Negligence and Garbage Soup

I was caught in a garbage-poo-water tidal wave on Friday. It was a situation of my own making, which is frustrating because when you’re left standing completely soaked from the waist down, smelling like a mixture of old socks and rancid chicken, you only have one person to blame.

The Friday before last was garbage day and the truck arrived to empty the containers before I left for work. Ordinarily I would have left the bins on the curb but that day my grandparents were supposed to arrive for a visit before I got home from work. So I hurriedly grabbed the large can and blue bins and placed them next to the house, rather than in their place under the awning in the backyard.

Then because I’m an idiot, I left them there. For a full week. On the surface, this shouldn’t have been an issue. Being a minimalist environmentalist means producing shockingly little trash, hence there was little need for me to use said containers. In fact, after a week the only items in the garbage bin were from my grandparents. The bags were easy to see what with the fact they were floating.

It rained a lot this week. And by a lot, I mean every night, for hours and sometimes during the day. My recycle bins were both thoughtfully equipped with drainage holes. Unfortunately the enormous black trash can was not. The week of rain and my own stupidity had created a giant cauldron of garbage soup. The piece de resistance was the bag of dog poo bobbing on top.

On Monday when I thought of the garbage cans right before bed, there was already a foot of water, which had cooked in the midday sun, effectively creating a bacterial paradise. Tuesday, when I looked out the window at the rain, the bacteria were screaming “WOOOO! Come on in dirty water from the eaves troughs, it’s a party!” and taking off their microbial tops in the riotous fun. Wednesday the sun shone the entire day and the bacteria got together and made sweet, sweet mono cellular love in the afternoon. Hence on Thursday there was a population explosion, also the mosquitoes decided to get in on the fun and lay some eggs in there too.

When I arrived home on Friday, the water line was two centimeters from the top of the container and it smelled atrocious. Pulling gently on one of the two black handles I tested the weight. Garbage-poo water sloshed over the side from the slight movement. “Eeek” I cried jumping backwards as the splash sprayed the ground. Removing my shoes and placing them in the backyard, I stared down the product of my lazy idiocy.

Because the fates have a dark sense of humour, the can was situated right next to the hole in my basement wall. Meaning that if the garbage bin was to tip, my basement would be flooded with garbage soup. I had only one option; drag the can as far away from the house as I could and empty it there. Ideally not on my neighbour’s lawn, as I hadn’t yet determined who placed the angry note in my shaggy grass.

Taking a deep breath, I accepted that I would be soaked while completing this disgusting chore and I tugged slowly on the handle again. Once more a small wave of disgusting garbage water splashed onto the driveway. Determined to preserve the integrity of my basement, I pulled. The can moved a little, the water moved a lot. My foot was wet.

Emboldened by my lack of gagging over my soaked foot, I decided to try and wheel the garbage can as though it was full of refuse and not one hundred pounds of mobile liquid and bacteria. I tipped the bin slightly and the garbage soup yanked against my tiny pipecleaner arm, pulling the container down sharply, creating a tidal wave which spread across my driveway and drenched my legs and shorts. Shrieking, I tried to jump away but then glancing back at the hole in the basement wall, I charged back into the growing puddle of garbage water, righting the can.

Having dumped most of its contents onto my driveway and effectively into my basement, the can was much lighter as I pulled it haltingly towards my front lawn. Tipping it again, I let out a much smaller shriek and attempted to direct the remaining garbage water onto the grass.

I realize this is just an unfortunate coincidence, but I’m beginning to feel like I’m bad at this whole home ownership thing.

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Green Confessions and Naughty Neighbours

I’ve never mowed a lawn. I went almost thirty years having never pushed a mower, cut grass or done any sort of yard work beyond a bit of weeding. I’d say I’m ashamed but the fact the matter is lawn mowers are ungainly, heavy tools and frankly they scare me a bit with all their blustering and vrooming.

My non grass cutting life was going fairly smoothly until I bought a house. Happily this house came with a lawn mower. Unhappily this lawn mower was one of the loud, gas guzzling variety. I allowed it to sit in it’s angry den until one day I arrived home to the following note left by an anonymous neighbour.

 “You are an embarrassment to the neighbourhood. Mow your lawn! Even Gladys* did a better job than this. SMARTEN UP!!!!”

For the record Gladys is the eighty year old woman whom I bought the house from. She used a walker. Effectively my gardening skills are inferior to that of the extremely elderly.

So away I went to purchase a push mower, the kind that ran on my own sweat but hopefully not blood. I got the mower home and away I went. The satisfaction was immense and immediate. I discovered that mowing a lawn is like vacuuming but better because the effect is so drastic, one moment your backyard is overrun with weeds, the next it’s a perfectly cultivated,  fragrant paradise. I went up the lawn, and back, then turned and went diagonally across it. I swiveled the mower and made a loop-de-loop on the lawn. To finish, I made progressively smaller circles.  

A friend who had not witnessed my lawn cutting revelery came to visit on Sunday, by that point the patches I had missed in my erratic fit of yard work were becoming obvious as they seemed to grow by the minute in the sun.

“You’re supposed to mow in a pattern” he said helpfully.

“I did” I answered beaming with pride over my now not so newly cut lawn. “Paisley!”

 

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those kind enough to gift me a gas guzzling, terrifying lawn mower.

 

Also for the record, I am the naughty neighbour in the title. Prior to cutting it, my lawn may have looked like something that Indiana Jones would have to take a machete to while trekking through the Amazon in search of a skull, or the death star. I never watched that series of Harrison Ford movies, regardless, I’m sure my lawn made an appearance somewhere.