The Dump

As we wait at the gate, an angel stands off to our right – welcoming us. She is flanked by two frogs. A light beckons us forward past a tin man and a cowboy as we enter. We are stopped and asked one question before being told which direction to go.

This isn’t St. Peter, these aren’t the pearly gates, and this is not an account of an acid trip. We’re at the dump. Thankfully, we aren’t banned from this place – yet.

The frogs are ceramic and came from the home of the cashier. The angel appears to be cement. She’s missing her hands but who needs those when you have wings? The other two figures are fashioned out of tin cans. Everything but the frogs came from the trash.

Together, they are an unlikely accent to the nondescript building with the drive-on scale in front. Here, incoming customers weigh their vehicles with their trash before discarding it then pay for the difference on their way out.

We make the pilgrimage when our truck’s bed reaches overflowing and if it’s winter – when we can get her down the driveway. Neither of us like to drive Bridgette through the snow but my husband takes garbage duty seriously.

Like a commercial farmer, he’ll scour The Farmer’s Almanac, monitor the weather reports and eyeball the shrinking drifts until he’s satisfied with the amount of bare ground peeking through. Then it’s time.

I woke up this morning to the announcement that this is garbage day. I put my boots on while my husband stomps the trash flat then help him secure the load with a spider net. During the drive, I make sure the wind doesn’t cause us a yard sale going 55mph.

Once at the dump and after having been told where to go, I spot while my husband backs the truck up to the pit.

truck bed dump

The pit is a long, rectangular cement trench where people discard their broken tables, bulging garbage bags, plastic plants, shoes, clothes, small appliances, and paintings. If you can walk out of the front doors of Walmart with it – you can find it here.

While the old farmer’s dump we discovered on our hillside was comprised of made-to-last objects mixed with later-era disposable items, the artifacts lying in this enclosure are all throwaway. Human behavior, however, remains constant. We once saw the remains of a huge rear projection TV with the words “This is for your boyfriend!” spray painted across the shattered face.

tire heap at dump

While my husband hefts the bags into the chasm, I see bald eagles hovering over a hill of old tires. Their presence here seems incongruent with the air of brokenness and waste.

There are drop-off spots for used oil and scrap metal. Recycling is downtown. I wonder to myself, where does all of this stuff go, then we’re done and back in the truck.

Feeling like new, we roll up to the cashier’s window, now going out rather than in. We pay as the Tin Man and The Cowboy smile blankly at us and we pull out.

angel and frogs

As we round a corner, I look into the rear-view mirror and swear I see the angel wave goodbye. Then I remember that she doesn’t have any hands.

It Happened Again

It’s 10:51 am and I just finished some microwaved potatoes and gravy from last night’s dinner. Got a bunch of paperwork done this morning also because I have plenty of time today.

Only problem is this; my husband just got back from town and practically busted in the door exclaiming “Is this Thanksgiving?”

Ooops.

Last time we did this we celebrated a week too early. Happy Thanksgiving?

Time to run to Safeway. Hoping there are some turkeys left.

Three-Thousand-Five Hundred Gallons Of More Work

Summertime in a smallish rural town (but big enough for a Walmart)…

You enter the store from the hot tarmac that is the parking lot and find yourself in the seasonal section. Being the beginning of summer, it’s a week or two too early for the Christmas display but the school supplies are already flying onto the shelves.

You scan each isle, hoping it’s not too late. Then you see it: the last pool – and it’s a biggun’. Fourteen feet across and exactly forty-eight inches deep. “Big enough”, you think.

Someone turns casually into the isle. You possessively lean against the box then turn around to put it into your shopping cart: now the pool is too big.

You’re here because last year’s record-breaking heat wave reduced your life to the bottom level on the hierarchy of needs: not melting. Since then, a body of water close by during the summer months is mandatory.

The folks at Walmart agree. The pools – boxed behind scenes of families splashing in impossibly blue water – sold well – with only one left.

It looks perfect for the job until checkout where the price, the call for assistance, then the visual of the rear of the car sagging as they load it hits you.

“What have I done?” you think. But it’s only the beginning.

Water is generally measured by the gallon but I catch myself calculating man-hours, equipment, blood, and sweat for each unit.

One gallon equals one hour of filtering, ten minutes of debugging, ten-seconds of chemical treatment, and two-minutes of vacuuming for every one minute of pleasurable use. Add some random number in for the unforeseen month it takes you to level the ground by hand before setting up.

