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 you...it 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?"
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.