Tag Archives: minimalism

So … there’s this other blog.


That’s where I talk about the next stage.  Chris and I are packing up and leaving Michigan to distribute free pie coast to coast.  It’s going to be 6 months or more in the little Vardo I’ve been posting pictures of since summer.  2 people, one dog, no privacy, no stereo equipment, only 1 milk crate of books, 1 duffel bag worth of clothes … it’s going to be an exercise in extreme minimalism for us.


Of course, we’re still going to have a car, but the house is mounted on the car, so it should count as one item.


Have a look around the new blog.  There’s also a fb page and a twitter handle.  Coming soon to a city near you!

We took the plunge today.  We are now a one car family (sort of).  I turned in the keys to the Pontiac Dad started buying in 2008, the car that my mom and sister took over when it became part of the estate.  I’ve been driving it for the last 2 years and it’s been a fantastic vehicle, but in the interest of simplicity, frugality, minimalism, and so much more, it was time to say good bye.


So now we have Chris’s car, a 15 year old BMW that has begun channeling it’s inner race car, now that we’ve replaced the tires and brakes.  It’s zippy, it’s economical, and it has 4 doors.  It’s a great car for us currently, and if/when spawnlings, it will be a great family car.  Chris is really sweet about sharing – I wouldn’t even have been able to consider getting rid of the Pontiac if Chris wasn’t so accommodating and generous.


And of course, I also have my giant truck, Gracie, but Gracie is not a daily driver.  Gracie is patiently awaiting the completion of the Tumbleweed Vardo.  Gracie and the Vardo will be most comfortable on open high ways and in state campgrounds, but will not be very comfortable driving downtown where I work.


I’ve begun adjusting to the whole public transportation thing.  I am fortunate enough to work for an employer that participates in a very cheap bus pass system – $5 for unlimited rides, per YEAR.  I love seeing the buildings and scenery pass by as I ride in the bus, things I don’t usually get to pay attention to if I’m driving.  A couple weeks ago, I saw some sky-writing in progress!  I really want a pair of giant head-engulfing headphones, though – I’ve already overheard a number of bizarre conversations that range from the perverse and disgusting to the pants-on-head crazy variety.


So what have you purged lately?

This happened.



Those are 5 boxes filled with books.  In the past 3 trips to the storage unit, I’ve probably brought home 20 boxes.  Chris was quick to remind me that since January, we’ve probably given away over 200 boxes filled with books to Salvation Army and the JCC.


I brought home 2 book cases last time, and tomorrow I’ll be bringing back 7 more book crates.  My new “home library” is a microcosm of Dad’s original house-sized collection.  Religion, history, conspiracy theories, sociology, philosophy, satire, physics, art.


Tomorrow someone is coming to buy some of the comics and maybe even the Rolling Stone “archives.”  Then it’s 5 days until Mom and Rachel come home and we start the Great Migration.

Today Chris and I started with a box of assorted cups – although not the giant box of tea cups.

Here we have some of the glasses from the china cabinet, all of which seem entirely superfluous for a man who generally drank only two beverages – store brand cola or instant coffee.



This was a neat find, although solidly in the category of “I wonder why Dad kept that.”




It’s a “Welcome to Ceasar’s Palace/Las Vegas” packet, with my grandparents’ names on it (not shown).  I was initially confused, because the only Ceasar’s I know of is a very depressing place in Windsor.  My best guess is that my grandfather was invited to Las Vegas for a psychology convention.  Perhaps this is a souvenir from my grandmother’s charming tale of how she wanted to visit a ranch for wild horses and ended up embarrassing my grandfather when she asked a taxi driver to take her to the Mustang Ranch.



Tangentially related, here’s a book we found called “Etiquette for Outlaws.”  Yes, that is a bar code on the left side of the book – this book was either stolen from or discarded from the Bennett High School library.  I wonder why … perhaps because the back of the book promises to reveal proper etiquette during jailhouse fights, while getting tattoed, and for gang initiations.  There’s a part of me that almost thinks Dad might have deliberately planted this book in the library, hoping to cause a stir.



This book belongs to my mother.  How exactly my Dad ended up taking it with him to New York is beyond me, but I’m really glad it hasn’t been damaged by mold or water or anything else.  And yes, Mom, if you’re reading, I put it in a safe place and I’ll deliver it to you next Sunday.



I just thought this book was too stunning to ignore.



This is the inscription on the inside of the beautiful book, dated 1866.  The book was itself published in 1864.



And this is an entirely different book, but I thought it was worth noting that Dad was rescuing library books as early as the late 1980’s.  We moved out of Owosso in 1989.


We ended up only having room for 4 boxes in Chris’s car this week, 3 of which are filled with books and one is filled with some of the fragile atrocities from a couple weeks ago.  We stopped by Mom’s house and I pawed through some of my boxes in her basement.  I filled a bag with Salvation Army things, shelter things, and things to give to my friend Lynn, but one item ended up making it back out of the give-away pile and back into my arms.


It was my giant Simba puppet, that I spent one whole summer working for when I was 9 or 10.  I’m pretty sure the deal was that my Dad would buy it for me if I skimmed bugs out of the pool every day.  At that point in my life, The Lion King was my favorite movie, and going to the Disney Store in the mall was a near religious experience.  I still remember locking my eyes onto that giant lion, and how wanting it consumed my heart.


As soon as I pulled Simba out of the box, I said aloud that I would give him to Lynn for her kids, since I already gave her several other members of Simba’s family.  But when Chris and I got in the car to leave, I wanted to hold Simba on my lap.  Chris was the one who actually had to convince me that it would be ok to hold on to this stuffed animal.  I felt so guilty for loving a material thing so much, for clinging to this relic from my childhood.  But the point of minimalism, or at least, the point of MY minimalism, is not to have only 100 things or only as many things as will fit in a backpack, but to make room for the important, meaningful things.  Simba qualified, so he’s staying.


Can’t forget that today (technically it’s Monday now) is Dad’s birthday.  He would be 61, or perhaps he IS 61 if he ran off to Morocco with a new identity.  There are so many things I wish I could tell him.  I wonder how he’d react if I could tell him I got my taxes done a few days ago, that I owe $400-odd dollars to the Federal Government, and I intend to pay in full.  I wonder how he would feel about Chris, if he would remember him as the same boy who, along with our friend Kevin, came to offer me moral support at the custody hearing all those years ago.


I might go out tomorrow night and try to find a way to celebrate Dad’s birthday.  On the rare occasions he drank alcohol, Dad enjoyed a Gin and Tonic, but I just can’t get down with a drink that tastes the way Pine-sol smells.  A good cigar might not be a bad idea, if I can actually get to a tobacco shop – there’s no way I would try to honor Dad’s memory with a Swisher.


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