Hidden Treasure of the Soul (oh brother!)

“Trash Digger!”

What a horrible thing to be called.  Though I don’t think I have actually heard anyone being called this since I was 10. But to be called a Trash Digger at 10-years-old is the ultimate mark of loser-dum.  You’re instantly identified as the kid who gets your clothes from the trash. You get your food from the trash. You get your paper, pencils, crayons, and book bag from the trash. And you smell (even if you really don’t) as if you, yourself, have come from the trash.

I, have never actually been called a trash digger, but I have probably called someone this…though I don’t really recall a specific time or place or victim. And if you’re reading this, and you ARE one of those poor kids I picked on (there were very few), I sincerely apologize.

I don’t know why I was never called a Trash Digger. Probably because I’m unbelievably stunning and the last thing anyone would think of when they see me is trash. Or perhaps it’s my charisma and charm. I often have people eating out of my hands.  Or maybe it’s because I’m so pathetic people felt too sorry for me to say something so hurtful.

No…I think it’s my good looks. 😉

Anyways, I would never have ever dreamt of digging in someones trash, therefore it could just be that no one ever SAW me digging in trash. So instead they’d make fun of my big nose and lack of intelligence.  (You know who you are!)

But a problem came when I fell in love with a man who hails from a family of actual Trash Diggers. Actually, there’s only 1 trash digger, his mother.

My mother-in-law is  intrusive and nosy and doesn’t like things to NOT go her way. She drives me nuts and always has something to say about everything. In the beginning of my marriage, it was she that my husband and I would most often fight about. But, in time, I have really grown to love her. All those things are still fairly true (Though I would like to say, my husband and I never fight about her anymore.), but now I’ve discovered her amazing love. She’s giving and honest and the most compassionate person I’ve ever met. Whenever we have needed help with anything, she’s the first person to show and the last to leave. She really is amazing…but still a pain in the butt sometimes. 🙂

So when I call her a trash digger it is with the utmost respect. Plus, she’s a very proud card-carrying member! She’s also the first actual trash digger I’d ever met. AND the person who forced me into committing my first trash digging operation.

I used to clean houses with her. She owns a cleaning business and when I couldn’t find a job,  she helped me out. It actually wasn’t a bad job. I liked going into the different homes and getting ideas for my own future home. I was usually left alone to do my own work (nice, no nagging boss) and we were almost always done by 3pm.  One of the few things that bothered me about the job, though, was that a lot of her clients would give her ‘gifts’…when they were done with them. Just this and that things that they no longer wanted and were thinking of throwing out. They’d offer them to her and she’d always, no matter what it was, accepted them, because even if she couldn’t use it, she could find someone who would. That’s just part of her giving nature, I think.

Well one day, on the ride home from cleaning a house, she suddenly points to a chair that was lying outside in someones trash and pulls the van over. “Rachel, jump out and take a look at that chair.”

I was confused. “Huh?”

“Jump out and look at that chair. It looks good from here. Why would they throw a perfectly nice chair out in the trash?”

I could name 1,000 reasons why someone would throw furniture in the trash. Most have to do with bodily fluids and animal smells! But I couldn’t tell her this. Not that it’d matter. She’d just mix some concoction of vinegar and God-knows-what to clean and remove the stench.

I can only imagine the look I must have had on my face. Pure shock, most likely. And Fear. Lots and lots of fear because I knew, long long long before she became my mother-in-law, that she doesn’t take no for an answer.

“Go on.” she urged. I slunk out of the car, shoulders hunched over trying to hide my face. We weren’t in our town, but close enough! I knew if someone saw me…yes, even though I was no longer in school…I would never be looked at the same. I’d be labeled a Trash Digger, for sure.

I really don’t know if there was anything wrong with that damn chair. I walked around it and the other garbage, took a quick look in the direction, and scrambled back into the car. I had to fight off the urge to yell, “GO! GO! GO!”  once I shut the car door. I think I mumbled something about a hole in it and off we drove. She was bummed about a lost treasure. I was traumatized beyond belief.

Later that night I called my boyfriend and screeched into his ear, “Do you know what your mother made me do today!” I told him the whole story and he laughed. “You never went dumpster diving before?”

Oh. My. God! My boyfriend was a trash digger??? I’d been less grossed out if he’d told me he was born with a vagina!!!

That was my first and last time trash digging, I’m happy to say. But, I do often accept gifts from my dumpster diving Mama. She’s hooked me up with some pretty cool things, actually. All sorts of little this and thats for the house, Christmas decorations, and even a recliner that acted as my bed when I abruptly moved out of my parents house and couldn’t afford to buy one! (That damn thing is STILL in my house. I’ve tossed it out in the breezeway, but my husband refuses to let me put it out for the trash. He loves that stupid chair! Lord help me!)

My newest treasure is a pair of Uggs (pictured above)! I hate Uggs. I’ve never liked the looks of them and hate it, hate it, HATE IT when people where them outside their jeans. BUT, these Uggs are so wonderfully Hippy-licious that I couldn’t resist! A client was going to throw them out, but my mother-in-law snatched them up saying, “I’m sure I can find someone who could use a nice pair of boots.” And boy did she! They’re actually 2 sizes too big, but because they’re made to be tight, they fit okay.

So I guess in the end I have come to accept the trash-diggers in my life, and perhaps one day I will be brave enough to search the city streets for my own little treasures.

But don’t hold your breath!


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