When the most friendly guy in the Universe takes your garbage

Heading off into the day

Heading off into the day

Good still-dark morning, dear readers.  Our roads are slippery with slush and frozen ice.  I had to drive Barry into work as our second vehicle (which is the same as our first vehicle, a 2003 Buick Century, except with more mileage) lies sick in the auto repair shop.

The same auto repair shop where I won the Kindle Fire last fall in a sweepstakes, I’m sure you clever readers recall.

This is the second time this ill vehicle hath visited the mechanic this past month. The first visit resulted in a $600 repair.  I can’t even remember why.  If any of you readers are wealthy and want to send money…no, no, no, I didn’t type that last sentence.  Please disregard.

Wolf art

Wolf art

Am sitting in our local coffee shop, Java by the Bay, sipping a cup of black tea in a mug that says Cocoa-Cappuccino-Coffee in bold yellow, brown and green letters.

Thanks to those of you who read and commented on the last blog post about gazing and lingering in those places (inner and outer) that are challenging, that hurt, that cause despair.  I really appreciate those of you that you paused and liked this post.

You savvy readers are of course wondering about how my three-week detox progressed.  Last night was the last night!  We ate squash stuffed with quinoa, kale, white beans, sage, thyme and toasted hazelnuts.

Very apropos that today is Fat Tuesday, isn’t it?  Someone in the coffee shop suggested that tomorrow is Skinny Wednesday.

Cup of tea, anyone?

Cup of tea, anyone?

Here’s the statistics for those of you waiting with bated breath.  I continued to love the Detox plan from Whole Living magazine all the way to the skinny end.  Official weight loss:  7.5- 8 pounds depending how many times the scale joggled.  Feeling healthy, happy and ready to eat a chicken enchilada with a glass of wine tonight at the Mexican restaurant up in Houghton after our chiropractor appointment.

The recipes weren’t quite as delicious in Week 3, although we still enjoyed most of them.  Week 3 seemed very similar to the way we frequently eat.  Someone asked–What are you looking forward to eating now that your detox is over?

I replied–Barbecued tempeh with red pepper and onions.

Doesn’t sound much different from a detox diet, does it?

I want to stay on this healthy eating track and not lose momentum.  It’s so easy to let lethargy or temptation completely derail us.  I’ve been derailed sixteen thousand times.  Have you?

What else is new before I deliver two bags of garbage to the garbage truck after Charley opens his business at 8 a.m.?  It’s $2 per bag of trash.  Barry usually delivers, but he’s at work and I’m just playin’ around this morning.  Charley is the most friendly guy in the Universe.  Don’t you love it when the most friendly man in the Universe takes your garbage and gives you a smile in return?

Who’s the friendliest service worker you know?  Doesn’t it just lift your day to receive the gift of a smile or kind word?

A picture of Barry giving Charley some cash

A picture of Barry giving Charley some cash

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in February 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to When the most friendly guy in the Universe takes your garbage

  1. Elisa says:

    Tipping my head over sideways, pausing during backward mountain dancing, and thinking about profundity.

  2. Kerry Dwyer says:

    Temptation always get the better of me. If it isn’t temptation then it’s chocolate.

  3. jeffstroud says:

    I will have more coffee while you visit the most friendly guy in the universe while dropping off your garbage! For we have this loud white truck that comes up the street at 6 am to pick our garbage and recycle up twice a week, we hardly see the “trash men” !

    Also I will contemplate that detox diet you been on. I sure could use it. I think I missed a blog or two hopefully I will catch up with them today!

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, I can just hear the sound of that 6 a.m. garbage truck! Whenever we go visiting friends in the city we get acquainted with that special noise right away. Thanks for stopping by to read the blog post about gazing and lingering. It is kind of hard sometimes, isn’t it, to slow down our world enough to see the little things? I’ll bet slowing down your world to gaze and linger with your mom teaches many things. I know it would teach me.

