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It’s Spring Cleanup Time in the ‘Hood!

We have something known as spring cleanup day here in the ‘hood. The city lets you dispose of pretty much anything junking up your garage – except maybe anthrax or dead bodies – and everyone drags all their crap out to the curb and the garbage trucks roll up and make it disappear. You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief as all the detritus of the last year gets carted away.

Dave and our eleven-year-old son Matthew are very interested in spring cleanup day for totally different reasons. Dave thinks he’s finally going to emerge the victor in the “battle of the garage” while Matthew has adopted the “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” motto as his personal mission statement; you can almost see the little wheels turning in his head. Free stuff! At the curb! He and his buddies, armed with cell phones and walkie-talkies, like to case the ‘hood on their bicycles looking for the highest quality garbage. The early bird gets the crap so as soon as those piles start showing up you better get a move on. Seriously, our beautiful suburban ‘hood looks like the set of Sanford and Son right now.

The neighborhood to the north of us had their spring cleanup day a few weeks ago. Matthew and his homies were hard at work scooping up the most desirable garbage in the suburban version of dumpster diving. One night while Matthew was out scavenging my cell phone rang. “Hey mom,” Matthew said. “It’s starting to rain so can you come pick me up?”

I asked him for his location and jumped in the car. When I pulled up to the curb a few minutes later, Matthew was standing next to his bicycle and a waist-high pile of crap. All I could think was, Dave is gonna shit kittens when he sees this. Matthew had found two (two!)stereo tuners, circa 1983, and a turntable. I immediately got a Rush “New World Man” earworm and thought fondly of my junior year of high school. Matthew’s expression was one of sheer adoration. He’s built himself quite the young man cave in the garage, and I knew just where those tuners were headed. And since the whole point of spring cleanup day is to rid our garage of unnecessary stuff, I knew Dave was not going to like that one bit.

Being the cool mom that I am, I helped him load his bike and everything else into my Explorer and we took off. Thankfully, Dave wasn’t home so I told Matthew to get it unloaded and hide it behind the snowblower or something.

Surprisingly, Dave didn’t really care but he did give Matthew a deadline: “It needs to be out of the garage by spring cleanup, or I’m taking it to the curb.” Matthew agreed, and now one of those tuners is sitting on his dresser and I am not thrilled about that.

Our next door neighbor had a garage sale the other day. Matthew carted the turntable over and slapped a price sticker on it. Someone snapped it up in record time but not before he and Matthew haggled back and forth for a while. Matthew finally pocketed his money and walked away, triumphant. Well played Matthew. Well played.

Matthew mentioned the turntable this morning at breakfast which reminded me of something I’d been meaning to ask him. “Matthew, what did the guy who bought your turntable look like?”

“I don’t know. He was about 5’7″. Gray hair.”

Bingo. I’d put money on class of ’79. And my guess is that he carried that turntable to his car humming a little tune.

Something by Rush perhaps.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. Okay, so “shit kittens” is totally going to be my new tag line! I laughed it up when I read that! My son is a junk hound too. Can you imagine what they’d do if they teamed up??

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