Sandblasting and Serendipity

You know you’re a junker when . . .

1. You don’t mind contorting yourself through layers of fencing to get an iPhone pic of the perfect rusted metal cart you’ve spied.

2. Your pulse quickens when you discover a sandblasting shop literally across the road from the junk shop.

3. You meet Blake and you speak the same language.

Yep, that’s Blake. And yep, he’s in slippers. And yep, that’s a lit cigarette resting on his workbench. I love unexpected encounters like this one. Especially when they come about so serendipitously.

I’m wrapping up a coffee shop project this week and we’re getting the last few details buttoned up. One of the things that got added to the list along the way was a mobile kiosk for the cash register to sit on. We had talked about having a custom wood cart built but nobody was super keen to spec it out. We thought about spending a couple hundred bucks on a new tool chest for a more industrial look, but it never felt quite right. And then, almost in passing, someone mentions “that little metal cart at that one junk store”. Of course my ears perked up at that. Oh, and it was only $15!

So last week we went to look at the $15 cart but the place was closed. No worries, we thought, we have til the end of the next week to get everything in place and ready to open by the weekend. So today, my husband and I hustle over to the junk shop only to find it closed again! They’re only open Thurs – Sun! However, the gate was open and some people were scurrying around.

“If you know what you want, we can sell it to you even though we’re closed!” a young lady called out. “Sweet,” I thought. Fourteen dollars and fifty cents later and that rusty blue cart was ours. We immediately crossed the street with it and met Blake from Blake’s Sandblasting for a quote on getting the rust and paint blasted off. After a few questions, some uuhhhs and aaahhhs, he offered up “Oh, I don’t know . . . forty bucks or so.” “Great,” Scott and I both agreed. Only one question remained. “What’s the turn around time?” I asked. “Oh sometime this week,” answered Blake.

Seriously? Done deal. We followed Blake through his blasting room (wish I snapped a pic of that) into his small little workshop that smelled exactly like the one in my grandpa’s old barn. It was a combination of diesel, grease and age. It was strangely comforting. He wrote down my name and phone number and that was as formal as we got with this transaction.

Interior design is a funny thing. You can go from slick showrooms and foreign lingo to mud puddled scrap yards in the same day. But as a bona fide junker, I do prefer the latter! So even though I love all of the elements I chose for this cafe, I have a feeling that the little sandblasted cart will hold a special place in my heart. It will remind me of the characters you meet along the way in the world of second hand junk and the serendipity that allows details to come together so effortlessly.

Where have you found serendipity?

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