  4. Brenda Hardie says:

    Good Morning Kathy 🙂
    Sorry about the sick vehicle…mine is suffering too. Actually it’s more like it’s in a coma. Just sitting there waiting for a prince charming to come wake her up and give her some needed TLC. I hope your vehicle gets fixed properly this time!
    I’m glad you feel so good after your detox diet. I’ve been doing a modified version of detox…and I can really tell the difference, even though it’s not the full blown detox!
    The garbage men here arrive before I wake up and even though I hear them most of the time, I rarely see them. It’s nice to hear of a most friendly garbage man. Life is so much sweeter when even mundane chores are brightened by cheer!
    Enjoy the rest of your day, dear friend ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Brenda, wishing that Knight in Shining Armor comes to rescue your comatose patient! It is so hard when loved ones (even vehicles) are ailing. Glad also that you’ve been feeling some good results from your own detox version. Hurray! It seems that most city-folk really don’t get to know their garbage men. But you probably have plenty of opportunity to know more store clerks and such. Thank you for the well wishes and may they be magnified back double for you.

  5. lisaspiral says:

    Is the art from the coffee shop? You do make small town life sound so very appealing.

    • Kathy says:

      Lisa, the art is actually from many coffee shops across the country. I dug them out of some old pictures and thought they kind of illustrated this post. Sometimes I think small town life is very appealing. Other times it can be kinda like a dysfunctional family. I usually prefer to gaze on the upside of it, though. Too tedious to linger in the challenging parts.

  6. Yes, your estimate of 16,000 derailments is my experience too, Kathy. But BBQ tempeh sounds very good! And chocolate! Chocolate always sounds good, doesn’t it?

    It is a strange idea to me that you have to deliver your garbage to the garbage truck! Good thing Charlie is a friendly guy, but I bet most people are friendly to you and Barry since you guys are such darn fine and friendly people yourselves!

    • Kathy says:

      Patty, until you and Kerry mentioned chocolate I hadn’t even thought of it. So of course now I’ll have to buy a little piece of dark chocolate at the co-op this afternoon. Thank you! And, yes, it’s a little odd that we have to drive to the garbage truck. We didn’t always have to. Years ago they picked it up curbside. I think we appreciate our garbage more than most when you have to haul it.

      • Yes I thought of that – hauling it, paying for each bag. I would definitely be grateful for composting and recycling. Enjoy your chocolate! I’m getting ready over here for family fun making Feb’s dark chocolate mousse this weekend.

  7. Susan D says:

    Darn it, I’m sorry about the sick car baby and hope that the repairs this time aren’t too costly. I certainly enjoyed my tasty detox lunch with you! Delicious! I so admire your commitment to and investment in taking care of a precious resource ~ you!

    We are blessed with a community of friendly service workers, I’ve noticed. People who take the time to chat and smile no matter how busy. Presence of mind had me thanking a few around Christmas time for their contribution to a sense of community, belonging, brightening days … what gems!

    Wishing you a delightful day and good news and safe driving and a yummy dinner later, sweet friend.

    • Kathy says:

      I am soooo glad that you were able to come out to lunch last week and detox-dine with me, Susan Dee! It was a blast, as usual. I have always loved your good attitude about service workers. And you are so friendly you probably have them smiling the minute they see your dear face. Thanks for the good wishes for tonight. Looks like it’s stopped snowing, eh? (Did you notice that UP addition at the end of that sentence?) Have a good day today and even better one TOMORROW! Check your mailbox, sweetie pie.

  8. P.j. grath says:

    Our postmaster is a friendly guy. Sometimes his friendliness can be alarming, as when an unsuspecting postal customer reaches into the box and encounters another HAND reaching OUT! John likes a good laugh.

    You are ending your detox diet just as I am about to embark on my Lenten abstinences–coffee, alcohol, potato chips! Last night we went out with friends, and I had two beers with my smelt basket. This morning I am having my last morning coffee for six weeks. As for the potato chips, well, we were slipping into quite the regular habit there.

    We buy stickers for our garbage bags, and they cost $2 apiece, but then we just leave the bags out by the road and don’t see the guy when he stops to pick them up. Your way seems friendlier, except that I wouldn’t want to hang around out by the highway waiting. We can wave to him when we see him in town!

