When we moved in to our new house almost three years ago, I ordered a fancy motion activated trash can. With a simple move of your hand over the lid it opened and allowed you to dump your waste in without any contact with the germ laden lid. It was glorious.
This might surprise you, but our house is pretty nasty sometimes. People are still not overly concerned with fecal matter, thorough hand washing post sandbox or penis touching is not a given, and I prepare a lot of chicken. I could hose down our house with Purell once a day and there is still a good chance a black light would scare the hell out of all of us when it revealed the truth.
I thought the no touch trash can was a step in the right direction, one nudge closer to sanitized bliss, all for the bargain Overstock.com price of $85.
Alex was unfortunately not as moved.
Spending $85 on a trashcan just wasn't his idea of smart investing. He wasn't moved by my argument that we would be saving thousands of dollars by avoiding illnesses like the flu and Ebola.
Apparently he hadn't read The Hot Zone and been scared shit-less, so my arguments were useless on him. I've thought about purchasing Contagion so that it could be playing continuously through the house to increase his fear, but I'm not even sure he would care. He's like a robot.
He was slightly influenced by the cool factor, but unfortunately he just doesn't care about being cool. It's so weird. I have been trying to understand this for years, but he isn't influenced by other people's opinions of him. We are working through it as a couple, but I fear he might not ever really care in his heart.
Once Alex got over the cost and he spent some time with it though, we both enjoyed the trash can. It was a small, but intense joy every time one of us had to throw something away. I never worried about touching the lid with my chicken juices and killing my family. Every guest that had to throw something away commented on how fun it was, clearly they were impressed and amused...a winning combination for people thinking we were cool. We had everything we ever wanted.
We were really happy.
After a few months though the batteries were running out every few weeks due to everyone's amusement with it. D Batteries aren't cheap, even at Costco, and the strain on our finances made us protective and selfish with throwing stuff away. Suggestions were made about having a small trash can next to the larger one to minimize the number of times we needed to open it. I found myself yelling at the boys when I thought they were playing with it, often just throwing something away.
What had we become?
Then one day, a mere six months after it arrived at our doorstep, it just stopped working. No change in batteries or resetting the power could restore the sensor mechanism to it's original glory. We were devastated, obviously.
We didn't feel like we could just throw it out, so we continued to use it. There is a small finger grip to pull up the lid and that became our regular method of opening. That was two years ago and nothing has been the same since. It's so disgusting.
Each time we have to throw something away we are struck with the nastiness of our family's waste. While cooking dinner I am convinced that I am going to infect my family with a strain of bacteria so powerful we wouldn't be able to fight it. I mean, who knows how much funk is growing in that little finger grip? It's so small and filled with little crevices that I can't even actually clean it properly.
I spray it with Clorox Clean-Up as often as I can, but I am confident there are germs in there laughing at me. I can actually hear them.
Any trip to the trash can is immediately followed by a hand washing, or at least it was until we became exhausted by it and progressively more and more apathetic in our fear. We've come to the point where we accept the funk as part of throwing things away. It doesn't mean we don't care about what's happening there, we just had to find a way to not obsess over it with each toss of a paper towel so we could live our lives.
Last summer, I started dreaming of something better for my family. I found the trashcan to beat all trashcans for us. It opens via a sturdy, classic foot pedal, no longer relying on the fancy electronic mechanisms that had betrayed us in our current model. It has a trash bin AND a recycle bin so that our recycling items no longer have to pile on the counter, waiting for someone to be so annoyed with them that they carry them to the garage.
It's beautiful. A perfect stainless rectangle, substantial, but not obnoxious. I love it.
I want it. I need it. I am spending way too many hours thinking about this trashcan. I Google it often, examining and reexamining it's features. I dream about having it in the kitchen with me, a solid and reliable addition to our family. I know it wouldn't let me down like the current one we have.
So what's holding me back?
This trashcan is $180. ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY FREAKIN' DOLLARS!!!
I've been tracking Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons for months to see if there is any way I could trick this trashcan in to coming home with me for less. The least amount of money I can get it for is $140.
This just feels wrong.
Every week I tell myself I am going to take $140 out of our cash expenses and just buy it. I know I would love it. I know I'd feel so much more confident that we'd never be infected with worms or salmonella if this were in our house. I know we would be happier, obviously, but $140 is a lot of money.
I thought about taking some of my Christmas money to purchase it, but then I found all those shoes I wanted, and a watch, and my appearance suddenly seemed more important than our trash can. I stand behind my decision to look good instead of have the trash can, but now I'm still thinking about it.
Will this ever me mine? Will our fear of nasty germs every time we throw something away ever leave us? Will we ever be able to hold our heads high again when a house guest asks us where the trash can is?
Should I just go buy it?
Do you think Alex would leave me for spending $140 on a trashcan when he couldn't get over spending $85?
Do you think it would be worth the sacrifice of my marriage?
I think I might think it is. I need that trashcan.