I woke up with a start last night, concerned that some of my Odd readers might still be wondering if the Chicago garbage men hauled off all the oobleck and if we were completely oobleck free at last. Allow me to offer you closer. If you have no idea what oobleck is or why 200 pounds of it came to hang out in my living room, you have some catching up to do so: click here Odd Ooblick Party
When we last left the oobleck, we had moved it out of the living room and out to the alley. When Cole asked which garbage can he should put it in, I told him to choose any of the errant garbage cans we had collected in the garage over the years. I figured the garbage can would be hauled off with the oobleck. Cole chose a blue garbage can that said Recycle on it. How we came to own this garbage can I have no idea, since the City of Chicago does not have a formal recycling plan.
After the oobleck was bundled up and sitting in the alley, we waited for the world’s best garbage men to haul it away…. and waited…and waited. As the flies grew thicker and the smell grew stronger, we resorted to spraying it down with Raid each time we went out into the garage.
After three weeks of waiting, I caught up with Frank, the world’s best garbage man, and asked why he hadn’t hauled off the garbage can. The irony was not missed on Frank, as he stared at the smelly, fly-covered mess that was oozing out of the garbage can, but to his credit he simple smiled his toothless “crazy lady” grin and explained, “Ms. Kathy, I’m so sorry, but if one those green folks noticed I took one of those Recycle cans on my truck, I could lose my job.” I looked very sad…VERY SAD. So Frank offered me a possible solution. “Ms. Kathy, if that can was covered up, we wouldn’t go looking in it.” Ah ha! Frank had offered us a solution and pulled us out of oobleck hell.
Unfortunately, I had to deliver the bleak news to my teen. “SON, we have to move that oobleck into another garbage can because the garbage men won’t take it, and we can’t keep spraying it down with Raid.” He groaned loudly, but his hatred of flies motivated him. He transferred the three-week-old, soggy, yucky, horrible, smelly, flied-on oobleck into a different garbage can and then took the Recycle can and hid it by wrapping it in a large plastic construction waste bag. Of course I helped; I sprayed the flies away, and cheered and applauded loudly. I was with him every step of the way. At one point, he might have mumbled something about “toxic mess,” “ungodly smell,” “dying,” and it being all my fault. I reminded him that in our family we do not play the blame game.
Once we had transferred the oobleck and hid the recycled, gunky, smelly recycling garbage can, we had to wait until Thursday to find out if Frank and Ben would be able to haul the mess off. True to their word, once the word Recycle was no longer visible, neither was the oobleck.
I will bake cookies for the world’s greatest garbage men, and have a cold Coke and Diet Pepsi waiting for them next week. (Frank is a Coke guy, and Ben is a Diet Pepsi guy.) We still have a souvenir fly or two left, but the good news is the oobleck is all gone—and Cole’s hair no longer smells ooblicky! That shampoo I had to buy him was expensive, but you’ll never hear this mom complain! Nope. Not me.