I learned something today. A garbage dump is not a charming place to find spare car parts or a torn but usable couch like television and movies have led me to believe. The garbage dump is exactly what it sounds like: a place to dump piles of disgusting and slimy garbage. Apparently some dumps consist of a neat little row of dumpsters that you can delicately place your discarded belongings in without having to roll up a sleeve. In good old Madison, on an unseasonably warm and rainy day in winter, the dump is like a horrible stinky nightmare. Allow me to set the scene. The adventure begins with our friend Dan arriving to help us out with some odd handyman jobs. Dan did not know at this point what the day held in store for him. He rolled up in his huge pickup truck intending to paint a little trim, hang a mirror, maybe bust out a Phillips head if things got really wild. Upon his arrival at Neena, Deneen and I asked him in the kindest way we could muster if he would mind hauling four enormous plastic-wrapped bundles of nasty fiberglass insulation to the dump. He didn't mind (poor naive man) and even had some fancy haulin' straps to secure the bundles to his truck. Dan picked up a bundle and strolled across the street and tossed it nonchalantly into his truck. Deneen and I, or more accurately, Lucy and Ethel, each picked up a side of a bundle, laughing and swearing a little bit as it kept slipping out of our hands as our feet slipped out from under us in the icy slushy streets. Further laughter ensued when I bit it and landed neck first on top of the insulation bundle we were carrying. Naturally, there was something stabby in the bundle. Naturally, Deneen thinks it is very funny when I get mildly to moderately injured. Eventually we got all four bundles strapped down and Dan and I began the trip to the dump. Due to poor signage and lack of anybody deeming it necessary to supervise this situation, we drove around a bit before finding the weigh station. Once weighed (if you were curious, a large pickup with two passengers and a store's worth of insulation weights 6,900 pounds) we started to drive towards, well, the giant mountain of crap. As we began our ascent up the road we guessed was correct, Dan started to wrinkle his nose and said "Oh--ohh no" as the gentle aroma of garbage began to waft through the window. This was the moment when I gave up the "one man's trash is another man's treasure" fantasy. After the neat paved road turned out to be incorrect, we realized the road we needed was the mud path leading straight to the top of the mound. If I had tried this journey in my small hatchback, I would have sunk and been forced to make a new life for myself amongst the syringes and victims of mob hits. Fortunately, Dan revved his giant engine, and we stayed afloat. Perhaps on a dryer or more frozen day this would have been less dramatic, but on a foggy sloppy warm-ish winter day, mud (I use the term lightly, as it was mostly garbage juice) was splashing onto the windows like blood in a slasher movie. Once we splashed and spun our way to the top, we were greeted by the site of giant dump trucks dumping out tons of garbage. It was like riding up to the Hell's Angels on a Schwinn with a bell. Feeling like we were in the very wrong place and also hoping to not get bulldozed, we drove toward the small "Hand Dump" sign nearby. This small pile of items dumped by individuals instead of professionals contained some of the saddest looking toys I have ever seen. I made eye contact with a stuffed cow whose expression seemed only to say "FML." We climbed out of the truck, sank ankle deep into muck, then started to unload the insulation. Have you ever laughed right in somebody's face even though you knew you shouldn't be laughing? Laughed harder as you said to yourself Dan looks uncomfortable and he is doing you a favor? This is what happened when the wind blew the plastic off one of the bundles, and began to blow tufts of fiberglass into Dan's face and mouth. Like a champ, he spat out the scratchy bits of insulation while tossing the uneaten remainder of the bundle on top of Sadness the Cow and Friends. I uselessly stood nearby, not helping, doubled over with laughter. The lesson I learned from this experience is that next time I have something to throw away, I will leave it on somebody's doorstep in the middle of the night. The lesson you should have learned is to think twice before agreeing to help me and Deneen. When the store opens, I think we will be giving Dan a discount.