Monday, May 12, 2008

If You Really Love Me Take Me to the Dump

The Anchorage LandfillLast weekend was the first weekend in May and do you know what that means? The Anchorage Landfill (that's the pretty word for THE DUMP) opens it's doors, or it's bulldozers, or whatever free of charge to encourage good citizens across town to clean up their homes and yards by taking their trash to a new place paid for by tax dollars.

Now I'm going to stick my neck out here a bit and admit something that I don't think I've ever told another living soul: I LOVE THE DUMP! I don't know what it is but I just love, love, love that place. Well, actually now that I think about it I do know why I love it and maybe I can convince you to love it as much as I do . . . or at least explain it enough that you don't write me off completely.

I think it's all about the timing. Once spring arrives I'm so absolutely crazed with cabin fever that getting out of the house and doing some dusting, raking, bagging and dumping is really, really fun. I'm even happy to bag up moose pellets it's that bad. In fall? Not so much, it's just irritating but in spring it's all about the hope. Hope that the summer is going to be super fun and super hot. I did said hope people. The chances of an actual, bona fide, super hot summer in Anchorage aren't so good--unless 75 degrees qualifies as super hot. But I'm always hopeful in May and that makes me cheerful.

Then it always pleases me to clean things up. Getting rid of the trash that has been clunking up our garage all winter and setting things in order by making a trip to the Dump is just a "woo hoo" experience. Yes, apparently I live a quiet life with few thrills. Maybe we need cable.

The kids always want to go with me when I'm going to the Dump because they love it as much as I do. I back up the truck to the covered platform then I climb into the bed of the truck and with a mighty superwoman heave (and maybe a grunt or two for emphasis) I shove our trash off the truck bed and down into the pit below where bulldozers are waiting to scoop it up. It's especially fun if I have some really smashing junk to dump--like maybe an old television set or something involving glass. It's just a blast to throw an old microwave off the back and see it go crashing, splintering and busting up all the way down to the concrete below. Or an old window or a broken dishwasher. I take out a winter's worth of aggressions that way--while satisfying the suppressed vandal in me.

And then there's the smell. I LOVE the Dump smell and I really couldn't say why because last time I checked the rotten, festering, rancid smells that normally accompany decay and ruin aren't so good. Maybe "love" isn't the right word--I mean you don't see Elizabeth Arden bottling that one do you? Can't you just imagine the slogan? "Eau de Dump--for those times when you want to attract the men and the flies." I suppose I mean that I'm fascinated by how bad the smell is.

When I get out of the car to unload I usually sniff the air carefully a couple of times because the stench is hypnotic--I just can't help but sniff. Kind of like when you sniff a carton of milk to see if it's gone bad even though the expiration date says 1975? You know it's going to reek but you just can't keep from sniffing anyway. That's the Dump effect--you can't help but sniff just to see how bad it really is.

But despite the smell of dirt and grime the Dump smell means clean to me. A clean garage and a clean yard and hopefully a more organized presence in my home and life. I love it and every year I make the trip with a spring in my step--if you ever make it up to Anchorage give me a call and we can go throw stuff off the back of my truck together.

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39 comments:

poppy fields said...

LOL! I love throwing away stuff. Very liberating :)

Sam. said...

Sounds great, but isn't funny how every year you always seem to have just as much junk to get rid of, or at least that's how it seeems to me every time I go to our local dump!

Knitty Geek said...

I love the dump, too! One of the ladies at our local dump's weigh station keeps boxes of dog biscuits to hand out to everyone's four-legged buddies, so when my husband announces "Going to the dump now!" he ends up with a line of wife-kids-dogs behind him at the back door. The only one in our house who really doesn't like the dump is the 16 year-old girl. What can I say?

Kristen M. said...

I have a friend whose young son loves to go to the dump as an outing. He is fascinated by the machinery.

Anonymous said...

How funny! You (and other reader's comments) make me laugh! You have a great blog! Genevieve

jan in nagasaki said...

hi, I grew up in Anchorage. and my sister still lives there. I always used to love going to the dump with my dad....you never know what you are going to find in the garbage!!!!!

My sister said they found 3 piles of moose poop and they washed their car in the drive way the first time this spring.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

You Alaskans are a breed apart, aren't you?

Babystepper said...

We used to have a landfill in a nearby town, and I always got a kick out of going there with my Dad. The smells were, um, amazing.

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

You know, I've always found the dump to be one of the most poetically/creatively inspiring places to visit. All that stuff that was once in someone's home - now tossed out. I wonder about the stories behind it all.

What a fascinating insight into life in Alaska!

Happy Spring! (And hope your Mother's Day was great, too!)

Jordans said...

Great to read thanks a lot

imadramamama said...

Oh my goodness, the smell alone would send me over the edge.

But there is something almost therapeutic about demolition, isn't there??

Jennifer said...

my only sadness is that my dump has such short hours that it is rarely open when I have a need to get rid of stuff and it is no fun to have to wait for the third Thursday between 10 and 3.

I occassionally check "blogs of note" and today I found the first one that I could not resist the urge to comment on....and it was yours. There is always a first for everything:)

I enjoy your writing.

Roo said...

