It's the most trash-cluttered time of the year.
It's that weeklong stretch between Christmas and New Year's Day, when the garbage can's full of turkey bones and wrapping paper, and the recycling bin's overflowing with the empty shells of Christmas spirits past.
Some Columbus residents wager that if they just go on and put all that out by the curb, city garbage trucks at some point will come by and get it. Forget the holiday pickup schedule, whatever the heck it is this year -- just get that clutter out of the house.
Others want to know when the trucks will come and the garbage will go, with the city's Christmas and New Year's Day holidays killing two Tuesday collections in a row.
Trash pickup goes back on its usual schedule today, Friday and Monday, and Tuesday's garbage and recycling with be collected Wednesday, Jan. 2.
Online astronomy news alerts gave everyone a big Christmas tease with reports of the giant planet Jupiter appearing close to the moon Tuesday night.
It would have been beautiful, probably, if anyone could see it.
But with storms ripping across the South and overcast skies blocking the view, the Christmas Jupiter-moon conjunction just wasn't the astronomical event it was hyped up to be.
A winter sky show on a cold clear night can be striking, as the air's usually so much clearer than on humid summer evenings. The moon and Jupiter now are parting ways, but still near enough to be worth watching, if the clouds ever dissipate.
The astronomy website Earthsky.org recommends breaking out the telescope or high-powered binoculars to check out the moons of Jupiter, as the satellites of another planet can seem so much more intriguing than our own.
Schools are out on Christmas break, but that doesn't mean we stop learning. So before we flip the calendar, it's a good time to relay this sweet and profound exchange from earlier this year:
A Columbus elementary school girl told her mother that another girl at school had said to her, "Your skin is ugly."
The mother asked, "What did you do? Did you tell the teacher?"
The daughter answered, "First I wanted to cry. Then I thought of the teacher. But instead, I asked her, 'Can we be friends?'"
It seems appropriate that we close the final edition of Chatter in 2012 with a salute to a person who has served Columbus with class, dignity and results.
And that individual is none other than Carmen Cavezza, the retired U.S. Army lieutenant general who just entered the world of retirement from his job as executive director of the Cunningham Center for Leadership Development at Columbus State University.
Cavezza's career also included a tour of duty as a combat brigade commander at Fort Benning. That was before his military retirement led him to the ranks of civilian chief of the 1996 Summer Olympics women's fast-pitch softball competition in Columbus.
He followed that up by becoming city manager of Columbus before moving into the Cunningham Center position. And, even now, the former soldier is working hard to get the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center completely debt free, which we doubt will occur expeditiously.
Appropriately, the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce has chosen to honor Cavezza with the Jim Woodruff Jr. Memorial Award at the organization's annual meeting Jan. 12 at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. The award is referred to as the "Hall of Fame of Columbus Leadership."
But more about that honor later. Today, we simply give the retired general and city leader that long, crisp salute.