Trash Talk


When Stroke of Genius arrived here in the lovely Hill Country, the first thing he did was to do a “visual audit” of the property. Little did I know what trouble was about to befall me. He frowned, turned to me and said, “We’ve got to clean this place up before they kick you out of the neighborhood.”

But let me digress. I come from parents who were opposites. Joe the Pro was totally organized and Dearly Demented Mom could have been the first guest on The Hoarders. I land squarely in the middle. I’m not bad, but I’m not that neat, either.

When I look around my property, I see beautiful plants and flowers. Evidently Stroke of Genius sees the rusted-out refrigerator, the wheelbarrow with a flat tire and a large mound of dead stuff I’m too afraid to burn. Isn’t all that considered yard art?

Stroke of Genius announced, “I’m going to clean this place up for you.” Reluctantly, I agreed knowing you never turn down free work from a man.

At first, he would ask if I really needed a rusty saw with a cracked handle. I thought about it and said, “It’s an accent piece to be hung on the outside of the house.” Being a former restaurant designer, SOG replied, “It looks awful. Either I throw it away or I’ll use this dull blade on your neck.”

I tried to explain many of the items he found repulsive were gifts from the Dump Gods. Though the dump has not been very giving the last couple of years, there was a time when it overflowed with lovely treasures for the Dancing Dog Ranch.

Who could forget the fake plastic orange tree? Though it died recently, I had neighbors believing I could grow oranges in the dead of winter. It’s always about placement with plastic.

Then there was the rusty bike complete with a cute basket. I leaned it against a tree, planted flowers in the basket and enjoyed a day of looking like a page out of Martha Stewart. The next day the deer ate all the flowers.

Stroke of Genius began to grow weary of my explanations about each piece of junk. I don’t know if he finally wore me down, or he just turned stealth and made things disappear without my noticing.

I even let him do something that I will forever regret – he has taken over my dump runs. No longer do I jump in the car first thing Saturday morning and race to the dump to see what wonderful, unneeded finds the Dump Gods have left me. Yes, Martha, I know you’re disappointed.

Unfortunately, Stroke of Genius is right. This place is looking much better though he’ll have to pry the aqua blue Frigidaire out of my cold, dead hands.

I can hear the scorn from the Dump Gods. “Why is she treating us like this? We were so giving to her. How could she possibly part with the hand-made smoker that only needed a new bottom to be functional again?”

Never displease the Dump Gods. What if I have a large party and actually need 6 extra half-cracked plastic chairs?

Finally, I’ve given up negotiations on what junk is good junk. I’ve let Stroke of Genius have his way with the ranch. Actually, the place is looking so good; he’s on to a new mission – making the yard into a manicured wonderland.

Wait until he finds out that just underneath all my weeds lays a solid layer of rocks. The Dump Gods and I just love sweet revenge.

 A Perfectly Manicured Bed (for the moment)

Spreading laughter throughout the world…one chuckle at a time.

Mikie Baker

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