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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Doin' the Right Thing...

I have a confession to make.

I love giving stuff to people.

This doesn't necessarily mean giving something that I purchased to someone. That's fun too. But I love to be able to give the things I don't need anymore away.

One of the ways I do this is through Freecycle, a yahoo group that you can join for free.

NOTE: Signing up for Freecycle = a mailbox full of posts from this group. You do have the option of not receiving the e-mails. Just be sure to read the set-up information.

Here's how it works. When you have something to give away, you write "OFFER" with a description. If you have a need for something, you write "WANT" with a description. Once these needs have been met, you write "TAKEN" with the same description you used in your original post.

I usually don't use this unless I want to get rid of something. People put anything and everything out there. Including food from picnics and fill dirt from landscape projects. I've put on Freecycle an old computer that was BEYOND repair, an old set of dishes, a chair, etc. The latest item for Freecycle was a futon.

This futon is one of the last items from the Big Guy's college days. And since we were in college in the early 90's, you know what kind of futon this was. Those that sat maybe 5 inches off the ground, with a lumpy mattress that folded over a wooden slat frame. As we're creeping up in age (ugh...), it really isn't the best thing for us. And since it was technically the "guest bed", and with my mom visiting, we needed to make some changes. I thought that the suggestion of putting the futon on Freecycle would have been a hard sell. But the Big Guy was all for it!

I put it out there, "OFFER: Wooden Slat Futon with Blue Mattress" and a description. We would even offer to deliver it.

The replies came in and I went with the first person. She lived in Roseville (North West corner of the metro area) and wanted to know if we would really deliver that far. Yes, of course! I told her my mom and I would make a day of it and be there in the afternoon the following weekend.

I then got an e-mail from her that made me just say, "wow". This young woman recently left a relationship and had a whole lot of nothing. She was starting over. She said that this would be a true gift and someday would return the favor when she could.

My mom and I made the trip yesterday and we met her at her home. She was renting a small room in a large house, on the top floor. I helped her carry in the lumpy mattress and the overpowering smell of cat urine about knocked me over. I of course put on a brave face, a big smile and told her, "When you move out, be sure someone helps you with this. It's not a one person job--even if you just push it down the steps!"

I helped her put it together and showed her how it worked. It was then that I got a peek of her place.

She literally had nothing.

In the corner was a mattress on the floor.

Besides the futon, she had a TV stand and a small TV.

And her lap top sat on a small end table.

I wished her luck, shook her hand and left.

I got back in the car and looked at my mom and said, "Wow. She wasn't kidding. She had nothing." I told my mom about the smell and it reminded me that people will do anything to prove their Independence. If the rent is right, if the neighborhood is safe, and if she can prove that she's picking up and moving on--the smell is the last thing on her mind.

I called the Big Guy later that night (he's working a night shift) and I said, "You should know that the futon went to a girl who really had nothing." When I shared that with him he said, "Wow, I know I said that Roseville was too far to drive, but I feel good knowing it went to someone who needed it."

See, even the Big Guy can turn into a puddle of mush now and again.

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