Tag Archives: home improvement

need entertainment? put a dumpster in front of your house in baltimore and watch what happens

good times: the dumpster in front of the old man’s house. nothing cheers up baltimoreans like a good old-fashioned dumpster dive (or dumpster dump).

so someone finally bought the old man’s house even though there was a body imprint on the floor, about a million dead flies in the street-facing basement window and, when the weather is just right (rainy/humid/hot), smells like, well, if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you know what it smells/smelled like.

for those of you who need a little background, the “old man” was our elderly neighbor who kept to himself–so much so that when he passed away in early fall 2009, no one knew until two+ weeks later when we smelled something, which turned out to be the stench of–not to be disrespectful or anything–human decomposition.

it was extremely sad but also extremely frustrating as we experienced (and smelled) the ripple effects of a house–which we share walls with, btw; we live in a neighborhood of traditional baltimore rowhomes (here’s a great shot of east baltimore rowhomes)–that was in a state of disrepair for far too long. while “cute,” the problem w/rowhomes is that your neighbor’s problems really become your problems, from rats and basement flooding to, yes, foul odors.

anyway, the estate owners very recently sold the house to some investors and they gutted the place, much like we did with ours years ago. well, with gutting a rowhome comes a dumpster. and with a dumpster comes, yes, folks, the very best of baltimore.

oh dumpsters! put a dumpster in front of your house in baltimore and ppl will come out of the woodwork to either take stuff out of it or drop things in it. it’s like a friggin parade.

nothing cheers up a baltimorean like a dumpster. b/c i suppose our houses all contain stuff we’ve been meaning to throw away but haven’t b/c it doesn’t fit in a garbage can? and suddenly, neighbors you haven’t seen in, like, 3 to 4 years are coming out in their pajamas carrying an old crib or microwave to throw in the damn dumpster that someone else is paying for.

dumpsters also, apparently, inspire some baltimoreans to do long-awaited home improvement projects. the woman who lives on the other side of the old man’s house told us she ripped off all the carpeting from her stairs simply b/c she would be able to throw it out.

“and i’m about to start on the basement,” she said.

well then.

and then come the scary dumpster people. they come in the middle of the night and they are loud. these are not “freegan“-types, either. they are loud and frightening and make me scared to call the police as i’m convinced they have night vision similar to that of a raccoon or possum and can see my eyes peeping thru the curtains at them. and then they will kill me.

we have not had a decent night’s sleep since they parked the dumpster in front of our house. b/c every. single. night. every night! the scary dumpster people come and jump into the the damn thing to see what they can fish out and sell.

and let me assure you, freegans (i’m speaking as if i have this huge freegan following, which, maybe i do? i have no idea), the type of dumpsters i’m talking about contain no leftover tofu, beets or other discarded vegetarian delicacies. this sh*t is dirty, dirty, dirty (and in our case, partially saturated with the sort of bodily fluid that only comes with death): nasty rotten wood, moldy drywall, old foggy glass–if you can dream it, it’s in there.

and then there are the throw-it-in scary, middle-of-the-night dumpster people. who pull up their rickety pickup trucks at 2am and dump their crap in there like it’s high noon.

(we really had no idea there was so much glass in the damn dumpster until people started jumping around in it, and throwing stuff in it. it’s really been an enlightening few days.)

so, despite dumpster-related issues, noise, dust and the fact that the workers were pounding so hard on his walls today that the mortar in our exposed bricks started falling onto our stairs (good times!), it feels good that not only is all the stinky stuff (hopefully) gone, but a painful time in our lives can finally be put to bed. i think “the old man,” wherever he is, would be glad to see it.

geesh, this was supposed to be funny and here i’ve gotten all sappy on you. oh well. that’s baltimore for ya. generally funny & ridiculous, but every once in a while it’ll tug at your heartstrings. but then you think of the $60 “environmental citation” ticket you got for “weeds” in your tiny-ass tree pit last summer and the feeling goes away. ahh. that’s better.

the back of the old man's house