Thursday, August 21, 2014

Adventures in Garbage

One of the "green" changes that we have implemented in The Conneuter household is that we rarely use paper towels.  Instead, I have a stack of kitchen rags that I use for clean-up, cleaning, wiping, etc. To keep the process easy for me I have a bin in the kitchen that I toss the used ones in until it's wash day.  It's wonderful, easy, definitely much cheaper than constantly buying paper towels, and one load of laundry and it's done.  I can go into great detail about this process, but I will save it for another blog.

The problem is that the bin is often times confused with the regular kitchen garbage during any kind of event that is held at our house.  Maybe it's because it's on the other side of the room from the regular garbage, maybe it's because people don't expect there to be a "hamper" in a kitchen, maybe it's because we are just friends with weirdos.  I don't know.  I have just gotten used to this over the 5 years that we have been implementing this.  I am not annoyed by it in the least, rather, I am amused by the treasures that I will inevitably find in the next wash load after a house gathering.  If nothing else, there is always, always, ALWAYS a juice box straw wrapper.  Even if we are not serving juice at whatever function we have had, the straw wrapper is in there.

But this blog is also not about the treasures I find in that bin.  Oh no.  This is a blog about what I found somewhere else.  Something that is so bizarre, I cannot imagine how someone made either the decision or mistake of doing this, or even what was going through their heads.  This is a story about what was found in the Bag of Bags.

Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.  Every household has the Bag of Bags.  It's a plastic shopping bag that you use to store your other plastic shopping bags in.  Be it for while you collect enough to drop off at the recycle bin at the supermarket, be it for you to collect them to re-use them, be it that you collect them to use as stinky poop bags for disposable diapers or dog poop or cat litter cleanup.  Everyone has a Bag of Bags.  It's just a simple fact of life.  Where you have it is what varies.

We keep ours hanging off of our back door knob.  It's very obvious what it is.  It's practically overflowing with bags because I almost always forget to grab it when I go to the store.  You can very clearly see that it is a Bag of Bags, not a garbage.  Especially when there are not one but THREE other bins in the kitchen (garbage, recycling, rags), one of which is right next to the Bag of Bags.  Therefore, I never go through this Bag of Bags for any reason, other than to occasionally grab a bag out.  And even then, I don't go through it, I just grab a bag.

So I had noticed a smell starting to linger in that area.  Thought it was the rag bin.  Washed the rags.  It still lingered.  Thought it was maybe some dirty dishes in the sink.  Wanted to completely empty the sink.  Those of you with kids on summer break can easily understand why this took several days before the sink was completely emptied and cleaned itself.  Still, the odor lingered.  I cleaned out the garbage can, cleaned out the recycling bin, washed the floor.  Stink, stink, stink.  I even emptied the fridge of anything that could possibly be becoming questionable, checked the cabinets for anything spilled, nothing.

And then I went into the Bag of Bags looking for a specific type of bag.  This was the first time I was actively digging in.  And as I dug, the stench became more profound.  And then I saw it.  A dirty diaper.  Somebody had put a dirty diaper in the Bag of Bags.  And it stunk.  And I know why it wreaked so awfully.  The last gathering we had at the house where there was an opportunity for someone to do this was back in the beginning of June.  This was the second week in August that I discovered the diaper.

Now, people have put dirty diapers in all sorts of places in my house.  Most of which, I can understand why.  The rag bin: I get it, it looks like a garbage bin.  The recycling bin:  OK, still a bin, I'll take it.  The cloth diaper pail in R's room:  I guess the cloth liner doesn't give away that it's not a trash can, so I'll gladly accept it.  For the record, there is no disposable diaper pail in R's room, just a cloth one.  The bathroom garbage:  At least it's a garbage.  The laundry chute in the bathroom (that leads to the top of the pool table for whatever bad design reason):  People have confused this as a garbage on several occasions.  I'd rather the dirty diaper than...feminine hygiene trash...yes, it has happened.  But for the love of Pete, I can't understand how someone could confuse the Bag of Bags for a regular garbage?!

Maybe some smaller Bags, ones with less bags in them.  "Hey, I don't know what this bag hanging here is, there's not much in it.  Must be a garbage.  I'll throw my trash in it".  Sure.  But I'm not kidding when I say that our Bag of Bags is overflowing.  And all that is in it is other bags.  And it was right next to a perfectly good rag bin disguised as a garbage (found a half-eaten hot dog in a bun with ketchup on it this last time).  I almost expect to find diapers in there.  But the bag of bags??!!!

Needless to say, there was a great reduction in the amount of bags in the Bag of Bags.  I couldn't handle the stench of the ammonia that had set into them.  So I am contemplating going old-lady style on this and making a holder for my bags.  At least this way, nobody would confuse it as a trash bag.  Right??