I’ve mentioned before that one of my hobbies is buying things on Craigslist – I can’t really remember when it started, but probably a few years ago. I think it started in the Goodwill in our town– when my kids and I discovered that you can find a variety of awesomely vintage things there, really cheap – and it became a hotbed of project ideas for me. My daughter tells me that it’s like I was holding my creativity in for so long that it’s all just kind of exploding now, like a kid with ADD. And I can’t finish a project without jumping in on something else – at least buying the raw materials, etc.
About a year ago, my mom told me that she wanted to get a new entertainment center for her tv… well, you know, people aren’t really using those much anymore, so they are plentiful on Craigslist – I said, “ooohh! Give me a chance to find one for you on Craigslist”. She said ok, but I think she thought I was crazy. I got started right away, and it didn’t take me long to find an amazing oak entertainment center with these AWESOME claw feet on it. It was located in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, which is kind of like a mini-vacation from where I live. Lol. I contacted the owner and we made arrangements – it was the Thursday before Easter, and I had music rehearsal at church that evening, so I had to make the hour trip after work and get back in time for rehearsal (a tight squeeze, especially considering rush hour). I asked for the dimensions of the furniture and measured my van, and thought it would be tight but would work. I took a couple of screwdrivers with me, and a blanket, and set out on my trip. I met the owner at her front door – a sweetheart of a girl, and together, we carried the entertainment center from her living room, out the front door, down the steps, and to the driveway where my van was parked. I had all of the seats down, so we picked up the furniture and tried to put it in, and very quickly realized… it ain’t going. We tried it several different ways, and I was thinking to myself, “oh my.. what will we do now? Do I have to carry it BACK into the house? Make arrangements at a later time to come back with a truck?? What a bummer. Just then, a guy in a truck stopped at the stop sign in front of her house and put his window down. He asked if we needed help. Normally, when someone asks me if I need help, my canned response is, “nah, I got it”. Cuz I don’t really like to need help. But I actually realized in this case, that I really DID need help. ha. So I just said, “yes, actually, I think we do”. So he pulled over and got out – he was dressed in a fireman’s uniform – not the one they wear while fighting the fire – but their dressy one – he looked sharp. He informed us he was just coming home from work, and was headed to his parent’s house for dinner. (He looked to be mid-twenty’s, around the same age as the furniture owner). After fiddling for a bit, he said, “you know, I think the feet have to come off” (Ahhh, not the feet! They were the whole reason I bought it). “let’s look at how they come off”. So we turned it upside down in her driveway, and, as it turned out, they were torq screws. I had brought standard screwdrivers, but don’t’ even own a torq bit – neither did the owner. So the firefighter says to us, “Are you going to be here for a while?” (and really, where was I going to go?) “my house is just right over the hill, I can go home and get some tools”. (Really?? He would do that?? how nice). So, off he went, and the owner and I were standing there looking like damsels in distress. We were laughing about the whole situation, and I said to her, “well, are you single?” She said, “yes, actually I am, hahah” and we laughed some more. She said, “well, he IS nice guy, and we already know he likes to help people….. ” I felt like saying, “I know someone who could play the piano for weddings”, but I thought that was pushing it. Hahah. So, in a few minutes, sure enough, he came back, with tools in hand, and took the feet off of the furniture – and it went right into the van. I thanked him profusely, and off I went – I often wondered whether or not anything happened after that – I’d like to think it was the start of a beautiful relationship. So, I brought it home, and started working on it that weekend – I made my own chalk paint (have you ever priced the real Annie Sloan chalk paint? Sheesh) In just over a week, it was finished – and I was in love with chalk paint. Mom was thrilled.
I’ve made many CL purchases since then – most of the time, I take someone with me “just in case”. One time, I didn’t have anyone to go with me to the town next to ours. When I got to the address, I found it was an apartment building, and I was not super comfortable going inside by myself. The owner of the object had just had surgery and couldn’t do the stairs, but was sending her boyfriend out with the object. I texted my friend, Jim, who is a cop in that town, and asked if he was in the area (he was on duty at the time). I texted the address to him in case I went missing. He texted back, “I’ll be there in 5 minutes”. I said, “please no lights or sirens”. 😂
Honestly, though, I’ve met all kinds of really nice people through my Craigslist purchases. Last week, I bought these two awesome chest of drawers. I don’t need them. In fact, I have many of them. But none are as cool or have as much character as these.
(I’ve been practicing some negotiation, too – especially since I don’t need them, I can offer really low price and if they don’t accept it, I don’t really care – and sometimes, to my surprise, they DO.)
On my way to pick up a CL purchase one time, I punched the address in my GPS (Google Maps on my phone) and it told me what time I’d arrive. I had communicated to the owner via email, so I sent him an email to tell him what time I’d arrive. I typed the email, “I should be there by 6:19, according to GPS”… my phone auto-corrected the word GPS, so the email came out, “I should be there by 6:19 according to GOD. ” hahaha The guy responded, “you can’t miss the house – it looks haunted”. Awesome. And, indeed, it did. Didn’t get a picture of it, but trust me.
As I look back on the projects I’ve completed, I realize one thing they have in common. They started as junk and, through restoration, they got a new lease on life. This similar to what Jesus does in our lives. He takes the heap in junk that we are and restores us to an image of beauty for His glory. Indeed, no matter how broken, we can have restoration through Christ.
Revelation 21:5 Jesus says, “Behold I make all things new”.
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