Tag: Village

Exciting Job Opportunity for Rubbish Assistant in West Kerry!

Taking out the trash is a complicated, time-consuming and expensive business. I spend hours  scraping, rinsing, sorting, jamming and pulling rubbish that if it wasn’t for me paying for the pleasure, I think it would qualify as a part-time job.  Living in rural Ireland makes simple things a pain in the arse. Dealing with rubbish being one of my main complaints during the winter (windy) months.

Recycling, composting, rubbish – yuck, yuck, yuck. Gone are the days of horsing black trash bags into a bin or even straight onto the sidewalk on trash night in Boston. Every rubbish item has a different home and none of them are as convenient as a black trash bag thrown out the back door.

We now have three wheelie bins (big plastic trash cans) that all have to be pulled down our small road for patchy collection by the rubbish company every two weeks. It’s probably a 250 meter walk down a bumpy pot-holed road wide enough for one car. This in itself isn’t too bad until you add in a fifty pounds of dirty nappies in one bin which makes it impossible for me to pull both together.  Let alone our new third ‘food waste’ bin.  Add hurricane winds and sleeting rain plus either a stroller or one or two dawdling toddlers that have ‘tired legs’ and want to be carried. (I have considered stuffing the smallest in the bin at times but thankfully for her there’s never room).

Once the bins are deposited, they are supposedly emptied early Monday morning and then someone has to go back during the week and drag them back home so we can start emptying our kitchen bin, recycling collection and now counter-top food collector thing again. This never happens on Monday, rarely on Tuesday and sometimes by Wednesday.  At least four times last winter the bin truck never arrived.  The high tides and storms washed our road away on a Monday.  Rocks were covering the road from the beach another Monday.  The local Council was ‘fixing’ the road another Monday.  So the bin truck comes back later in the day or perhaps the next week and empties the trash, right? No.  They just never come.  You call, complain, whine, plead.  They don’t come so now you have the fun of getting all the full bins back to the house and having no where to dispose of your rubbish and recycling for another two weeks.

We then have to hoard bags of stinking rubbish in the shed. We need to empty the recyclables into another bag every few days.  Then on the next rubbish day the rotting bins have to be maneuvered back down the road along with bags of leaking trash which are piled next to the bins waiting for a dog to rip them open and spew your dirty tissues and worse all over the road.

Between rubbish days the rubbish struggle continues. We don’t have a garbage disposal in the sink (think it has something do with with the septic tanks but Irish people have a strong distrust of them) which means all the plates and leftovers are scraped into the trash can. Except now we have a brown food waste bin for our counter that then needs to be emptied into a larger brown bin outside.  Easier said than done with clinging moldy food in the bottom.  The large bin fills up after one week so then we are hoarding vegetable and fruit waste for our own compost bin (that serves no purpose on the other end of this endless compost process) which is outside through the wet grass and swarms with flies even in winter.  The last place I want to go after cleaning up the kitchen from dinner.

The recycling is cleaner and lighter.  Lighter means when the lid blows open the top layer blows out and flies around the yard so when I am trying to load the kids into the car, I have to then run around chasing skittering cans, cereal boxes and empty toilet paper rolls.  After stuffing them back in the bin eventually will blow over all together in a big gust of wind and I’ll be greeted by this sight when I pull back in the driveway.  If this happens enough times, I’ll eventually drag the bin to the shed where at least it won’t blow over but then anytime I want to clear out the recycling I have to run about 20 yards holding an overflowing pile of recyclables. At least one milk carton will blow away.

We pay over €200 a year for the pleasure of this great service but the alternatives are no better.  At least when I am dragging a full bin down the road against the wind and choking on my neighbors toxic smoke from the trash he burns in a specially built lean-to, I have the moral high ground.  The moral high ground is the only thing keeping me from ‘shock’ stuffing all my recycling (glass included) and food into one bag and throwing it off a cliff.

The Local Battleaxe

There is a new unwelcome addition to our local Parent & Toddler group this year.  She is not a new mother and definitely not a toddler.  She is granny age but most certainly not a doting grandmother.  She has the sour face of Nanny McPhee but none of the magic nor even the interesting nose and wart.  She is not a well-intentioned volunteer.  She doesn’t clean, cook or welcome visitors to the community hall and tourist office.  She is the most dreaded type of matriarchal figure in village life – the busy body.

I think Battle-Axe is an American term or maybe even more local to the Boston area or perhaps New England.   While there are battle-axes in the US, I have to say Irish women of all ages are the most impressive battle axes I have ever met. The ‘Sister’s” on the hospital wards are probably the original cross between matron and nun that strikes fear in patients and visitors (probably Doctors as well). I have never been able to just ‘leave her at it’ and get along with this type which I think they can sense the minute they meet me and are therefore even ruder than usual to me.

Battle-Axe – Busy body = stern, brusk, dour face, usually squinty eyes behind thick frames (not designer geometric thick frames) who usually has short tight hair and appears stocky regardless of height and weight.  She is partial to the sound “hmph” and phrases like “I tell it like it is” or “No point beating around the bush.”  Her social graces reach as far as a “Who are you?” or “Who are you married to?” – both said in a voice that leaves no doubt of her real meaning, “What are you doing here and why should I bother with you?”  She acts busy and in charge of everyone and everything around her but do not try to find out what she actually does.

Initially everyone assumed our new busybody  was supervising the three women who have always cooked on Monday mornings in preparation for serving the elderly their lunch on Tuesdays.  As in supervising on behalf of the community group that runs the center or on behalf of Fas, the job agency that provides them work experience and pays them.   I suspected straight away she wasn’t a real supervisor – more the self-appointed matron or warden.

Then as we quietly asked each other “Who is that one in the kitchen?” The women who grew up in the village passed a few discreet comments – “No, she’s not on the community committee, no she’s not supervising the staff either, no she’s not a volunteer.” It takes a while to get to the truth in polite Irish company especially when someone is trying to relay what is a generally accepted but unofficial fact of village life.   Eventually her status was confirmed in hushed tones.

“She has nothing to do with the hall or the kitchen – she just thinks she runs the place.”

This beauty has a group of grown women and mother’s avoiding the kitchen and running to the bathroom sink rather than risk her disapproving demeanor. So far she has told the woman volunteering to run the group that we are not allowed to sit on certain red chairs-apparently our rear ends are more destructive than the elderly people who have dinner there on Tuesday.  She has stuck up a lovely sign – No Children Allowed on the kitchen door to ensure we don’t have the babies making coffee and scones while us moms chat.  She has removed the rubbish bin while we are there in some attempt to make us bring home our orange peels, snotty tissues and Liga wrappers. She pretended to mishear us ask the cooks for a tea towel to dry up the cups we use and wash and then insisted that we have our own somewhere in a bag.  I assured her three times that we do not have a pack of our own towels we bring but she just barked over me repeatedly that we have our own.  No way am I buying tea towels to bring to a community kitchen.  So while one poor mother goes down the hall to the toilet to empty our Aquadoodle pens and another shops for tea towels, I am planning how best to irritate her next Monday. Any ideas how to hassle the local battle axe?