It took us two tries and one draining to get the behemoth level enough to be stable. By that time, the spring water we were “plugged” into was no longer flowing down the hill so we had to pump day in and out for a week to get the damned thing full.

Then came the filter and after-market heating system a huge pool will require in order to be habitable.

Two months after purchasing the largest above-ground pool we’ve ever owned, it sits, largely unused, luring in any insect with wings, while I sit in my air conditioned RV typing a blog post.

Moth

Opened up my trailer door
Spot of light across the floor
Moth from ever far away
Saw it and flew straight my way
All this happened in a blink
Knew it's headed to my sink
It flew in as I went out
To my business went about
Half hour later I returned
Sure enough my fears confirmed
If there is a drop of water
Moth will find the way to slaughter
Basin full up to the brink
There it floated in the drink

The Case Of The Disappearing Vegetables

Linda’s plate was full of food
To her Mom it all looked good
Little did her parent know
All those green beans had to go
What to do, there was no pooch
No furry friend who liked to mooch
Steak and salad with tomatoes
Great big pile of mashed potatoes
But the bane of that great feast
How to slay the veggie beast
Thinking fast she ate the rest
Put her magic to the test
Laid utensils side by side
Under which the beans she’d hide
Lined them up all in a row
Till not one of each did show
Said “I’m done”, picked up her plate
To the sink she made her break
But with Mother on patrol
Into sight one bean did role
Cross-hairs of a pointed finger
Turned around, she didn’t linger
Brought her plate back to the table
Linda ate her vegetables

From a poetry blog I have https://wordchef.press/

Chasing Bridgette

She was finally on her way to the truck doctor – but they were closed.

Bridgette is my husband’s other woman.

I’m not even jealous because she’s a part of our family. She’s heavier than me but stronger and she’s willing to take the garbage out. Unfortunately she’s been sitting in one spot for over a year now.

You might say she’s lazy but Bridgette is our 1986 Ford F-250 pickup truck and my husband is very sentimental about her. She might need a new engine. We’ll see.

My husband acquired her in a moving-out deal and she pulled us and our trailer from our old to our new home and throughout our three-month journey in-between in 2017. Bridgette The Truck

To me she has a personality – she reminds me of a horse.

That summer, she threw a shoe (got a flat), leaving us to camp on the side of the road for three days while the tire store put seven hundred dollars into matching replacements and a rim . She lost her brights right after we pulled onto the freeway in torrential rain on our final journey over the mountains and across the state to our new home. I had to drive the whole night with the low-beams on.

Her driver’s side window wouldn’t roll up that night and we had to pull out the door panel in order to manually push the glass up so I wouldn’t freeze for the drive.

We were told by her owner that she had a hole in her front gas tank and to not fill it up too much or it would leak. Her defrost was broken, and her four-wheel drive mechanism busted the first winter we lived here leaving us to walk and/or push her through the slightest of slippery conditions.

But we love her. Especially my husband.

That’s why we’re contemplating putting so much cash into replacing the engine.  We had the other repairs done last year before catastrophe hit and we limped her home for the wait.

Our driveway recently dried up enough for someone to come and get her so we called the repair shop a couple of days ago and made arrangements for an inspection. This morning we called the tow company.

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When he arrived, I told the driver I was writing about it so he took the time to describe how a vehicle is secured as he hooked her up. He backed up and slid brackets under the tires before hoisting the rear end up then wrapped two chains around both axels to keep the truck from “jumping” out on the bumps.

Bridgette has a manual four-wheel drive lock so he disengaged it from the drive train so as not to drag her to town. He wrapped the driver’s seatbelt around the steering wheel at the top and locked it into place to keep the wheels facing forward. He stuck red lights onto Bridgette’s hood that complimented her running lights quite nicely.

The driver asked us if they were expected in town, we said “yes”, and off he went with our beloved beast.

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Then we called and found out the shop was closed. What if there was no place to park the truck? What about the keys?

We freaked out and jumped into our car and sped after Bridgette.

Down the hill we went and sure enough, we could see the white speck that is Bridgette about a mile ahead of us on the straightaway towards town. Trying not to speed, we caught up to her at a railroad crossing a couple of blocks away from her destination.

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The driver was positioning Bridgette in a vacant spot behind the shop by the time we’d parked and I hurried over to explain but there was a key drop-box and it really wasn’t a big deal after all. I thanked him for putting up with my incessant talking and picture taking and we left her to wait for her turn on the lift.

What we do depends on the estimated grand total – repair or not?

I’m willing to have another woman around as long as she sleeps outside.

