Saturday, June 16, 2012

P H D -- Piled Higher and Deeper

When I called Bulk Waste Pickup the instructions were precise: If you intend to put out more, call us and say so or it won't be picked up.
The person on the other end of the phone line wanted to know the types of items, sizes, metal or wood.  How much metal, how much wood. How much does it weigh? Is it painted?

I had a stack of old  window screens. I hadn't counted them, and wouldn't until I had to move them. I told Bulk Waste I had 10.There was a pause, as if I should have included measurements. I was clearing my garage, but Bulk Waste made me think that I needed permission to get rid of things, and I only put out the screens.

Several weeks after I called to get my name on the list, I carried screens to the curb and stacked them neatly. There were 14, not 10. Would they leave 4 on the ground? I put them out mid afternoon, when I had time and energy, not at 9 PM as instructed. I am not fool enough to tote unwieldy screens down 120 feet of driveway in the dark.

Does each piece of garbage needed a pedigree? Should I list the number of screens with plastic mesh as opposed to those with metal mesh, and the total square inches of each? Did I have a linear foot count of the wood? Did I need to count the metal screen hangers and screw hooks and eyes as well?

Six weeks in advance, I don't even know precisely what I OWN. I'm sorting. I will keep things, give things to friends, donate what I can.

Dealing with Bulk Waste Pickup, I began to have sympathy for folks who move away and leave towers of garbage on their tree lawns. They HAD to, because Bulk Waste Pickup wanted to know what would be put out long before the people knew what they would be keeping. 

Deciding what to keep and what to jettison is the easy part. Old TVs, clothing  and computers go to Goodwill, building materials go to ReStore. Books go to the Planned Parenthood book sale. Fabric in lengths of a yard or more goes to one church. Smaller bits go to an organization that makes quilts. Plastic takeaway containers go in the recycle bin only if they have the right codes on the bottoms, and the list of the right codes has changed several times in 15 years.  Once upon a time I knew that Bulk Pickup would haul away anything that was left after I had found new homes for  as much as I could.

 At 7 PM  I passed an occasional house with vast piles of assorted non-food rubbish. How had they answered Bulk Waste? In the past I've seen these piles and been certain that Bulk Waste would deal with it. Now, I'm not at all sure.