I told you yesterday of Bullet's aversion to the air conditioner....today we'll talk about his aversion to throwing things away. Anything. Everything. And by anything and everything.....I mean all of it.
Most of his issues come with food items, but he's also got weird little tendencies with other things too. For example, the newspapers. He doesn't save them for anything. They hold no significant value to him. He just doesn't throw them away. But if I throw them away for him, he's okay with it. Wait....maybe he isn't a hoarder....just wants me to do his dirty work? Just kidding!
He also saves prescription papers. You know, the pieces of paper that are stapled to your prescription bag. Yeah, he pulls those off and saves them all in a pile in the kitchen. I'll go in there and before I know it he has 37 prescription papers piled up behind the rolling pin. And, I mean, why??? What in the world would he want those for?
With most material items we don't have an issue when I try to throw them away, but where we do quarrel is with food. He wants to save it forever, until it's eaten. And me....not so much.
Bob Ford grew up in a different era. He grew up through the depression and I suppose then you didn't throw things away. You couldn't afford to or you would literally be hungry. People didn't have the luxury of just going to buy new all the time. I reckon that's probably why he's so weird about conserving energy and all that too. But I'm here to tell ya, Bullet doesn't need to conserve near as much as he does.
When I first moved in with him back in November, I spent the first couple of months I was there trying to organize my stuff while also trying to give each room a good deep clean. I started with the kitchen. Grandpa has never been one for housekeeping, my grandma did all of that. So in the two years since she's been gone, it had obviously gotten a little out of control. Plus, in the several years before she died, her health wasn't good enough for her to keep all of that in order. She was diligent and meticulous about her home, especially her kitchen. Things were always in their place and neatly organized. But, with her failing health, some of those things fell by the wayside. When help came in to assist in taking care of her, those things weren't a priority either. She was their main focus and if they had time they kept all of the obvious things clean, but cleaning out the pantry or the cabinets wasn't really on their to do list.
So, in those first couple of months I tried to clean out all of things that had been forgotten about in the last 10 years. The pantry was my first stop. I know my Grandpa pretty well and I knew this was not going to be an easy endeavor. When I was in high school, I used to clean their house for them once a week. My grandma was always good about leaving me a list and getting the things I needed. Grandpa however just wanted to know why I was using so many paper towels. To this day, I still hear him complain about the paper towels about once a month. It doesn't matter who is cleaning the house at the time, he just can not wrap his mind around how us women can use so many dang paper towels. Maybe this is why he has bought us enough to own stock in them? Seriously, if you ever run out of paper towels, come to our house. He buys them in bulk. Because when the apocalypse hits....you know the things you are going to need most are paper towels, toilet paper, peanut butter, syrup, chocolate bar, and apple cider. Because....why wouldn't those be what he stocks up on?
The pantry took me two days to clean out. It would have only taken one, but I got everything cleaned out the first night, and promptly found it back in the pantry the second night. I hadn't been smart enough on round one to take the trash out before he realized what I'd done. He dug every single thing out of the trash can that I had thrown away and put it back in the pantry. Keep in mind, they were all canned or jarred items, but still, my disgust level was over the edge.
On night two, I'd learned my lesson. I waited patiently for him to go to bed and then I started my covert mission. And let me tell you, it was a mission. Bullet runs the philosophy that if it comes in a can, it never expires. Oh.....my word. I found jello from the early 2000s, honey from the 90s and even a can of evaporated milk from the late 80s. Shut. the. front. door. Let me just point out, I was born in '89. That can of evaporated milk had made it through my entire lifetime without hitting a dumpster!
I went through all of the pantry....again....and ended up with 6....six....SIX....large black trash bags full of junk. That included the cleaned out fridge too, but none the less.....holy crow. Here's where my mission really gets going. By this point, it was about 2 am. I knew I couldn't leave the trash again....he'd go through every dang bag and have it back in the cupboard before I was even out of bed the next day. So....in the middle of November, I put on his coat and my snow boots, and went and got his truck. You all are dead wrong if you think I was putting evaporated milk from '89 on the carpet of my back hatch!
