I am, it should come as no surprise to anyone in the great, teaming mass that is the fan base of acleanandshinyplace.com, a group I have just decided to refer to as “Shiners” a huge film geek and an even bigger comic book nerd. As such, I am well familiar and very comfortable with the idea of the reboot. A reboot is when the movie studios or the comic book creators take an established property and start it over from the beginning in an all-new, or at least partially new, way. Characters get new powers or new backstories. Pierce Brosnan becomes Daniel Craig.
Over four years ago I had a bit of a personal reboot.
I uprooted my entire life, sold my house and moved from Kentucky to Virginia to be with a woman I had known for less than a year. Looked at objectively, it could have been viewed as a rash move. Whenever a movie does a reboot there are always a group of hard core fans of the original property who are super pissed because Spock doesn’t talk like that, or whatever. Change is feared. No one said as much to me, but I imagine that some people who knew me where thinking, “What the hell is he doing? We like the old series! He is destroying the franchise! We don’t want this new crap!”
I was never worried. I was confident it was the right move. I knew that I wanted to be with Cass and wanted to be with the boys and if moving several states over and resetting my life was what I had to do in order to make that happen, so be it.
I showed up at the place she had found, got out of my car, walked up one flight of stairs to the kitchen and signed the lease. That night I stayed there by myself. I walked up to the towncenter, a suburban oasis that seems rather foreign to me at the time, and ate at California Tortilla. I went back to my new, completely empty house, rolled a sleeping bag out on the floor where my bed would eventually be and watched a movie (Raid: The Redemption) on my iPad because we had no internet.
The next day, Cass showed up with the furniture and we were living in Virginia.
I started this blog largely to explain my decision and my new life to the people who loved me and were, understandably, a bit concerned. The name, which is a variation on the title of a Hemmingway short story I like, was meant to be sarcastic. Because I am a bit of an ass.
Reboots don’t always work out. Happily, this one turned out to be a massive success.
We are a family. We love each other. The place that Cass found us to live, the stereotypical suburban homestead that seemed so weird to me initially, turned out to be a wonderful. It’s a great neighborhood with great neighbors. It’s still occasionally a source of extreme amusement to me but it is home. We might have stayed where we were forever.
Except, the boys are getting big. Like, really big. T1 is about 6’2”. T2 is over five feet tall and weighs (he is very proud to tell anyone who will listen) 120 pounds. He is mostly muscle. Suddenly, that place we loved so much was feeling rather small. We were banging into each other. We needed to move.
So, in August, we did.
Cass has been working very hard and has been very successful. She is remarkable. She parlayed that success and hard work into a new place for us. It’s bigger than our old place. It sits on the edge of wetlands and is surrounded on several sides by woods and a pond. It’s quite lovely. It’s ours.
It’s also in the same neighborhood. We couldn’t leave the bubble The boys love their schools. They have friends here. This is where they live. It’s where we live. We are all very happy.
Still, I got a little melancholy when I was packing us up for the move. The old townhouse meant so much to me. I’ve lived in a handful of places as an adult but it was the first place where I had a family. I stood in the upstairs bedroom, the room where I spent that first night that was empty once again and reflected on how great my personal reboot turned out. I looked down the hall to the boys bedrooms, now cleared of dirty clothes, shark posters and empty chip bags and was amazed at how big they got so quick. I ran the vacuum for the last time, wiped the marks off the wall, and cleaned out the fridge.
I got a little emotional.
My confidence at the beginning aside, it could have gone very wrong. I am very thankful that it didn’t.
I left the keys on the island in the kitchen, walked downstairs, and closed the garage door behind me.
Ready, I suppose, not really for a reboot but for Volume II. Same cast. New location and powers.
I left my old clean and shiny place and headed to a new one.