It was 7 p.m. Sunday night and Mary Ellen and I were having the same conversation we always have at that time. “Is this the week we put out the recycling?” I asked my wife.

“No, we put it out last week, didn’t we?”

“We did, but they didn’t pick it up, so it must be this week.”

“But I think we put it out too late and we simply missed the truck,” said Mary Ellen. “Well, does anyone else have their recycle bin out?”

“Yes, Jerry has his out,” I said.

“You can’t go by him. Jerry puts it out every Monday, Dick. He’s the cause of the confusion every week.”

“Wait, there’s Eric putting his out, now. I’m going to put ours out, too.”

As I was wheeling our trash and recycling dumpsters out of the garage, Eric called to me. “Dick, is this the correct Monday for the recycling?”

“I’m not sure, Eric. But now I see Paul putting his out.”

I called to Paul: “Paul, are you sure this is the week for recycling?”

“I don’t think it is, Dick, but I saw you guys putting yours out, and I figured you must know what you’re doing.”

Suddenly, about three garage doors opened and Maurizio, Susan and Dave all put their recycling containers at the curb. The next thing we knew, every house had their yellow-lidded receptacles in the driveway.

Mary Ellen and I began to think about this. “If this is the wrong week, everyone will be blaming us,” she said.

We decided not to mess with the situation in the hopes that maybe we had the correct day. Monday at about 4 p.m. the bins were still sitting untouched, so I watched everyone haul their recyclables back into their garages. There were a lot of people talking trash about the Wolfsies in our neighborhood because of the extra work we had caused them.

The next morning was Tuesday and about 11 a.m. I headed outside to the mailbox with some outgoing mail. Just as I was putting the red flag up, from around the corner came Rays Recycling. “NO, NO!” I screamed. Not on a Tuesday.  It’s every other Monday. Then I remembered, Monday was Martin Luther King Day. No pick-up.

I bolted for the garage, then dragged my bin through the snow to the curb. The huge arms extended from the sides of the truck, clutching the container and emptying the contents.

I felt terribly guilty that I had messed up everyone on the block, so the next day I organized a neighborhood meeting where we created a recycling schedule for the next 20 years and emailed the spreadsheet to everyone. We included detailed information about what you should recycle and what you shouldn’t… and we added a friendly reminder to all about which side of the bin should point toward the street.

The whole thing was very educational, but I agree with Kermit the Frog. It’s not easy being green.

- Dick Wolfsie appears weekdays on television sharing his humor, stories and video essays. His column appears weekly in The Times. E-mail Dick at Wolfsie@aol.com