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The Vultures Descend Upon Us…


Every Spring, Saint Charles does a junk-day in which they pick up (for no charge!!!) all household materials/crap hidden in the unused part of your basement that you’ve been saving for God knows what. I don’t know if this is more of a universal thing, it probably is, but since I am quite boring and have never REALLY lived anywhere else, I don’t know.

The week before the stuff is collected, people tend to start putting their stuff out on the curb. When I was younger, this made for some most excellent garbage picking. The neighborhood gang and I would traipse around the blocks looking for, well, stuff and things. I’m not sure that my parents were overly thrilled the years I brought home an earwig infested dog-house or the gallons of paint I found, but to their credit they never said a whole lot about it.

Once I hit the teenage years, the prospect of garbage picking was deemed “lame” mainly because I’d discovered this really neat thing called “money” which you could use to exchange for goods and services. My allowance was hefty so I had no need to rummage through other people’s stuff anymore.

This is not to say that I don’t like scouring thrift stores: I totally do, but there’s something different between standing in full view of whomever threw the stuff you’re looking at out and being able to examine it on your own. As with most of the stuff people tend to leave on the curb, there’s always the wonder of WHY they threw it out in the first place that makes me not really want it.

Guess I’m becoming an adult.

So, last Sunday Alex, The Daver and Benny were playing outside with the throng of neighbors that I am fortunate enough to have and love and I decided to get a start on moving our crap to the curb. I really only put out the bigger stuff because the bags ‘o’ crap get shuffled over to the Salvation Army (pretty much weekly). I do most of the manual work around the house, which includes checking for critters that may have made their way into our garage. I don’t actually have a penis, but this sometimes surprises even me.

Our junk day is tomorrow (Saturday) and this must be marked in the datebooks of each and every junk collector within a forty-mile radius, because by that time (last Sunday afternoon) the scads of pickup trucks with makeshift sides on their truck bed were out in full force.

This pleases me me greatly, of course, because I am somewhat of a recycling nerd. I’m thrilled by the green aspect of all of this (and I was long before it was hip to be green) and I love knowing that whatever I put out will (mostly) go to good use.

No idea what the use is, but I’m sure it’s better than sitting in my garage night after night. Pretty much anything is better than that.

While I am in the process of hauling stuff out of the garage and onto the curb, some dude missing most of his teeth and genes (mayhap the missing link?) comes screeching to a halt at my curb and starts vigorously going through our stuff. I have no problem with this, save for it being mildly uncomfortable because here I am, teeth and genes intact, dropping my crap on the curb for someone else to take.

What annoys me the most is that while he is shuffling through some of the boxes I put out (electronic stuff that even I don’t understand) the papers and plastic that are in these boxes drift lazily down to my grass where they remain until he leaves and I pick them back up. I’m cool with you taking my stuff, Mr. Missing Link, I’m not cool with you spewing the trash about RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE.


I’ll never really know where these people come from although I’d guess either Middle Earth or Aurora (made famous by Wayne’s World), and while I’m glad that they are saving stuff from rotting (or not) in a landfill, there’s something about them that makes me sure to lock my car at night.

23 Comments to

“The Vultures Descend Upon Us…”

  1. On April 25th, 2008 at 11:14 am Milk Maid Says:

    So it seems my exhusband is in St Charles now…!

    Thanks for putting the theme music to Sanford and Son in my head, btw!

  2. On April 25th, 2008 at 12:57 pm kbreints Says:

    Yep– it is a universal thing… I have lived just about all over the U-S-A and everywhere I have lived they do something quite similar to this.

    I have never actually gotten out and picked something up off of someones curb– but I have thought about it! and I have silently thanked the people that have!

    You most likely know about this site– but if not I am sure that you wouldlike and apreciate it– – Most cities have it- I am sure yours does too!

  3. On April 25th, 2008 at 12:59 pm kbreints Says:

    Damn– or

  4. On April 25th, 2008 at 1:17 pm Ames Says:

    We don’t have a day like that around here but I wish that we did. I usually post my unwanted stuff on freecycle and let people come pick it up. I like knowing that my stuff is going to someone who can really use it.

  5. On April 25th, 2008 at 1:23 pm Sarah Says:

    Oh man…I need to move to St. Charles. As we speak a dumpster is being delivered because of the volume of crap in my basement.

    And on an unrelated note, I’ve been reading you in Google Reader and hadn’t noticed the header change – NICE. Need to show that to my husband. Although he hates cats so that might just be added incentive rather than a deterrent.

  6. On April 25th, 2008 at 2:28 pm christy Says:

    We don’t have something like that here, either. But, it would be nice if we did.

  7. On April 25th, 2008 at 2:33 pm MsPrufrock Says:

    We used to have that when I was growing up.

    I shouldn’t admit this, but we used to make fun of the people (often driving beat up trucks) who would stop and shift through our stuff. Ugh. That makes me feel really horrible now.

    Personally, second hand stuff is all good, but I can’t say I want to really sift through someone’s rubbish on the curb. eBay is fine, thrift stores are great. Curbside shopping, not so much.

    It seems I am very much a snob after all.

