Never wear sandals to the dump.

Not that I had a choice, mind you – I wore my sneakers early in the morning, when the grass (which grows about two inches overnight) wept so badly as I trod through, my socks got soaked as well. Dammit.

It could’ve been God’s retribution for my sins, which to my mind weren’t so bad, I mean, after all, Jerkwad (the name the girls use for the guy who lives across the street from our rental house in Sou, which we are about to list for sale) parks directly in front of OUR house just to piss the girls off. My stealthy tiptoe across the street at 5:30am to creak open his trash can and dump a couple of 33-gallon bags is hardly something that should warrant the Almighty’s attention, right?

In any case, tromping across the lawn multiple times staggering under the weight of god-knows-what had to be thrown away meant I got dewy sneakers. Blech. So I pulled on my Tevas and kept going.

The house when we first bought it, March 2012.

Getting to the dump involved three trips to the charity store first to drop off an amazing assortment of stuff, including furniture, then, steeling myself, shoving into the car that skanky old mattress the former tenant abandoned, an ancient TV the Goodwill store said they couldn’t resell, the dusty old barrel of mostly-dried up bloogoo (that’s another story) and bags I couldn’t stuff in Jerkwad’s bin. Our bin was overflowing, of course.

This is bloogoo, or so we called it. I was trying to save money and we discovered the main floor bath had no shower. We installed one, but the surround was made of pressboard. Hence the bloogoo, which waterproofed it. It stank like nothing I’ve ever smelled. A couple years later we removed the window (!) and tiled the whole thing.

The TV, fine piece of machinery in its day but now about as slender as an obese elephant and just as heavy, wouldn’t fit in the trunk of the sedan I rented. So Beloved used twine ripped off the collapsed smelly kitty gym to try to tie the lid down.

Did you know new vehicles (new Hyundais, at least) don’t have hooks under the car to tie rope to? Gah. She did the best she could, especially with that cheapass twine.

Of course, all four windows were down to try to survive the mattress’ none-too-delicate odor.

One thing about South Dakota – they have LAND. LOTS of land. (Don’t fence THEM in.) So much so that Google Maps gets confused. Hwy 30, ten grueling miles from the house with Bouncing Biggantuous the Boobtube perched precariously on the trunk differs from 30th AVENUE, which is a mere two from the house – but sadly eight miles from the non-existent dump on Highway 30.

Every bump caused the TV to groan precariously, especially stressful as the twine went flying off into the endless prairie at mile three. We drove as slowly as possible but…

When we got to Highway 30 and called el dump in confusion the friendly Scandinavian laughed heartily at my stream of expletives as he explained Google Maps suck. “Owh, yah, noh, yer at th’ wrong plaace. Com bak toh too tawn but on ta odder side of da freeway.”

One thing about upper Midwesterners, nothing fazes them.

We retraced our steps, smelly and creaking, to discover the dump was just across the freeway from the house, less than two miles.

In we bounced to the dump and I eased the car onto the scale, then headed to the drop site. In my very, very limited experience of dumps, you drop the stuff in one place near the entrance, then they haul (shove) it off, never to be seen again.

Not in South Dakota. We passed a small forest of decrepit refrigerators, standing lonely in the dirt with a sign: NO TVs. Oooookay.

It hadn’t rained in more than a day and unlike the rest of the state, this place was a dustbowl. We headed down an unpaved road marked “HOUSEHOLD WASTE, CONCRETE, BUILDING WASTE, ASBESTOS”. (Asbestos? They fling the asbestos in with household waste…?!! In California you can’t get near it without a hazmat suit…)

Suddenly there’s this dump truck careening towards us, emerging out of a brown cloud kicked up by it’s speed, a giant mechanical incarnation of Charles Schultz’s Pigpen.

I’ve been to enough agricultural lending classes to know the speed limit on dirt roads is NO DUST. However, that doesn’t seem to apply to a god-forsaken wasteland in the middle of an ag state. Asbestos dust be damned.

Unfortunately, that left us with the dilemma: dust or stinky mattress?

As soon as the dusty cloud cleared, coughing, we had the windows down again and whoa, here comes the next mechanical servant of the rubbish-tossing public, rushing back to pick up its next load. We continued driving the endless circle around the perimeter of a mountain of dirt-covered I-don’t-want-to-contemplate-what.

We finally got to the entrance, decorated with a ragtag bunch of teddy bears tied to the fence. Drove up the unpaved dirt precipice (can a Hyundai scale this mountain?) and faced a gigantic mountain of trash.

If anyone remembers driving through the Los Angeles Sepulveda Pass in the summer in the early 1970s, you’ll be able to identify the scent. Oh, dear god. All of a sudden I was transported back to LA circa 1972 or so, speeding down the 405 to avoid the stink from the landfill on the west side of the freeway, wishing Daddy would hurry the *(&%$) up to get past the smell. BWAH.

Um… are those seagulls??

For any unfamiliar readers…look at a map of North America. Stick your finger on the middle of it, well to the left of the Great Lakes. Yah. You’re about at Brookings, South Dakota. Where the HELL the gulls arrived from, I DO not know. It’s about 1,000 miles from the Pacific and not much more than that from the Atlantic.

The guy driving the giant bulldozer (probably takes half an hour to climb into the cab) on this dehydrated Bandini Mountain motioned for me to unload the dwarfed sedan (um… I unload it? Me?!! Shit…) so out we got and started flinging rubbish.

It’s oddly satisfying to fling garbage. I wish we’d had any of the children we know who would have enjoyed flinging things – the TV made a satisfying crunch as it hit the ground despite being heavy as hell.

We hightailed it outta there as I realized how nasty my feet were, having stomped around. I made a second run with more, then took a hurried wash so I didn’t smell so bad when we got to the realtor, who we met immediately afterwards.

BTW If you’re familiar with how long it’s been since we sold this yawning money pit and are wondering what the hell, this came up as a memory in my FB feed – written 6/2/2017, and I want to keep it.

The house, on the other hand, was sold the day we put it on the market. Cleaning out the house to prep it for sale after a renter trashed it was… well.). We bought it for $82K in 2012, sold it for $115K in 2017 (after pouring a shitton of cash into it) and now the damn thing is worth $180K. Crap.

2 thoughts on “Never wear sandals to the dump.

  1. For some reason this reminds me of the time I wore flip flops to a carnival. I had a dirt tan from that (and probably some animal poop.)
    Love the stories, thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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