Curbing My Enthusiasm

19 Mar
Twice a year  in our fair city, a magical sign appears on the front door knob.

es su turno!

Si, es su turno! And because we’ve lived in San Antonio for a decade, I do not have to turn it over to read the English side. We just start the fiesta.

But for those not similarly blessed:

it's your turn!

 It’s our turn! It’s our turn!

For what? That depends on who you ask.

For me, it’s our turn to get the broken stuff out of the garage, trim the trees, and set everything out on the curb, then wait for the magical truck to come by, scoop it all up, and head to the dump. My heart sings to see the little yellow door sign. It’s like a colonic for the house. Adios, mierda. Es mi turno.

My children, however, see it differently.

For them, the yellow sign might as well be a pirate’s map marked with a giant “X.” As soon as the piles of trash start appearing on the curb, my children get a wild look in their eyes. Suddenly, they are VERY interested in walking the dogs. The way a vulture is  suddenly VERY interested in going for a flight after a deer is run over.

They meet up with the other vulture children and start their surveillance. The house on the corner has a nice cache of 5-gallon buckets. The teenager six houses down has outgrown her bike and it is only missing a wheel and kickstand. The people across the street have remodeled and have a stack of shutters four feet high.

And glory of glories, one street over, someone has remodeled the bathroom and there is an honest-to-God entire toilet on the curb.

Surveillance done, the dogs are returned.

I hear clanking and see them exiting the garage with a wheelbarrow.

“OH NO YOU DON”T! We are not bringing home anyone. else’s. trash. PERIOD. No es su turno!”

Their plan thwarted, they skulk off to do homework.

Day 1 victory is mine.

But even though the piles of trash must be out on the curb by Monday, the magic truck doesn’t come right away. Tuesday, the trash is still there, and I leave for an evening class. My husband is not as diligent with the vulture watch.

When I return home, there is a disabled purple bike leaning against the house, and three buckets around in the backyard.

Day 2 victory to the children.

Wednesday, I put the buckets back on the curb. But as I am screwing around on the internet doing my homework,  I hear sounds of trash being loaded up. Joyously, I open the blinds to wave goodbye.

Alas, it is not the magic truck. Instead, it is a smaller pickup filled with enterprising junkers, scanning the piles for their own treasures.

They have loaded up the particleboard dresser missing a drawer and the leftover scrap pieces of MDF from a shelving project, and are surveying the chair with torn upholstery. The woman sits down in it, bounces up and down a few times, testing it out. Then, she gets back in the truck with a shake of her head.

Off they go. The chair remains, rejected.

Sad Chair

I have to resist the urge to chase after them yelling “I have a nice red and white slipcover! It did not look like this in our house! A very bad cat ripped the arms. Please! Don’t dis my junk.”

But they have moved on the the neighbor’s headboard.

I tell this story to the children, complete with a demonstration of the curbside chair testing. They are amused, then my son grows thoughtful.

“It’s too bad I can’t drive a truck. I could totally have gotten that toilet.”

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10 Responses to “Curbing My Enthusiasm”

  1. Elle March 19, 2009 at 8:28 am #

    I LOVE your kids! hahaha!!!

  2. Bill March 19, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    I know you live through this every year but it is a very funny story.

  3. amy lozano March 19, 2009 at 8:49 am #

    Girl, I’m right there with you – I know (around) time those notices appear on the front door and I start watching for them. The ONLY time the truck comes on the first day of pick-up is WHEN YOU AREN’T FINISHED GETTING YOUR JUNK ON THE CURB YET!! If you are anxious for them to come…. you WILL wait a few days. 🙂 nice post. but then again, all of your posts totally crack me up. They are so used for the laugh I soooo desperately need!

  4. Jen March 19, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    I am laughing hysterically!!!! OMG!

  5. Tricia March 19, 2009 at 9:09 am #

    I thought I was the only one who got insulted when people rejected MY trash! A few years ago we picked up an old window and a door from someone’s pile. They’re still sitting in our garage.

  6. amy lozano March 19, 2009 at 4:44 pm #

    like the *new* title….

  7. lettergirl March 19, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    *new* title, Amy? sorry, I’m confused.

  8. Elissa March 19, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    Just wait………the kids have big plans for that toilet.

  9. canarygirl March 21, 2009 at 3:23 am #

    That toilet ain’t mierda. It woulda made a awesome planter, hey. (I tried to type that in a Minnesooooooda accent, not sure if it came through.)

  10. Janet March 21, 2009 at 8:04 pm #

    Have you ever seen the blog http://vintagemicrowave.blogspot.com? It’s like the trash collection day, but better…. All the stupid free shit that people list on Craigslist. 🙂

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