Packin’ it in

If I should ever have to evacuate in one of those horrible “you have 10 minutes to take anything of value and get out” scenarios, you will find me out in the car.

I’m going to let my husband handle it all. I’d get out with one toothbrush and vase. Mr. Wonderful could probably fit the entire contents of our household into a duffel bag.

Prepare

Years of work-related travel, airlines bent on wringing profit out of every aspect of flying right down to the weight of your shoelaces and an inherently frugal nature, have taught him that traveling light pays off.

Conversely, however, he is a former Boy Scout and thus lives by the motto “Be Prepared.”

What this means is that he has to be cunning and figure out everything he or someone he stumbles upon in his travels might possibly need for comfort or survival. Having done that, he then needs to fit it all in his back pocket.

When it comes to packing that man is a genius. He rolls everything up so tightly that it’s kind of like opening a can of snakes each time you unzip your bag. Sure, there might be some collateral damage by errant travel toothpaste released from tightly coiled confinement, but losing an eye is surely a small price to pay for a well-packed bag.

I began early in the week catching up all the laundry we might need to pack for our time away. As it turns out, having enough clothing to pack for nearly two weeks on the road and preparing for all weather contingencies means that our closets — and by extension our bodies — are basically left bare.

Granted, it felt good to have all my laundry clean and our bags completely packed five days early. It felt not so good, however, to realize I was going to have to live in one pair of ratty old sweatpants and a T-shirt I’d cadged from the ragbag for a solid week until we left.

On the upside, our son helpfully offered to wear the same clothing every single day up to and during our trip.

Ever the overachiever, he also suggested that I could just go ahead and pack up his toothbrush well in advance too.

To date, the sum total of his vacation preparation has been to make sure he grabbed the charger for his video game. If I don’t double-check, I’m not sure he’ll take shoes.

Our daughter, meanwhile, knows that it’s important to pack for every possible weather contingency. A week prior to our departure she carefully laid out each outfit with coordinating long and short sleeved shirts, shorts and pants, shoes with socks, shoes sans socks and jacket or sweatshirt (optional).

She also tossed in some multi-use hair accessories, located last year’s sunscreen all on her own, and dug up an autograph book for Disneyworld. She’s 10. I’m not 10, and I just realized that we are leaving in two days and I have not yet packed.

Clothes

I have also realized that short of losing a limb I am not going to meet my goal weight by departure. Thus, I stand in the wreckage of my closet, clothes strewn around and only my sob of “I have NOTHING to wear!” to comfort me.

I’m not a clotheshorse by any stretch of the imagination, but I have bought little new clothing since deciding I hate my hips, rear and a goodly portion of my thighs. I’m also kind of on the outs with my upper arms these days. Still, it was time.

Of course, this being an Attack of the ’80s Fashion Revival year makes purchasing anything new entirely out of the question. Neon splattered tee shirts? Leggings? Been there, done that and not only did I “buy the T-shirt,” but wisely gave it to Goodwill two decades ago.

Roll with it

Forget new. I think I’ll just dump the contents of my closet on the bed and challenge Mr. Wonderful to “roll with it.”

Then I’ll see if he can do the same with my abs.

As we prepare for our longest vacation to date, I think I’m just going to rely on the same method we’ve used for every other trip we’ve ever taken. We’ll pack a sense of humor.

If all goes well, we’ll have a super vacation and beautiful memories to last a lifetime. If it doesn’t, then I’ll have column material for years to come — and perhaps a whole lot of our personal possessions strewn among numerous stops along the Florida interstate.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is hoping to look less pale and better dressed in warmer climes.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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