The countdown has begun....in almost exactly 36 hours (with fingers crossed for good luck and the blessings of the...Patron Saint of the Airways,...or what have you....) Team WestEnders will be boarding a flight that will take us alllllll the way to: Charlotte, NC. That's right, we won't even be off the ground long enough to partake of the minuscule beverage portion you're offered on planes these days, before we land again...and the REAL adventure kicks off. We'll embark upon the second leg of our journey, which will cover the rest of the distance to (dah dah dah DAH) Liberia (no, fortunately not THAT one) Costa Rica.
So naturally, I commence my traditional routine of pre-vacation stressing right about...yep, that would be "now". Last night at the dinner table Husband addressed this query to the children, "Have you given any thought to packing for the trip yet?" In lieu of a reply, Riley just stared at him blankly, as if he were speaking an unknown dialect. On the other hand, Derek snorted and scoffed, "No! I can do that Friday night, in about 10 minutes--I only own 5 pairs of shorts, anyway!" Then, inexplicably, three sets of eyes swiveled in my direction. "What?" I snapped, only verrrrry slightly defensively, "Of course I've started gathering some things...hello, I'm a GIRL!" Then while they chuckled knowingly about the dramatic tendencies of the only female in the household (Seriously? They have noooo idea how easy they've got it. As chicks go, I'm pretty darned low-maintenance...even if I AM the Queen...) I made my huffy exit...'cuz I remembered a few important items I needed to go add to the preparation-for-packing pile.
And speaking of meals, we've entered the phase of "eating anything perishable in the house" before we leave. This makes for a bit of..."creative"...or, you might say "weird"...cuisine. For example, yesterday I happened upon Husband standing in front of the open refrigerator, peering quizzically into its depths and thinking out loud, "Hmm...I could take those last 2 sub rolls, use them for chicken sandwiches with the remaining pasta sauce...and throw on some of that Italian cheese!" Sure, that sounds perfectly reasonable. But then he added, "I just don't know how to include the spicy chickpeas..." Uh-oh...I think I'll just grab a yogurt (expiring on 7/18, so I'm doing my part) and make myself scarce--it seems...gastronomically safer...that way.
Then of course there's the eternal struggle--at least for those of us in possession of an X-chromosome--of exactly what and how much to cram into one's luggage (which by the way I have every intention of carrying onto the airplane and squeezing into the overhead bin....sort of putting a practical limit on my selections...for better or worse). Don't get me wrong--I'm a pretty experienced and savvy...stuffer, but my problem is really arising from the amount of space gobbled up by such essential components as my laptop, my camera (the good one, with the zoom lens, since this is a once-in-a-lifetime endeavor, and missing photos is just Not. An. Option,) and...(mutters under her breath in an embarrassed fashion) my toiletry bag. Yeah, yeah, I totally need to go back and pare that one down, otherwise I'm going to have to sacrifice something else...like shoes...and no matter how much strolling on the sand I intend to do, going barefoot all the time isn't really an option. Maybe when Derek is finished taking care of his 10-minute packing chore, he'll be free to lend me a hand. (Wait a minute, that's a terrible idea. I'll end up with only 2 outfits...and they won't match, even a LITTLE bit. Never mind, I'll wing it all by myself...tomorrow...)
But the final word on vacation preparation came from Riley, this time. He sought me out with an extremely serious expression and declared, "I need your help." (Oh boy, this sounds like something major...bracing myself for a Big One...) He continued, "I always bring a stuffed animal with me when we go somewhere,...but I'm not sleeping with stuffed animals anymore...so I don't know what to do." (Whew! Okay, no problem, I've got this.) So I tried to respond in a sensitive, caring, and supportive way when I gently replied,"It's fine, honey, you can bring one if you want." But after a second he shook his head decisively and informed me, "Nah, I'm too old for that now." Then as he turned to leave the room he tossed over his shoulder, "Eh...kids these days!"...with a wickedly impish grin.
Alrighty, then. What I'm getting from all of this is that what remains for us until departure time is: a couple more fridge-clearing concoctions...a flurry of male packing....and a lot more of me running around like the proverbial headless chicken attempting to check off "just one...or 75...more tasks" before heading off to a week of relaxing and rejuvenating at an all-inclusive beach resort. Maybe it's a good thing the second flight is a loooong one...I strongly suspect I'm gonna need me a pre-getaway NAP! But first...I've gotta go tackle that overloaded bag o'personal care products...siiiiigh.....