“Camping tent?”
“Must have.”
Kirk pointed to another box. “How ’bout the toaster?”
“Eh, I don’t think so. It’s huge. Toasters are cheap. We can buy one out there. Better yet, we can buy a toaster oven!”
Kirk looked at me.
“No? Too much? OK. Never mind.”

Crouching in the 4-foot tall crawl space lit by a small work light, I surveyed the stacks. “I think we’re almost through everything.”

The crawl space – dubbed the “Cubby” – is deep, running about 20 feet to the back wall. To get inside, I have to hoist myself up four feet from the basement floor and climb in on my knees, being careful not to scrape myself on the unfinished cement blocks that form the lip of the entrance.

The walls are lined with all of our stuff. Near the front, a couple of squat 3-rack shelving units hold waterskis, snow skis and snowboards. A pile of empty boxes – Canon camera boxes, a Powerbook G4 box, and other empty original manufacturer’s packaging – sit waiting for the day its owners want to sell the contents on eBay. Farther back, stacks of cardboard boxes hold dishes and knickknacks, Rubbermaid tubs keep sentimental college T-shirts and ’80s designed comforters, and shoeboxes store everything from Dwell and Cruising World magazines to refrigerator magnets.

I scoot my way across the plywood floor. Performing Twister-like contortions with my body, I manage to retrieve then re-stack all of our storage containers in the 4-foot high space. Kirk, a gangly 6′ 2″, doesn’t even try to go inside the Cubby.

We’ve combed through all of our stuff – and now we’re making cuts. Only what fits in the Passat can make the trip, the rest stays in the Cubby. We’re off to California!

This last month we’ve been slowly moving out of TC & Michelle’s house and into the Berryman’s basement. Kirk’s parents have so kindly put up with us utilizing their basement as a storage unit for our extra crap. In addition to filling the Cubby, we rotate various furniture items in and out of the rest of their house, depending on our living situation at the time. Several hopscotch moves in college, a move to, in, then out of Chicago, and the latest five month trip to Australia have all required furniture shuffling. Our IKEA chairs, refinished end tables, an old recliner and queen bed all have been featured in the Berryman house ‘furniture showcase’.

Why are we moving this time? Particularly, why California? A number of reasons:

  • The weather. Sure, nothing beats a midwest summer day. But winter? And those winter bookends called spring and fall? You can really only be outside and comfortable for 5 months of the year. Both Kirk and I like being outdoors more than that.
  • The ocean. The ocean’s energy is invigorating. In Australia, Kirk and I would walk to the beach every morning to watch the waves. And of course, Kirk loves to surf.
  • The mindset. We both love the laid-back attitude in San Diego – the “let’s go out and enjoy the sun” and “life is now, live it now” kind of approach. It reminded me very much of the Aussie mindset.

And now, if we could just get packed. After the new year, we had finally set a date to leave. Of course, that day has come and gone. It was last Wednesday. When Kirk found out a week ago that his car was going to need some big time repairs before our road trip, the date was pushed back to Friday. Then Saturday.

Today is Sunday. This morning I called Andrea in Chicago to see if her apartment could be our first stop. Michigan to Chicago is a pretty short first leg, but we’ve got to start somehow. She’s expecting us at 9pm tonight.

Off I go to finish packing. ☼