One Man’s Treasure and Trimming The Locks

One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure

Yesterday was a full day.

My work started in the garden ~ trying to save my spinach, beans, beats and peas from the wrath of very hungry snails.  It was then onward to filling the past few weeks worth of milk cartons with dirt for my terrace nursery saplings.   Task three was to set out on the adventure of hunting down lumber to use in the building of some book shelves for my three year old’s growing library.

In passing, I asked my good friend (also a landscaper/gardener to my wife’s grandparents…and a talented poet in his own right) if he knew of any lumber yards in town where I could get my hands on several planks of good pine.  To my absolute joy he informed me that, a year or so ago, a pine tree had fallen in the yard and my wife’s grandfather had it sent to a lumber yard where it was turned into planks.  Some of the cut wood was passed along to Al Imtiaz (the school our family oversees here) for use in building desks and shelves, but some was left to collect dust in the garage.  So, without much legwork at all I had more than enough wood necessary for the book shelves.

“If you need any more wood, there is also a whole load of scrap out back, left over from some renovations earlier in the year.” my friend went on to tell me.  We walked around to the back of the garage where there, an adjacent room was FULL of materials deemed “scrap”.  My eyes must have lit up like a child’s on Christmas morning.  “It’s a treasure yard!” I told my friend, who seemed a little confused.  Dancing into the rubbish I pointed out two full sized wooden screen doors – with hinges and handles – corrugated steel sheets (that usually retail at a good 7000 rps…almost $75 US each)… wrought iron decorative window bars…and oodles of lumber!

“Life sized Lego!” I told myself and sputtered on in half Urdu, half English to my friend about how my musical work was “crazy” and how real work and real life should be about building things and growing things!  “This will be more than enough to build my daughters a play-house…big enough for me to play in with them!” I ranted.

And so, I will be excited to dig more deeply into the pile over coming days and begin formulating my plans for how it can be turned into a little play-house.   A few weeks ago my sister sent me some wonderful Youtube links to the Tiny Yellow House Series – where Deek and Dustin build little forts out of scrap… it inspired me so much that now I am keen to get started on my own little fort.   Here’s a link for those of you interested.

Tiny Yellow House

So home I came with my lumber for book shelves and my brain ticking with ideas for a play-house to build out of recycled materials.

Trimming The Locks
The day continued:

Being early August, and a good six months since my last haircut…I reluctantly agreed with my wife that my hair was indeed getting out of hand so I spent the rest of the afternoon giving myself a trim.

Cutting my own hair was one of the first things I taught myself to do when I was in my early twenties and planning ahead for a life of self-sufficiency.  As a teenager, I had just endured one too many bad haircuts from well intended barbers and gave up on them all together.  It was just utterly confusing to me why I should have to pay upwards of $12 – $25 dollars for somebody else to cut off and dispose of something that belongs to me.   My sister obliged me for several years with a bathroom towel and scissors from the kitchen junk drawer, but when she moved away I was left with just those utensils, my own creativity, flexibility and bathroom mirrors to complete the job.

There was a lovely spell of time when I simply just decided to let my hair grow – gosh I miss those curls!    But alas, with time has come a receding hairline and thinning crown which have me looking rather clownish when it gets too frizzy, thus requiring some sort of sheering at least once in a while for the sake of what my wife calls “my dignity”.   When I do finally get that cabin in Colorado or am shipwrecked on that uncharted South Pacific Island one day, you can bet I’ll just let the old locks grow….but until then….snip snip.

Over the past 20 years I think I’ve had maybe 5 or 6 haircuts in barber shops or salons, and each time I’ve had more anxiety than that which comes with a scheduled root canal on a sensitive tooth.

Usually I put myself “under the knife”  twice a year, in six month intervals, and so far so good – I’ve never clipped off a piece of ear or come out of the bathroom looking too bad… it’s either a quick # 4 with electric clippers for the  Mango-head look, or a more time consuming cut that usually leaves me looking like Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp…   this particular trim was The Chaplin look once again.  (Chaplin ~ one of my dearest heroes ~ incidentally, also cut his own hair.)

And so our Tramp, with fresh haircut and only minor razor burn on the back of his neck, sets out to build book shelves from found lumber.

(One last note for you gardeners out there: Cut hair provides great nutrients to soil and is a welcome addition to any compost heap.  …a little something I picked up many years ago from my friend Cos who has been gardening since childhood.)

Categories: Family, Garden, House, Reduce Reuse Recycle, Simple Living

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