Thursday, October 19, 2006

Trip Preparation

Some of the more stressful hours of my life are when I am preparing for a big trip. If I just had to pack my own things, it would be a piece of cake. But since I choose to take on the traditional matriarchal role of the family, I am responsible for packing everything BUT my husband's suitcase. And even then, if he forgets something, I should have reminded him or put it in my bag. So my trip preparation responsibilites are as follows: The basics - packing Elizabeth's suitcase of clothes(which gets harder each trip because her clothes are getting bigger. She has really grown out of the toddler type suitcase on wheels that only holds a couple of outfits, but it's all we have so we use it, so on her Christmas list is a bigger kid's duffel bag type suitcase,) packing Anna's suitcase of clothes, packing my suitcase of clothes, packing swimming suits and gear, packing the kids' Loreal kids shampoo, suave kids body wash, and Dora kids toothpaste (are these products really any different from ours except they say kids and are packaged differently?) and packing family personal hygiene items (I hope I don't forget the fingernail clippers this year.) These are the mainstays - we cannot survive without these items. Then there's the luxury items - our pillows, an umbrella stroller, the cooler packed full of food because I'm too cheap to eat out on vacation, the 24 pack of bottled water because water from outside of Grant County does things to my stomach, 24 pack of Coke for Jason, Jason's laptop, our old laptop for the kids to play games on, the camera and video camera, the girls' blankets and stuffed animals for night time, and probably 25 other things that I will accidentally leave behind. Then there's the all important entertainment items - DVD's for the trip down, VHS tapes for when we get there, backpacks full of coloring books, markers, puzzles, travel board games, travel electronic games (may I suggest yahtzee and 20 questions,) and books, family board games for when we get there, sand toys, one year we even took the play station and Dance Dance Revolution (this only works if you are on the ground level) and lots and lots of magazines.

Even as I type this list I can feel my blood pressure rising, and I'm getting a headache. What am I forgetting? There must be something I'm forgetting. I always forget something. Here are some of the more memorable items I have forgotten on previous trips:

When I was 12, I had saved my yard sale and birthday money for vacation. I had it in a nice sealed envelope all ready to go. We pulled out of the driveway, headed to the highway, and then I remembered I had forgotten my envelope of money at home. This was before the day of whipping out the credit card. My parents only had the travelers checks to cover the vacation costs - they couldn't front me a hundred bucks. Do people use travelers checks anymore?

Then there's the time we were heading on vacation when Jason asked for a Coke. I reached for the cooler packed full of food to get him one when I realized...the cooler had not been packed. We called my parents, who went over to our house to fiind our cooler still sitting in our driveway. At least they were able to salvage the food.

A few years ago we went to Kings Island with my brother and his family. We were a good hour into the trip when we realized...oops, we forgot our Kings Island tickets. This was decision making time. Do we go back and get the tickets and lose two hours or do we keep going and lose $50.00 and buy new tickets. We went back.

Three summers ago we went to Florida with Jason' s parents. This time we forgot Anna's breathing treatment machine and medicine. At this time she was to be on 2 treatments a day. She hadn't had a flare up in awhile; we were sure she would be fine. We left for Florida on a Saturday. On Monday night we were in the Daytona Beach hospital emergency room with a year old baby that couldn't breathe. That was a costly item forgotten - the hospital made us buy another machine before they would dismiss Anna.

Then there was the time we took a big family trip to Paris, and we forgot Elizabeth. No wait, that wasn't us, that was Macaulay Culkin's family.

My two least favorite time spans on vacation - the drive back (yuck!!!) and the first hour into the trip when Jason and I have this back and forth conversation: "Did you remember to lock the door? Yes. How about the camera? Got it. Did you stop the mail? Shoot. Let me call my dad and see if he can pick it up for us. Oh, you know what we forgot, the_____________(fill in the blank with one of the many items that we realize we have forgotten.)

So with our family's past history of forgetting crucial items, it's no wonder that after we arrive at our destination, I spend the next 24 hours fighting a major headache due to the stress and worry. Oh yeah, last trip I forgot Tylenol but remembered the Children's Liquid Advil, so I had to down the maximum child amount to combat the pain.


Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

For some reason, your posts are so easy for me to relate to, Deb. Maybe we should create a spreadsheet or list with everything to be packed and add a column to check when the item has been loaded into the vehicle, take 2 Tylenol before we even start, and try to enjoy "getting awayy from it all."

BTW, I was LOL at the Home Alone reference: at least you never forgot to take one of your children.

October 19, 2006 5:43 PM  
Blogger Keetha said...

Ah Ha - - - - Greg and I FORGOT Kyle in a gas station once - - - when he was only about 6 - - - and we were on a trip to MISSOURI at the time!!!! Want to hear the REST of the story????

October 19, 2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

I would love to hear the rest of the story. I'll bet he never lets you guys forget about it, either!

October 19, 2006 7:40 PM  
Blogger Marcia said...

I can sooooooooooo relate to this post, Deb! Imagine doing the same thing with four kids!! I was gonna say "ask Anon," but she's so organized, she probably does have a spreadsheet!

October 19, 2006 7:48 PM  
Blogger Keetha said...

We were in a gas station in Missouri - - - - Kyle was standing on the TONGUE of the camper trying to wash the back window of the van.

When Greg came out from paying, he SAW Kyle there and said, "Jump In" assuming Kyle did.

BUT, since there was an unmarked police car there that had its wrack of lights on the top in spite of trying to be unmarked, Greg and I were having so much fun LAUGHING and MAKING FUN of that - - - - we ASSUMED Kyle was in when we heard the van door close.

As we were pulling back onto the interstate - - - - - same unmarked police car pulled us over on the ramp. We aren't finding him quite so funny now - - - -

Greg got out, and the officer asked him, "How many kids do you have in that van?" Greg said, "Two" - - - - but immediately turned deathly pale as he REMEMBERED where he had last seen Kyle.

I heard a small voice from the back seat - - - - Korie - - - - who had just looked over her seat to Kyle's far back seat - - - saying "Mom, Kyle isn't here."

I thought Greg was going to drop dead of heart failure. The policeman, whom we had so wrongly trashed, said he would be able to turn around easier than we could with our big rig - - - and he went back to get Kyle and bring him to us.

When Kyle stepped out of the police car, his little chin was QUIVERING and
as I rushed to hug him he whispered, "I thought you didn't want me anymore."

Several years later, in fourth grade, he had to write an autobiography. He included that incident and as I read his account I couldn't believe his ending, and this is close to a direct quote: "But it was my own fault, I should have minded my dad when he told me to get in the van."

October 20, 2006 4:29 AM  
Blogger Anon said...

Don't make fun of me please. :) You know me so well. I DO have a spreadsheet which I hand write myself for every vacation we take. That's sick, isn't it? But notice, I won't have to write a post like my Cool Sis because I'm an organizing freak.

Cool Sis, have a good trip......need to plain the family b-day situation. "Mom" keeps inquiring if we've done that or not.

October 20, 2006 2:53 PM  
Blogger Bekah said...

Deb - I love it! I can see this being me someday!! You are the best!!

October 20, 2006 10:20 PM  
Blogger Toevs Family said...

I can totally relate. I am also the "packer" in my family. I don't have a spreadsheet like Anon, but I do have lists. I cross items out as I get them packed. Even still, I inevitably leave things behind. And we all leave a trail behind us wherever we go! Upon returning, we get packages in the mail from family and friends that we have visited returning items to us. Of course some things just stay lost forever. Emma is still lamenting about losing her "Cocunt Grove" My Little Pony on our trip to CA last summer.

October 21, 2006 1:50 PM  
Blogger Kim and Joel said...

Just wanted to let you know I stopped by your blog! What a great post! I don't even have kids yet, but I could totally relate with 2 dogs and 2 adults that tend to WAY over pack!

October 23, 2006 5:37 PM  
Blogger Kelley said...

Hope you guys had a great vacation. I've missed ya a ladies night.

October 28, 2006 11:04 AM  

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