The 10-Hour Move

This post is part of a larger media experiment describing why, and how, Clef moved to Oakland. If you want to read more, visit the timeline at oakland.is/home or tell us your thoughts with #oaklandis on Twitter.

Brennen promised it would be like ripping off a bandaid. In the end, he was right. But at the time, it felt like ripping off the bandaid, putting it back on, and then ripping it off a few more times for good measure.

We moved to Oakland in less than 10 hours.

That morning, we were working at our windowless, basement office in San Francisco. By the evening, we were sleeping on the floor of our new home in Oakland, ready to wake up the next day and drive to our new office at Jack London Square.


3pm

The Bay Bridge closes tomorrow. We have to drive over the bridge to meet the owner of a house anyway, so Brennen emails Port Workspaces and asks if we can sign a year-long lease–and move in all our stuff–today. They respond almost immediately and give us the go ahead.

We start disassembling the office.

5pm

Traffic is heavy on the bridge. We finally arrive at the house, just northwest of Lake Merritt. As we walked in, we spot the owner and the realtor in the backyard, watering some plants and laughing. We'd actually scheduled another house to visit at 5:30pm, but in 20 minutes of meeting the owner and seeing the place again, we are talking about signing the lease. It's the place we want to call home.

5:30pm

Since it's such short notice, Port isn't quite ready with keys for us. But we don't mind. We'd just driven south along Lake Merritt and realized we would be biking that route every day to work. Though the necklace of lights isn't yet lit, our faces are glowing.

6-7pm

One thing we notice immediately about Port is the sheer amount of glass (we actually have windows!). We get the idea to make our own whiteboards with panes of glass, hung on the wall with industrial velcro.1

We take a trip to Home Depot to get panes of glass and some other materials, including velcro and a drill. Glass is much, much heavier and sharper than I would have expected, but I've also never handled glass before. As we drive away from Home Depot, I keep peering into the backseat, wondering whether the glass will shatter. When we get back to Port, we assemble the whiteboards and leave them on the floor to let the velcro adhesive dry.2

8:35pm (Back to San Francisco)

We still need to get the rest of our stuff from the old office, so we head back over the bridge. This is the part that feels like slapping back on the bandaid. When we come back to our old office to get the tables, it no longer feels ours. The shadows cast from street lights up above warp the walls. The office is done with us. We shove all the little items into boxes and load the car with tables.

9:30pm

It is time for a celebratory meal at Chipotle.3 As we eat our last burritos as founders in San Francisco, we overhear a group of guys at another table talking about a senior executive at a large company. "I heard she slept with X (another executive) when she was working there." There's that bandaid again.

11:30pm

We head back over the bridge, all very happy that we won't have to make another trip tonight. As we shuttle between the car and our office on the third floor, we hear the last train roll by and the bustle of people returning home from a late dinner.

Our old office is empty and a memory to us. It's weird to leave a place completely, to be in a routine in one moment and then gone the next, without the natural distancing of sleep.

But here we are, nearing midnight, standing in our new office with our whiteboards drying and our standing desks ready.


We still didn't have mattresses for our home (or even a fridge for that matter). But moving was like ripping off a bandaid, and underneath, I found the wound was fully healed. We had arrived.

The next piece in this series is One weird trick to furnish your new home for free. (Don't worry, it isn't spam.)

  1. We later found out that Port would have painted our walls with dry-erase paint if we had asked.
  2. We'll cover how we did this in another post.
  3. It wasn't all that celebratory. I was really hungry and really, really irritable at the time.