We have a large plastic “Rhino-Tuff” trashcan with wheels in our garage.  I think it is rated at a 45-gallon capacity, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  I can conceptualize a gallon of milk or a gallon of gasoline. When it comes to trash, it either fits or it doesn’t.  I don’t attempt to inventory the kitchen trash and then calculate how many gallons it represents before I lug it out to the garage.  The other reason the 45-gallon capacity doesn’t make sense to me is that a forty-five-gallon plastic bag isn’t anywhere close to large enough to go inside.  Consequently, we opt for fifty-gallon plastic trash bags and still wish we could find larger ones. 


Our trash pick-up is on Thursday mornings.  Consequently, I don’t have to think about Wednesday night routine Wednesday when I get home from work.  If I forget, it isn’t a big issue. The General will provide a gentle reminder. Who knows, she may have the need to remind me written on her Wednesday’s “To-Do-list”.  If nothing else, I am now curious.  I may look later to see if I can find her list.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see: “Tell Don To Take The Trash Out.” 


Okay, let me keep this honest and transparent. The General would never express instructions to me that manner.  She has more savvy than that knowing I don’t respond well to direct orders. Besides that, she also knows that at one time, I figured out how to change the female voice on my GSP system to that of a British butler. You’re probably thinking: “I bet you don’t want a lady telling you what to do”. If so, you are only partially correct with that answer.  Actually, I don’t want anyone telling me what to do. 


If the General were a “master sergeant”, I might expect use of a harsh tone or vocabulary.  How’s that for stereotyping?  I should know better than that!  Please forgive me; no offense intended.  People who effectively communicate opt not to use harsh words or vulgar language.  Such use of the King’s English is demeaning not just to the intended recipient of the conversation, but to the person speaking as well. It is never the best way to communicate.  That is even true when you accidentally hit your thumb with a hammer.


Last night when I got home from work, the General’s side of the garage was empty.  That meant she was at church.  I’m slow, but even I can connect dots that are that obvious.  If her car is gone because it’s Wednesday, I immediately connect the dots and lunge into action.  I know that Thursday’s coming.  It is time to take out the trash.


Of course, you might suspect that I like to be one step ahead.  If I can remember to take the trash down to the gate without being reminded, the process doesn’t potentially bruise my ego.  I’m not suggesting the General would couch her disdain over my forgetfulness or ineptness in the form of a punitive question.  In case your wondering what kind of question is a punitive question, how about: “Do I have to tell you everything?”  


She probably would express it like this: “Did you forget tomorrow is trash day?”  She might even ask: “Do you plan to take out the trash?”  I guess if she were overly frustrated she might ask: “Do you expect me to take out the trash?”


I can only think of one venue in which the General forgets the importance of asking instead of telling.  That venue of course is when we’re traveling together in the car and I’m behind the wheel.  When she is bargaining with God, she can be pretty direct.  She normally doesn’t ask: “Do you see that car in front of you?”  If she catches me on a bad day, I’ve been known to take the first opportunity to pull over, stop the car and say: “Okay, you drive.”  Of course, that is pretty stupid on my part!  We could sit in the car on the side of the road until the cows come home before she’d budge out of the passenger seat. 


My surprise last night related to how much stuff you she can manage to use to fill up a fifty-five gallon trash bag!  Actually, I found myself silently saying “Heave-Ho” as I attempted three times to lift the bag high enough out of the container to move it away from the “Rhino Tuff” trash can without tipping the trash can over.  On the third try, the “Heave-Ho” message from my brain changed to: “You should have eaten your Wheaties for breakfast this morning.”


Memory is an incredible resource.  How many years has it been since athletes endorsed eating Wheaties in the morning to increase their energy?  I don’t know the answer to the question, but I don’t remember the last time I’ve heard the expression used.  If I were to ask my grandchildren: Did you remembered to eat you Wheaties?”, they’d look at me like I was a little strange.


So how much stuff did the General load into a fifty-five gallon trash-bag stuffed inside a forty-five gallon trash container?  I should have known better.  I read my blog regularly. I know the General has been on a kick to rid the house of clutter.  This week in my absence, she obviously got rid of heavy clutter.  I guess the third time was the charm. It took two failed attempts before I found them muster to fully lift the plastic bag out of the container and even then it almost tipped over.


So what was in the bottom of the plastic bag that kept catching on the side of the top of the container?  I was curious, but I wasn’t curious enough to dig through the trash to find out.  However, I did ask the General when she got home from church.  Her answer immediately made sense to me.  She had thrown away an expensive host of Pottery Barn candles.  Of course, she didn’t identify the brand to me. She just said, “I got rid of all those candles we’ve been storing.” 


I guess since we’re not Catholic, we really don’t need the candles, but they can add ambience to a space.  Besides that, who can argue with the symbolic importance of John 8:12: “…who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have light and life?”


At any rate the trash figuratively is “on the curb” even though folks in the country don’t generally have curbs.  At least that true at our house.  We also no longer have a heavy supply of candles.


All My Best!

Apple Computer, Inc.




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