Today something pretty cool happened. The guy who runs GiladOrigami left a card for me at the hotel where we are currently working. Apparently, some of the hotel staff have been finding my origami and displaying it around the front desk. This must have caught the eye of this rather famous person. ( Well, famous among Origami fans I guess, ) It is true that most people probably do not know the significance of having an individual you only know and admire from his web site, comment on your models. It’s probably like the lead singer of one of those underground rock bands come up and talking to you.
Anyway, he left his card and invited me to email him…which I did. We’ll see how it goes. In the mean time, I sold some more origami that I had to fold this week after work. Talk about tough! Doing anything after reading papers all day is a Herculean task! So enjoy the origami…..And stay for the story! Chapter 15:
This is the part of the story I find fascinating. Again, Based off of a REAL situation that occurred while working for the DNR. Keep in mind, the internet was not as it is today back in 2000. We could not just Google or Bing anything to find answers for things. As mentioned before, the laws may have changed in the last 15 years. And perhaps there is a lawyer out there who will disprove this scenario. But…this really happened! I’ll stop there and let you read the chapter on your own. So..Enjoy chapter 15.
The drive home was uneventful. Traffic was light and the way home was known. They were about half way home before David offered dinner at McDonalds to cheer up their mood. Everyone consented with a low moan.
When they finally located one just off the highway, they pulled off and looked for a parking space. David was slightly aware that he had better select a parking slot far and away from everyone else. Although the smell of the refrigerator was not noticed while going down the highway, it was sure to become a problem if they parked too close to anyone else. He pulled into the parking lot and found a nice lonely slot far in the back with no other cars close by. He set the truck in park and they all unbelted their belts and climbed out.
As soon as they opened the doors, the smell hit them. It was considerable less potent than it was when it was first unearthed, yet the stench was still noticeable. The kids could hardly wait to announce their detection.
“Let’s just go inside and enjoy our meal.” David suggested. All the kids were sure to over dramatizes the smell, with noses pinched, breaths held and fanning of the hands.
They entered the building. David and Tracy stood in line while the kids all ran to the bathroom. David ordered the usual combos and kids meals they had all ordered before. The kids were dependable when it came to their favorite foods. Daniel always got he cheeseburger happy meal, Whitney and Samantha both got the 4 piece chicken nuggets.
While waiting for their order, several couples came in from the outside talking rather loudly about the smelly truck in the parking lot. David looked at Tracy with a indignant glance.
“I guess that answers the question of ‘I wonder if anyone will notice the smell.’” Tracy whispered. David notice how non discrete their opinions were.
The orders were soon up and the kids returned as David and Tracy selected a booth that would accommodate all of them; far away from anyone. David divvied up the meals to their selected individual and they dug in.
“What are you going to do with that thing Dad?” Samantha asked unwrapping her nuggets. “It smell horrible! And people are talking! Its so embarrassing.”
Daniel and Whitney giggled as they munched and played with their fries. Tracy agreed with Samantha.
“We can’t have that thing in our yard.” She reasoned. “The neighbors will complain and I’m sure the neighborhood association will send us an annoying letter. “
“We should have thought of that before we went and dug it up.” David shot back, “Besides, I hate the association. They are always complaining about every little thing. No dogs, No trees in your front yard, No grass higher than 3 inches, I never wanted to be a part of that. We were one of the first houses on that street. They should have conformed to us, not we to them.”
“It was inevitable. Now I want to hear what we plan on doing with that thing.”
“Well, The first thing we are going to do is hose it down and try to get as much of that smell out as possible. Kids! You are in charge of that!” David pointed at the faces staring back at him with their mouths filled with fries and pop.
“How do we do that?” Samantha asked after gulping down her beverage.
“Get out the hose and spray it off in the driveway.”
“But I don’t want to get wet.”
“Then let Daniel hose it down, He loves the water.”
Daniels eyes lit up at the thought that he would be in control of the power sprayer. He shook his head vigorously in acceptance of the task set before him.
“The rest of you use the car wash soap to get that smell out. I don’t care how much you need. Just do it. The goal is to get the dirt off the outside and the smell out of the inside.