    Tying these disparate comments together, I’ll tell you that when Walt, the former long-time and self-described “garbologist,” died, not only did the whole town turn out, but even the post office closed for his funeral. Walt really was the friendliest guy. He always had a smile and cheery greeting, and seeing him always made the day brighter. Thanks for reminding me!

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, that is the funniest story about your postman! Yes, I can see how that might be alarming. I would probably faint. Good luck with your Lenten abstinence. One of my good friends starts hers, too. I didn’t have much trouble ditching alcohol but had a wee bit more with the caffeine. But it all worked out in the end. Have you done this particular abstinence before?
      P.S. I wonder if many “garbologists” have a friendly personality because they’ve learned to laugh at life? Our garbologist growing up was friendly, too. Food for thought…

      • P.j. grath says:

        Two years ago I ditched caffeine for Lent. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I’d anticipated. The other two will be new ones.
        A survey of garbage collectors’ personalities–now there’s a challenge! Bless their hearts, I say. Not many people would want to do their job.

  9. Would love to send you some extra cash–when I run across it I will send it. Missed our garbage day today–alas and alack!
    Must get to work– am avoiding it – but must tell you that one of the nicest people I know works at the town dump–she weighs the vehicles and is always up

    • Kathy says:

      Darn, you mean you don’t have any extra cash just layin’ round the house? lol! I still think there’s something about people who work in the garbage business. There are so many friendly ones there…

  10. I’m proud to say I know someone that went on a detox for three weeks and thinks they will continue…most have thought it was very difficult. Continuing on with a healthy diet with occasional splurges sounds like a good way to live.

    • Kathy says:

      Why thank you, Karen! I really didn’t find this too difficult, but that’s probably because we already eat pretty darn healthy. I like the idea of a healthy base and am already planning on occasional splurges starting tonight. 🙂

  11. This sounds like a lovely morning, up, out of the house and having tea in Java by the Bay. Rather, it sounds like a series of misadventures that you are making the absolute best of…broken car and all. Successfully made it through your de-tox…looking forward to seeing the smiling garbage man INDEED! Kathy, you are too good for words. Thanks for sharing your morning!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, it’s a bit early to tell, but the car problem may have worked out! Let’s hope all the stars in the Universe agree. I hope you don’t think I’m TOO good, Cindy. Maybe I should tell some not-so-good stories to balance things out? I tend to be way too optimistic sometimes.

      • No, you’re not TOO good, but you are certainly GOOD! I love your optimism, your spirit and your “up-for-any-challenge” attitude. Sometimes it makes me painfully aware of my own short-comings, but always I cheer for you.

  12. “…ready to eat a chicken enchilada with a glass of wine tonight…” Sounds delicious – I’ll join you in spirit!

    Much different than ours, your garbage service “system” sounds very friendly and down-home.

  13. Celeste says:

    Oh, I have a good service person! She serves samples at a large grocery store near us. Not that exciting of a job…but she takes it to a new level! She sings at the TOP OF HER VOICE so it echoes throughout the whole store, and sometimes people in other areas answer back to her. She has the most infectious positive personality and I always look forward to seeing her.

    • Kathy says:

      Celeste, I have never ever heard of a singing grocery store person! Wow, you could YouTube her and it would be a virtual hit. Or just let her infectious positive personality continue to make your day…and now ours…just hearing that a person like that exists.

  14. Heather says:

    I try not to feel guilt or anxiety about being derailed. Instead, I try (am trying?) to look at the whole process as a journey to a healthier, more fulfilled lifestyle. (I think it’s working – Tony has talked to me about cutting store-bought sweets out of his diet!) Now I am thinking a chicken enchilada sounds divine.
    Any person who is friendly for no good reason makes my day. Completely. I have been known to well up with tears after a good-for-no-reason visit just because I love it when the world shows its very best face.
    Last – I kind of wish we could just deliver our garbage somewhere for $2 a bag. We have trash pick up, but only throw away two or three bags a week. And we just discovered an unsorted recycling place nearby so we are going to have even less going forward 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Gosh, Heath, guilt and anxiety about derailing is the WORST! Been there, done that, and hoping to remember not to do that again. Sounds like you’ve already got it mastered. Smiling thinking of you tearing up when the Universe shows its friendly face. (I almost do, too.) Have a good evening, my friend.

