Friday, February 06, 2009

Wheelie bin Dealings

There are many times in your life when you realise that a) you're no longer young and b) you no longer care, but there are also other times when you realise that the things that genuinely get you excited these days are a) are mundane, and b) embarrassingly tragic.

It is time to share one of them with you: Wednesday Wheelie Bin Night. This weekly evening experience is as eagerly anticipated as sitting down to watch Spicks and Specks on the telly with a lapful of Lindt balls or when we buy a fresh clutch of Farmers Union Iced Coffee Cartons from Safeway. Yep, it's that good.

And why is WWBN so important? Well, moving house means a lot of boxes. Boxes mean cardboard, which in turn equates to recycling. All good so far, except that the wheelie bins we've been allocated by the Moonee Valley Council are about a third the size of the ones we owned in Adelaide. Ooompah Loompahs could perhaps be satisfied with their dimensions but only if flotsam and jetsam such as dog food cans, deadly wrinkled glad wrap, junk mail and coffee grounds form part of their staple diets.

We've squashed down most of the boxes and taken them to the $20-per-car tip at Heidelberg along with dozens of empty paint tins (thoughtfully left behind by the previous owners so that we'd 'know what colours we used on and inside the house'), floor rugs, suitcases and white foam packaging that I'm convinced mates and breeds even bigger and more plentiful versions of itself.

With the delivery of the treadmill, the Super-Size-Me BBQ, Love Chunks' funky new fandangled bike and a few other annoyingly over-packaged new house incidentals, the cardboard still lingers like an unwanted cousin houseguest three days after nanna's funeral. The trouble is, it's been over three weeks for some of our stuff and the last thing we want to do on our Saturdays is cut and flatten boxes, cram them into the back of the wagon and drive to a faraway dump and then pay cash for the experience. Trust me: having our car idling behind a bloke in a ute trying to haggle with the dump manager about only having to pay $18 to dump one mattress instead of the two he had - "But they're for SINGLE beds mate, come on!" - on a 39C day inhaling the aroma of mulch, manure and prawn heads was most un-fun.

Next door to us on one side is a three-storey block of twelve units. I've decided to use the term 'units' because they're from the 1960s-era and look like 'flats' to me but apparently this is NOT the word to use and betrays my country-bumpkin origins, era and uncoolness. Fine, but I refuse to call them 'apartments' when they're older than I am and are all squished in together.

The body corporate of these units has given them four massive recycling bins that are put out fortnightly and six bloody huge red normal-garbage bins that are out every week. Sapphire's bedroom could fit inside one of them and still have space for my treadmill and it was when I noted this fact that my excitement started to sprout. WWBN was going to be the answer to my prayers!

Whatever rubbish overload we have is now surreptitiously squeezed into any vacant space left in their bins. Naturally this complex and rather ingenious maneouvre is done under the cover of darkness so as not to create any ugly scenes or accusations. Instead, I wait until the final 'bonk bonk' sound of all of their bins have been dragged to the kerb and the last 'thwack' of the lids indicate that each and every tenant has shoved their weekly garbage inside.

Then, tiptoeing outside - a pretty delicate feat when wearing oversized thongs or sweaty Crocs - I oh-so-quietly ease open the gate, sneak a furtive glance to the left, the right and the left again - taking particular care to ensure that no-one is enjoying an evening drink, smoke or domestic on their overhanging balconies - and then make my ninja-like moves towards the red and yellow-topped answers to my cardboard conundrum. If it's not too hot I sometimes add a few commando rolls to add to the tension and to draw out the excitement factor.

At this rate, we'll have all of our cardboard packaging disposed of by, oh I don't know, Melbourne Cup Day. I know; it's pretty heady stuff..


ashleigh said...

My god, the exciting life you lead!

Kath Lockett said...

Oh, I sense real envy under that superficial sarcastic tone, Mr A....

River said...

Put advertisements on the notice board at you local supermarket or shopping centre. "Moving house? large cardboard cartons available. Phone......" That should get rid of a few. We made good use of ours after one move, we opened up both ends and laid them like a tunnel all over the huge back yard. our youngest was crawling and had a great time going through the tunnels for a few months. Then one morning we woke up to find it had rained overnight and the backyard was a mess of soggy cardboard, which we then threw under the trees and on the garden beds as mulch.

Voyager8 said...

Cardboards tend to attract termites, better get rid of them after use.

Kath Lockett said...

All good ideas, River and I think that Sapph wouuld love to keep the BBQ one for a cubby house, but it's larger than our actual patch of (dead) back lawn.

Aww, Voyager 8, termites are JUST what we need in a wooden weatherboard house!

Baino said...

Haha I have a confession, when we're all binned out here I take bits and shove 'em in the huge skips in the basement at work! We were issued the likkle bins as well but due to our unnatural amount of bottlage paid a little extra to get the mega recycle bins. Stuffing our neighbour's wheelies just isn't practical, the nearest one lives 150 metres away! And curses on you for sending your weather up here!