Packing it up and packing it in

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Welcome to summer with a little riddle. What is something that should be easy for people and everyone has to do it if they want to escape? Those astute codebreakers answering, “Pack a suitcase,” win a fabulous prize to be determined at a later date. Thanks for playing along.

What a seemingly easy task – maybe easy for you, and you, and you over there. This is one of those times when I wish to be one of those people. Recently, I had to force myself to perform this dreaded-by-me task in order to enjoy a week away in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Am I the only one who feels packing is a dirty word?

Whenever a vacation nears I dread the obvious question from anyone who knows I am headed out of town. “Are you packed yet,” they ask. The reason I fear the question is because my response always indicates failure. It is not like I have not thought about packing . . . a lot. In all honesty, prior to a trip, I overthink it. I yearn to be nonchalant about tossing a few days’ worth of clothes and shoes in a suitcase like my husband the road warrior. Give him five minutes and the mission is accomplished. He even prepackages his toiletries. Give me a break. When I pack, the task takes more time than binge-watching a season of “24.”

Maybe it’s a girl thing. We have more decisions to make, right? If pressed guys could schlepp along with one pair of shoes – maybe boat shoes, a.k.a. Top-Siders. They can wear them to the pool, or to the beach. They can dress them up. They can dress them down. They can bike in them. If pressed, I bet they can run in them. We girls need more than one pair of shoes just to get out of the door in the morning and then they must be coordinated to our outfits as well. Are you feeling my pain?

This was my thought process mid-week before departure. Number one, I don’t want to do this. Number two, I want to go on vacation. Realization, I have to do this. Reality, it is raining. What else can I do? Well, I actually made my bed first so I would have somewhere neat to lay my suitcase – a process also known as procrastination. Then, I realized there was some dust on my suitcase, so I walked downstairs, retrieved the hand-held sweeper and used the crevice tool in and around my dark green American Traveler. Then, I decided to walk downstairs to throw in a load of laundry because my swimsuit cover-up had a bouquet of sunscreen. Still procrastinating, I know. But, I was moving toward making some packing decisions. Baby steps, people.

The next step forward (to make myself feel more accomplished) was to ceremoniously place the case atop my quilt and slip two swimsuits into the zippered compartment underneath the case’s lid. Yes, inquiring minds, I started packing! Quit judging.

Finally, after two more loads of laundry, some ironing, and Weather Channel consulting, decisions could be made about which items would make the cut and those to be left behind. When my husband talked about long sleeves, I decided that if he needed sleeves, I would probably need pants, so I threw in a pair. I counted the days we would be gone and packed at least one outfit for each day (although this goes against all professional advice on over packing). To overturn this advice, I vowed to wear each outfit at least once during the week.

After all of these gyrations and justifications, I wonder how I ever packed two kids to go on vacation. Although, I have learned something from packing, you wear what you pack, so toss it all in and say fahgettaboudit in your best Brooklyn accent. Then, enjoy that carefree vacation even if packing is not. Happy summer.

(originally published 6-30-16)

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