Being married to a Diplomat means you typically move to another foreign post every 2-3 years. Today it means a romantic day of “packing-out” on our 12th wedding anniversary for our departure from Tijuana on Friday. “Packing-out” is fancy government lingo for sorting & moving all of your worldly possessions from one place to the next.  This is not as simple as pack your stuff and move, because we have to divide our belongings into 4 categories:

1. Stuff we need for the drive home – This includes our 60 lb dog and all of her worldly paraphernalia including medical records, portioned dog food (yes, I portioned 28 bags in my OCD way), poop bags, toys, treats, dog blanket etc. We are prohibited from shipping any liquids, so wine, shampoo, expensive toiletries and our hiking gear for the cross-country trip (which includes a multi-tool in case I have to cut Steve’s arm off in a canyon!!) Then there are laptops, pillows and clothes for me to last 2 weeks, and a huge box of spices that I do not feel like itemizing for customs. I am so glad Steve seems to think he can get by with a carry-on. I am hoping he fills this with clean boxers. All of this will be crammed into our Toyota Camry.

2. Stuff we need as soon as we arrive to Tampa – The government calls this UAB (Unaccompanied air baggage). This gets trickier because we are limited to 450 lbs. This will include the rest of our clothes, my shoes (we only get 450 lbs?), that flat-screen, my paella pans and some misc kitchen items.

3. Stuff we can live without for several months – HHE or “household effects” can take weeks or months to arrive. We are allowed 7200 lbs for this. This includes larger pieces of furniture, skis, bikes and the smoker which I bought Steve 8 years ago for our anniversary that has never been used. He promises to use it in Tampa. As we are moving atypically to an unfurnished house in Tampa — we will have a supplemental shipment from Baltimore next month. Can’t wait to figure out how to divide our belongs there and “pack-out” again!

4. Stuff we will never, never, ever need again – This category is assigned to my husband as I am married to a wonderful, loving PACKRAT. So — the taped up shoebox of pennies that follows us everywhere could be donated once and for all. I believe the disadvantaged people at the border will take US cash. The pile of his t-shirts and sweaters that have not moved from the day they were unpacked 3 years ago should also go, as should the non-working espresso machine.

Now I should probably go finish sorting my things instead of blogging as the movers are arriving tomorrow morning, but I needed a break. I could use a good snack too, but after slowly eating through the disgusting leftover contents of the fridge & freezer this week, there are slim pickings. I believe I will be settling for Lexi’s favorite dog cookies from Three Dog Bakery (They have fiber AND protein, and are all natural so check them out) and a bottle of wine from the Baron Balche winery in the Valle de Guadeloupe in Baja California where we were recently treated to a lovely day by our wonderful friends Gastón & Alicia.