|Sometimes you'll see these kitschy little warnings installed on residents' front lawns. As if they do any good.|
|These bags. |
Screengrabbed from this URL.
Let me explain through the usual logical strategy of presenting the starting conditions, describing the dilemma that those conditions generate, and neatly resolving the predicament via description of the creative solution.
The waste management deal that was struck in our home was as follows: The child wanted our family to get a dog - she was the sole driver behind that decision. Therefore, the child has certain inalienable responsibilities with respect to that dog. One of those responsibilities involves picking up dog poop on a daily basis, operative word being daily.
This deal is non-negotiable, but there are two practical challenges associated with it:
- The child cannot always fulfill this responsibility in a timely manner. With school and other activities, there may be a significant lag time between the initial depositing and subsequent responsible remediation of said waste. Meanwhile, life goes on, and Mama is frequently working in the back yard. You've no doubt heard the expression, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"? Well, if Mama steps in dog doo as she's doing her yard work, the situation morphs into the ultimate scenario in which there ain't nobody happy in this house. Happiness becomes a distant memory at that point.
- Children have eagle eyes in all situations except those in which they would rather not participate. There have been too many times when the child has, indeed, fulfilled her daily responsibility, except she "missed one". One in which Mama then proceeded to step. Cue the widespread unhappiness.
So basically, we needed a workaround to these practical challenges, and this is what I came up with.
|With a nod to general industry safety protocols and the OSHA Lockout-Tagout (LO-TO) standard in particular, I obtained this collection of fire-engine-red plastic bowls from Walmart. They were about one dollar apiece.|
LO-TO was designed for the control of hazardous energy. The only real difference here is that I am controlling hazardous matter. The principles are similar: identification and isolation prior to resolution of the maintenance demands that triggered the need for the procedure.
So whenever I spot the offending hazardous material, I simply toss a bright red plastic bowl over the top of it until my child is available to do the collecting. This procedure neatly resolves the two predicaments described above:
- It effectively isolates real-time waste from Mama's feet, and
- It removes all reasonable possibility that the child can legitimately claim an "Oops, I missed one". Each and every one of them gets flagged with their own special Red Alerts - there's no way they can be overlooked.
Of course, for every such instance of thinking outside the box or bag, someone will inevitably misinterpret the intent. In our case, I was completely mortified to discover that our non-English-speaking lawn crew apparently deduced that we must be preserving dog waste for some special family ritual or something.