If you're reading this over breakfast, don't. Put down the Cheerios. OK, read on:
Here we go again, taking off on a trip while a half-full can of smelly trash sits, uncollected, at the side of our house. By the time we return, new lives will have taken shape within the can, and the simple act of wheeling it to the curb will require a mask.
It didn't have to be this way. We could have delayed our departure by one day -- OK, a day and a half, to make sure the garbage truck actually came and picked up the garbage -- and we wouldn't be coming back to a maggot farm. But we refuse to craft our lives around the once-a-week Austin garbage pickup schedule, and we have to live with that.
A life of frequent travel is a life of tradeoffs, and garbage pickup is but one of them. Others:
1. The sprinkler system. The city allows us to water but once a week. If we're gone Wednesday, nothing gets watered. OK, then: We xeriscaped the yard. All rock and desert plants. As they say in the movies dubbed for TV: Forget you, watering schedule.
2. The newspaper deliveries. These are easy to stop, but as we all know, stuff happens when you're on the road. You sometimes don't get back when you think you well. Papers pile up. Oh, well. No solution for that one except asking a kind neighbor to grab them.
3. The mail. Same situation as No. 2, except there's a solution that doesn't annoy a neighbor: a locking mailbox. Everything can pile up as much as it wants without risk.
4. Those awful advertising door hangers people put on the door knob. And it's political season, so there are many. Same solution as No. 2.
...which leaves us with the rotten garbage as the only real impediment to heading out the door right this minute. Fine. Off we go.