Trash or Treasure

The other day Ol' Dutch was tying up yet another bag of trash generated in the kitchen and I could not help to wonder where it all came from.

For you see, Ol' Dutch is not like most men who stay at home watching television, golfing, fishing or merely scratching the posterior parts of their anatomy. No siree. I have found out that accompanying Trixie to the local stores or the far away Wal-Mart gains me what is known as “points” with Trixie.

Women are like that. Once you find out that merely spending time with them doing seemingly mundane chores relates to “quality time together,” your life will ease up considerably. Now I know that all women are not the same to which I can get a hardy “Amen,” but by and large, they love to have their selected better-or-for-worse half along for the day perusing the shelves.

So having said all that, Ol' Dutch has a pretty good idea about how many sacks of food -- paper, plastic and other -- come through our front door. What I cannot figure out is how that seemingly limited supply of goods multiplies to a vast amount of trash going out that same door.

This is totally against the laws of physics and maybe a dozen other laws that Ol' Dutch is unaware of. There is only one conclusion: something tawdry is going on inside the cupboards and fridge when I am not looking.

I have been tempted to put my game camera in there to somehow catch the plastic wrap and milk cartons having questionable relations but so far whatever they are doing is in complete silence which reminds me of a girlfriend I once had.

Whatever is going on in there though, I am sure if I were to catch it on video, it would lead to a stint on some national news or television show. But, just like the UFO controversy where the truth is hidden for our own good, Ol' Dutch is not sure the nation is ready to find out what goes on behind our cupboard doors when we are not looking.

I believe that most people would rather go around with their heads in the sand like some long necked bird in Australia oblivious to the dangers lurking on the other side of the door.

Now I understand how trash accumulating can occur around a house but when you live in an RV like Trixie and me, there is really only a limited amount of space to store items purchased. So the normal wrappers and boxes that come from the store have to be carefully accounted for when living thus and I have no idea how all this “stuff” appeared out of thin air.

While we contend with our shopping bags multiplying, our neighbor down the road, Uncle Si, has a real passion for garage sailing and his “stuff” multiplies faster than rabbits on viagra.

Just one peek in his massive shed and you see exactly what happens when your stuff decides to propagate. It is impossible to walk from one end of his building to the other without stubbing your toe on a 1929 pecan picker or the three billy clubs he carefully watches over.

Ol' Dutch bought a boat one time from a collector of such things and you could not walk through his yard for the parts scattered in the grass. When I asked the man why he had hundreds of trashed boats, boat parts, boat motors, boat oars, boat seats and all other things boat related, he looked me calmly in the eye and said, “Well, that’s my 401(k).”

It’s bad enough to have to deal with the daily amount of trash that we generate and the thoughts of how much a great city may accumulate just boggles this simple mind. But regardless of what we have to deal with, Trixie is just thankful that should something happen to Ol' Dutch she won't have to cash in a 401(k) of rotting boats.


My Wallet is Empty

Recently Ol' Dutch had the opportunity to buy a ranch in Texas. You might ask why anyone in their right mind would buy one there and Trixie may agree with you that I am not in my right mind, too.

But it’s near the grand-daughters and Bubs, my son, so there is some advantage to being close at least part of the year. Now before you get to thinking that Ol' Dutch had amassed some kind of near fortune to buy such a place that is not the case at all. I am tempted to call it Oleo Ranch as it’s just a “little spread.”

But the one thing I have noticed is that just buying the land is only the tip of the iceberg as now there are things I need to buy just to keep the place running and Ol' Dutch is feeling kinda poor after the initial purchase fun has worn off.

I was talking to Trixie about this situation and told her that it reminded me of a story to which she rolled her eyes and sighed heavily which usually means she is anxious for my impartation of wisdom to her young ears.

This story had to do with my brother-in-law who at 6 years old had gotten a dollar for his birthday. A dollar was real money back in those days.

He was anxious to spend it so his mother took him to the Woolworth store in the local town. Once there he perused the aisles and finally found the perfect item: a wallet that was priced for $1.He proudly bought it and carried it home.

Once there he suddenly realized that now that he had the wallet he had no money to put in it and cried himself to sleep.

Such is life so it seems. We often have the money to buy something then find out there are hidden costs or that we find ourselves without enough money to enjoy what we just bought.

The ranch is just such a place for me now as I need a bush hog mower, box blade, my tractor overhauled, cattle wormed, hay baled, fence built, barn cleaned, mobile home demolished, trash picked up, metal hauled off and a hundred other things. So, do you see the problem?

Even though I was able to get the land, now I am a tad short on capital to really do it right.

My sister and all her kids came out to vacation last week and I was reminded of just how far we have come in our desire to have things. They each showed up with these new Yeti ice chests which are made of solid gold or something like that.

Now I don't know about you but in my truck is a old beat-up red Coleman ice chest that has had worms, fish, deer, antelope, sandwiches and cookies in it and only cost around $25.

But here they all were with these newfangled $300 coolers in each of their cars, $30 mugs to match for each adult (and some kids), shirts, hats and all sorts of other paraphernalia of the same brand adorning their earthly bodies. .

When I was growing up, my dad always had the cheap Styrofoam coolers and I never remember any food going bad or lack thereof when we needed it. Those coolers were designed to keep food cold for a set time until you could have a picnic and get back home even in a day or two.

My sister and her family, though, were quick to point out that these new plastic boxes would keep food cold for 10 days straight if you did not open it which totally defeats the purpose of a cooler in Ol' Dutch's mind. The measure of a “good ice chest” is how empty it is at day’s end and the success of the day can be measured from that alone.

Trixie and I had a conversation about getting a Yeti to be part of the “in” crowd but Ol' Dutch is afraid to buy one and then look in there and find there is no food, because I would have spent all of my money on the ice chest. But, I’m sure having a Yeti would make me cool and that’s worth a lot of money right there.