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It’s not what you think.

We own an old farmhouse, a rental property, that has been converted to apartments.  It is about a half mile walk through the woods from our home.

There is a Dumpster behind the farmhouse, where the tenants can dump their garbage.  And we have a Dumpster diver.

Nobody has been able to catch him in the act, until today.

The front of the Dumpster is about five feet high, right at the level of the bear’s armpit.  This is not a cute, little bear cub.  This is Bearzilla!

Every two weeks or so, we have to go over to the farm house and clean up after the bear.  He comes from the woods, climbs into the Dumpster and takes out bags of good-smelling garbage, and then drags the bags back into the woods with him, far into the woods, where he proceeds to eat his meal.

We haven’t actually had a conversation about this, the bear and I, but he is selective and does not take all of the garbage bags, only some of them.  So I assume he chooses the good-smelling ones.  The ones that contain food that he likes.  Or perhaps he only takes the ones that are easiest to reach.  Who am I to say what is on this bear’s agenda?

It’s easy to follow his trail because as he’s walking with the bags, they rip and things fall out.  Garbage-y things.  It’s not fun to clean up garbage.  I’ll bet sanitation engineers don’t even have to do this.  I’m going to have to get myself one of those trash, poker sticks, like they use in parks to pick up garbage so I don’t have to bend over or touch unsanitary trash.  I do wear rubber gloves if that makes you feel any better.  It doesn’t really make me feel any better.  Well, maybe a little.

If he would simply learn to eat standing up right at the Dumpster, it would be so much less messy for everyone, particularly for me.  He should try to be a neater eater.

Normally, MacGyver would go to pick up the trash, but he got off to a late start today.  He had to perform an emergency wiring repair on a light fixture that I installed a few months ago.  Oops.  Apparently, I am not an electrician and I am not proficient in the use of wire nuts.  He asked me to leave ALL future electrical projects to him, in order to prevent fires in the ceiling.  This excitement will be a post for another day.

Ten years ago, I was working in a medium-sized city at a rewarding career where I wore suits and heels every day.  I got manicures and pedicures.  I went out for lunch and ate delicious food like grilled salmon and penne a la vodka and salad Niçoise.  Or if I had lunch at my desk, I would shop on my lunch hour at Ann Taylor, Macy’s, or Williams-Sonoma.

Do I prefer my life ten years ago, shopping at Macy’s with Salad Niçoise at my desk?  Or do I prefer my life now – bear clean-up duty?  It’s a toss up.

Annual budget planning vs. never-ending mountains of laundry – not sure I can choose the lesser of these two evils.

Working in the city with an unbearable commute or being able to stay at home with the kids even if it means cleaning up after the bear?  Having the option to stay home – Priceless!

I think this bit from Disney’s The Jungle Book says it all.

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
With just the bare necessities of life.

And don’t spend your time lookin’ around
For something you want that can’t be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin’ about it
I’ll tell you something true
The bare necessities of life will come to you.

Is your life essentially the same as it was ten years ago?  Is it the way you imagined it would be twenty years ago?  Has it turned out the way you planned it?  Are you downhearted about the things that didn’t turn out the way you planned?  Or are you light-hearted and joyful about whatever has happened?

I am happy, but my life is definitely different.  There are moments when I wonder, “How did I get here?”  Do you ever wonder that?  (About yourself, not about me!)

While you ponder these thoughts, I’ll be in the woods, picking out the garbage that is caught between the pickers on the wild raspberry plants and the scary, hairy, poison ivy vines.  I am looking forward to reading your comments when I return.

Wish me luck!  Bonne chance!