So I'm walking the dog yesterday morning on our usual route, when suddenly up ahead of me I see a table on the side of the road. When I reach it, I can see that it's in good shape. It's like a school table, about six feet long, maybe three-and-a-half feet wide, and it's in two pieces, table top and frame with legs attached. The hardware is in a baggie taped to the top.
Just last week I'd dogeared a page in the new Ikea catalog with a table just like the one on the street. I wanted it for Will's room--he's a kid who needs a lot of surface space, and my preference is that space be elevated (i.e. not the floor). Okay, so maybe this wouldn't be a fresh, brand-spanking-new Ikea table, but it was free for the taking. So I took it.
Well, it wasn't quite that simple. First I called and left a message on the machine for the Man, who was in the shower. I knew that if I didn't call and leave a message, by the time I got a block or two away, I'd forget completely about the table and only remember hours, maybe days, later. How could that be, you wonder, when such a table was exactly what I wanted? Let's just say my thoughts tend to wander. If I don't write it down or leave a message on the machine, I forget stuff. Lots of stuff. Really important, life-changing ideas. Plot points. My mother's birthday. So I called and left the message.
Now, I personally have no problem whatsoever with taking stuff left out on the street, though I try to be discerning. I took a nice hardback copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes for Jack from the "free sale" pile a few houses down the street last summer, but I passed up the cruddy white bookshelves, because I have enough cheap-o falling apart bookcases in my house, thank you very much. But the fact is, I am not above picking through my neighbor's trash. Not in the least.
The Man is a little more reserved when it comes to neighborhood dumpster diving. But this table intrigued him. Did it look sturdy, he asked when I arrived home. Very sturdy, I assured him. In good shape? Very good shape. Well, the Man said, Let's go take a look at it.
And so we did. We drove in the minivan down to Pinecrest Road, and the Man looked at the table and called it good. Better than that: He called it Ikea. That's right, ladies, it was an Ikea table. The very one I'd dogeared in the catalog, just the circa 2007 model.
So we got put it in the minivan. Of course, about a hundred people drove past while we were loading it, and this didn't bother me, but you could tell that the Man had hoped for a little more privacy. Still, you could tell he was psyched that we'd nabbed a very healthy looking Ikea table for absolutely no money down and no money due.
This weekend, we will be cleaning up Will's room, rearranging it, and putting in his new table, and you know what? Will's room will never be messy again. From then on, it will be lovely and neat and organized. You know why? It's not just an Ikea table, it's a magic table.
I dedicate this story to Sara P., who has posted a junking tutorial over on her blog. I'm so excited, because Sara always finds the most fabulous things when she goes junking, and I don't even know where to start. Well, that's not entirely true. From now on, I'll start on Pinecrest Road. Who knows what my neighbors will be throwing out next.
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