Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ummm...the Sheriff is in our back yard!

Today wasn't a very productive day with regards to working on the house.  As a matter of fact, every Tuesday appears to be the "day off" from physical labor of that caliber.  Given that nothing was done, I figured I would share about the first visit from the Sheriff.

Obviously, being a city boy most of my adult life, I am not accustom to the "ways of the county".  There is a lot of conflicting, erroneous, and sometimes just plain wrong information.  One such conflicting set of information was in regards to "burning your trash".  Let me start by saying that YOU CANNOT JUST "BURN YOUR TRASH"...EVEN IN THE COUNTY!  As with everywhere else, there are rules.  Ask me how I know...

How do I know?  Well...I was told...by someone that could do something about it.  But before I tell you how/why I was told, let me take you down the path of "discovery":
First, when discussing with my realtor: "Yes, out in the county you don't have to abide by the burn days that Maricopa county enforces.  You can simply burn your trash whenever you want"

Second, a friend at work: "Yea, just last weekend I went with my buddy out in the county and we burned an old couch.  His comment was that this one burned much better than the last...that implies he has done it before!"

Third, my thoughts turned to how to get rid of all of this nasty old smelly carpet (the description I will leave for another post...this house was amazingly disgusting...to put it mildly).  It would take forever to get rid of a trash can at a time and it was cost prohibitive to rent a dumpster or have someone haul it away.  So I looked up burning carpet online and found that congress is actually funding studies to figure out how to reduce landfill waste, and one of the more promising studies indicates that burning old carpet actually helps coal burn cleaner because of the heat it puts off.  So of course I'm thinking...if it's good enough for congress, it must be OK for me.

Well...let me tell you, not only is burning carpet and pad a little scary (I can't believe the flammability of this stuff...and it covers a large portion of every house I have ever owned!) but when it burns, it emits a black smoke that stinks very badly.  In this particular case it could have been animal pee and poo or the carpet, but either way, the neighbors did not like it.  The next thing I know I have a fireball about 15 feet high, in light wind, blowing likely toxic smoke in the direction of the neighbors houses.

Needless to say, about 10 minutes later my wife yells: "Ummmm....yea....there is a Sheriff in our back yard!"

Well...I go meet the guy.  One of the nicest, largest men I have met.  He asks me what I am burning.  My reply: "Just a bunch of trash."
Sheriff: "The neighbors are complaining."
Me: "I'm sorry about that.  It got a little bigger than I had realized.  I will make sure to keep it down in the future"
Sheriff: "Yea, that would be a good idea.  What are you burning anyway"
Me: "Oh...a bunch of cardboard and a couple of scraps of carpet"
Sheriff: "Well...you probably shouldn't burn that, or those tires over there (note...there were no tires in the fire).  If the environmental guys hear about it, they won't be very happy, and you don't want them on your bad side".
Me: "Ahhh....good to know.  Anything else?"
Sheriff: "Yea...you should probably keep it to things like wood and paper and stuff."
Me: "Oh...OK, I will do that.  Thank you sir"
Sheriff: "You have a good day, and keep it under control".

Needless to say...I now know the rules about burning.  Sheriff visit #1 complete...transition to redneck in full swing!

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