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.