Lawnmower Man

A poem about conquest.

He moved out to the country just to cut it down and tame it
Should have bought a condo and had someone else maintain it
With chainsaws, mowers, chippers, tillers, every shape and size
He’s here to stay he’s clearing the way it’s time to colonize
At six am we hear the roar he’s got the chipper chipping
Another tree he’s on a spree the landscape he is stripping
He has big plans with his bare hands he’ll mold it to his taste
A cul-de-sac and traffic lights not one inch left to waste
I wonder why he chose to live in natures splendid glory
The turkeys, deer, the wolves and cats this was their territory
When we arrived before his time ’twas tranquil and so soothing
Its time to go we like things slow we’re packing up and moving

A Belated Thanksgiving Poem For The New Year

Turkey Day

Turkey Day is on it’s way
My Mom is acting funny
She’s on the phone I heard her groan
While talking to Aunt Bunny
My cousins (there are six in all)
Are coming with Aunt Mazy
She’s bringing green bean salad
I heard Mom say that she’s lazy
For Uncle Fred it’s garlic bread
Enough to feed his four
My Mom’s now pacing, muttering
’bout locking the front door
Plasticwear and folding chairs
Cheap cups, spoons, forks and knives
Mom says no one does their share
The husbands or the wives
Grandma Grandpa on their way
I think it’s time we pray
Clean the couch now Dad’s a grouch
He says his hair’s gone grey
Uncle Ted and Aunty Jill
Are bringing their eight too
They have a dog, spike the eggnog
Tell Mom when she comes-to
Scour the basement and garage
We’ll put all the boys there
We need more room break out the broom
It’s time we said a prayer
God help us all – it’s Uncle Paul
We’ll put him in the attic
No sudden moves speak quietly
He’s prone to being erratic
As for my Mom
Let’s keep her calm
She’s on the verge of tears
Now dinner’s done
This battle’s won
Let’s give her three big cheers

Featured Photo by Ruth Caron on Unsplash
My own photo below as seen from our sliding door.
turkeys brown feathers

Nine Lives Before Christmas

A catastrophe.

Nine lives before Christmas and in the RV, two felines were climbing up my Christmas tree

The lights and the baubles I’d hung up with care, strewn wall to wall not a single one spared

Shredded remains of my prized Christmas cactus, total destruction they’ve had lots of practice

They found the pine cones left a trail of debris, nothing was spared in the wake of their spree

Forget wrapping presents dispense with the bows, the effort is useless the gifts they’ll expose

I tried hanging garland, Oh what was I thinking, my light strings are broken they’re no longer blinking

cat ornament

I chased them outside tried to clear out my head, they came back in soaking wet jumped on my bed

What if St. Nick dares to come bearing gifts, they’ll ambush his sleigh from behind the snow drifts

Busting cat Kung Fu they’ll knock him out cold, one tailbone broken a fright to behold

Flat on his back splayed out under the trees, cookies and milk won’t fix his injuries

Journey cut short by two renegade cats, no toys for the children no balls and no bats

Packages strewn from his sleigh to the house, next year he’s packing a catnip stuffed mousecriminals

What We Do and Don’t Have In Common With Cousin Eddy

It’s scary to even think we have ANYTHING in common.

I’m lumping the do’s and don’ts together.

  • Neither me nor my husband have steel plates in our heads; yet.
  • We both live in trailers.
  • We don’t live on a former atomic testing site.
  • Our child isn’t in the sex trade to supplement our family income.
  • We don’t fry our food on the rocks (although we brewed coffee with a blowtorch once).
  • We have a sense of taste in clothing (although more often than not, we’re semi filthy from doing some sort of project or another on the property).
  • We don’t have a dog with a sinus infection but our cat slobbers profusely when petted.
  • We both quit toting a beer around in a beer holster a long time ago.
  • We sweat, but not as profusely as Cousin Eddy.
  • We have a sense of social awareness, unlike Cousin Eddy.
  • did ask the tour guide where the damn bathroom was when we visited Hoover Dam.
  • Our son hasn’t been kicked in the head by a mule; hopefully won’t ever be.
  • We have to empty the shitter on a regular basis, just not into the sewer.
  • Our son has a tongue.
  • We haven’t had a case of lip fungus in our family within recent memory.
  • We don’t have to deal with Mississippi Leg Hound Syndrome.
  • Our garden isn’t spitting out 50 pound tomatoes. The deer ate them all.

arizona asphalt beautiful blue sky
Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com