled it down the road to the local Transfer Station… but this now brings up another topic of discussion –the disposition of things.
I hate to throw things away. Not that I am a hoarder necessarily, but rather I have this mentality –likely from living here as long as I have, often with not much in the way of purchasing power- that if something is useful I probably should hang on to it. Just in case I might need to use it. Someday. That is part of it. There are variations on this theme in that I hate to throw things away. And by that I mean I really prefer to reuse and/or recycle as much as possible. So here was this perfectly good futon, I had bought it used, got a fair amount of use from it, but now no longer wanted it. It sat there among the boxes and fifteen sleeping bags and piles of greenhouse equipment and the backpacks and boots and worn out shoes and topographic maps and old Christmas decorations… Could not sell it, could not give it away, did not want to throw it away. Thankfully I live in Fairbanks.
You see the transfer stations here are more than just the local dump, rather they enjoy the much celebrated, sometimes dubious, but generally useful distinction of being true reuse centers. There there occurs dumpster diving to be sure, but we have also elevated this to a whole new level. There are these large, covered, concrete slabs unofficially dubbed “reuse platforms” –a name with some fantastic connotations really- where a person might take something that they no longer want but neither wish to simply throw away. Then others have free reign to rifle through the Miscellaneous Debris that builds up and take away anything that they might find useful or desirable.
Years ago I undertook a study of these reuse centers for an anthropology class. While the study was short lived I still feel that my hypothesis tested out and would bear further scrutiny. You see there are four such platforms in the greater Fairbanks area (there are several other transfer stations which operate in the same manner, but my study focused on those with the formal infrastructure) and it was my idea to assess if one might be able to learn something about the demographics of each distinct area of town based on the content and behaviors present at the platforms…you know what type of stuff was there, what the crowd was like, etc. So I did a four week survey. I went to each platform and took an inventory of the materials left, noted details about the quantity and quality of the different types, the overall condition of the materials as well as the state of the platform, and to some degree I noted interesting behaviors of the patrons. Then I analyzed the data using techniques borrowed from Historic Archaeology, essentially a typological frequency analysis over time and specific to each place. In my opinion, and I presented this to the class –it was a class about economic anthropology- there were identifiable patterns which were in fact unique to each station. I expect it continues to hold true.
Anyways, I expect the futon did not stay there long. In fact a guy helped me to unload it then called his wife to see if he could bring it home…considerate of him…on both counts. I do however have my doubts, for over the last two weeks I kept insisting that I did indeed still have it, but no one seemed to believe me. I have yet to look in the garage to verify that it is still gone. The plan today is to clean the snow off of some of the smaller timbers and bring them inside to warm up. Hopefully the futon will not be in the way.
Hm, this was supposed to be about building.