And you can quote me on that, as
long as you give credit where credit is due.

I come from a long line of
string-savers and pack-rats.  My paternal
grandfather grew up in the depression and can somehow find a good use for the
littlest pieces of trash, like hanging picture frames with coke tabs.I took that principle and updated it by using
the plastic rings from oj cartons, tacked into the wall, to hold fabric
refresher and wrinkle releaser spray bottles in my closet.My maternal grandfather saved every tiny soap
and shampoo bottle he ever got from every hotel where he ever stayed – enough
to fill up two 5-ream copy paper boxes and then some.Useless, you say?Not so; when we cleaned out his closet after
his funeral, those two boxes went to a women’s shelter that was very grateful
to have them – they make up little “survival” kits for women who come into
their shelter with nothing but their children and the clothes on their backs.Used dryer sheets?They keep the clothes in my drawers smelling
just-washed.Empty pickle jars?Just as good as expensive Tupperware and less
likely to leak if turned upside-down.I
do have to keep my string-saving and trash-to-treasure do-it-myself-ing in check,
because saved string can easily become useless clutter.But let me tell you, being the one on my dorm
room hall who could polish the guys’ shoes and cut their hair, get lipstick off
a girl’s favorite blouse, nurse a good friend’s cold with a few home remedies –
you can’t beat that useful feeling.My
family teased me during this vacation about being the Michelin Man in my giant
ski coat with pockets full of stuff, but when my Dad’s nose started to bleed a
bit, who handed him a hankercheif?When I
wanted to capture the beauty of the mountains, who had a camera?Well, I did have to borrow Alyssa’s when my
film ran out, but who had extra batteries when her camera went dead?Who had the trail map when Mom and Viv and I
weren’t sure if we were on the right trail?
And I had food and drink, too – I’m telling you, if I’d gotten stranded,
I was at least marginally prepared.I
guess it’s not just being a string saver, it’s being resourceful, too.

Good example:my bedroom.
Just about everything in it is a “found restoration”.Rags to riches, trash to treasure.Much to the annoyance of a former boyfriend,
I have a habit of dragging home things that other people don’t want.My dresser, found outside a neighbor’s house one day (that Denise helped me pull home on an old discarded office chair) is a lovely veneered piece that,
as it turns out, matches an entire bedroom suite that belonged to my
great-grandmother.Some of the veneer is
cracked, sure, but that’s nothing the daughter and granddaughter of woodworkers
can’t someday refinish, right?Just as I
had posted a bookshelf on my wishlist, one turned up in front of the house next
door, in just the right size.Same with
the other shelf unit in my room, originally designed to go over a toilet, that
happens to fit over a table that houses my laptop; and the silver and glass
nightstand by my bed that I repaired with a candle.All the frames on
my wall someone didn’t want.Two other
shelves upstairs in our living room and three other chairs were discarded.At a time when privacy was really becoming an
issue in our basement, I found two large tri-fold screens and paper on sale
with which I will someday recover them. And does everything in my house match
perfectly?No.But does it look like something found in the
trash?No.Everything has been cleaned and polished and
repaired, redone with a little elbow grease and hardly any money.I take pride in these projects, really.

So laugh at my yogurt cup of push
pins.Ridicule the way I roll up plastic
bags and horde twist-ties.Recoil in
horror when I drag something home that someone else put out.But you let me know when you can’t get those
frames to hang on the wall, and I’ll come tack ‘em up with a few coke