When we used to visit my Grandparents (they lived in a VERY SMALL town in Colorado) one of the highlights of the visit in the summer time was a trip to the dump. There were many treasures found at the dump. It sounds dirty, but back "when" people just pulled up to the pile unloaded their stuff and drove away. It was usually the next day before the bulldozer came through and pushed everything into the ravine. So things were still pretty clean when we went digging. We found bed linens still in the packages, lamps, hairdryers. Somethings needed to be fixed, but Grandpa took care of that. There were even times when we would start out to go fishing, but had to make a dump stop and never made it to the lake.

Amy G. said...

Giggling here! I think because it DOES get to 95+ degrees here much of the summer, the local dump doesn't hold as much charm for me. I'm an avid Freecycler, though, which smells better around here and keeps a few good things still circulating. So I can definitely relate to the cleaning bug that hits each Spring. Enjoy your cleanup!

Gee said...

"Eau de dump". I am gonna die. I saw the line of cars stretching all the way on the frontage road--almost back to Tudor. Last weekend is one of those weekends when I really could use a pickup...if only the nice trash people would do house calls. HA! Dontchya just love the sound of florescent bulbs crashing against the concrete? HAHAHAAAAA!

Margie said...

I'll pass on the smell! But we love the dump here! We never know what we will find in exchange for our garbage (isn't that the rule?) and if nothing else we can always find a bear or 2 to watch.

Amy said...

Hee, hee! How is it possible that you can make even a DUMP sound appealing. You must be a gifted writer :)

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Oh, I know how you feel. I made my husband do a dump run two weeks ago and I still like to walk past the areas of our yard and home that used to hold the piles of junk just to see them clear and clean.

Now, when I was a kid, I loved the dump for a different reason. I loved to go for the treasure. I'm a junkaholic and I would BEG my dad to let me bring home the busted plastic bat, or the empty cake sprinkles bottle. Maybe that is why my mom grounded me from going to the dump for life. *sigh*

Yling said...

Funny tradition. Hope we have it over here.

cndymkr / jean said...

Hmmm, I don't think I've ever been to a dump and thought it was a good thing. But it has been a while and who knows, maybe it would be fun now. I hope you had a great Mother's Day.

chelle said...

Your awesome! Spring cleaning always makes me giddy too!

Loralee Choate said...

I usually love doing my yard and flower beds, but this year, I am just having a tough time getting started.

I have flowers and herbs that have been sitting in containers for THREE weeks waiting to be potted.

I also have a whole slew of things that are waiting to go to the dump.

Sigh.

AlaneM said...

I must admit I don't agree with you on the smell (ewwwwwww) but I love to make things go smash in the pit. It seems a bit naughty to break things like that, adds to the gratification :)

Org Junkie said...

Hilarious...I too love to bring things to the dump but I can't say I LOVE the dump or the smell for that matter...lol.

Lani ~ The Wooden Porch said...

You can pick up and toss a dishwasher? I'm so impressed. :-)

The post cracked me up. I've never been to a dump before.

Killlashandra said...

I'm not sure I can really relate to the dump smell. The construction dumps I've been too haven't smelled at all and I found the experience rather uplifting to be rid of a bunch of stuff I'd rather not have anymore.

However, other dumps with foodstuffs I find less appealing....

But glad you had a good time!

Magpie said...

I love the dump in our town. Though they call it the "recycling center". I've been thinking of writing a paean to it.

Shannon said...

What is it about spring that makes us all want to clean? I started organizing closets this past weekend and it was exilerating! I wish I had somewhere to take it all too!

Patience said...

I think for me the dump was where I felt the most superhuman when I was young. I loved the few times in my teenage years that I could brag on how I single-handedly hefted small appliances over the dump barrier into the garbage bit. I suppose it was the ever-present dump aroma that gave me the strength (or at least the impetus to hurry up so I could get out of that place)!

Beck said...

The dump has just reopened here, too! My husband reported that a guy with no jaw talked to him for a while and he saw a bear and a rat.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

A family memory making moment for sure. They'll all laugh about "mom and how she loved the dump" ;)

Candis said...

I can SO identify with your love of a dump - because it feels SO great to get rid of everything and know I am REALLY GETTING RID OF IT...NO TURNING BACK - as "poppy fields" commented earlier..."very liberating." Added to the fact that I love to clean out junk and straighten out spaces from time to time. It always proves to me that "less is more"....more space, more air, more freedom, more creativity, more fun to come home.
Great topic!
www.thinkwriter.blogspot.com

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John & Laura said...

I'm with you as far as cleaning up, getting rid of accumulated junk, and I wish our dump was a big drop-off like yours, to watch your stuff crash-land at the bottom. But the smell?? You lost me there. Though I'll admit that as a child I loved the smell of gasoline, dump is totally different. I feel like the smell is poisoned, like if I smell it too much I'll get a sinus or bronchial disease or something. Ick!

winai said...

i always wanted to live in anchorage, is the rent way cheaper there? most importantly is it a well nit SAFE place to live?

sogratefultobemormon.wordpress.com said...

hahaha, i'm with you M. i, too, get a big thrill out of throwing something really juicy over that edge and watching it crash and break all over the floor to be bulldozed away. fun to watch. and glad i don't have to clean up the mess down there.

Josly said...

Sounds great,My friend's young son loves to go to the dump as an outing.

Shalee said...

Now that's funny. I always love the dumpsters at the end of the college semester. Those kids throw perfectly good stuff away just because it won't fit into their cars. TV, computers, microwaves, clothes... they're a bunch of wasteful people for whom I'm extremely grateful...

elena jane said...

mine like going to the recycling center...lol :-)
but the smell, lol!