Monday, June 6, 2011

Perfectly proper public plunder

'Scuse me, mate, aren't ye missin' an "Arrrr?"

Saturday was the Renton Stop and Swap, an annual event where locals can drop off stuff they don't want and/or grab stuff for FREE.  This could be cookbooks, random pipe fittings, NordicTracks, printers, or fake trees.  It's a scene of controlled chaos, and it's decidedly piratical.  People wander through the parking lot of Renton Memorial Stadium, looking over junk and taking what they like as if they're picking over the beached wreck of a galleon.  The more valuable items--generally furniture--are distributed by a sort of lottery system.  A volunteer from the City, armed with megaphone, calls the item, sees how many people are interested by show of hands, and then decides who gets it by random number.  This is not unlike the distribution of booty after a ship takes a prize.  What makes this salvage faire even cooler is that it's governmentally sanctioned!  Wait, does that make it a privateer event?

Booty in the hold
 We scored very, very well.  Right off the bat, Zanne grabbed a few dozen pots for the garden.  On a second trip later that day, we came with crew:  Zanne's Mom ("G'ma") and our friend Shannon.  Shannon spotted the true treasure, a full wooden patio set with table, four folding chairs, and umbrella.  The picnic table that was at the house when we started renting was already a boat with a busted keel, and it has been slowly falling apart like a dory too long abandoned to the breakers.  We were in the market and had considered hauling down Zanne's old sewing table, shoring up the existing wreck with cinder blocks, or hitting the inevitable CraigsList.  Maybe we could get something really nice, but we had to play the lottery.  Having a crew meant strength in numbers.  It was ME, with lucky number seven, who took the prize.  We then had the challenge of getting it home, and it was too big for Shannon's Jeep.  So we hauled it back to the house in the backseat of our convertible Volkswagen Cabrio!  The table made it back safely, but the big plastic storage bin we thought was well-wedged inside slipped on a turn and was lost to the sea (i.e., Logan Avenue...yes, Logan).

Sunlit treasure

The lottery also got Zanne a desk/sewing table and G'ma an antique-ish round table.  It was the new patio set, however, that made the weekend.  It was the first legitimately warm weekend of the season in Seattle, and, especially with Shannon over, we spent almost every waking hour on the deck.  Beer and rum flowed.  I grilled boneless pork ribs one day, chicken the next day, and fresh corn both days.  Legal plunder...gotta love it!

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