playing with fire

9 08 2008

Last Wednesday morning I caught my dad dragging the garbage cans out to the side of the road. “Hey, let’s wait a couple of days for YOUR pick up – we use another service…” “Naaa, they’ve been taking ours when they take everyone else’s. You don’t know what you’re talking about” , mumbled just loud enough for me to hear.

So the tug of war started and I won dragging them back to the garage. Less than 8 hours later, I get a notice via email saying that our quarterly payment arranged via bank whatever was declined. What the..fat – (as the Dr. says)? I finally have 2 reserve ounces of brain power and concoct a plan.

Garbage has become one of his particular compulsions in these later days. If you should blow your nose and drop the kleenex in the wastebasket – I dare say it will be there no longer than 10-15 seconds before it’s scooped up and put in one of the orange plastic sleeves the newspaper gets delivered in…that are re-purposed as hourly trash bags. On a monthly basis over the last year’s time I’ve been know to haul trash back to Michigan in the trunk of my car so he wouldn’t cull through it after I left. Old medicine bottles (and they generate quite a few), yesterday’s newspaper (“is she finished reading this one?”) or any plastic item that might be turned into something else (you know those vented lids for the microwavable bowls of soup…they make great coasters).

One of the things that help occupational therapists determine if patients are safe and able to be on their own is general cleanliness…can they wash dishes, do light housekeeping, etc. We have the opposite problem here. Heaven forbid if a thread is on the floor…but this doesn’t count for all the newspaper clippings in piles waiting for God knows what. I remember asking my dad – the consummate junk collector, garbage picker- if he recycled. I might as well have asked him if he’d considered going to mass at the Catholic church rather than the Baptist church. Yikes a beee. I had just asked the MOST ridiculous question ever.

Now I do believe that if we would have been GREENER EARLIER – we might have stumbled on a gold mine…remember this is the guy that smashes all cans and we visit the metal recycler now and then. But to have to think every time something goes into the garbage can he’d have to look it over and decide if it was animal, vegetable or mineral…NAGI! (must be text savvy…not a good idea) But maybe just maybe I’ve stumbled on a perfect hobby for his late stage dementia.

This time last year the “committee” decided there was no purpose served by changing waste haulers and adding to the weekly labyrinth of pills, calendars, chores and generally complicating life with sorting. But now that I’m here most of the week – I am just danger loving enough to tempt the gods and go for it. Getting sick of the prices going up every quarter (yes I know what gas costs) I called around after taking an informal poll of the neighborhood…which 95 gallon containers – the green or brown represented which company and who had more customers in the subdivision… Power to the people! Brown won! I called this morning and the very bright, intelligent Ruby heard me say I was calling on behalf of my elderly parents and set us up for the Senior rate. THERE IS A GOD!!! That’s another $120 a year I saved.

We’ll just have to see how far my tempting of fate takes me…today is the “old” garbage day and I don’t think they’ll cancel pick up until the second notification of non-payment. So I will put the cans out and then I’ll call at 3 p.m. to cancel our service after I see the garbage in the back of the truck bouncing down the road. Come next Wednesday, we’ll have another pick up when everyone else in the neighborhood does and in a few days – they’ll drop off a big, new shiny container PLUS the recycle bins. Secretly, I think that was the deal breaker for me…I like those roll away containers instead of the sorry busted up “cans” I have to drag out each week.

Well I’ll head home and wait to come back after the weekend and face the music on Wednesday…I’ll have some explaining to do…Billy was right all along…pick up is on Wednesday along with everyone else in the neighborhood. What was I thinking?