Our guest bedroom is a mess. Did the grandkids visit recently and dump all the lego on the floor? Did Minou, the neighbours’ friendly cat, sneak in and leave furballs and other evidence behind? Did a tree fall during the strong winds last week and break the bedroom window, letting leaves and rain in? NO! to all three.
We are Packing For A Trip. Not even a long trip mind you; just a couple of weeks. How can I be in such a frenzy? One reason is that our house in the country had three extra bedrooms so we could easily spread out the mess; but this house has just one extra bedroom that we can spare as Packing Central. Somehow we have to manage.
I remember my first trip where packing was an issue. I was going to Paris, by myself. I had the distinct impression that, since I was going to a city known for fashion, I needed to keep up. I bought the biggest suitcase I could find (with, unfortunately, the smallest wheels). I filled it up with any chic outfits I had, several pairs of 6-inch heels, scarves, matching jewellery, and so on, hoping to fit in with the crowds of fashionable people and maybe even be noticed if I happened to run into Christian Louboutin.
I arrived in Paris on Bastille Day which, as it happens, is a national holiday – with NO taxi service. I had to lug my enormous suitcase on to the bus, down into the subway, and then transfer onto another line. It was tough going, but I only fell once – into somebody’s lap. I got as close to my hotel as public transit would take me, but I still had to walk several blocks on cracked sidewalks, and then cross a main street through the middle of the parade. And I wasn’t even wearing French colours!
During the trip I saw no fashion designers, and I wore about half the clothes I had brought. Besides, I had no room to pack anything new, even if I wanted to buy something in the fashion capital of the world. How dumb was that? At the end of the trip I vowed never to bring as many clothes ever again on any trip. And I have been pretty good about it.
Yet still I stand here in the guest room trying to make decisions. Which of these 12 tops go best with which pants? Do I even need Any dressy outfits if we are going to be on a little boat in the middle of nowhere? And what jacket do I wear to the airport if it’s winter in the city, but we are going to a place near the equator?
Meanwhile Peter’s side of the room is mostly empty, except for a few things I have put there; things he might forget – like a hat, a water bottle, and pyjamas. His duffle bag sits empty on the bed, waiting for him to grab some stuff the night before and shove it in. Matching? What is that? I can only hope that the “stuff” he chooses doesn’t have too many food stains or unfortunately-situated holes.
One last hurdle we face when we are packing for a trip at our advanced age – our health! On this particular trip there are no hospitals, no doctors, not even any drug stores, anywhere nearby. So we have to load up on all our medications. And think about other emergencies that might occur. What if we get a cold? What if that annoying tooth decides to act up? What if we develop a gastro-intestinal infection that turns into a blockage and requires emergency surgery? Oh for heavens sake, woman! Pack your bag and get going!
I’ll only be 0ff-line for two weeks. Unless that blockage gets serious…