“And what are we going to do?” Tracy asked
“We are going to make some phone calls to see if we can unload it on someone. I guess I’ll try the land fill first. Hopefully they are still open. I don’t really know who else would take such a thing. But we have to be prepared to hold it a couple of days if they are not open till Monday. That is why we have to hose it down. “
They talked more on the finer points of the plan. Before long they had finished their meals and were on their way out again. When they opened the door to the outside, they could instantly notice the smell, despite it being parked out on the fringes of the parking lot. David motioned for them all to walk fast and climb in as to not bring any more attention or embarrassment to themselves. A few moments later, they were on the road again.
When they finally pulled back into their home, everyone felt a flood of relief that the whole endeavor was almost over. David and Tracy climbed out and stretched, followed by the kids. The smell of the refrigerator reminded them that they could not dilly dally.
David climbed up on the back bed and pushed out the refridge on to the driveway. Tipping it so it stood on its bottom feet like it was originally designed. Once out, he directed the kids to hook up the hose to the power washer and spray off the bed liner as well as the icebox. He then grabbed Tracy and headed into the house.
David grabbed the phone while Tracy grabbed the book and flipped through its pages looking for the local land fill. There was one in Eastman Ville. And it was still open. She rambled off the numbers to David. The phone rang.
“Ottawa county Land fill,” came a voice.
“Ah, Hi, Yes, I have a question. I have a rather large, old refrigerator and I was wondering how I would go about bringing that in for disposal.” David knew the question sounded stupid. He was bracing himself for the simple answer to just come in and drop it off. The theory was that this was the only time the garbage men could make even the most educated person sound like a moron.
“Ah, Did you say refrigerator?” The voice asked.
“Sorry man, We don’t take refrigerators anymore. Normally, you just pay thirty bucks and can dump anything, but not refrigerators.”
“Why not?” David was curious now. Wondering if he was being jerked around by some smart elec.
“They are an environmental hazard.” The voice reasoned. “Especially the old ones.”
“I know they are an environmental hazard, that is why I want to put it in the landfill.”
“No, No, No, I mean they can’t even be put in a landfill. They contain Freon. It’s an environmental hazard. The EPA just fined several landfills, including ours, for burying them here. We had to find and dig them up and that cost us way too much money. We now simply refuse to accept them.”
David thought about the situation that might unfold if he could not get rid of this large rust bucket. The neighbors would complain, his family would complain, ultimately they would all blame him for the smelly eyesore in their yard. David thought for a solution. Freon becomes a gas at room temperature. “What if I drain all the Freon out?” He didn’t mind polluting his own yard if it allowed him to get rid of the larger item.
“It doesn’t matter, it still has a compressor and as long as it had Freon in it at one time, the EPA doesn’t know the difference.”
Another dead end. “Then how am I to dispose of this one if a land fill wont take it?” He asked.
“You can try the junk yard. You might get the same line there though. Sorry man.” Was there anything else? The voice was sending the signal that there was nothing else to be said on the matter.
“Nope, thanks.” David hung up. Explained the situation to Tracy, who quickly located the number to the local auto salvage yard.
“Maybe they can recycle it with one of their car crushers or something.” She reasoned. She read the number to David.
The phone rang and once again David explained his situation. The voice repeated the same answer and the same reason for it. They could not accept any refrigerators because of the environmental laws. There was nothing they could do about it.
“What can I do with it then? Do you mean to say that there is no where I can unload this thing?”
“Pretty much, Have you tried the landfill?”
“Yes, they sent me to you.”
“Ah well, there you have it. The only other thing I can think of is maybe finding a recycling place that deals specifically with these hazardous items.”
“Do you know of any place like that?” David asked
“Well, we have a place, they recycle car batteries and old tires for us from time to time. They charge a fee though. I can give you their number.”
David motioned to Tracy to get a pen and paper and scribble down the number. He explained to Tracy the latest lead then dialed the number.
Again another voice answered and again David explained his situation. It was almost no surprise when the exact same answer was recited. David let out a grown in despair.
“You mean that you guys dispose of car batteries and tires but can’t dispose of an old refrigerator?”
“I know, it sounds insane, But I ‘m telling you, that is the honest truth. “ Came the voice. “Don’t blame me. Blame the tree huggers that wrote that law. It makes no sense at all.”
“Well, You are my last hope. Do you have any idea on how I can get rid of this thing?” David pleaded.
Well, If you got some property someplace, you can go out there in the middle of the night, dig a big hole, and bury it yourself. Then I wouldn’t mention it to anyone after that.”
