August 22, 2011 by Leah
How on earth do you pack a car in a manner that will allow a family of two (plus 50-lb. dog) to live in relative comfort in unspecified living conditions and for no fixed duration? This is the question I’m grappling with – as a way to avoid the dreaded “move-out clean,” of course.
So far, I have Duke’s packing list pretty well set. Bed, treats, drugs, Seal, Pheasant, leash, harness, and poop bags. Oh, and food. And his squishy bowl and his water bottle. That should cover him, right? No matter where we find temporary housing, he may end up being a constant companion. (Especially if we live in a hotel. Dogs aren’t allowed to be left on their own in even pet-friendly hotels. And I’d worry about him getting overheated in an RV.)
My packing list is in a state of flux, although it includes “yoga mat and towel,” so I will have a towel. (This is very important. Aaron and I shared my – lightweight, quick-drying – yoga towel on several occasions while we were in Europe this summer.) Ever the optimist, I’m going to bring a suit or two (actually, I only own two) in case I get any job interviews. (Oh. I hope I didn’t just accidentally donate my interview shoes to Out of the Closet.) Obviously, as soon as we move, I’m going to get back into jogging and find a yoga class and drop 20 lbs., so I will need a variety of workout clothes. (In fact, I could use new running shoes. But we are trying to limit spending in a major way, so those are out.)
I’m considering bringing my cast iron pan set that doubles as a Dutch oven. We’re not sure if we will be able to live in the borrowed RV when we first arrive in Walla Walla – we may be living in a hotel room. Since we will be paying out of pocket for that hotel room (we decided to take the lump sum expense payment from the VA instead of getting reimbursed for living expenses), I doubt we will be shelling out for a suite with a kitchen. Would a hotel let me cook over a fire pit in their backyard? Maybe we could cook at a picnic area or a park every night. We really might be better off bringing our tent and living in a campground. If this is what ends up happening, the cast iron pan sounds like a great idea. (Plus, it would allow us to avoid nonstick pans if we end up in a hotel with a kitchen. But if we end up in a campground with no fire pits or grates, then we’ll just be relying on our little backpacking stove and pots. Unless someone wants to loan us one of those spiffy Coleman camp stoves?)
We’re not sure how long we will be without a home (and , by extension, most of our stuff) because we haven’t decided whether to rent or buy. We got that mortgage pre-approval letter from our bank, but there are some issues. (Basically, it would be smarter/actually possible for us to buy well below the amount we are pre-approved for. Which is fine. Who needs a big house? Our current three-bedroom house is about 1500 square feet and we could easily lose the master suite without even noticing.) We’ve decided we will look at both rentals and … buyals? … and make a sound financial decision once we arrive and see what’s available. Which brings me back to:
We don’t know what kind of temporary housing we will be in, or for how long. So. What the heck do I pack? And, since the movers won’t move liquids or perishables (like houseplants), I’m already going to need to pack me, my awesome mother-in-law, Duke, all of our personal luggage, three houseplants, a cactus named Mortimer, and a box of liquids including California olive oil, sourdough starter, and fermenting chili mash into the Prius. And enough books and knitting projects to see me through to whenever we get to permanent housing and become reunited with our worldly goods. Ack!