Saturday, March 29, 2014

Wasting Time

Now and then, I take metal to recycle.  Every time I do this, I forget what an extreme waste of time it is to recycle small amounts of metal for money.

This time, my scrap, which included that old computer I laboriously took apart to extract circuit boards, came to just over $2.  How many hours did I spend removing plastic from that computer for "clean" metal, because you get a higher scrap price?  Or separating out each circuit board, because over the phone, the metal place told me they drew a higher price?  What an idiot I am.  They threw the circuit boards into the general pile anyway, to weigh as ferrous, because I had not removed some little thing off them.

I stood there, hand joints swollen still, from that tiny work, feeling like some third world scrounger, and very much like an idiot.  The few cents I earned on nonferrous metal, which by Oregon stupid law, must be sent to me by check at least three days later, I refused.  The gas to go to the bank with the check would have cost way way more.  It was beyond ridiculous actually, the thought, of getting a check, all the effort and resources that go into it, which reduces your pay out also, for a few cents.  Jokes on me.

For ferrous metal, and any they can find some reason to call ferrous to pay less, you get 5 cents a pound, if that.   Think about it.  To get even $1, you have to collect 20 lbs of scrap.  To cover the cost of even one gallon of gas you might spend going to and from the scrap yard, you'll need almost 80 lbs of scrap.

So my scrap metal is going in the trash now.  This time I will remember what a waste of time it is, unless you've got a huge rig and yards full of trash metal people will give you, in your near vicinity, so fuel costs don't take all profit.

Doesn't help I was OCD about removing all plastic and wood from the junk metal, when nobody I've ever seen there with their metal goes to that effort.  When I think about doing that, I am embarrassed.  Live and learn, you'd think.

Scrap metal mogul queen that I am.

Searching for discarded cans and bottles for the deposit money is getting tough too.  So much competition for those cans and bottles.  Just the other day, I poked at a can in the ditch with my nail stick and it vanishes just as I'm positioning myself to stab it.   I look up and there's the old lady from two streets down, who has those damn little barking dogs.   She's stuffing the can in a fancy over shoulder cloth bag and glaring at me.  "I need it more than you," she growls, "for my 'lectric bill."  I bare my teeth and hiss.  "Well, aren't you the scary pussy," she snarls.  "You hear that?" I say, feigning concern, knowing she can't hear worth shit.  "I think your little dog's run off in the field.  There's steel jaw traps out in that rye grass.  I yanked one out just last week and recycled that sucker for metal money.  Got almost 10 cents. You better go get him."  She dropped her bag and limped off into that field parting the grass with her cane as she went.  I grabbed her can bag and pulled out three rusty Mtn. Dew cans and stuffed them into mine.  Ca Ching.  15 big ones.  Cents that is.

I'm just waiting for the Oregon legislature, ever in the dark on the realities of daily life, to pass a reclamation center bill, so that you'd have to take cans to some location, have them weighed, instead of counted, a good way to get cheated, and then have to wait for a check you then have to get cashed.  I've heard rumors they might do that.  Right now, in Oregon, you take your bags of cans and bottles to supermarkets, where there are can and bottle machines you feed them into, then get a receipt for cash. Supermarkets don't like this, but that's life, and they get to charge the five cent deposit for every single can and bottle of pop, bottled water and beer sold.  And they keep the five cent deposit too, if the can or bottle is never turned back in.   If the state switches to reclamation centers, that will require a car to get to, gas for that car and a bank account to use, it will knock out one of the last ways little people like me and so many others, can make a little bit extra for basic survival.

Boredom becomes a big thing, even for adults, in small towns.  There's nothing to do.  There's one theater in town.  I went there once with my brother, but there was a stench in the theater, almost like mold.  It permeated the building.  Hard to ignore.  My brother went to use the restroom and came out looking unhappy.  He's a contractor and the restroom was too filthy for him to use.

When I watch the Portland news stations seems like there is so much going on up there all the time.  Makes me a little jealous.  You must have a very high tolerance for boredom to live in a small town I think.  If you're poor, your possibilities shrivel further.  You are limited to a very small world.

Dreams and books are about the only escape.  I have an active imagination.  In my fantasy worlds, I do things you could not believe. 

I was so happy when I got that $200 car in 1999.  A car vastly enlarged my world.  Gas prices are so high, I can't go out much these days, but I still have that possibility.  A horse in the stable!  The horse is old and sway backed, but it still wants to run and I still want to ride.  Am I ever full of BS this morning.

It's been pouring for a week here.  My yard is full of deep puddles in the back.  The cats are unhappy.  I am bored, too.  Reception on the TV has been bad.   I scan and rescan channels, hoping something will magically shift and come in better.  I found three books to read at the Habitat Store for $1 for all three.  They were having a sale.  Now I have something new to read.

 First of the month, I bought a can of paint for the kitchen.  Long ago I painted the cabinets and trim Cinnamon Stick.  Now the walls are Juicy Cantelope.  The two colors in combo are the best I've found so far.  I LOVE them.

Feast your eyes....

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