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Purge Surge

Lousy picture, cool place.

You know what I love? Throwing shit out. Oh, sweet Jesus, I love throwing shit out.

I live in a house full of compulsive collectors. My son collects Google paraphanalia, early Apple computers, flash drives and techie t-shirts. (My favorite shows two stick figures. One says "Make me a sandwich." The other says, "What? Make it yourself." The first guy says, "Sudo make me a sandwich," to which the second guy replies, "Okay." I have no idea what it means, but the geeks wet themselves when they see it.)

My daughter collects plush toys, clothing that no longer fits, fans, princess outfits, shoes, and anything involving pandas. (Despite all that, she's a jock. I bought her a heavy bag and boxing gloves for Christmas. She's eight years old and can land a nasty hook. It sounds cute till she clocks you.)

My wife collects, as best I can tell, randomly-chosen newspaper clippings, books she won't actually read, CD's she doesn't actually listen to, and shoes. Oh, and stupid crap for the animals. And second copies of books she forgot she already bought. Plus pens. Blankets. Empty file folders. Grudges and resentments . . . except that applies to all women, really, doesn't it?

Damn: I think I just added to that last category.

You know what I collect? Big lawn and leaf bags full of their crap.

Now that we're putting the house on the market, (great timing, Reynolds,) and moving to the Euro zone, (yay, a stupidity daily double,) I have carte blanche to empty the house. To drain the swamp.

You cannot possibly imagine how much crap I have already hauled off to the dump or placed at curbside for Monday morning pick-up. If you were standing still I could bury you in the crap I've thrown out. I could fill your swimming pool with it. If I were to pile it all, one bag atop another, and you decided to climb that pile, you'd need oxygen before you reached the top.

The garage, (or as I like to think of it, the big room full of stupid crap I said we shouldn't buy,) is almost purged. The third floor is almost purged. (Just two guinea pigs away from a clean top floor. Anyone want a couple of Guinea pigs? It's not like they shit their own weight each day or anything.) I've purged my kitchen (yes, it's mine) and pantry. And the attic (the room full of crap I've been trying to throw out for fifteen years) awaits.

Habitat for Humanity has taken a big chunk of the furniture. I've run my wife's SUV back and forth to the dump, the storage locker and the library. The walls are mostly clear of pictures. The painters are coming next week. The carpet guys soon after. Then it's the handyman and the cleaning people, and we will slap this anonymous suburban hellhole on the market and hope for the best.

That's the new house there in the picture. Not the one at the top of the hill, that's a castle belonging to the Frescobaldis. But see the whitish smudge halfway down the hill and to the left? That's the place. It's not the place we thought we had, which was on the campus of the International School, but it's the one I really wanted. Grapevines and cedars, thick stone walls and a view of vineyards and the town of Pontassieve.

But I can't go until I have thrown everything out. I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I'm planning a purge surge for Sunday.

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“Purge Surge”

  1. Blogger Transplanted Lawyer Says:

    You've done very well! I couldn't have picked a more ideal setting, and your kids will learn way more than they ever would in the States, too. Hopefully you can get high-speed internet, but you're not so far out of the city that this would seem to be an impossibility.

  2. Blogger fabius.maximus.cunctator Says:


    Funny, in our family I am the hunter gatherer and my wife instigates a nuit de St. Barthelmy whenever we move. Old clippings of Libération ca. 1984, paper targets documenting my shooting prowess in the early 90s, stuff I bought in Paris as a student when I was 12 kg lighter ... all have to go. My books are off-limits so as to avoid collateral damage to our marriage. Our children are too small to know how they ll turn out in this respect ...
    You are giving yours the opportunity to learn a lot more than other kids ever will but it will not always be easy I suppose.
    Lovely place yr going to. How long to Florence by car ?

  3. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    I don't know, TL, it could end up being a little Overlook Hotel if you know what I mean.

  4. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:


    I think we're making it almost too easy for an amateur psychologist. You like to preserve and take the pseudonym cunctator. I like to get rid of, and take a pseudonym derived from Ulysses S.Grant.

  5. Blogger fabius.maximus.cunctator Says:


    Funny in re the other dicussion - Fabius did wage a war of attrition against Hannibal.

    The choice of pseudonym was a bit tongue in cheek - I didn t want something too heroic or grandiloquent.

    My wife cd do with more delay sometimes. She says I drive like an irate boar. Autobahns are her nightmare as she gets rather nervous at 100 mph. As I do 130 when I can it is a thorny subject. As a result I graciously allow her to drive our daughter to school and breakfast with our boy.

  6. Blogger Ruth Anne Adams Says:

    Grit out your best McCain voice and say, "The purge is working."

    You have stumbled upon the perfect thing to do in the perfect season...cast out all that leaven in anticipation of Passover.

    So...are you a junk bulimic?

  7. Blogger Transplanted Lawyer Says:

    All work and no play may well make Michael a dull boy. But come on -- you're going to be living twenty klicks from Florence and you think you won't be getting out to play at all?

  8. Blogger Bookfraud Says:

    oh, sweet Jesus, I love throwing shit out.

    that's when you got me. i'm surprised you and i didn't get married instead.

    despite the wonders of the housing market and dollar of death, i'm insanely jealous of your move. you get to live in paradise and you get to leave the country. hope you have enough room for guests, because with the dollar what it is, you'll probably get plenty. of the self-invited kind.

  9. Blogger amba Says:

    Yeah . . .

    Grapevines and cedars, thick stone walls and a view of vineyards and the town of Pontassieve.

    Read it and weep.