  15. susan says:

    Hi Kathy,
    When I get moved in spring, I will have the same garbage deal as you do, but I have to drive it to the garbage/recycling place. You’re right! The people there are sooo friendly! I find the whole town to be like that actually. It is a total transformation from the life I have here in surburbia! I have never felt like I “fit in” here in Plentiville and really look forward to the small town living up north! 🙂

  16. Katie says:

    Good job on the 7.5-8 pounds! Huzzah!

  17. Stacy says:

    Congrats on the detox, Kathy! And Happy Shrove Tuesday, too!

    I moved to this small town last fall, as you probably recall, and everyone is friendly – from the banker where we opened an account, to the librarian when I (finally!) joined a book club, and everyone in between. I love living in the hospitable small-town South. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Is it called Shrove Tuesday, Stacy? I like the sound of it. Glad you are enjoying your small-town living, too. Wonder what the differences in small-town living would be between the North and South? Or if there wouldn’t be much of a difference at all…?

  18. sandiwhite says:

    Kathy, I feel for you about the vehicle. Wow! What a deal you have on trash removal! Mine is picked up on Monday mornings and I pay $20 a month for the service. I can carry out my trash with one finger hooked through the tie strips. On the other hand, to take it to the local landfill costs $45 dollars a trip, and no way am I going to store trash long enough to get my money’s worth! Hope you car is feeling better soon. Have a Great Day!

    • Kathy says:

      Sandy, I am smiling at your description of carrying out your trash with one finger. Your garbage must be very very light. You will be happy to know we had kind of a miracle with our vehicle and now it’s happy and fully recovered and we didn’t get charged one dime. Small miracles happen daily. Thanks for visiting. I always love it when you stop by.

  19. My trash bin with one small bag inside and my recycle filled to the brim are picked up once a week for $17.50.
    My daughter, in Sudbury, MA….they have what is called a put and take….they take their trash and recycling and if they see something they can pick it up and take it home. I think, however, last summer , this had changed and they had a garbage bin….I’ll have to check.
    Growing up we had a place in the woods we took everything and burned the paper in our burn pile.

    Congrats on finishing the detox and losing weight. Colonoscopies are detox diets, I think and I lost weight :).

    The car…I have a 1995 Toyota camera, two door, 4 cyclinder, with 231+ thousand miles and I plan to drive it to 500 thousand miles. Just put on two new tires….and some new brakes. I keep babying it alone because I think it would be great to have a car with that many miles. Besides, I love this car! It is white with gray interior and runs like a little top….knock, knock on wood.

    Good luck with your Buick…they are good cars, I am told but I never owned one.

    Perhaps I should have put this in a post since it is so long. I would like to go back to a small town….can someone help?

    • Kathy says:

      I have never heard of a put and take, Linda. That sounds really fascinating. My husband would LOVE that system! We burn our paper, too, in the woodstove to start morning fires. Your 95 Toyota sounds wonderful! How cool if it will reach 500,000 miles. I have faith that you can do it. I have faith that you can move back to a small town, too, but can’t tell you how you’d make that happen.

      • Thanks, Kathy. I love the Put and take in Sudbury, MA. All kinds of neat stuff my daughter will NOT let me drag back to her house ’cause she states I have no way to get back to my house 😦 .

        Going back to the farm; I know how; it is the doing that is so hard and at this time, I am needed in Huntsville for my son’s company (and mine).

  20. Don’t see the garbage people cause containers are put at the crub and I can not see the street from my house. Payment for garbage is added in with city water bill. Carry-out people at the grcocery store are always friendly but they are not allowed to accept a tip. This is Texas so generally it is a friendly place unless one happens to meet up with a person from the north or the lower half of California. Don’t know why this is but people from certain states tend to be not frienldy at all. Here, when out on a country road, people wave whether they know you or not. All sorts of things come in to play with the extent of friendliness. People from LA and around that part of the country tend to be snobs. We are getting more and more snobs in certain areas of the state for people come here to retire due to low taxes and maybe less crime.

