20 YEARS IN REHAB
LIFE LESSONS LEARNED FROM RENOVATING THE BIG VICTORIAN HOUSE
An Account of a 20+ Year Renovation and Source Book
I have a story for almost everything I’ve collected for my house.
The Tale of the Giant Mirror
One hot day a couple of years ago, I was driving back to work from lunch. As I approached the traffic light I noticed the truck in front of me was hauling a gigantic ornate picture frame. The rest of the truck was full of junk. By the way, the items were heaped in the bed of the truck along with a trashcan and a push broom, I assumed this guy was on his way to the city dump. I had to have that frame.
I tried to pull up next to his truck and flag him down but there were too many Sunday drivers on the road and I was running out of time as we approached the exit to the interstate. When we both hit the highway, I began fumbling in my truck to find something to write on. I settled for the back of a free calendar I’d been given that never made it into my house. As I grabbed the black magic marker I always carry in my pocket, (I just do.) I scribbled a message . . . “WoULd yOu SeLL tHe fRaMe?”
The driver did a double-take and nodded. He pointed to the next exit. We met in the McDonald's parking lot and he lifted the frame out of his pickup. “It’s actually a mirror. There’s the glass. It has a matching table. My wife bought it as a set. She works at a hotel by the airport in Kansas City and when they redecorate, the employees get first dibs on the old furniture. We’re keeping the table but we just didn’t have any room for the big mirror.
“How much do you need for it?” I questioned. “65?” he asked testing the water.
“Weren’t you headed to the dump to toss it?”I asked.
“Yes,” he replied with a little shame in his voice.
“I was thinking more like $15” I countered.
“I’d need more for it than that,” he said.
“I’ll go $20 for the mirror that until just now you were going to throw away.” I offered, knowing he had me since I’d flagged him down, “ That will pay for your trip to the dump.”
“Deal.” He said as he grabbed the 20 and shook my hand.
Now I had a giant frame in the back of my truck and I was taking it home to my dump. I wondered as I headed back, how many people would have chased a guy down on his way to throw something in the trash and offer to pay him for it. Then I smiled as I wondered how many people had ever found a cool mirror like this for twenty bucks.