Even before we got a notice that our apartment was to be inspected, Ambrose had been on a bit of purging kick. Time to get rid of the old things that we no longer use, he said. No matter how attached we are to them.

This is hard for me. I grew up as a bit of a packrat. If not for periodic forced cleansings, my mom would have created a hoarder house for us to live in. Ambrose sees a table with a layer of week old mail on it as something nearly sacrilege. I see it as needing no action, because there aren’t years old magazines at the bottom of the pile, no rotting food or crusty dishes – and you can see most of the table!

There are some things that each of us own that we are able to decide on for ourselves. For example, I have a broken CD player that’s been sitting on my dresser for years. After the CD part broke, I still used it for radio in the mornings. But then the antenna broke, and the improvisation involving a coat hanger didn’t really work either. So I only kept it because it still had a working cassette player and I still own some cassettes. If I ever want to play them again, then I’ll have to find some other way to do it, because that CD player is now trash. Yay me.

Ambrose has gotten rid of some of his own things, most of which I don’t particularly notice. But he also got overzealous early in this process. See, we have a system for laundry. He runs the washer and dryer, and then piles the clothes on a shelf or hangs them up near the shelf if they are work clothes that need to be hung up. On a semi-regular basis, I go through the pile and put everything away. That, by itself, would be fine, but every now and then Ambrose will put some of his own stuff away while he’s doing the pile.

This has resulted, on occasion, in a situation where I get to the bottom of the pile and am left with Ambrose’s unmatched socks. If we’ve just come from backpacking, then I will leave the socks on the shelf until the next load comes through. If it’s been a while and no match has come through, then I go to his sock drawer and usually find that he put them away at some point.

So when I came to find that I had two right-footed toe socks in the pile, I left them on the shelf for the next load. Only to find, a couple days later, that Ambrose had discovered he had two left-footed toe socks in his drawer. And, having no match for them, he threw them away.

I made a bee-line for the trash can, but he told me he had already put it in the dumpster. I shook my head and handed him the two right-footed toe socks, which we then threw away, having no other choice that didn’t involve dumpster diving.

All the little things are really in preparation for getting rid of our old car camping tent. That tent has been with Ambrose a long time, and it’s got a lot of memories for both of us. It served us well, but it now leaks. And we have a new car camping tent. It is time and more to be rid of the old one. It will live on in our memories and lots of pictures. We just have to let it go.

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