Mawlers’ Big Adventure ’04:
Ready Or Not...

It is Friday night, we are leaving on Saturday at 5:30 pm eastern time. All the preparations are done and we are ready to go.

Who am I kidding? Only the first sentence is true.

We have come to the end of a very long week. Lea Ann has taken her final in “numerical analysis” this morning. We had some folks come in and clean the house this morning. We had the bathroom completely replaced on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so I have been spending a lot of time at the hardware store buying missing items. We have been meeting with Barbara to teach her what she needs to know about insulin injections, the cats, and the house. I had to change a flat tire on one of our cars.

So tonight, less than 24 hours before we get on that plane, we watch TV, have dinner, and go to bed.

Now it is Saturday morning. Our alarms are set for 7:00 am. We get out of bed at 9:00 am.

We have a small list of items for today.

Pay bills, transfer money from one account to another so that automatic payments go through without issue, get mail, pack, exchange keys with Barbara, get a taxi to the airport, get to the airport (on time). Did I mention packing?

To be fair, we have the sleeping bags, tent, tarp, a Swiss Army knife, a multi-tool, the camera bag, the tripod, and some other items laid out downstairs.

It is 10:00 am and we leave the house with bills written, stamped, and ready to go. We go to the bank. We get the mail. We get home at noon. We have to leave at 2 for the airport. No sweat.

We pack like fiends, but then Lea Ann peters out. The stress of living in her “sleep-optional world” seems to have caught up with her, and she has developed a headache that threatens to have her killing anyone who comes near her. Rather than turn homicidal, she takes a nap. No kidding. With an hour and a half to go. While she’s asleep, I seal the grout in the bathroom. Did we neglect to mention that on our list of things to do?

At 1:00, she gets back up, more or less functional, and begins to wedge packables into the suitcases – that’s her specialty.

I call a cab, who is supposed to arrive at 2:00. We keep ticking things off of our list, trying to make sure that we have the major things that can’t be bought where we’re going, and keep the passports central, since they’re really the key ingredient to our vacation. We rearrange several times, and Lea Ann bemoans the fact that there is no organization at all in our arrangement of things in the bags, but it’s getting done.

At 1:30, we haven’t yet seen Barbara, and we have to give her the key before we go… Otherwise, our planning for the kitties is out the window. We keep packing.

1:45 and no Barbara. We can’t find things we want to pack. We can’t tell who has packed what. “Did you get…” becomes the most common phrase out of our mouths. We’re still deciding between things to take.

“Which guide books should we take?” “Take the two on the table.” “There are 4 on the table…”

“How many shirts do we need?” “I packed 6 plus a long sleeved one.” “Oh. I packed 8. Is that ok?”

“Are we taking the tripod?”

“Which sleeping bag are we taking? They’re both out.”

1:58 and no Barbara. Thankfully, no cab, either.

2:05 and Barbara shows up. She comments that it’s miraculous that we’re still laughing. But… Well… You have to admit, it’s funny. Two adults who have known they were going on this trip for over a year, and we’re packing after the cab is supposed to already be there to take us to the airport. A real laugh riot.

We exchange keys, zip the last of the bags, the cab shows up, and we run out and load the trunk. We get in, and the cabby starts to pull away from the curb when Lea Ann yells for him to stop. We have, in our rush, forgotten to say goodbye to our kitties!

We go in, give each one a scratch and a kiss, and then we’re on our way. Who knows what’s in these bags…

The previous installment:
Home Front (part 3)

The next installment:
Nothing Says Vacation Like First Class

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All materials © 2004 Lea Ann Mawler & Stuart Mawler