Sunday, April 13, 2008

G is for Graffiti

On the front corner of my frickin' house.  Can you believe it?  In my town?  And I know that was just some of our local kids thinking that they were being badasses.  We don't have actual "gangs" here.  Heh - can you picture a drive-by in a golf cart? (That any child can outrun.) Or rival gangs holding turf? (In a town that is one square mile.)  Hilarious. But cleaning it up - not so funny.  

The sheriff that responded and took a photo along with the report actually recommended using hairspray to dissolve whatever the little punks had used.  He said that a friend of his owns an arcade, and buys that el cheapo ozone-layer destroying AquaNet stuff by the case to clean the graffiti off the machines.  Sounded crazy but I gave it a shot (actually a spritz) and you know what?  It really works!  I sprayed half with hairspray and then started scrubbing.  The hairspray treated section was coming clean so much faster and easier I stopped and treated the whole thing with several doses of hairspray and then finished scrubbing it clean quickly.

And to clarify - it isn't really MY house, I don't own the blasted thing.  I don't even live in that portion of it.  See the bright blue stairs and white railings on the right?  That's my little back apartment, my little shabby chic seaside cottage with a slice of view.  I've lived there for several years now and along the way inherited the property manager's job. So in return for cleaning up graffiti and other assorted tasks I get a break on my rent that makes it possible for me to live here and afford to do wacky things like say...quit my full-time job and go back to school?

I also inherited a mountain of broken furniture, bits of plumbing, cans of old paint, and plain ole junk.  All stashed in the unfinished storage area/crawlspace under the house by the previous property manager, tenants long gone, and possibly even generations of the owner's family for all I know.  I've been given the go ahead to clear it all out and as much as I'd love to just get rid of it all at once, that would actually cost a fair amount of money - laborers, truck, dump fees - and I know that's not going to sit well with the owner.  So it's sort of an ongoing project, weather and time permitting, and it goes out in bits.  A broken washing machine, microwave, and furniture hauled out for the free bi-annual large item pickup, some lamps and vacuum cleaners to the local thrift shop, and last Saturday, a television to the city's household hazardous waste dump.  It's a nice little drive, up until the last few feet of the road, when you reach the sewage treatment plant!  Please pity the man who works at the hazmat dump when the wind blows in the wrong direction.  And yes, I could have so easily gone with "G for Garbage". But you just don't get the full impact without the smell.

In digging through and hauling out the junk I did find one nifty item:

It's an antique Perfection oil heater. A little googling got me listings for these made as early as 1918. I sent this photo to a guy who deals in restoring these and other antiques and he was able to tell me that it's from the early 1930's, which is about when the house was built.  He also told me that with just a little work, it could be made functional again.  However, in an old building with hyperactive cats, that just doesn't sound like a wise idea to me!  (Ya think?)  Fully cleaned up and restored Perfection oil heaters are selling for decent money on eBay, but the ones in this condition don't seem to sell for even as much as it'd cost me to ship it.  So I think I'll hang onto it.  Actually, scrubbed up a bit, it could make for a perfectly nice looking planter!


Mia said...

Cool find! And I'm gonna keep that hairspray tip handy. Ya never know hehehe.

sea mystery said...

I linked over to your blog and I just adore you! You are a very interesting person and I want to thank you for sharing the pictures of your little island apartment. I could totally live there ... it's just full of light and looks so comfortable. I also feel for you about the graffiti. I live over a liquor store in downtown Baltimore, MD and I have to remove it every day or so. Appreciate the tip about the hairspray ... might just work for me too.
Carolyn xxoo

Sheepish Annie said...

I love it when the small town gangstas start tagging. Such tough guys... (you'll just have to picture my eyes rolling here.) Good to know about the hairspray. I'll make a note on that one!

Wicked cool score on the heater! That will make a great planter or decorative whatnot!