Monday, September 19, 2005

Opportunity to rise to the occasion

When I came home, it didn't take long before my wife said it.

HER: "Honey, I'm sorry. I screwed up big time."

Hmmmm. What could she have done? It can't be that bad.

HER: "I accidentally threw away our American Airlines vouchers."

She was upset about it. I was upset about it. Not upset at my wife, mind was clear she'd had a little brain fart. But we were so excited to be bumped from the NY/Boston leg of our flight last month. We had thought we'd get a pair of $50 vouchers...but it was $150 vouchers. Awesome.

Now, they were gone. $300. That's a lot of vacation money.

HER: "I cleaned out the travel envelope [the same one she loved so much and sang the praises of] the other day. I said to myself: 'heck, we don't need any of this anymore.' I tossed it a couple of days ago. Only today did I realize the vouchers were in there. They're gone."
ME: "Are they in our recycling box?"
HER: "We can check, but I don't think so."
ME: "Can we call American?"
HER: "We can try."
ME: "But I bet they won't issue new ones. Are they in the recycling outside?"
HER: "No. I accidentally tossed them into the dumpster. As soon as I let them go, I realized it was a mistake, but I couldn't reach in to move them."

I realize it's time.

I would not want to be married to a woman who is regularly sad, upset, or in need. I'm not into high-maintenance partners. But every now and then, I like being given an opportunity to rise to the occasion.

ME: "I think three hundred bucks is worth a little dumpster diving. Don't you?"

She tries to stop me.

HER: "Can we look in the box and call American first?"

She fails.

I zip back into the bedroom, remove my nice teacher clothes and get into ratty stuff. It's time.

She looks impressed at my manliness.

HER: "If you find them, I'll get you a really nice present!"

I step out into the condo parking lot.

The dumpster is mostly empty. This could be bad, as it could mean our vouchers are at the dump...and while I'll dig in a dumpster for my wife (and $300), I won't dig in a dump. But right there in the middle of the dumpster, there it is...a paper Whole Foods bag.

My wife does all the shopping there. That's our bag. But is it the bag with the vouchers?

It's sitting at a 45-degree angle, but facing towards the ground. It has a handle, however. My freakishly-long arms are just long enough to hook a handle and pull the bag upright. In the process, a little bit of the bag's contents spill out, but most stay in.

I need to check the spilled contents. It's time to step in.

I'm not athletic enough to hurdle into the dumpster, or even to clamber into it without pulling a gluteal muscle. Fortunately, the dumpster is next to a wooden fence with a conveniently-located horizontal middle beam. I'm in the dumpster quickly and easily. On the floor of the dumpster, I pick through the slightly-damp items that fell out of the Whole Foods bag. An issue of ESPN The Magazine. An empty box of Cap'n Crunch.

Yep. Those are ours. (Okay, mine.) And they're the only things to fall out.

I step back out of the dumpster to inspect the contents of the Whole Foods bag. I'll need to go through the items individually to be sure I don't miss the vouchers.

Thank God they were like the fifth things from the top.

My present: my baby will make lobster for dinner sometime soon.

I'm happy about the $300 back in our lives, and I'm happy about the lobster...but I'm most happy to have a rare opportunity to show what I'll do to make my baby un-sad and un-upset.


kaphine said...

Oh, my gawd. I love you so much. I love that you want to be Swankette's knight in shining armor. That not only do you want to in theory, but that you put it into practice. I'm so glad you're her husband. I'm so glad she's brought you into my life, too. I love you.

Shannin said...

How very sweet...The last time I went dumpster diving was when I realized I through out my driver's license. That was totally worth digging through trash - who wants to deal with the DMV?

lemming said...

(loud applause)okpo

Raging Red said...

They sell Cap'n Crunch at Whole Foods?

TeacherRefPoet said...

Great question, Red--and no, they don't. I bought it on my own at QFC.

Jess. said...

Wow. Not every guy would go to such lengths. I'm glad you're married to one of my best friends because you are awesome, too.

brett said...

i once dumpster dove (or in my case-trash can dove) for a $100 home depot gift card that someone insisted they hadn't thrown away. i got a little dirty from the holiday mush, but it was worth it.

dive in kids.