Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dumpster Diving: 101

I bought a new purse.

Don’t get excited – no Coach, Prada, Chanel, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, Gucci or Dolce Gabana for me. It’s just a functional, it’s-okay-if-it-gets-rained-on, $15.00 cheapo purse. Nothing fancy, by any means.

So in my rush, angst, and excitement to discard the old, cheap purse, which was quite literally falling apart at the seams, I transferred everything from one purse to the other, marvelling at the wonder of intact stitching. Out with the old, in with the new; the old one found its way, hanging threads and all, into the garbage can under the sink.

Great. Whoopee. I felt like a new woman.

A full 24 hours went by with me strutting around with my new purse, intact seams and all, feeling like the Queen of the World, when I realized….

When I cleaned out my old purse, I forgot about one tiny side pocket.

Which had my flash drive in it. Which contained some of my writing.

I lost all feeling in my body, except for my stomach which was suddenly in dire need of antacids. I ran out to the dumpster where the garbage bag under the sink had eventually made its way – the garbage bag containing my old purse, containing my flash drive. Three garbage bags of the exact same colour were at the very bottom of the dumpster.

The very deep dumpster.

The very deep dumpster that was near impossible for me to climb into, unassisted.

Plus, it was broad daylight and the neighbours were watching.

My strapping young boys were willing to take on the task, but like I said - the neighbours were watching. Not that I felt that my neighbourly reputation out-ranked the need for my flash drive, but….

I alerted the husband of my dilemma, requesting dire assistance upon his arrival home from work – much later, after dark.

Pacing the house did not make the day go any faster, or the sun set any sooner. The novelty of the new, albeit cheap, purse wore off pretty quick. I knew I had most of my writing saved on my laptop…but…what if? What if there was something on the flash drive not on the laptop? I could visualize the purse in the garbage bag, covered in carrot peelings and egg shells, my flash drive safely tucked inside.

Much later, by the glow of the car headlights, in dove the husband. I offered kind support and guidance while standing outside the dumpster, holding the flashlight, with my trusty flannel pyjamas fluttering in the breeze. It was dark, so what did it matter? The neighbours were asleep by then, surely.

He opened each bag while I fought not to gag. The process would be quick, I figured, as I would be able to tell from the topmost contents, which bag was ours. Pizza boxes from way-too-expensive pizza joint – not ours. Organic milk containers – not ours. Baby food jars – not ours. Old, holey, runners – not ours. Bag by bag, my hope sunk faster that the bile rising in my throat.

Ew, ick, ew… that a…? Never mind. I didn’t mention to the husband what I observed. I didn’t want to ruin the moment.

Three bags checked, and none of them ours. And then three bags double-checked, and still none of them ours.


I replayed the last twenty for hours in my mind. The garbage bag containing the old purse, WITH my flash drive inside, must have made it to the dumpster shortly before the garbage truck came.

Shoulders slumped, and after helping the husband clamber his way out of the scary dumpster (it was touch and go there for a second – I didn’t think he was gonna make it), I made my way inside the house.

At least it wasn’t raining, so my pyjamas were dry, AND garbage- filth free.

“It’s gone.” I announced to the offspring inside, who knew how distraught I was.

Resigned to the fact, and knowing there was nothing I could do about it, I put away the flashlight and realized I learned a few things:

1. Some of us need to re-evaluate our household waste practices, including me.
2. You can learn a lot about folks from their garbage; be careful what you throw out.
3. Support for what I do comes in the most unexpected ways.
4. If I had purchased a better quality purse in the first place, something that would last longer, none of this would have likely ever happened.

And why was the flash drive in my purse in the first place?

For safekeeping, of course.


  1. Ouch, Lisa, I feel your pain. But what a sweetheart of a husband you have!

  2. Sympathies on the flash drive, Lisa, but I'm with Ros.

    You know your husband really loves you when…

  3. was painful, to say the least. I feel like I am missing an appendage....Thank you for reading! Lisa

  4. Rachel...thankfully it wasn't raining at the time, otherwise I don't think he would be so accomodating (I don't blame him). What a sport, though. Thank you for reading! Lisa

  5. Cute image of "a day in the life of Lisa!". We need to go shopping!
    Yes, your husband is wonderful!

  6. Thank you for reading, Janelle. Gotta love shopping! Lisa