    Of interest but maybe not- many service men and women often opt to remain within about a 30-40 mles radius of Ft. Hood which by the way is the largest army US operated base in the world.They like the atmosphere of friendiness, accessibility to hospitals, and in general, probably the weather.

    I don’t work for the chamber of commerce. These are merely years of observation and things that I know in general.

    I hope there is not a back lash from some of your readers but I have not made these things up. I’ve seen it in my daughter’s neighborhood. Yankees were making fun of my daughter’s long time neighbors. The man grew up in the house where he and his wife have lived since he retired from the Marines. Some of the neighbor’s were calling them trashy ( their yard and home is neat as a pin and very updated. Anyway, he rides a Harley and wears jeans. Hunts and has a bass boat. Does lots of volunteer work for the poor and he and his wife donate a fair amount of money to charity. The gossipy neighbors don’t know these things. He and his wife drive a new paid for truck and Suv. Anyway the gossips have no idea that these people of whom they speak are multimillionaires. For real. So here are the snobby invaders running down the neighbors by calling them rednecks and saying that they were not educated. The wealthy neighbor just happens to also have a PHD. These people have too much class to flaunt their wealth.

    The moral of this rambling thing about friendliest and I have added gossip is that you can not judge a book by its cover- Many people do not undertand that. And it is (always) good to be friendly- it just might pay off one day when you least expect it.

    • Kathy says:

      Yvonne, it sounds like you live in a most wonderful place where people wave whether they know you or not. Sometimes that happens around here, too, but not always. You are very right about not judging a book by its cover. Some of the strangest covers end up being different than what we expect. Not everyone looks or thinks or acts the way we think they might. P.S. No need to apologize for rambling. I’ve sometimes gone off on a rather ramble myself. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  21. I detox with chocolate-almost every day. And I give chocolate as gifts (I make a killer brownie) which my car mechanic enjoys so much he makes sure Bessie (my 7-year-old car with the long license plate) never goes in a coma. I think my mechanic is so friendly because he loves chocolate. I hope your ailing car is sweet as chocolate soon!

    • Kathy says:

      Is it possible to detox with chocolate, Pam? Really? I must try that some time. Last night after the Mexican restaurant we both bought a piece of dark chocolate, yum! Never thought of feeding the mechanic chocolate. Noting your technique to insure friendly mechanics… 🙂

  22. sonali says:

    I love that you appreciate life, so well! The small beautiful things. So much fun every moment. A friendly man who collects garbage, I’m glad you observed his smile, not many do. Sometimes, people don’t look at our face. Thank you Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      I do love noticing and smiling about the small beautiful things, Sonali. And I know you do, too! There is so much good in the world. Says the eternal optimist. (But there truly is. We’re just not always looking.) Don’t you agree?

  23. Barb says:

    I have been detoxing myself since Jan 3, and I still haven’t completely rid myself of the rash/allergy/itch/burn. No wine, little grain, high protein, etc. Have some wine for me, will you? I am eating a lot of raw veggies – they’re not chocolate, but they taste pretty good. We had a great garbage collector when the kids were little – I should write about him sometime. He had a great name, too – Orville Wonder. (Wonder Waste Management…)

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, am sorry you haven’t completely recovered. I did enjoy the glass of wine last night and surprisingly didn’t even get tipsy. Almost got tipsy over the free chips & salsa, though. You know, that is the most wonderful name for a garbage collector that I have ever heard. You have a children’s book in your future about Orville Wonder. I’m sure you do.

  24. That’s really great that you feel healthier now, after three weeks of detox…. and having lost 8lbs is just icing on the cake….even if icing or cake wasn’t part of the detox 😉
    Silly me started to read the comments and now I want chocolate! LOL
    If you like something a little more unusual, Lindt makes a red chili infused dark chocolate bar. I’m normally not a big fan of dark chocolate, but this one is amazing!!! I have half a bar still in my secret hiding place, and on the days that hubby goes to the office to work (vs. annoyingly working from home) I eat a couple of squares of the chili chocolate to celebrate 😉

    • Kathy says:

      Michaela, Barry and I had a piece of dark chocolate after the Mexican dinner last night and it was delicious! Someone else mentioned that red chili infused chocolate bar once. They said the same thing. (Maybe it was you?) It must be very challenging to work in the same house as your spouse all the time. Enjoy your chocolate splurge.