I tried to load everything as quietly as I could. But, as is pretty typical of me, I sound like a heard of cattle regardless of what I'm doing. Quiet has never been one of my strong points. So, at one point I conveniently didn't get one of the bags all the way onto the tail gate and it fell off on the road. Luckily, it was the bag full of glass jars. Idiot. I saw his bedroom light go on. In the middle of that, I wasn't paying attention and was fairly confident I'd fractured my tibula in 3.5 places. I started to shout....and stopped myself. And then quietly hid in the corner of the kitchen with the lights off. Like he couldn't see me if he came down to get a drink or see what the noise was from? My 23 year old body would be completely unnoticed in the corner of the kitchen. Genius.
Before long he was back to bed. I finished loading the bags into the truck and off I went in town. At that point we didn't have a dumpster out on the farm. The only dumpster we had was in town at my dad's farm. Grandpa still burned all of his trash then. Since then, we've gotten a dumpster here too. Something about him carrying a blow torch at all times just didn't sit right. Once again, the blow torch is a whole different story but basically he freaking loves the blow torch. It just set things on fire so easily. Who knew? He would use it to set fire to anything. Trash, light a candle, melt some wire....just whatevs. He had lost the blow torch at one point and was sure someone stole it (as he is sure happened to most things he can't find). It finally showed back up in the back seat of his truck one day....miraculous that whoever stole it put it back there for him....but in the meantime he'd bought himself another one. I came home one day and saw both blow torches sitting on the table next to some gasoline. No big deal. Needless to say, we try to avoid the torch at all costs, and getting a dumpster was an easy fix.
But in November, I still had to trek in town at 3 in the morning to get rid of all that junk. I seriously felt like I was apart of Seal Team 6 and I was headed to take out Bin Laden. I was even dressed in all black, to be a shadow of the night. Turns out, it's a good thing I wasn't on the team to get Bin Laden though. In the middle of trying to throw the bags from the back of the truck to the dumpster, I had one foot on the dumpster and the other on the truck. Bad move, self. I gracefully slipped and did the splits between the two and managed to rack myself along the way. If I can't have children one day......I'll know why. A metal dumpster is less than ideal to the crotch bone. Take my word for it.
Once my mission was complete, he never even knew the difference. As long as he can't see you throwing it away, he normally doesn't pay enough attention to the food to notice.
Since then, we've had a few more incidents. Like the day I came home to find 3 jars of almost gone apple butter in the freezer. I wasn't quite sure what that was all about so finally I went and asked him. Well, actually he just hadn't used them fast enough and they'd started to get a little mold on them. He just threw them in the freezer and he was going to scrape that top layer off and then he'd be good to go.
I'm sorry, what? You have got to be freakin' kidding me. I told him that was unacceptable. I'd buy him some more apple butter. He didn't need to eat the moldy ones. We are not trying to take home the prize on Survivor.
Not a week later, I came home and saw where he had about four pieces left of a desert my mom had made the week earlier. He loves sweets and I really feel like it's a true dagger to his heart any time he has to throw some away. This desert was like a strawberry jello cake and it had real strawberries on top of the icing. The strawberries were past their prime and had started to mold.....so in true Bullet fashion, he just scraped them off to the other end of the pan. When I asked him why he had done that, he said the rest of the cake was still good eatin' and it was too good to waste. No. No no. No.
We are not carpet baggers traveling back after the Civil War. We do not need to resort to moldy food. He looked at me straight in the face and without missing a beat he said, "Morgan Lea, do you know that before they had antibiotics, doctors gave sick patients moldy bread to get all the germs out of their system? It worked too....turned them back healthy as a lark. It's good for you. It cleans out your system".
I didn't know what to say to that. And as often happens when I'm dumbfounded by the nuggets of wisdom he throws at me on a constant basis, I just stared at him for a few minutes, pretended like I didn't understand what he said and continued to throw away the stupid desert. Eventually, he walks off and lets me do it anyway.
Which is fine by me, because all I know is that I'd much rather have him mad at me for a few hours for "being wasteful" as opposed to Lois Lea Ford haunting me for the rest of my life. Homegurl would be spinning in her stilettoes if she knew I let Bob Ford eat moldy food!