It takes a village to pick up trash

One day, I had my writing mojo and self-confidence. I felt like I was going places.
Then my Blackberry died. After waking up late and rushing the kids to the bus stop, I ran a few miles and contemplated the fate of the many things I had on my smartphone — phone numbers, email addresses, the WordPress app to do this blog, my fitness tracking apps. …
I also worried about work and whether I’d get a phone call I was dreading. Every weekend I expect the call. Most times I don’t get it. This time I did. It’s the first call I got on my new smartphone. Way to kick off our relationship Siri.
A few days later, I got a notice regarding some trash that other people dumped on my property and the vacant, unclaimed lots beside it. So, I spend two hours or so picking up other people’s trash. It’s cold and snowflakes are falling like a clogged spice jar — sometimes you see a bunch of flakes, then there’s nothing.
As I begin my journey into trash torture, I meet the code enforcement officer and discussed the property line and what was expected. He was pretty cool about it as we talked about seeing each other elsewhere and aerial maps and imaginary borders.
Then it was time to get down to the dirty deed. I started on one end of my property and worked my way toward the imaginary line. As I did the city crew began its work.
I meet a few of the workers. Despite how vile this work seemed, they seemed kind of happy. Not in a “do the trash dance” kind of way, more in a way of acceptance. They’ve done this kind of work before. Although it seems “no one cares about other people’s property anymore,” as one worker put it, the men getting out the front loader and mini bulldozer cared.
As I dug out have frozen bras and DVD cases from under the dead leaves and underbrush, I reflected on the workers’ attitude. Here I was hating every single minute of this job. All the while, the city workers and I knew we’d probably be out here again. Someone ‘s trash would mysteriously start on one end of the street and arrive in the pocket forest by the creek.
So I sucked it up. Eight 13-gallon trash bags and one medium-sized box later, I was done. I actually cleaned my lot and have proof in the photo below.
“Spenser’s Woods” looked again like a place I’d take the kids. If only I could get people to stop using it as a doggie-potty.
The city ended up hauling eight truckloads (think half a dump truck) of trash from the adjoining property that day. The day after, they cleared out all the dead leaves and dying trees. You can see the tire marks from the heavy equipment , but the forest on the vacant lot is gone except a few trees along its borders.
I’m not sure anyone thanked the city workers. There was a picture in the paper of the clean up. Some people think they had a hand in getting the property cleaned. They may have complained, but whining isn’t the same as doing.
I learned a lot from an otherwise crappy week.
While you work hard in life, whether it be as a parent, employee, runner, etc., others may try to take credit or belittle your accomplishments. But they are yours. Don’t let anyone take the satisfaction of a job well done from you. No matter where you are in your journey, every step counts. If someone questions why you try, they obviously just don’t get it.
And when you’re doing something you loathe, remember that your attitude can make the situation tolerable or worse. Lose the negativity and just go do it.
Don’t think of the reasons why you can’t do something. Go show yourself and the world why you can. You may surprise yourself.
How has a change of attitude helped during an unpleasant situation in your life?
As always, feel free to comment here or join my blog’s page at Facebook by searching for “Running Mountain Mama.”

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