Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Father's Daughter

Sorry, no Fun Monday for me this week, for reasons that will become clear momentarily.

When I was in college, it was my dad's job to pick me up at the end of the year. He was the perfect candidate for the job. He likes driving on the highway while listening to loud music, he went to the same college, and he's brilliant at packing. That packing bit was very important, since I'd always manage to accummulate a lot more stuff than I'd gone down with at the beginning of the school year.

The family car at the time was a Pontiac Bonneville (called Clifford the Big Red Car), so it had a reasonably roomy trunk and backseat, but there was no way to fold down the seats. My dad was a genius at figuring out ways to fit everything into that car. Tuck the VCR player I'd won in the raffle under the front seat. Take my clothes out of the bulky boxes and just pile them in the backseat. Line up the milk crates in the trunk so not a single cubic inch of space was wasted.

I am not ordinarily blessed with the ability to think in three dimensions. I am lousy at parking the car. I once got a 14% on an aptitude test that asked you to look at a flat diagram outlining the plan for a 3-dimensional shape and determine what it would look like if you folded up the diagram to make the shape. But somehow, when it comes to packing, I am my father's daughter.

That's what I was doing last night, when I should have been working on my Fun Monday post. Although I have to confess, I wasn't able to come up with any good stories. I have a great one about one of my brothers, a dance recital my cousin and I were putting on in my grandmother's basement, figurative directions that were taken quite literally, and some ensuing hilarity. But sibling stories were specifically excluded and I need to stay on my brother's good side since he's collecting me from the airport on Wednesday.

Special thanks to Peter for acting as my own personal documentarian. My challenge was to get all this stuff into two bags:

As you can see, it's about 15% clothes and about 85% tea and junkfood for friends and family. I started by filling the bottom of my rucksack with my clothes. (I always said I was never going to have one of those dorky things, but they are so useful.)

Nearly all the clothes fit into the bottom compartment of the rucksack and then I filled most of the top of it with bags of crisps. The next step was to get everything else into the duffle bag that I bought in Macroom two weeks ago with exactly this mission in mind.

The chocolate chip cookies are for my dad. Peter calls it "bringing coal to Newcastle." Just about everything I wanted to fit into the duffle bag did and I was able to find pockets and spaces in the rucksack for any stray items. While Peter was messing with the flash and focusing, Toby decided he was just about done with waiting. Even though it looks like it, I am not booting him up the arse.

Now it's time to clean the house from top to bottom and then I'll be able to leave. I'm really looking forward to this trip since I haven't seen my family since last Christmas and the biggest block of time I've had off work (with the exception of the week I took for Tom's funeral) has been the occassionaly 4-day weekend. I mightn't get to do much blogging or reading/commenting until December, but hopefully I will come back refreshed and brimming with stories.


At 20 November 2007 at 12:01, Blogger mjd said...

I think that this fits Fun Monday (on a Tuesday) nicely. Have a great trip. If you make it to Indiana, stop by for some coffee.

At 20 November 2007 at 12:44, Blogger laurie said...

oh, man, your post is making me so hungry!

and are you packing some of those delightful Cork cookies that you sent me? if so, I AM COMING TO CLEVELAND TO SEE YOU. and rifle through your luggage.

have a great trip. i look forward to your stories in december!

At 20 November 2007 at 13:52, Blogger Jo Beaufoix said...

Ahhh, hope you have a fabulous time.
And you stil gave us that trip down memory lane.

At 20 November 2007 at 14:21, Blogger Kaycie said...

Oh yum. I gained five pounds just looking at those pictures.

I haven't seen anyone look that cute in braids since my daughter was about 10.

I hope you have a great trip and really enjoy your family. Are you taking Toby with you, or is he staying behind?

At 20 November 2007 at 23:36, Anonymous Harlequin said...

Have a wonderful time. I'm very impressed with the selflessness of your packing - my packing is usually 20% clothes, 20% shoes, 20% books, 30% toiletries and 10% medication (just in case) - but I'm worried that your crisps won't survive. Maybe on your next trip you could use one of those solid hard plastic suitcases so that they won't be crushed?

I used to get care packages of Barry's sent to me in Scotland. At home I'll drink either Barry's or Lyons or whatever you're having yourself but once I moved abroad, it had to be Barry's. Weird.

Have fun! :-)

At 21 November 2007 at 06:23, Blogger -Ann said...

MJD - Not going to get that far west this time - maybe next time. :)

Laurie - Start driving - if you start right now, you should arrive in Cleveland right about the time I do. I had to bring those cookies since the bakery is right next to where I work and everytime I go outside, it smells delicous.

Jo B. Thanks. You know, whenever I look at your profile picture, it looks like a hedgehog. :)

Kaycie - Thanks, you are too kind. I think I lost 5 pounds dragging the bags the 100 meters from the hotel to the airport this morning. Toby is in the kennel for a few days while Peter's up in Dublin, then the boys will run the house alone for the rest of the time.

Harlequin - Not entirely selfless. After all, this means my bags are going to be 85% free :)

At 21 November 2007 at 20:52, Anonymous Conortje said...

Hehe good packing is a very useful skill indeed. It looks like you could open a shop :-)

At 22 November 2007 at 08:39, Anonymous Primal Sneeze said...

And I thought I was the packing-meister!

I bow to the Supremo.

At 23 November 2007 at 18:03, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Enjoy your trip.

At 27 November 2007 at 15:48, Blogger Kaycie said...

Thinking of you. Hope your visit is wonderful.

At 28 November 2007 at 09:44, Blogger -Ann said...

Conortje - Indeed - in fact, I told Peter that I would just stand in the terminal in JFK and sell off items. :)

PS - Thanks...although we could have a pack-off to determine who is the champion.

Jack - Cheers - I've been having a lovely time.

Kaycie - You know how when you're eating dinner, if everyone is quiet it's because the dinner is so good? My trip has been like that - no blogging so far because I'm having too much fun. :)


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