Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Smell of Disappointment. . . and Success!

WARNING: Long story!

I had traumatic Easter morning. I was headed on my way to my mom and dad's for brunch and figured I'd throw out the trash. Not a good idea. The apartment has a trash compactor where the opening is 5 feet of the ground and it's about 2.5 by 3.5. (Hint: This is an important fact for later in the story.) So every time I thrown something away I have to hoist is into the air. I do this by getting momentum from swinging it in and letting go. Not a good idea today.

Backstory time: My Mammaw passed away this past February. She suffered from Alzheimer's and had not been doing well for some time. She willed me some of her necklaces. My favorite by far is a long gold chain with a heart pendant. I wear it rather often and feel very sentimental about it. Do you see where this is going?

So I swing my trash into the opening and feel a STRONG pull on my neck only to see the pendant from my grandmother's necklace going into the trash compactor. I'm surprised that the entire chain didn't break off since it pulled so hard. The pendant got caught on the ties you use to close the bag and went flying in. Needless to say, it was freakout time. I ran for my phone in the car, parked in the pull-through for the trash. I called mom and totally lost it. Complete hysterics. She thought I'd been in a car accident. This was one thing I valued from my grandmother and I'd just thrown it away. It's not like I;d lost it while I was out for the day and had no clue where to find it. It was IN THE TRASH. If I didn't get it out, it would end up in a landfill. Mom was trying to calm me down by telling me that Mammaw would have said to "Stop crying" and that "It was just a necklace". That was beside the point. I'm still in hysterics.

The compactor has an incline of about 5 feet where the trash slides down before landing on a ledge. When you close the door, the ledge retracts and the trash falls down before the ledge reappears and pushes the trash toward the back of the LARGE container. I'm praying that the pendant is on the ledge with the bag. I can't get in there by self without a boost and I'm in decent clothes. I spot a plastic chair on someones porch and after much debate decide to borrow it in hopes that they won't get too pissed. (I'm still crying and talking to mom on the phone.) I get up on the chair and peer in but can't see the pendant. Mom at this point whispers to Dad that, "We're going to have to go up there." I start crying even more that that will ruin brunch and Easter and that driving 40 minutes to help me is nuts. Well, she insisted because I was talking about how I could climb in without getting squished. I did need help getting back out and was going to be screwed if someone didn't see me in there and threw their trash in and closed the door on me. I also didn't want to leave the compactor to change clothes for fear that someone would close the door and my plan would be ruined. (Mom and Dad are in the car driving up to help or at least comfort me since Mom didn't think I could drive in that state.)

Then I guy comes out of his apartment (where I jacked the chair, oops) and asks if I need help because he saw me crying. He's very helpful and guards the door and fend off people throwing out their trash while I go throw on different clothes so I can climb climb in. He looked at me like I was nuts when I told him I was going in. Ha. I climbed in and got down to the ledge (about 2 feet wide) and moved my bag out of the way only to see nothing. Crap! It's fallen down into the bottom. I could climb down there but the ledge is out too far and I can't figure out how to slide in and out of the bottom without hurting myself. I climb back out, slightly covered in grossness, and I don't know what to do next. The guy then picked the lock on the back of the compactor so we could see if it fell out the side. Nope. (Mom and Dad are almost here.) I suggest that if I closed the door the ledge might retract just enough that I can slide down and have enough space to get to the bottom. He's not so sure it will work, but I'm convinced. I tell my parents will be there soon and thanks for all his help. He told me that if someone saw his daughter crying he hoped someone would help her too. Nice guy.

Mom and Dad appear and I pitch my plan to Dad. He's up for it since when you open the door the compactor stops for safety reasons. Apparently people aren't meant to crawl inside! After crawling in and pushing gross bags of trash to the back of the compactor for about 5 minutes I'm repeating to myself that "It's just a necklace." My arms and legs are covered in wet gross and I'm about to give up when I moved another bag and I spotted it! THANK THE LORD! I start crying again. I crawl out just losing it! Mom is hugging me and don't hug back for fear of getting something on her. She reminded me that persistence pays off and that I was meant to find it. I took the nice guy's chair back and knocked on his door to show him my find. I went back to throw away the 5-6 people's trash that has piled up while I was having my ordeal. Yes, I had to explain why I was crying to all of them as they left their trash there.

Dad went home and Mom came back to the apt. with me to wait while I washed up and got dressed again. She rode with me down to Dickinson and we eventually eat brunch, an hour and a half after our planned time.

Yes, I was next to/in a trash compactor freaking out for and hour and a half this morning. In the car mom and I talked about why I lost it so badly. It was like losing MAmmaw all over again. The item I treasured so much was gone. I felt so stupid for what happened and wanted to go back and re-do my mistake. I plan on taking it to a jeweler in the morning to have it fixed and continue wearing it. I'll just have to make sure it tucked into my shirt next time I go to throw the trash out!
If I've hung out with you lately you've probably seen the necklace.

You can see where the loop just broke apart.


  1. Nikki Ann, I am glad you found that thing. As I was reading it I was wishing I were there to help you, ma'am.

  2. Whoa! That's intense! Glad you found it :) I had some of my grandmother's jewelry stolen in 9th grade. I remember being so upset. It's hard when you know it's more than just a piece of jewelry!

  3. This is hysterical. I wear my Grandma Kate's silver bracelet everyday, and I know I would have done the same thing. What a memory you have made. :o)


  4. Laura gave me your blog address and now it's on my list of blogs to check. I assume you already know this because you stalk your blog readers. =-) Anyway, your story made me laugh-not because of what you lost-but because I've had to do the same thing. I threw my house keys into the dumpster with the trash bag one time. I had to climb in to get them because I didn't have my cell phone with me to call my husband to come bail me out. So...I feel your pain. Glad you found the charm!!