The Hula’s have contracted a chronic illness: Plasticus Hordus. Loosely translated it means we are unable to throw away plastic containers of any kind, especially those with lids. I think we inherited it from Mama J. who has every Cool Whip container she has emptied in the last decade and a collection of Dixie cups that she started during the Vietnam War. I tried to keep this pox out of my house, but it didn’t work. At this point, I’m just trying to keep it from spreading. Anyone who drags another plastic cup or bowl into my house is in big trouble.
Despite my best efforts to avoid a graveyard of plastic in my kitchen cabinets, I have managed to collect quite a stash of the stuff. I wouldn’t mind if we actually used it, but we don’t. We have enough bowls to feed Sherman’s army and a cup from every amusement park in the Midwest. We may have saved money on refills by buying those $10 souvenir cups at Six Flags, but they’ve cost me plenty of patience every time I’ve had to lasso one back into the cabinet. We have Gladware, Tupperware, Rubbermaid bowls and Chuck E. Cheese cups. Big cups, small cups, coffee cups and sippie cups. We have cups with super duper straws and flip top lids. Tall cups, skinny cups and fat, round mugs. And apparently plastic ware has the ability to reproduce in the dark because the cabinet seems to get fuller every day, even if I don’t add anything to it. Stuff tumbles out every time I open the door, and I don’t even recognize some of it. Rest assured, though, if it’s one of Mama J.’s containers, she will come calling for it. I have a habit of accepting her leftovers and forgetting to return the container. She has the memory of an elephant and will come searching for any Gladware that’s been MIA for more than two days. She will also lop off your head if you suggest that perhaps she should throw away disposable plates and cups instead of washing them in the dishwasher. Don’t ask me how I know this. (And please, no criticism from the green folks on this one. I’m working on it, okay.)
What I really don’t understand is our inability to throw any of this stuff away. That big plastic mug from King’s Island has sat in the cabinet unused for the last year. When I finally suggested throwing it away, I got nothing but protests. “We can’t throw that away. We paid $10 for it.” “So? We don’t use it.” “Yeah, but we might.” Back in the cabinet it goes until I can slip into the kitchen at midnight and toss it in the trash while everyone is asleep.
Every two years or so I get fed up and start slinging stuff into the trash. This usually happens after the plastic tumblers have tumbled out one too many times. I lose my temper and clean house. I throw away every last piece of plastic, march to the store and buy the $10 pack of 21 stackable containers that fit in a six inch space. I feel a purge coming on, although it’s a little early in the season. I usually like to do it in the winter. That way the orderliness lasts until amusement park season. Kind of a self imposed quarantine. After all, this stuff could be contagious.
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