  8. On April 25th, 2008 at 3:25 pm baseballmom Says:

    OMG, I remember at our garage sale last year, one of the ‘links came and started going through our free box, and picked up this ratty electric blanket that I’d gotten from my grandma, who tries to give us everything. He asked me like a million questions about whether it was washable, if it worked, etc. etc. I figured, it was FREE, for chrissakes, so take the damned thing and if it doesn’t work, put it in YOUR free box next year. Our city has a site devoted to giving things away or selling them for free, kind of similar to freecycle, and it’s a good thing to do if you can. I’ve also gotten rid of a LOT of free things on craigslist–but watch out for the freaks!

  9. On April 25th, 2008 at 3:32 pm Heather Says:

    My city doesn’t have a day like that, either; but — I DO have a father-in-law. And one who sees our garbage the second it hits the curb and instantly knows he can put it to good use collecting dust in *his* garage. When we replaced our old toilet (circa 1950 and avocado) and set the old one out with the garbage…his response? “You’re not throwing THAT out are you?” and so he took it (probably to use as a planter or something). Happy purging!

  10. On April 25th, 2008 at 3:36 pm kalakly Says:

    Ooooohhhh, the new page is perty! But hey, wait, where are all the sparkly things and the coffee/personality quizes?

    BTW, we just had a stray drop 5 new kittens in our rafters, hmmm, what does that say about what is NOT going on inside our house??????

  11. On April 25th, 2008 at 3:59 pm Don Mills Diva Says:

    Ya – I get that. I had a big garage sale once and really strange people showed up two hours earlier and insisted on coming in the house and looking at stuff I hadn’t moved out yet – it was weird.

    BTW – love love LOVE the new header!

  12. On April 25th, 2008 at 4:46 pm TheRamblingHousewife Says:

    There must be these people everywhere!

    Sometimes ours are nice enough to take the things we leave in our car, as well! 😉

  13. On April 25th, 2008 at 4:55 pm Amy Says:

    Our city has a day like that, we don’t use it we collect everything! The city Shan works for has a day like that where people take their junk to them. Luckily this year Shan only brought home a new, yes new wheel barrow. Last year it was the “Amy, hurry up and get down here” call to pick up 2 old, yes collectible pedal tractors. So, normally he gets good stuff and yes, he has his teeth and genes and would never leave trash on the ground!

  14. On April 25th, 2008 at 6:56 pm shay Says:

    “the missing link” lol!

    I am waaaaaaaaay too embarrassed to go through peoples stuff if they can see me. My hubby…would NOT be! He loves him some free stuff!

    We dont’ have a day like this either. What a great idea!

  15. On April 25th, 2008 at 8:15 pm tash Says:

    I’m almost tempted to drive my shit up to St. Charles just for this.

    I think the thought of what I would curb would greatly deter me from being remotely interested in other people’s stuff. Only so much cat pee one can take in a lifetime.

  16. On April 25th, 2008 at 8:53 pm TSM Says:

    And…which street are you on? I need to go shopping…

    Really, though, what a great idea! I’m a thrift-shop-aholic, so that’s heaven! But, I don’t hoard like alot of thrify’s do. One thing out means I can buy one thing, the Mr. says. Yay, Mr!

  17. On April 25th, 2008 at 9:52 pm Kristen Says:

    Your blog looks so spring fresh!
    As an adult, I can’t imagine actually going through people’s things that they left out, but I am sure my kids would be out collecting. Every time one of the neighbour’s has a garage sale, my kids come home with the leftovers.
    Oh, and I didn’t think you were old enough to have watched Wayne’s World!

  18. On April 26th, 2008 at 9:36 pm Katy Says:

    Our junk day is next week. Looking forward to it! We have a big freezer that needs to be tossed. Found some stinky old turkey in it a few weeks ago when the thing died on us. UGH. But most of the stuff we have needs to go out in a garage sale. We’d surely have enuf if we could jsut wrap our arms around the idea of no more kids, and get rid of all that baby crap.

    BTW – love the new look.

  19. On April 26th, 2008 at 9:48 pm honeywine Says:

    Tina still does that! But she usually stops to ask the folks for it first even if it’s out in the trash. Here we get a better class of scavenger don’t ya know. 😉 lol

    Btw, obviously, I haven’t been around much. I love the new kittens. Kittens and masturbation…the link was so obvious how could I miss it.

  20. On April 27th, 2008 at 12:29 am Sara Says:

    I wish we had a junk day. I just don’t think I would ever go through someone else’s stuff. But I’m all for someone who might want something I’m done with!

  21. On April 27th, 2008 at 9:14 pm kate Says:

    your blog it is very you. i love the kitty, and sort of hope he gets eaten by the fudgesicle looking thing-os.

  22. On April 28th, 2008 at 2:32 pm becky Says:

    1 – I didn’t know you lived in Saint Charles! I was just there last month for the first time… very beautiful city. We ate a restaurant on the Fox River… it was really nice!

    2 – My town has a garbage cleanup like that, too, except ours lasts a week. And it always seems to correspond with Commencement at the college I work at. Welcome to our little town, proud parents of sentimental graduates! Watch out for the garbage piles lining the streets.

  23. On April 29th, 2008 at 11:36 pm Emily R Says:

    Just catching up. I have had a shitty day (and given how shitty yesterday was, that says a lot), and I needed the laughs I get over here!

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