Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Trouble with Garbage

There is a fast held, unintentional tradition at our home: I will forget garbage day before Christmas. I'm not sure why this tradition persists. After the first few years you'd think I would make a more concerted effort to NOT forget. Yet, every year you can find me hitting my forehead with my palm as I see the line of now empty garbage cans lining my street.

The worst part of this tradition is that I am too cheap/lazy/determined to see it through to take the excess garbage to the dump myself. I choose the much less fun option of extra stuffing my garbage can every week until all the garbage is gone. During most of the year this can be accomplished by the next week (as long as I don't decide to clean out my fridge/basement/closets that week, I'm sure I'm too smart to accidentally do that more than a few dozen times).

But Christmas provides enough trash for a week all by itself. In fact I have more garbage the entire month of December. Add to that the missed week (or two) leading up to Christmas and there is a lot of build up. One year, I forgot two weeks before and one week after Christmas. Yes, I do hold to this tradition that strongly. I spent three months compressing sacks and filling my can overflowed. If you don't believe me, ask my neighbor who had to notice the sacks of extra garbage piled on my back porch. I really am that cheap/lazy/determined to see it through. (I do make sure the garbage waiting to go has the paper, packaging remnants, empty food boxes, and other nonrotting type things in it.)

This year I was determined to break with tradition. Until two Mondays before Christmas. As I drove through my neighborhood on the way home from running errands, I couldn't help but notice the blue garbage cans sitting along the curb. In front of all driveways but one. Palm, meet forehead. How did I not notice the cans on my way OUT of the neighborhood? I must have a strongly developed BLIND spot for tradition.

I went out to the garage for some forgotten reason early the Monday before Christmas. While frowning slightly at the unsightly pile waiting its turn from last week I realized the day. ACK! I almost forgot again. It had snowed all weekend so I ran into the house grabbed my boots and coat and ran the garbage can over the icepacked driveway entrance and out onto the street.

Then the week after Christmas, Monday morning again, my mother-in-law was kind enough to remind me of the big day. Of course, I don't know what led her to believe I'd forgotten. Hmmm. Anyway, she saved the day and my forehead from another slap.

So now I sit exactly where I am every January, with a pile of garbage sacks waiting their turn to enter the garbage bin. With all the extra company and accompanying trash, I should be trash free by at least February. As long as I don't forget garbage day again. I mean, who would be silly enough to forget garbage day on a regular basis?

Once a month isn't regular, is it? In fact, while writing this post I realized this isn't so much a Christmas tradition as a monthly tradition in my house. Christmas just makes forgetting garbage day A LOT more annoying. I hold that it is Peter's job to take out the garbage, even though I am the one who has always done it. "Always" not being the most accurate term in this case. But if I can pretend it is his job, then I can pretend it is his fault, right?


  1. The greatest benefit I have by living in an apartment complex is that it doesn't matter what day garbage day is. I just keep throwing it all in one big dumpster no matter what.

  2. I agree with Mom at Our House. Its like one of the ONLY benefits though. Our dumpster is like 2 quite a little walk though, so it kinda stinks.

  3. I have to say Charlotte your blogs are never the typical blogs :) although I am sure a lot of people can identify. Just this year I told Brett it was actually his responsibility to take the trash down. Before he did it when he remembered but I think he felt like if he didn't he knew I still would

  4. I can relate this year because this year the town has been as forgetful as you. Our garbage day this year was Christmas Day and New Years Day. So you'd figure they would do it on Friday instead of Thursday right? You'd be wrong. Our trash has been sitting at the street since Dec 23rd. Fortunately we usually fill it only half full but after 2 1/2 weeks (including Christmas and 3 birthdays), that baby is FULL. If you are trash free by February, will you take some of MY bags?

  5. I wish I had some great advice on this subject. We started to just leave our can at the curb all holiday season. With the weather, Christmas, and New Years they are never picking up on the right day. We have also used neighbors cans that are out of town or ones that are only half full.
    As for the other 11 months, the problem I have is after 15 plus years of gatbage day being on Friday, I had to go and move into a neighborhood that picked up on Thursday. If I would have known that I would have thought harder about moving into our home:)
    Truthfully what I do to TRY and remember Garbage day is figure out something I always do the night before,I watch _____ on TV. Then I always remember to take the garbage out during a commerial. Only problem is I can't really find anything good to watch on Wednesdays. So my weekly routine is usually, during breakfast, "OH NO THE GARBAGEMEN ARE COMING." I run outside in PJ's and quickly dump all our diapers in the can and run it to the curb.

  6. I guess I am pretty lucky, our city has total pick up, so they will not only pick up the dumpster, but any bags, boxes, old vacuums, dressers, etc that you feel the need to place on the curb, it is pretty nice because I have the same problem as you (that should come as no surprise :)

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  8. Ugh, we have forgotten to take the garbage out the week before Christmas, too. It was a nightmare!