Personal Stories – Clean up days

Winter is done. The last few weeks have been warm and pleasant, if not a little rainy. This change in temperature comes at a good time, for there is much to do outside my climate controlled house.

The project I have been looking forward to most has been cleaning up the branches that fell during March's big snow and ice storm. We had let the branch of doom sit for works and we were surprised at how forceful its decent must have been. Branches from the fallen limbs had been driven into the earth. My wife had to use all of her considerable might to pull them from the earth. Our own tree, an innocent target of the aerial attack, was stripped of most of its branches. We feel lucky than ever that none of us was struck by this falling debris, but we had just planted this tree a few years ago.

My wife took these great shots of the tree damage. You can see that huge pile of sticks and various other yard wastes in the background. Homeownership can be hard work, but it is nice to get outside and be active. Even little man helped pick up a few sticks.

The other major clean up was not memorialized in digital photos. Dump day. Our town has an annual dump day where they will haul away lots of trash for free. It is a time to haul out those old mattresses and ersatz exercise equipment.

This year's dump day was surrounded by controversy. Normally, dump day is in May. It has always been in May and for the last year we have received reminders regarding May's dump day, in May. Two weeks ago, the day was moved to March. The notice was sent with our water bill. Not surprisingly, no one found out until a few days before the garbage trucks were to arrive. We found out from our neighbor to the south. We then informed our neighbor to the north. Word spread like this, from neighbor to neighbor as we bumped into each other on an extraordinarily nice day. If only we knew each other's e-mail we could have saved ourselves all that personal contact.

In my town, dump day is heralded by a parade of broken down trucks and vans circling the neighborhoods for dumpster gold. In about an hour, someone took an old dresser particle board and faux woodgrain laminate dresser. A useless grill took an hour and a half. Our ancient crib mattress sat longer, but it was also taken by the garbage prospectors. By the time the garbage trucks arrived, all we had left was a broken window and some wood scraps. For all we know, those too could have found a new home.

I actually like the trash patrol. They might reuse or resell some of that curbside treasure, which is a far better fate than a landfill. Plus, if what my wife and I threw away is that great, think how good the stuff we kept must be!

Huzaa to the dump day vultures!

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