Thursday, January 1, 2009

Chores and Trashic Control

So it's Christmas morning. Are visions of sugarplums dancing in my head? No, I'm thinking about chores and what I like to call: "Trashic Control". The floor is littered with wrapping paper, plastic packaging of all conceivable shapes and sizes and my favorite: the unrecyclable and trash can clogging styrofoam. At least there is no "ghost poop" (also known as styrofoam peanuts) this year. As tanner begins to spoil like raw meat at noon in july, I gather what I can and begin the first phase: Trashic Reconciliation. This is where try and reconcile all of the garbage.
Only I separate into different piles because I know I will have to do it sooner or later. The grandmas and Mama (who is afflicted with the most severe of OCD conditions) just pile the trash into other trash cans, thus condensing the load. The next phase is that the boxes must migrate to the garage. My wife loves to leave them right outside the door, blocking my passage to hunting gadgets and other manly pleasures so that I must deal with them before moving onto what she might consider distractions.
The pile is growing. Only I can see this for only I venture into this side of my garage. It is my domain if you will and I rule it with a brace of "drying" ducks (my wife prefers to call them dead) that my brother and I were lucky enough to harvest (she would be so brazen as to use the phrase "killed") on Xmas eave. I also weild an efficient box cutter with fresh razor. I realize that there's just enough room to exit through the side garage door to my outside work area: the place where Trashic is butchered into garbage bin size tidbits. So I go back inside, searching for the elusive "family time".
Tanner is opening a race track. It's about 10 feet long and rated for 5+. We may not have a clearing in this house that's 3x10. He's only two and a half by his admission so I know this one will require more work on my part and I'll want to play with it more than him so sooner or later, we'll be engaged in a one side wrestling match. Yes, I am aware that one day he will be able to kick my ass.
Next up is the one cup coffee wizard. I'm not sure what it's called but the first time I encountered it was at a Ford Dealership that's now out of business. You put a tiny cup in and close the handle, which pierces a tiny mono-vampire-like prick in the small cup. It's best described as a large version of one of those creamer cups you find in a diner where you peel the top off. Upon dissection, I encountered a bag-like strainer inside. You then select one of three settings, ultra rich(small cup), just right (medium cup), or too weak and diluted (larger cup). This one's a no-brainer. I like it just right so I push the middle and with a humming vibration, black coffee pees in two streams, right into your cup. This is so wrong on many levels. First off, the cups have already begun to litter the kitchen island like that island of floatsam trash somewhere off Africa that I've read about in National Geographic. Second, this thing is extra large and with the carousel cup-display-holder, it takes up all that was left of our precious counter space. Also, I just bought myself a thermos as a pre-just-for-me gift. I like to make my coffee by the pot thank you. My wife and I had no sooner conspired to keep it at school where we could both use it than she spilt the beans to Mom-in-Law. "That's fine" replies Mom, "so long as you have it here for me whenever I come up." Now it's going to be a portable menace to green environmentalists.
Miraculously everyone settled down in their kerchiefs for that Xmas hangover nap and I snuck away to my domain, box cutters in hand. I separated the mountain. Reminding myself as I often must-to live in the moment. Like the tibetan monk who watches ants with fascination all day. And to put my heart and soul into every task, no matter how miniscule or insignificant it may seem. The pile slowly began to diminish. The unruly mountain was now a neat and tidy 3x3 square of cardboard and a santa sized black trash bag, all bundled up for the trash guys, to be set out as a sort of cruel irony the day after xmas.
I pride myself in this type of work. I worked at Swigard's Hardware when I lived in Tahoe and I can sling a box cutter like a samurai, always remembering the warning of my first sensai, "always cut away from your body because somewhere on that body is a set of balls". My wife doesn't think it's that important. She reminds me that my stint as Tim the Tool Man was only about four months before I decided to teach toddlers to do a pizza with their ski's, but I know better. These skills I learned have forever prepared me to be the man who can control the endless flow of "trashic".
Of course, after Tanner waved goodbye to his favorite trash truck, and after a careful inspection of the entire household, twice going through every pile of gifts and gift certificates, we think there might be a $50 gift certificate somewhere in the Trashic. It's dirty work, but somebodies got to do it and sometimes nobody even appreciates it.

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