David’s face was ashen. So this is where Ethan got off. This is where he got the great idea. So this was the real answer to the real mystery. Ethan was not burying a body or a large amount of stolen cash. He was simply trying to get rid of an old smelly refrigerator. And, Having no land of his own, decided that state land would do just as well as long as it was done under cover of darkness. That was the reason for all the secrecy. That was the reason for the unusual behavior. And now David was stuck with the same dilemma. David’s mind was still wondering when he noticed the man was still talking. “I’m sorry, what was that you said?”
“I said OR you could take it directly to some steal plant. Like one in Pennsylvania. They might be able to melt it down with the rest of their scrap metal. I also hear that the environmental laws there have some loopholes. They might charge you a fee though. And it might be big. That’s all I got man. Till they change the law, I don’t know what you can do.”
David thanked the man and hung up. He relayed the message to Tracy.
“Well, We could take it back tonight and rebury it.” Tracy suggested. Although she did not really relish the thought, It seemed like the a better alternative than leaving it in their yard.
“He said it was possible to take it to a steel refinery in Pennsylvania. They could melt it down. We might have to get it there somehow but perhaps it is worth a shot.”
“David, we are not going to go to Pennsylvania and pay some iron forge to dispose of it. It would probably cost more than that fine the Officer threatened us with.”
“Well at least it wouldn’t be illegal. And who knows if that officer is still creeping around out there. I’m thinking the burying option is out!”
Tracy paused a moment then looked at her watch. “Well who would we call at this time. I doubt any business is even open after 7 pm on a Saturday.
Just then Samantha burst in through the door. She was wet and covered with soap suds. “Mom! Dad! We need more soap! We used it all and it still smells! Now it smells like dead thing soaked in lemon juice.”
David looked out to see Whitney and Daniel fighting over the power hose. At least the outside of the refrigerator was clean. Still rusty, but clean from the dirt and grime it had on it before. He looked at Tracy. She must have read his mind because she was looking up the number for a Pennsylvania iron refinery.
“We might get lucky and find one that is open. Try this one.” She offered.
David punched in the numbers. The phone rang and a man answered the phone. David explained, once again, his seemingly hopeless situation with a environmentally toxic refrigerator and the inability for him to find a final resting place for it.
“Well, sure we can help you out. We will just grind it up and throw it in with the rest of the recycled metal.”
“Really?” David exclaimed! It was the first promising news he had heard all day. “When are your hours? Are you open tomorrow?”
“Well, Not on Sunday. But every day other than that till 6 P.M. There will be a small handling fee though. That might change your mind.” He faded off.
“How much is the handling fee?”
“Five hundred dollars for the first 5 tons.”
David’s heart sank. By the time you add in the gas it would take to get to Pennsylvania, It could be over one thousand! Regardless, David took down the address and the directions to the place. No matter what he chose, he was in an impossible situation. He explained the situation to Tracy.
“We don’t have one thousand dollars to get rid of this thing. Are you sure you don’t want to just take it back and bury it?” Tracy asked.
“It’s too late for that now. Do you know anyone who could possibly use it? Maybe for a gardening bed or something.”
“No one would want to be my friend after I dump that thing off on them. “ She paused for a moment. “We should find out where Ethan lives and dump it back off on him.” She thought aloud.
“Na, we can’t do that.”
“Why not?” She sounded disgusted.
“Because he got rid of it fair and square, and we are the ones who dug it up. He will say finders keepers. I would have to agree. Anyone dumb enough to dig up a stinky fridge from out of the middle of state land should have to deal with it themselves.”
They brooded for several more minutes. By now the sun was setting and darkness had turned most of the outside to an ashen shade of gray. The kids were done making a mess outside and were now back in drying off and changing their clothes. Daniel was bragging to Whitney how he got Sam really good with the hose when she wasn’t looking.
Tracy got up and started making a pot of coffee. Coffee always made the thought process seem sharper. They would have to start thinking about dinner soon and put the disposal of the fridge on hold. Who in the world would want an old refrigerator anyways?
Tracy’s eyes lit up. “I wonder if Ethan’s Dad wants it back?”
David ‘s face lit up. He paused, thinking of the prospects, then smiled.
“It’s worth a shot. He sounded like he really wanted it back. It’s closer than Pennsylvania. Probably wouldn’t cost us anything aside from the gas to drive there. And I don’t believe its against the law to give a refrigerator away to someone who wants it. Honey! You’re a GENIUS!”
