Talkin’ Trash: The Games Families Play

Will He or Won't He?

talkin' trash: The Games Families Play

Remember when the kids were little and you had family game night? Well, my live-at-home 26-year-old and I still play games together. More specifically, we play one game each week. More specific still, we play the same “talkin’ trash” game every Monday night. We play “Will he or won’t he … take out the trash?”

It’s a fun game. You may even play it at your house. There are set rules to it. It’s predictable – except for the outcome which makes my hair and blood-pressure rise.

The game has an element of “call and response.” And an element of “call and don’t respond.” And for still more variety, there’s even a slammed door response! So many options in this game!

The Game Begins

5:30 pm Monday
The Kid finishes his work day.

Me: “Would you please take the garbage cans to the street tonight?”

The Kid: “Me?”

Me: “No, I’m talking to the dog. Yes, you.”

The Kid: “Me? That’s unfair. I took it out last week.”

Me: “Yes, and now it’s this week and the garbage cans are full. The garbage men – and I – would ever so much appreciate it if you would move your can and the cans down to the curb.”

8 pm
The Kid makes a brief appearance in the family room as he lets the dog out back.

Me: “Hey, you won’t forget to take the garbage out, will you?”

The Kid … silence.

11 pm
Handsome Hubby and I turn the TV off and head to bed.

11:21 pm
HH starts snoring. I cover my head with a pillow.

11:39 pm
Boom. Slam. Boom. Slam. Boom. Slam. Ah, the sound of The Kid taking the garbage out!

“Or is he?” I wonder. Maybe he’s just let the dog out again. Maybe he forgot to take the garbage out. I toss and turn. I  dream of rotting fruit, yellowing newspaper, and towers of cardboard boxes and plastic containers – smelly and moldy.

Talkin’ Trash: Round Two

6 a.m. Tuesday
I am jolted awake from my restless slumber by the sound of the first of the three garbage trucks screeching to a halt in front of our house. So, did The Kid take the trash out last night or not? I jump up, race to the door, and peer out.

Ninety-nine percent of the time The Kid comes through. But it is that one past failure that haunts me. Isn’t that just like a middle-aged mom (MAM)? Victories remembered, but still aware of the possibility of danger ahead.

Bending the Rules:  Advanced Trash Talkin’

Sometimes I “bend” the rules of the game. OK. I cheat. I take out the regular trash and the compost – you know the smelly, yucky stuff. I leave the heavy-lifting boxes, newspapers and cardboard boxes for The Kid.

I did that trick this week. Casually, as we were talkin’ trash over dinner, I asked if anybody had remembered to bring in the last garbage can from the street. (The paper recycling truck always comes late.)

Ever helpful, The Kid, who I know for a fact, had just taken some garbage out, said, “Oh, I saw it but ignored it.”

I was minestrone soup mid-mouthful, so I’m not sure he heard my choking and muffled harrumph. It took me a moment to regain my composure. At that moment, I decided to employ and deploy a different, less confrontational, more nurturing trash talkin’ strategy – after all, I’m a wise MAM, I’ve been around the playground a few times, I know how to deal with my kids if they now tower over me by 12 inches.

Me: “Did you notice that I helped? I took out the regular garbage and the compost stuff and just left you the heavy paper stuff?”

The Kid: “Helped? Admit it. You just do that because you don’t care as much if that stuff sits an extra week. Admit it. You don’t trust me.”

And before I could answer (mid-soup spoonful again), he continued his attack:

“And did you notice, just to annoy you, I didn’t bother to break down those last two boxes you got?”

Soup swallowed, I started to laugh. I nodded my head. We both laughed.

And the Winner is …

The game was over for the week. We both had won!

Ah, the games families play. Talkin’ Trash. Fun for the whole family. Good for the environment too!

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