It’s about that time when my family and I head out for our summer vacation. Before the four of us can enjoy the sounds of the surf and the cool of morning margaritas, there is the little matter of preparing to go on vacation.
There is charging of a gaggle of electronic equipment that will be able to distract our kids for about an hour of the 10 we’ll be in the car together (I’ll take whatever I can get), making sure the car has had its oil change, gassed up, and the directions are punched in to the GPS. But most importantly, we need to pack.
This is where my wife comes in to the equation. She puts the kind of preparation into packing that could make a Boy Scout green with envy. She makes out a list sometime between 1-3 months prior to the actual trip and begins gathering together the provisions she deems necessary for us like she was a frontiersman prepping for a long winter season by storing salted deer meat.
I could say she packs everything but the kitchen sink but no sooner would I say it than she would ask me if we had a pipe wrench. Our vacation is still a week away but this is a conversation we have had since we’ve been taking vacations together and fully expecting to have in another week or so. You might say, I’m preparing myself.
A Tuesday. 10pm
“I’m going to need you to get the luggage out of the closet for me.” My wife stopped asking me to do things a long time ago. Now she just tells me.
“And don’t roll your eyes either. I need a little help here.” True confession, I was totally rolling my eyes. 13 years of marriage, that woman can read me like a book.
“You’re not packing already are you?” Like a good journalist, I keep asking the same questions to my wife just in case the answer ever changes. It’s why I keep asking her if she wants to watch football with me on Sundays.
“Yes I’m starting. I won’t have time to pack all of this at one time and who else is going to do it? The elves?” She waves her hand across our bed like a magician who just sawed his lovely assistant in half. The bed looks like she dumped the contents of her larceny of a Walgreen’s but instead of money; she headed down the ‘Health and Beauty’ aisle.
“I’ll pack myself and let the kids pack their own stuff. It would be a good character builder for them.” I don’t know if that is true but I heard it so many times growing up, I just assign that reason to anything I want the kids to do.
“Yeah, Hannah would pack 10 pairs of socks that don’t match on purpose and Emma would forget to pack underwear. Good call genius.” I’m detecting a hint of sarcasm from my wife.
“I don’t think the ‘genius’ comment was called for and who cares what they pack? We’ll be on vacation. Why does Hannah where 2 different socks?” It took me 13 years to start to figure out my wife, I’m pretty sure by the time I figure out kids, my kids will be adults.
“I don’t know, I guess it’s the “in” thing to do right now and packing their own bags does nothing for their character you idiot. Now get me the luggage please.” Again she stoops to the name calling.
“Again you stoop to the name calling? Maybe you can get the luggage yourself?” Let’s see how she likes that…after she gives me a gaze with heat measured in Kelvins, I get the luggage.
“Here. Here is the ba-are you kidding me!? How many shirts and pairs of pants are you packing?” I only ask because the pile is too big for me to be able to count them all before I ask.
“Yes. I’m packing all of this. We need it.” What we need is an intervention and a dozen Ziploc Space Bags.
“Darling wife of mine, we’re not moving to the beach, we’re spending a few days there.” I’m trying to introduce a hint of logical with a speckle of sarcasm to see how she reacts.
“I would appreciate it if you could just support me and be a little less sarcastic.” I should have left out that speckle of sarcasm.
“Fine but there only needs to be 4 bags packed. One for each of us. In fact, you could probably just leave out a grocery bag for me because I don’t need a whole lot.” The line in the proverbial sand has been drawn.
“Frankly, I’ll pack as many bags as I want and maybe we’ll just leave yours here…along with you.” It took her less than a second to cross my line.
“Alicia. Seriously. You cannot pack too many bags. We have a Honda Accord not an Airbus.” I’m taking a different tact with my wife. I’m going to try to appeal to her common sense.
“You can make room.” Down goes common sense to being able to pack another pair of sandals.
“Look, all I’m saying is, you can’t pack a dozen bags.” There is usually a theme to my conversations with my wife. First it is disbelief, and then comes sarcasm, then I try to put my foot down, then I resort to pleading.
“I won’t have a dozen bags but if I do, why do you care so much?”
“I’m like a poor man’s Euclid. Scratch that, I’m like a homeless man’s Euclid. I am going to have to get my Master’s Degree in Geometry to figure out how I’m going to get the combined luggage of the Titanic passengers in to the trunk of an Accord. We only have so much space and correct me if I’m wrong but, we do want to take the kids too right?” Sometimes I revert back to sarcasm.
“Is that some sort of joke?” I think she and I both know the answer to that question.
“I’m going down to the car.” Sometimes you have to know when to hold’em and know when to fold’em. Consider me folding them.
“I’m going to see if I can rip out the backseats to get more storage room.”
“Just for that comment Euclid, I’m packing another bag.” She gives the ‘how do you like that’ facial expression. I can’t really describe it because I’ve never used it. You’ll have to ask her.
“*SIGH* I’ll get another bag down from the closet.”