Mozarts of Monumental Malfeasance

Mighty Max, maker of many messes.

Why is my family producing so much trash? Because I’m constantly writing this blog! Ha, ha, very clever, it is to laugh.

But really. I JUST took out the full bag and put it on the front porch and before I turned around the new bag was three quarters full. If I didn’t know better I’d think something was filling it from beneath, some cosmic rift in the space-time continuum landed the galaxy’s landfill at the bottom of my plastic garbage can.

But alas, I do know better. Not only would cosmic waste be much, much bigger than my receptacle, I also have prior knowledge of my family. We are world class garbage producers. First of all, we use enough paper in a week to take out a small forest. My son Conor is an artist, so he needs to always have reams of loose paper around. He goes from page to page following his twisted psyche, and if his psyche tells him to just draw a circle and move on that’s what he does, never to return to that piece of paper again. I’ll try to trick him sometimes by turning the pages over and putting them at the bottom of his pile, but he always figures it out and complains about the sullied page. What if THIS is the time he comes up with something brilliant? Knowing there’s a mar on the opposite side of the page would keep him up at night. I’m a playwright, and my method is (apparently) to write in the back of 7 or 8 notebooks at a time. When it comes time to put typeset to keyboard, I’m invariably searching through scraps of folded paper trying to match point A to point B and wishing I had even a semblance of organization. Then we go through the children’s bookbags and see that their teachers found it necessary to send home every single piece of work they’ve ever done, along with reminders of everything from the next PTA meeting to the class’ participation in “save a tree” week. But that, and approximately 1000 plastic cups and soda bottles, explains why our recycle bin in filled. Where is the garbage coming from?

Well…we have James who’s built like a bear, and Conor, who’s built like an ox, plus Mychal, myself, Mary El and the cat (Max) fighting for existence. There’s a lot of food on that ride. A lot of eggshells and popcorn bags and cat food bags and used paper plates and go-gurts and leftovers and used paper towels and chicken bones and banana peels and carrion and such. I think I saw antlers in there once, but I thought it best to leave the issue alone.

We also have so many medical supplies in our home that we technically qualify as a local clinic. We would make it official if insurance weren’t such a hassle. I get boxes every week with my TPN supplies (bags of intravenous liquid, two types of flushes, ice packs, gloves, etc.) and the dressing on my PICC line needs to be changed every week. Mary El gets boxes full of the supplies for her semi-liquid diet. The boys have both been sick this winter, and we’re both perpetually illin’, so we have a plethora of pharmaceutical remedies to fit any illness you can throw at us. Strep throat? Covered. Muscle aches? Give us a challenge. Gastrointestinal distress? Upper or lower. Depression? We got the good stuff. In spades. We also produce a veritable mountain of medical mess. See the alliteration there? No extra charge.

There’s also the cat box, and coffee grounds, and lightbulbs, of course. We thought those reduced energy ones would be a good idea until we realized our bulbs never die of natural causes, but always fall victim to being in lamps that are knocked over during indoor basketball or football games. Oh, and there’s broken lamps too. There’s broken a lot of stuff, come to think of it. Our boys always ACT upset over breaking things like their toys, or a mug, or the front porch, or the beveled, irreplaceable glass from a bookcase in the livingroom…but I think they secretly enjoy the hell out of it. You can’t cause this much destruction without strategically planning it, can you? Or maybe they are misunderstood geniuses, working in a new, undiscovered medium—Mozarts of Monumental Malfeasance. Man, what is it with me and “m”s today?

Whatever way you slice it, we create a lot of mess. By the time garbage day rolls around, we have the front of our car loaded with two plastic tubs full of recyclables and four or five humongous black hefty bags full of nonsense. Why on the car, you may ask? Allow me to explain. We have a long, long, unpaved driveway, and with all the snow and ice this winter it would be not only uncomfortable but somewhat dangerous to try to load up the big garbage receptacle at our house and wheel it all the way to the end of the driveway. With our luck, it would get stuck in the mud and we’d have to call for yet another tow. So instead we load up the front of the car until we can’t see to drive and slowly make ourselves to where the receptacle is, next to our mailbox. It may not be pretty but it gets the job done, and it’s a trip the whole family can enjoy. Our togetherness almost makes me misty-eyed—wait, no, it’s just the stench.

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