Wednesday, April 30, 2008


It's that time again--the week where everyone in Newtopia puts out all the trash that won't fit in their garbage cans. And everyone gets to check out everyone else's discards.

Around here this is practically a holiday! And as is our usual holiday practice, Mr. Buxom and I fell down on the job. Sort of the way we don't get around to putting Christmas lights on the house until the neighbors start to peer at us through their net curtains and go "tsk tsk tsk" under their breath.

We meant to start putting out stuff on Sunday afternoon, but we were tired. Then on Monday it was raining (and snowing.) On Tuesday we forgot. All of a sudden I realized that the trucks were coming by on Thursday, Mr. Buxom was still at the office, and it was up to ME to haul all the crap out to the curb.

So I did. As an appetizer, I hauled out the old weird pieces of wood, rusty garden equipment, and disreputable yard furniture from the back yard. Then I moved on to the second course--the stuff from the garage. Out went my daughter's tiny pink bike, two pairs of pretty much untouched RollerBlades, a bunch of balls and toys--good stuff. I plated it prettily on the parkway.

The salad course was big huge pieces of cardboard--the stuff the new kitchen cupboards came packed in--and a couple of old wooden palettes.

Unfortunately this old lady pulled over when she saw the bike. She grabbed the bike and got busy tying it to the roof of her car. She was working really slowly because she kept checking out what else I was bringing out. She scooped up a few more things and then hung around waiting for me to bring out more.

But at that point I had started on the basement. There's this old coal cellar we never use, and my husband uses it as the place to put the crap he wants to put out for junk week. And it was stuffed with a bunch of horrible stuff--old computer bits and bobs, diskettes, a bunch of Time magazines from the 1970s, a broken wicker rocking chair, a bunch of old humidifiers. Stuff that got demo'd when we redid the bathrooms. And some old ceiling tiles that were probably asbestos.

I made trip after trip, HATING the old lady. And she kept trying to chat me up, while I was cringing in embarrassment that my "good" stuff was gone, and I was getting filthier and sweatier by the second, hauling all this crap out.

Finally the old lady gave up (good riddance to bad rubbish--literally) and moved on to someone else's trash pile. I mean, who can blame her? Isn't it lovely?

And this? This is the piece de resistance.

I know for a fact that this chair has been put out and rescued by at least two other women on my street. Every single one of us has thought "Wouldn't it be cute if I had it reupholstered!" And then in a couple of years, the chair ends up back on the street, sort of like Nana in Emile Zola's eponymous novel.

Speaking of streets, one year Santa came home with one of our babysitters:

She couldn't believe that people would put out all this great stuff. She'd go out with the double stroller and make the kids walk. Then she'd fill the stroller with Newtopian discards. Like this stuffed Santa, which frankly, is a little too ... southern for me.

Now listen, Southern wimmins, don't fuss at me--it's just that with no snow, you tend to get a little crazy with the yard decorations at Christmas time. You know those flat boards with Victorian carolers painted on them? That are all over Houston?

Well, we don't do that up here. I'm just sayin'.

(I won't even go into the way Southwestern wimmins put colored lights on Saguaro cacti.)

Anyway. Mrs. Buxom, who is apparently a big snob about big stuffed Christmas porch ornaments, has gone from trash picker to trash supplier. I've come up in the world, and now I've got an enticing selection of 1200 baud modems, old medicine cabinets, ten-year-old diaper wraps, and circa 2002 travel guides to Disneyland.

It's time that the less fortunate got the chance to take these very lah-di-dah discards home.

So everyone! Come on over and take anything you want!

(Anyone ... anyone ... Bueller?)


  1. As I was reading this, the theme song from "Sanford & Son" was going through my mind.

    And as a lifelong Southern woman, I swear on my children's lives that I don't go for all the yard decorations at Christmas. But I do love me some festive lights.

  2. I'm just speechless that you have a trash service that will pick all that stuff up. That is AMAZING. Good for you doin' the purge!

  3. Nice chair Lucy.

    Presently, there are 8 bags of goods on my porch for the Veterans.
    I'm sure they will look dandy in Ecko circa 1990 sweatshirts. Whilst carrying baby rattles.

  4. Boy, I wish we had that kind of regular collection. If we want any big-ass, won't-fit-in-the-can stuff picked up, we have to call in advance and pay extra.

    So, you can imagine what our garage looks like.

  5. I am ashamed. I admit to crossing the street to claim the collection of terra cotta pots from the old lady's house across the street while her daughters emptied it out in preparation to send the old lady to the nursing home. I went back to that curb for a metal picnic bucket and a bench. One person's trash and all that, you know.

  6. Don't be silly, Melissa! As you can probably tell, half of my Christmas ornaments came from trash week.

    And I wrote a paragraph about how, the first year we lived here, I grabbed a rocking horse for my kids. We used it for years and then put it back out. Someone else came along and got it. Listen, that rocking horse is making the rounds. At this point, he'll never end up at the glue factory, and that's a good thing!

    We also had a Little Tikes basketball hoop and a toy kitchen. People really do put out seriously good shit.

    Except me, that is.

  7. Whoops, I mean I wrote a paragraph and then deleted it because I thought the post was getting too long.

    Holy shit, I just realized something: I've inflicted the information on you anyway.

    You really can't shut me up.

  8. Hey not *all* of us in the Southwest have Saguaros in our yard.. that's only in Arizona, lol. Here in the lovely deserts of New Mexico we stack tumbleweeds, spray paint them white and put a hat on top to look like snowmen; or green to look like Christmas trees... and then string lights on them. But I don't do that.


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.