She told me the garbage men would take it away.

“They take everything” she said confidently.

“They can’t take everything” I said disbelievingly.

“Yeah, yeah, you just leave it at the curb” she said ignoring my protests.

“There’s no way they take everything. They can’t possibly take furniture or appliances.”

“Yeah, All year long, just leave it at the curb.”

I still didn’t believe it but that Sunday night she dragged out enough garbage to fill the driveway. She was outside nearly 20 minutes dragging those giant black lawn bags to the curb, along with boxes, and miscellaneous broken possessions that did not survive our recent move.

That morning when I awoke, I looked outside my window and was surprised to discover that indeed the garbage men took everything. All the black bags stuffed with broken flower pots and small kitchen appliances were gone.

Week after week as we purged our lives of all the excess, the garbage men in their big garbage truck were glad to take what we left. Occasionally they would leave an open box at the curb for us. That evening I could see a shadow from my window placing pieces of glass into a big plastic bag.

“What were you doing out there?” I’d ask

“I guess they don’t take glass” she said referring to the garbage men.

Undeterred, she just put the large pieces of glass into a black plastic garbage bag.

Our garbage cans were in a perennial state of full. Once full we would stack the remaining garbage in bags alongside the cans. Most weeks there were at least half a dozen bags in addition to the 20 or so in the 4 giant garbage cans. There were weeks when despite her best efforts. The garbage men refused to take certain things. If the item was in a box, she simple put the box in a bag for the following week. If they still refused to take it, she would double bag the item and hide it in one of the trash cans.

It was a wordless transaction. The garbage men took or left the trash. We met their weekly challenge by fitting our garbage into flexible GLAD garbage bags. Some weeks they would win, some weeks we would win. Our losses were measured by the trash still left Monday nights at the end of the driveway.

When we dragged our old couch out to the curb in April

“They’ll take it, don’t worry” she said as we tossed the pillows across the lawn like Frisbees.

“How does it fit in the truck” I asked with the wonder of a 3 year old.

“It fits” she said with the certainly of a hunter killing his prey.

After 2 weeks of rain the couch looked like a bloated whale washed upon the beach.

“I guess they won’t take the couch” she finally conceded.

“You’ll have to cut it up into small pieces.”

I stared at the three seat sofa with its stuffing popping out and the water logged arms and wondered how I was going to cut it into little pieces.

April turned into May and May gave way to June.

Our home looked like an episode of Sanford and Son. Atop the couch sat a 12 foot drainage pipe, several pieces or discarded house shingles and several remaining pieces of our old garage door. They had taken some pieces but for reasons unknown to us, had left others.

“How am I supposed to cut it up. I don’t have that big a saw.” I told her

“I’ll get a pass to the dump.” she said. We just have to find someone with a truck to bring it over.”

I called. Man with Truck, We hall anything, Dump Man. All gave a lengthy explanation of the complexities of hauling trash thus reflected in the cost.

We’ll were not paying 100 dollars to bring that to the dump she said when I told her the news.

Now it was clearly my problem. Every once in a while she would say out loud to no one in particular, that she hoped the Millbrook Association didn’t leave us a letter. We didn’t know who exactly the Millbrook Association was but they were known for leaving conspicuous letters in the neighborhood, complaining about the condition of people’s property. We were well over do for a Millbrook correspondence.

Every time I pulled out of our driveway passed the sofa carcass with its fake sued cover and garage door end tables, I would tell myself that we are in the middle of a major home renovation. Maybe I was really rehearsing my speech for the still silent Millbrook Association.

“Just cut it up small enough to fit in garbage bags” she said as she drove off to work.

Borrowing some of her confidence, I endeavored to do the impossible.

Come on guys” I called to my 12 and 15 year old sons. I need help out here.

What are we doing asked the 12 year old

I walked him out to the curb and pointed to the couch. We are putting that in these garbage bags.

“How are we going to put that into this?” he said holding up the garbage bags

“The garbage men won’t take it unless it is in garbage bags.” I told him as if it all made sense.

“Yes but HOW are we going to fit it into a garbage bag,” he asked again this time emphasizing the word HOW.

“We’re going to cut it up.” I said as I revealed my shiny new electric chainsaw.

 Start ripping the cover off. I handed him a tool no sharper then a plastic knife.  He worked carefully at first but the suede wouldn’t rip so he tugged and tugged until the seams began to separate and the filling spilled out into the street.

By the time my 15 year old son came out, we had cut through half the arm rest and had removed the entire back covering.

“What are you doing to the couch?” he asked as beads of sweat fell from the tip of my nose.

We’re cutting it up to fit into these plastic bags. I said catching my breath.

“Well good luck with that.” He said and laughed at me.

He kicked the couch as couple of times and stated.

“This is never going to work.”

“No, no look here.” I said as I pulled him toward the couch. 

I showed him where I had sawed the frame of the couch and kicked it until the wood broke. Then he kicked it then I, until we broke through several boards.

The 12 year old was eager to join in as he put down his butter knife and started banging on the base of the couch.

By the second hour we removed most of the innards and were down to the springs.

The chain saw gave way before the couch did. It fell apart into such small pieces that the garbage man would gladly have taken IT away.

By the end of the second hour, my 15 year old started hacking away at what was left of the couch with a shovel. Not the kind you take to the beach. More like the kind you use to dig a grave.

He looked like a crazed golfer. With each swing he would grunt and hack away at the half dead couch.

The couch was nearly in the middle of the road when we noticed the neighbors watching from down the street. We dragged the couch over to the side and my 12 year old took his turn with the shovel. He just raised it over his head and smashed it straight down screaming the name of his 5th grade teacher over and over again.

We were down to one long board when his other brother came home from school and asked if he could have a turn at the couch. He took the shovel and just shouted bitch .

And then there was nothing left but the entrails. We put all the pieces into the garbage bags and piled them next to the cans for the garbage men.

This past Sunday night, with the couch now cleared we started cleaning up all the other debris on the property. As I wiggled and rolled to heavy clay fire place out of its yearlong resting place next to the garage, she looks and me asks if I need help.

“I want to take it to the curb.” I tell her 

She looks up over the 500 pound clay chimney and asks

“Do you think they will take it?” 

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