Lucy Jensen

You know you are middle-aged, or frankly on the wrong side of the bridge, if you get excited about a dump trailer. It’s a long story; but we’ll just call him Scotty. Right at the beginning of our home remodel of sorts, we looked around at our precious piles of “assets” that were oozing out of the orifices at our home called Solace and literally gasped.

Over our 20 years of homeownership, we had accumulated so much stuff, our little house was over-brimming with “treasures” (I use the term lightly). And then, if you add land and her generous bounty to the equation, you can find yourself in a right pickle. Land just equals more places to put stuff!

No one blinked when we added another “storage” building to the back 40, or did an extension on the garden shed, or man-cave as it came to be known (note to self, if you put a recliner in the man-cave, the cats will use it for all kinds of things). Our greenhouse of good intentions, last time I checked, boasts an old TV that no one would ever-ever use and likely several species of rare spider. Also, maybe, the odd lethal snake.

We were literally falling over the “essential items” that we might, possibly, find a use for one day. My daughter would point at the screen of the show “Hoarders” when it came on, point to us and tell us sternly, like an intervention of sorts, “This is you two.”

In our defense, we were both raised in thrifty households, where nothing was ever thrown away. Despite my admiration for those who can run a tight domestic ship, I’ve always considered myself “messy” at best — my mother’s fault entirely — because she was super messy. (Us creative people can be just that.) Prior to buying our house up in the Gabilan Mountains two decades ago, my husband and I were renters and had moved consistently over the years, so we never had time to accumulate possessions.

We had a whole plethora of lame secondhand pieces that had trailed along with us over the years, whether we liked them or not. Kind of like the unwelcome relative that you can’t kill. And then you see them all in a different light. You no longer want them; you no longer like them or even need them. It was time. Scotty had become a necessity in our lives.

Husband took some time looking for the perfect Scotty and, come to find out, the pandemic meant that Scotties had become very expensive and hard to find. Who knew that a dump trailer was going to be the coronavirus must-have item! Everyone had decided, like us, that they were hoarders, and it was time to clean out their assets. Either that or a trip to the local dump was like a legal outing you could make with your Covid hall pass when everyone was on lockdown. Laughable, really.

Once we started looking for dump trailers, we saw them everywhere, literally everywhere. “Ooooh look,” he’d gasp, braking hard, “that’s a super-beauty with an auto dump feature!” An auto dump feature? Gawd, we had become ancient old fogies. No longer excited about the classic Camaro or the swish and sexy new leather jacket … no, we were on the look out for the perfect dump trailer. There was no longer any hope for us.

And there he was. When we saw him for the first time, we knew we had arrived. He was going to be ours. We scooped him up like eager adoptive parents and took him home, where he had to receive, primarily, a muscle-lock feature so that no one would steal him. (Oh, it’s a thing apparently.) We coveted that guy so much, husband would park his truck Spike in front of the trailer Scotty, so that even if the pesky thief could manipulate the lock, he couldn’t get around the mighty bulk of the Ford 250. This was some serious security protection detail.

And poor old Scotty has received such a workout these past few weeks, we have no idea how we managed before without him. Our son and daughter-in-law in Switzerland love to go to the dump when they visit us. They enjoy all the squawking gulls and chaos of the dirt-moving machines, the auto dump feature (delightful, they laugh every time), oh and the sheer joy of driving a load of trash around the streets. Who knew Scotty would become such a popular member of the family! He’s quiet, obedient, costs nothing to feed and is really rather dashing in his grey glossy coat and solid-built sides. See what can happen to you during a pandemic? You get a little soft in the head.

Then my husband wrecked his truck; the one vital component to put old workhorse Scotty on the job. If you have a dump trailer or a Scotty, for those not already indoctrinated, you will need a truck and trailer hitch to tow the blessed thing. We did not have a truck at this moment; we had a gold rental Chevy sedan with no hitch. What good is that? So, the piles started building again at Solace. Our once “pristine” driveway, where we had grilled many a fine BBQ since our remodel took away our kitchen, was now in danger of becoming a cardboard city in the countryside. If we were not careful, the health and safety officers would be knocking at our door and complaining about the homes for rats and mice we were providing.

Scotty, help! Scotty? But Scotty has been asleep mostly for the last few weeks, catching up on some vital restoration breathers while we waited for the blessed truck to arrive home again and put him back to work. “What’s up with the trailer?” our neighbor nodded, helpfully, toward the now rather dusty and spider-webby Scotty napping in the shade. I nearly grabbed him by the neck and threw him up against said Scotty in a fit of rage. (I didn’t.)

“Umm, you kinda need a truck to pull it,” I said in my best sardonic manner. “See anything but a very old-person looking Chevy sedan in this driveway WITH NO TRAILER HITCH?” He then got where I was coming from and nodded with deepest condolence. “Yeah, what’s taking so long? Where’s the truck?” I smiled weakly and began to delicately remove the rust from my pruning shears with an almost “don’t push me, mister” stance that had him swiftly backing away.

We hope that handsome Scotty can get back to work sometime this year, right around the time that the expensive Chevy rental can finally go back to exactly where it belongs, and big-beefy Spike can return home to protect Scotty and do the Dump-Run; as it is fondly called when you do it a lot. Whether it is car repair, home remodel or simply an urge to clean house, we have discovered that a Scotty is a wonderful thing in a family and one to be fiercely protected.

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Soledad columnist Lucy Jensen may be reached at [email protected].


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