Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Trash Man Cometh....Or Not

In my last post I hinted at a forthcoming rant about why only a third of the pee-pee carpet is gone, and I fully intended to save that rant for another day...say, Monday.  But I find myself with a bit of free time on my hands and I thought, "Why wait to rant til Monday when you can rant today?"

First a bit of background:  the second parlor is the only room in the house that still has carpet, which I refer to as "pee-pee carpet" because this is the room my little blind dog lived in before he went to his new home in Iowa.  (Where, by the way, he peed on a leg of the coffee table within ten minutes of his arrival.  "Hey, thanks for adopting me—mind if I pee in your living room?")  You may be able to surmise a big part of the reason why the dog now lives in Iowa.  And why the carpet needs to be removed.  Actually, the carpet was already destined for the trash bin before the dog started using it as one giant potty pad.  But I digress.  The top layer of carpet was installed 20-some years ago over a thick padding, which was stapled to some Berber-like carpet of probably 1970s vintage, which was glued to the hardwood floor.  Y'all have heard me gripe and complain aplenty about the black glue residue that's covering the hardwood floors in the rest of the house.  Did you catch that?  I said, the rest of the house.  There is no carpet in the rest of the house because it's already been ripped up and taken out to the trash over the past two years.  Keep that in mind.  Remember also that every room in my house is about 15' by 15', except for the entryway, which is about 6' by 9'.  My son ripped out the carpet in the front parlor in two giant pieces.  We ripped out the carpet in the dining room in two or three big pieces.  I removed the carpet in the little entryway in one big swath.  Got all that?  Okay, then hang on for the rant.

Three, or maybe four weeks ago I started tearing out the carpet in the second parlor.  I decided that since I'm all by myself here, I'd better tear it out in strips I can handle.  Fifteen by fifteen room...yeah, three big pieces oughta do it.  I tore up the first layer of carpet, rolled it up, and wrapped duct tape around it to hold it together.  I tore up the padding and put it in trash bags.  I tore up the bottom layer of carpet, rolled it up, and wrapped duct tape around it.  Then I carried the whole shebang out to the trash.  The bags went in the bin and the two pieces of rolled-up carpet went in the alley next to the trash bin.  Three (or maybe four) weeks later I noted that one roll of carpet was still out in the alley.  I called the trash company to complain.  This conversation took place:

Trash Lady:  How long is the carpet?
Me:  I don't know, it's all rolled up.  Like 15 feet.
TL:  No, I mean, how long is it?
Me:  You mean, how wide is it?  I'd say 5 feet or so.
TL:  Oh.  Then that's why they didn't pick it up.  It's too long.  It has to be 4 feet long or less.
Me:  What?!  Why?
TL:  It's just the rules.  You should've gotten a list of the rules when you moved.
Me:  Well, I didn't.  I just have the joy of finding these things out as I go along.
TL:  Yeah, cut it shorter and we'll pick it up.  And it must be tied with string or tape.  Otherwise you can rent a dumpster.
Me:  I don't want to rent a dumpster.  I want you to pick up my carpet the way you always have for the past two years without all this hassle.
TL:  Well, if they picked it up before they shouldn't have.

And that was the end of that.  No amount of explanation swayed her.  She was utterly unconvinced that a roll of carpet exceeding 4 feet in width had ever been picked up at my house or at anyone else's house.  She did not believe me when I told her that I'd dragged it out to the alley without so much as an inch of tape or string on it and it had been picked up.  She scoffed when I told her that one bright morning the trash haulers had picked up at least six rolls of carpet from my house.  Impossible, she said.  Only one roll at a time.  Cut the roll to four feet or less, she said.  Make sure you tape or tie it.  Apparently the trash company does not negotiate.  So I went outside, hopping mad, in the rain mind you, to measure the roll of carpet.  Four feet five inches.  Rats!  I folded it in half.  And as I was wrestling the duct tape around the folded-in-half roll of carpet, I saw it.  The other roll of carpet.  The carpet I'd just told her had been picked up by the trash man last week.  There it was, tucked neatly between my neighbor's garage and another neighbor's fence.  What the Sam Hill?!  How did it get there?  Surely the neighbors don't intend to use it.  Did the neighbors put it there?  Did the trash man hide it?  Was it dragged there by coyotes? 

Now folks, I am not good at math, but I figure the remaining carpet in the second parlor is about 12 feet wide.  That means I'll have to cut it into at least three strips to meet the trash company's criteria.  There are two layers of carpet.  That would be 6 rolls of carpet if I roll them separately, or 3 rolls if I manage to roll the two layers of carpet together somehow.  If they pick up only one roll a week....well, y'all can figure out that it will take some time to get rid of all the carpet from my second parlor.  I think this is some scheme to make people rent a dumpster.  There's no place for a dumpster on my property.  If I put it out in the alley, my neighbor won't be able to park his truck behind his house.  Not to mention that I'm cheap and I don't want to spend the money for a dumpster.  Darnit.

In a snit, I called White Trash Bob.  He listened to me rant and when I paused for breath, he said, "I find that if I put a six-pack of beer out there on top of the trash, they'll pick up anything."  Hey, it's worth a try...


  1. Sounds like our recycling pickup guys (our rubbish guys are peaches.)

    Some odd days, like a cosmic ray has hit the right electron, suddenly I've violated some rule despite putting out the recycling no differently from the past several years or so.

    My carpet is pretty easy to cut with a linoleum knife once it's off the floor. Maybe you could just trim off the extra 5 inches if you haven't managed to fold that roll.

    Four weeks, that's a month, not too bad for zero cost.

    I'll trade you :-) My garage door opener has started opening unpredictably on its own despite no neighbors with remotes that trigger it nearby - fix that, and I'll roll up your carpet :-)

  2. LOL! I'm sorry, but that's funny!

    I'm stubborn enough that I'd never rent a dumpster. I don't care how long it took or how many six packs. I'd rather tip the underpaid trash collectors than to line the pockets of the trash company.

  3. Jack says, leave a roll of carpet in front of each neighbors house and don't worry about leaving a six pack.

  4. LOL, White Trash Bob is soooo SMART! Why haven't I ever thought of that?

  5. Where I used to live, you had to cut it in 15 inch squares, and tie them in bundles that could not exceed 15 inches high. And there was a limit on how many you could put out per week! I had about a 12' by 13' room to tear out, so you can imagine how thrilled I was with THAT rule! I was ALMOST happy that the padding had disintegrated in large spots into dust, at least I could just bag that up!

  6. I think the 6 pack is a guy thing. When I lived in my previous house, heavy trash was only picked up on the last collection day of the month. So my next door neighbor's husband would leave a 6 pack on the other pickup days, rather than wait til the end of the month.

    In the neighborhood I live in now, we do like Jack said and "share the wealth" amongst the neighbors.

  7. Did you put beer out? Did they pick it up? Sorry, Im going through trying to catch up on blogs:)