Clearwater Plumbers- January/ February 2020

ClearWater Plumbers

January/February 2020

I Brake for Good Deals

We knew we needed to single-handedly load a 12-foot satellite dish (this was my main prize, by the way) a 600-pound pipe, and the other nick knacks onto this truck without hurting ourselves or looking like we ever thought this was out of our comfort level. You know, a normal day at the office for me and my 13-pound sidekick of a dog. Miraculously, I got the jumbo dish and pole loaded, and then we took a trip down the road to get the cart and the cabinet at the masonic lodge. All I could think was, “My god, how am I going to get back to Fort Worth with a giant satellite dish before dark when the trailer lights are not working? If this thing catches the wind just right, it may end up in the Gulf of Mexico, or worse, snap my wooden braces in rush hour traffic on I-35, causing a huge pileup, and I’ll be the laughing stock of the metro news with my satellite dish.” I loaded it, halfway strapped her down for show, and was wished well by the city man who helped me source my treasures. He was a really nice guy and did help once he realized I might be able to pull it off. He probably felt sorry for me, and he said his parents were in the party tent rental business. I told him I was off to Fort Worth. Adios, amigo! I drove down the street out of sight, then pulled over to think. I looked at my load, looked at the time, and looked at Google (“scrap yard Waco” found the nearest scrap yard). If you have ever driven through a scrap yard with a funky load on a trailer, it is a show. The workers there aren’t very personable with their magnets and scratchers, doing metallurgy 101 to grade the loads passing through. Then, there are the customers. Even “normal” people are characters at a scrap yard. Finally, there are the men that make a living pushing a shopping cart that gets fuller as the day gets longer, field testing and loading random metal while walking the streets all day. They cash it in at the end of the day for a wheel rim and some copper wire to get $6.27 for their long day pushing a rickety shopping cart across train tracks, gravel, and grass.

So, I have an interesting hobby. I like to watch a handful of government-type auction sites. I have a keen eye for good deals, but sometimes I do scratch my head and say, “Jeff, what the heck are you thinking?” For instance, in the picture above, I got a smoking deal on a 12-foot aluminum satellite dish that mounted to a 6-inch by 24- foot steel post, a vintage copy machine stand from the ‘70s, and a heavy-duty flat rolling cart. I got all this for the low, low, low price of $27. I am a 90-to-nothing guy who is always busy, even if I’m not busy. Well, I almost missed my deadline to pick this stuff up and had a flight the next morning to Atlanta. So, I loaded up a 20-foot trailer, our excavator, and some chains and hit the road, headed southbound with my trusty “wife’s dog,” Trixie. We got to downtown Waco around 3:30 in the afternoon on Sept. 10 with this heavy and awkward stuff that was piled between two Waco skyscrapers (well for Waco anyway, so maybe 4–5 stories) and the gate as wide as a normal backyard gate. The city guy who met me there looked at me like I was a nut job initially, but then a clever nut. I knew Trixie and I had our reputation on the line. This guy who would never see us again was going to think we were capable winners, or losers, who drove from Fort Worth and could not load $27 worth of heavy and awkward DE-commissioned metal.

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