  25. Wow our garbage guy is very friendly too. Sure makes a difference when you need to negotiate (because you live in an old house and rip out an occasional wall)!

    • Kathy says:

      Inger, we’ve had to negotiate with our garbage guy, too, and he’s always so good. Can hardly imagine what it might cost to get rid of a wall! I always admire people who know how to remodel old houses.

  26. Joanne says:

    Well done on completing the three weeks of the detox plan Kathy. You are very fortunate that Barry joined you in this. I’m “eating fat free and healthy” these days, but boy oh boy, the temptations to eat otherwise are right there, in my face, every single night, when I prepare food for the boys in my house! It’s becoming easier to resist the temptation though as the days pass. I think my taste buds are changing. Oh, and I’ve lost two kg in the last week (about two-and-a-half pound) of weight, so feel encouraged by that too. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Joanne. It is very hard to complete a detox when you have to prepare other (more unhealthy) foods for others in the family. Glad to hear about your fat free and healthy diet and your weight loss. Good job! Last night we went out to a fish fry with friends so today I’m trying to be responsive and really watch what I eat. Want this to become a better life-long habit.

  27. Friendly service workers are hard to find in Memphis. I think they all work at Office Depot.

  28. I’ve become quite friendly with the staff at our local IGA grocery store. I’ve taken advantage of their 10% Tuesday discounts almost every month since we moved into the neighborhood over 30 years ago. It’s wonderful to see their smiling faces every time I enter. 🙂

    I’m glad you have friendly service workers where you live, too, although I think in rural areas they are more accommodating and pleasant than so many grouchy big-city employees. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      You may be right, withershins. (I accidentally typed “you may be write” which may be apropos for you.) Small town folks may tend to be more friendly because they’re not so overwhelmed by sheer numbers. I know when I go to NYC to visit Kiah I tend to get overwhelmed and kinda shut down. They must, too.

  29. Dana says:

    Congratulations on a successful detox, Kathy! I am also trying to make my cleaner way of eating a way of life, not just something that I experimented with for ‘x’ amount of time and will promptly abandon afterward. 🙂 There have been some challenges along the way (namely a lot of time spent on the road, away from my beloved kitchen and foods), but Marty and I are still eating very well and enjoying an abundance of energy because of it.

    Tucson is considered the “Mexican Food Capital of the USA”, so we are planning to visit a Mexican restaurant… or two.. in the near future. I haven’t eaten Mexican *anything* in what feels like forever, so wish us (and our digestive systems) luck!

    PS: That garbage system sounds totally great. Most of our “garbage” is actually compostable, organic matter, so when we are saving our food scraps, it takes us FOREVER to fill a shopping bag worth of actual trash. (Sadly, when we’re not able to compost, we fill up bags pretty quickly, mostly with seeds, pits, skins, and shells. I think that’s the only downside of eating so much fresh food– the organic waste. 😦

    • Kathy says:

      Dana, I think your plan for eating a cleaner way all through your life is the BEST way to go! Ideal, indeed. That’s the trouble with interim measures. We need to find ways that work for us in the long run. *And it can be so hard to eat well when traveling.* Yes, it can. By the way, I bought purple cabbage and beets. Looking forward to trying the sauerkraut asap.

  30. Robin says:

    Oh, I’ve been derailed at least sixteen thousand times, too. I’m finally starting the detox diet today. I’ve put it off, hoping for the perfect timing, only to realize there will be no perfect timing. So, off I go, into the land of clean eating where I hope to stay. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Oh do let me know how it goes, Robin! My friend, Catherine, is doing it as well. She has another engagement later this weekend so will have to “fudge it” for a day or two, but she is really enjoying it. She’s on Week 2 and has lots quite a bit of weight and is fitting in her clothes better.

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