David jumped up and gave her a big hug and they both danced around in celebration that the problem finally had a solution. They discussed their plan of attack. They decided that asking Mr. Allen if he wanted it back could prove disastrous. He could question how the fridge came into their position, or claim that they stole it. Or worst of all, refuse to take it back!
Instead, they decided to take it back up to Manistee after dinner late at night. Hopefully he would be asleep or away. They would try to drop it off and be gone before anyone would find out. This way, Mr. Allen would wake up and be surprised by his refrigerator that had been freshly cleaned and now smelled like dead thing and lemons. The plan sounded great!
Tracy started dinner for the kids making a soup and sandwich meal rather than the usual full blown Saturday dinner. It was fast and easy and Tracy did not have the energy to make anything fancy. David helped as best he could, grilling up the sandwiches and cutting them up into little triangles suitable for dipping. The kids, now fully clean and dressed came down and helped by setting up the table and pouring their beverages. Everyone sat down to eat. Even the cat, who was rather friendly after having spent the entire day alone.
The kids were voracious! Even Sam, who usually was never hungry and found everything that the family made too disgusting to even consider,dug in. The soup had a short lifespan as everyone drained their bowls and demanded second. David had to break out the bread and some crackers after all the sandwiches were polished off. And for the first time, in a very long time, the entire family had one topic they all wanted to talk about.
“So what are you gonna do with the refrigerator Dad?” Sam asked, dipping her sandwich into the soup.
“Your mom and I have a plan.” David smiled as if he were an evil genius who planned on taking over the world.
“Tell us Daddy!” Whitney smiled between bites.
“Can we help again?” Daniel volunteered.
“I think this is just for me and your mother. Besides you guys don’t want to be cramped up in the back of that cab again do you?”
“It wasn’t that bad.” Daniel offered.
“Maybe not for you or Whit, But I had to sit like a pretzel! And Whit had he knee in my side the whole way home.”
“Well you were sitting on my leg!” Whitney defended.
“There you have it!” David reasoned. “Besides it takes a couple hours to get up there. You guys will be asleep before we get back.”
Tracy had finished her soup and was reading the paper while everyone else was talking. Daniel could not stop telling everyone how much fun he had today and Whitney and Sam were still sparring over who did the most digging. Tracy flipped through the pages, realizing that this was the first chance she had to read the paper all day.
Several pages back she caught the headline of an article that made her stop. Suspect caught in armored car robbery. She quickly scanned the article to find out the details. Apparently, the man was a friend of the driver and found out the route. He helped himself to the money at one of the stops. The authorities had found the man and a large portion of the missing cash. He was caught when he tried to buy a slurpy at a local convenience store. The cashier thought it was funny that the man was paying with hundred dollar bills and phoned it in. The money was marked and the FBI moved in for the arrest. Case closed.
Tracy read the article again to the family. This time she added in that she knew the money had been marked all along and that spending it was the biggest mistake the man could have made.
“Well, It’s too bad you didn’t read that article this morning! “ David said sarcastically. “Then we probably wouldn’t have a large smelly hunk of metal in our driveway.”
“Or a refrigerator!” Daniel interjected.
The whole family laughed. Except Daniel, who didn’t understand the meaning of his own joke.
“Well, it probably still would not have satisfied my curiosity.” Tracy admitted. “And we found my favorite shovel! I can work in the garden once again.”
“Can I have you new one then Mom?” Whitney asked. It was funny, Until today Tracy had never seen Whitney handle any outdoor tools except maybe a rake during the fall. Perhaps all this digging outside had stirred up a gardener spirit in Whitney that no one knew was there before. Tracy nodded that she could have it. And maybe she could show her some of the joys of landscaping this spring.
Dinner was now officially over and everyone grabbed their bowls and utensils for the clean up. Sam and Daniel had the dishes while David and Tracy put the leftovers away. Lucky, there wasn’t much to clean up. Whitney wiped down the table and after she had finished, ran into the living room and turned on the television. She flipped through the channels.
After the dishes were done, David gathered the family in the living room for a quick briefing. He put Sam in charge since she was the oldest and told them all to stay inside and watch TV or play their games. David looked at Sam when he mentioned that they could not have anyone over. And they were to be in bed no later than 11 P.M. David said they should be back before then but if they weren’t then that was the goal. One last goodbye for the kids and a few last pets for the cat, and David and Tracy were out the door. Dave tipped back the refrigerator back onto the truck and closed the tail gate. Then, they were off.