victorianIf it’s been a little quiet around here, it’s because there are some big changes going down. If you’ve been following along, you know that about a year ago, we found ourselves with a San Jose house. And once I knew the Way to San Jose, the terriers and I started being citizens of the Bay Area, constantly on freeways shuttling between San Jose, San Francisco and Sonoma. Finally, we came to the realization that we really don’t live in San Francisco anymore. During the weekdays, Andy just can’t give up that 10 minute commute and weekends we are in Sonoma. So it’s time to face the inevitable, the San Francisco house has to be turned into a rental. And I’m okay with that. Part of me will always be a San Franciscan — and since we’re renting not selling the house we’re keeping our options open. But I’ve sort of fallen in love with San Jose. Or at least my part of it. It probably has something to do with the fact that I refuse to get on a freeway within city limits. That resolution routes me through older neighborhoods, interesting neon and funky reminders of pre-sprawl Bay Area.

However, before I can fully commit to being a San Josean, I still need to complete the 30 year clean out of San Francisco that I’ve been working on for a good part of the past six months. Not an easy task given that I am a collector and Andy is a hoarder. The way I define the difference is that a hoarder holds on to stuff with no sentimental or other value. So while I have lots of things that some might call junk, Andy saves things like decades of car and hot rod magazines, odd bits of scrap wood and the cord and charger to every piece of electronics he’s ever owned (even after the electronics are broken or no longer with us.) Since there would be no clean-out with Andy on the premises — and there is no moving van large enough to move us with all this crap — I’ve got to do the clean-out on my own.

Here's one of the better things Andy's hoarded: 1909 driving manuals he found at a car boot sale in England.

Here’s one of the better things Andy’s hoarded: 1909 driving manuals he found at a car boot sale in England.

I, on the other hand, have valuable antiques, such as this icon from Chairman Mao's mausoleum in Beijing.

I, on the other hand, have valuable antiques, such as this icon from Chairman Mao’s mausoleum in Beijing.

And the collection of pitchers I've stolen from the great cafés of Europe.

And the collection of pitchers I’ve stolen from the great cafés of Europe.

So far, I’m just at the completion of Phase One — which was sorting through all our clothes, all our kitchenware and all our books. Not as easy as you’d think. First of all, we are, apparently, a household that has six complete fondue sets. Think about that for a minute. Now imagine all the other kitchen implements and equipment in duplicate and triplicate that we’ve amassed over the years. Sorting clothes was a little easier, even though I’ve held on to every wool business suit I’d had since back in the days when I lived in New England. It became easier once I accepted one of three possibilities: 1) I will never again need to wear a business suit, 2) On the odd chance that I do, it will not be in a place with winter weather that goes below 0 degrees and 3) It is not a certainty but a probability that I will not wear a Size 4 again in this lifetime. As to books, that was harder. Our Victorian was stuffed full of bookcases including one room that was lined on three sides with floor to ceiling shelves.

Here's Andy shortly after we moved into our SF house. Believe me, we've crammed those shelves full of ten times more books since then.

Here’s Andy shortly after we moved into our SF house. Believe me, we’ve crammed those shelves full of ten times more books since then.

Oh and then there are places throughout the house like this nook with more floor to ceiling shelving. Did I mention I have the world's largest cookbook collection? This is it being dismantled and packed.

Oh and then there are places throughout the house like this nook with more floor to ceiling shelving. Did I mention I have the world’s largest cookbook collection? This is it being dismantled and packed.

So Phase One reached completion on Thursday, with books, kitchenware and clothes packed in boxes or sitting in a pile for the Salvation Army.

Soon my front parlor, which had been piled floor to ceiling with packed boxes was back to normal.

Soon my front parlor, which had been piled floor to ceiling with packed boxes was back to normal.

Well, not exactly normal. It doesn’t really look like my parlor without the dozens of framed pictures, knick knacks and estate sale finds that used to cover every surface. Yes, our decorating style was “Senile Great Grandma’s Attic”.

But One Big Man & One Big Truck (plus an extra Big Man) got our stuff out of San Francisco and into San Jose.

But One Big Man & One Big Truck (plus an extra Big Man) got our stuff out of San Francisco and into San Jose.

Now I’ve spent the last few days, unpacking and organizing. Where organizing equals “stuffing things into every nook and cranny any old which way”.

It hasn't been easy, given that I have only about two thirds of the shelf space I had in San Francisco.

It hasn’t been easy, given that I have only about two thirds of the shelf space I had in San Francisco.

Now back to the shoveling out and paring down. Because at some point, everything else in San Francisco gets packed up and sent to storage until we have a house in Sonoma to put it in.

Oscie sez: "This moving stuff is hard! I need a cookie."

Oscie sez: “This moving stuff is hard! I need a cookie.”

 

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