Posts Tagged ‘packing’

Packing the medicine chest

July 3rd, 2009 Comments off

Jeanne is, if nothing else, an expert packer. We have a real weight scale in the bathroom, the kind you see at the doctor’s office where you slide the counterweights to measure your weight to the eighth-pound (so that I can weigh 229 and 7/8ths versus 230). And when Jeanne is done filling a suitcase, she says with great authority and confidence: Weigh it!

And it will weigh in at 49 1/2 pounds, just shy of the 50-pound limit. Jeanne is the human weight scale. She should work at a carnival. She’d look at me and say 230 – no, wait, 229 and 7/8ths! — and I wouldn’t win the plush yellow snake. 

So last night we packed, 24 hours earlier than we needed to. Jeanne wanted it done. The first suitcase came in at 48 pounds. (OK, it was an off night). The second one, 45 pounds but she figured as much because she wasn’t done with it. And before we tackled the last one, we decided to pack our meds.

I’m not saying we have a lot of meds but when we call our insurance company for refills, the phone menu says: Press 1 if you are a new customer, press 2 to place a refill; press 3 if you are checking the status of an order; press 4 if you are the Gormans.

Jeanne pulled out six one-week plastic pill containers (3 for each of us) to get our pills perfectly planned, and then she lined up our amber-gold bottles of pills without child-locking caps. I won’t explain what they’re all for but suffice to say we are old and our body chemicals, from head to toe, are off-kilter.

And for all the time it took to pack the first two suitcases, it took twice as long to figure out the pills. When a pill box fell off Jeanne’s lap and the contents spilled, I heard a stifled sob.

When we were done, we admired their colors. Jeanne’s, more than mine, looked like a colorful grab-bag selection of multi-flavored Jelly Belly jelly beans.  

By midnight or so, we were done, and I had my last-minute shopping list, which I’m about to go out and get: a travel-soap container and travel-size tube of toothpaste and shaving cream(CVS).  A doohickey that reduces a grounded three-plug to a two-plug for European transformers/converters, and a couple of quick-release link thingies to connect my backpack zippers so nobody can unzip them from behind and grab my camera without my detecting them (Home Depot).

By Jeanne’s reckoning, these last-minute items will bring the last suitcase up to 49 and 7/8ths pounds. 

We would have gone over if we had packed another week of pills.


The storm before the calm

July 2nd, 2009 Comments off

We’ve been planning our RV trip through Europe for a few months and the realization that we leave in just two days is hard to grasp. We’ve prided ourselves on being calm, thoughtful, focused, paying attention to the important details.

For instance, we remembered to contact AAA in Canada a couple of weeks ago to get an international camping card, so we don’t have to give the campground manager our passports to make sure we don’t skip out without paying. That would be a nuisance because we wouldn’t have our passports with us when we take the buses into town. We leave the camping card instead. Somehow it vouches for us.

The other to-do’s on the checklist are almost all done, too. I got myself a great camera-carrying backpack, and my money belt, and the other day we bought a pair of duffel bags because they’ll be easier to handle than suitcases in the mobi. Jeanne has picked up the items that Daughter and Boyfriend want us to mule over to them. We even remembered to print up business cards to leave behind so people we befriend will know how to contact us. Last night we walked the house sitter through our home. The dogs will be groomed before we leave. In other words, just about everything is done.

But wait, no, it’s not.

We’ve got to call the credit card companies and tell them not to cancel our cards when they see strange charges in Europe. We’ve got to scan our important documents – passports, drivers’ licenses, credit cards, insurance policies and the like – so we can e-mail them to our kids, and to print out copies for ourselves, in case we lose the originals and need backups for proof. We’ve got to shift money around in our bank accounts so we’ve got enough cash in our debit account. I’ve got to download a ton of albums into my MP3 player and make sure all my electronic toys are charged and we have all the recharging cables and USB cables and batteries. We need to do one more load of wash. We need to clean the house and open up the suitcases and see if everything fits.

And when we walk out the door early Saturday morning, we need to make sure the toilet isn’t running and the iron is off. Well, no we don’t. The iron is never on.

Our flight leaves Las Vegas at 8 a.m.  We land in Brussels 12 1/2 hours later – 7:30 a.m. local time the next morning. We’ll have a day of calm. We pick up mobi Monday afternoon.

And then we’ll have some real stories to tell.

Gorman road trip!

April 24th, 2009 Comments off

I have always looked forward to our trips as a family. It’s the planning I dread.

So while the idea of going on a vacation is exciting, the fact is I just don’t like leaving home. I love my home.

Therefore, closing up shop for a trip becomes a stressful event for me: Deciding what clothes to take, based on what is clean versus what must be washed; making sure there are snacks for the ride; leaving instructions for the house sitter on my way of managing household tasks and caring for the pets, and praying the house doesn’t burn down or the washer hose doesn’t break, all those sorts of things. It makes me a nervous wreck.

In the earlier days I would need to pack for four. And I had to stay true to my mother’s rule: always divide the underwear and necessities into two suitcases in case one gets lost. It could get confusing. When we began road tripping with the kids the problem was getting everything jammed into the vehicle. Now that is just the old man and me it should be easier…..

For this vacation, our daughter’s boyfriend suggested we rent an RV for traveling around Europe instead of hotelling it. This vacation had the making of a perfect storm: packing for three weeks in Europe, an uncomfortable nine-hour plane trip just to fly from Las Vegas to Brussels before we even begin, and then sharing an RV with our daughter and her boyfriend. But at least once we’re on the road, I’d have my own toilet.

We used to love yelling the phrase, “Gorman road trip!” We really like to spend time together as a family. This time our son gets to stay home with his wife. Don’t get me wrong: traveling with our daughter can be a pleasure. Unlike earlier times when her suitcases would explode every night in the hotel room and require search and rescue missions each morning to find her stuff, she has turned into a very tidy young woman. It fact, it is a bit dismaying because after years of being a neatnik myself, my effort s have eroded against the onslaughts of my husband’s love of clutter. Now I am a bit of a slob. The three of us in the RV? This time it’ll be our mess that she will have to contend with.

But daughter takes good care of me when we travel. She looks after me and guides me and feeds me and nags me and prevents me from buying useless souvenirs. And yet we do have fun in spite of that.

And Tom is so great at planning things. In fact he’ll plan so many different possibilities of what to do and where to go and what to see that I want to strangle him. But if I complain, daughter gets upset with me and defends her daddy — and then they both punish me by looking at me and saying, “Well what would YOU like to do?” Uh, I don’t know.

Did I mention I really look forward to trips with my family??