Well, I must confess I'm not an avid reader of this forum (mostly think it has to do with some of the navigation issues and my own personal preference -- or ignorance, for that matter). But I've been wrapped in to this thread and quite a few people have made some really good points, and meant to reply sooner... guess I'll just have to wrap it all up in this post (apologies for the length). And, I think largely as a result of reading this thread from other experienced cachers, I'm starting to change my own views on "trackables" as well.
What she said! We had one bug that went missing for over a year. Couldn't figure out where it went and the owner finally gave up on us finding it. I was convinced the cat had hidden it somewhere. When we finally found it, it was while on a maintenance visit to a cache my brother had put out. The TB was in the container and just hadn't been discovered by any of the finders. So we re-grabbed it and got it active again. No idea how it ended up there but I am still blaming the cat.
This point had me in hysterics... mostly because we have the brother of that cat. NoSuchCache tries to not even put out earrings or other "fascinating" objects on places like the bathroom sink... otherwise she risks finding them some place else entirely, often days or weeks (?) later, if at all. Nevermind our efforts to keep this cat off of surfaces like counters (I think he likes the sinks).
I think caching in the snow takes a certain sort of person/attitude... and even then, you still have to be "in the mood for it." Personally, I've had a blast putting on the snow shoes for a hike out in the woods in a couple feet of snow... of course, we tell ourselves we're "going hiking" and, if the cache that's along the route looks like it might be retrievable, we'll grab it -- otherwise we tend to call "Time of Death" a lot sooner in the search than we might were the ground clear.
Me, I'll generally try to not pick up a bug unless I think I can move it "soon" (within a week). Even then, I've also been guilty of holding a bug for too long. Even then, I try to make sure that I'm in-contact with the owner just to let them know I'm alive, I have their bug and it's safe, etc. With that said, there are times where life takes over and even that simple communication seems impossible.
So, yeah, I'm beginning to think a month is more of a reasonable goal... given that most people work for a living (and work/life can be pretty unpredictable at times), that's generally about eight available days of caching for many folks (and it's not like they don't have other things to do when they're not working).
I think you pretty much nailed it right there...
...and here is where the "experience" pays off, I think. I know I've probably been guilty of putting bugs in places where it might not be such a good location (ie. potentially high muggle factor) and, well, I kind of feel stupid for not having thought about it in quite-that-light before. I've also recently been sick to my stomach after placing someone's nice limited edition coin in a cache that since seems to have suffered the wrath of a bulldozer.
My own pseudo-aside with regard to the above: The above-mentioned coin was placed in an appropriate cache, close to a type of landmark specifically outlined in the bug's goals (and this was a 2k mile journey for it; and its first move since release). After a long drive home, we did a bit more research on the cache and became a little worried due to an apparent previous disappearance of a "nice" coin from the location.; we crossed our fingers and hoped someone would pick it up quickly. However, after monitoring it for a couple of weeks, the cache started to have some DNFs posted... and apparently, a bulldozer had moved in to the area. Looking at some pictures of the area by recent visitors, we're crossing our fingers that the cache might still be there (as it looks like an area similar to the hide might still be standing). Unfortunately, the cache owner has not yet made it back out to the cache, nor have I had the chance to make the drive, myself (only an hour and a half away from where I sit right now). In our defense, we had also both been sick for a week and a half and I think we were lucky to have even gotten out to place the thing (mostly out of an obligation we felt to the bug owner -- especially since they were already asking that we move it along).
But, suffice to say, even when we thought we had done right by the bug, we're quite surprised (and deeply saddened) to have this happen and feel somewhat responsible for it (and we're currently trying to see if we can somehow make amends). Likewise as a result of this (along with reading this thread), I think we might change our attitude towards bugs (especially the nicer ones).
I think I'm starting to fit in to the same category as your caching partner... at least at this point I've resolved to only distribute bugs with dog tags attached to items I'm not worried about "losing" (not like the guidelines don't already say that, eh?).
Yeah, I think two weeks is only there because it was a compromise between anything that sounded "overly long" and trying to give people ample time to get it out. You tell people to try to do it within a month, the average time to recirculate them will increase to three months. Tell them two weeks and, hopefully, they can manage within a month or month and a half. Myself, as previously stated, I try not to pick up bugs that I'm not relatively confident that I can move (or attempt to move) within a week -- as someone else also said, I've often gone out to try to dump a bug in an appropriate spot commensurate with the bug's goals and desires, only to find out when I got there that there's no way the bug is going to fit inside the cache unless I either gut the contents (not gonna happen) or do "surgery" on the bug (also not going to happen).