Greetings from the Ridge.
The old adage in packing for a trip is to load up your suitcase with everything you hope you’ll need, carry it around your house three times, then come in and start tossing things out. I’ll admit it: I pack for every eventuality while my husband Herb thinks he’s going on an overnight camping trip with a group of well-stocked Boy Scouts.
I pack for the worst that could happen and Herb wouldn’t know the worst if it happened. We once took off on a 10-day cruise and the idiot packed three pair of socks. “Herb, it’s a ten day trip!”
“Nobody on that boat knows me, Freida. With two thousand cruisers who’s going to notice I’m wearing the same socks as yesterday?”
“Your roommate, that’s who! I’m not going to share a cabin on the Paradise Princess with four-day-old socks!”
I’ll admit that I have a genetic predisposition to over-packing. When I was young our family took a California trip that included a trip to Death Valley. Mom packed some of those disposable plastic raincoats. “Mom, it only rains one day a year in Death Valley!”
“And it’d be just our luck to show up on that very day! Now go put these in the car!”
Herb’s stubby fingers took a Google walk and found a company that sold “8 Day Pants,” a set of drawers advertised to stay fresh and wrinkle-free for eight days of traveling. “Herb, they don’t make eight-day anything. It’s a scam. Snake oil.” On one trip they pulled Herb aside at the airport check in. We’d booked a weeklong trip to London and he was carrying only his duffle bag so the men at customs figured he had to by lying about his travel plans. He panicked and told them that his wife carried so much extra clothing that when he ran out of clean duds he wore mine. The officers had instructions to stop terrorists but had no such prohibitions against cross-dressers.
Although he’s usually a terrible skinflint, Herb believes in supporting the local economy when we travel, choosing to wait until we get to our destination to buy the things he needs. “Freida, we’re headed for Alaska. I’ve watched the shows on the Travel Channel and it’s a civilized country. There’s nothing in the world I need that I can’t buy once we get there.”
“Herb, I’m not going to waste precious whale-watching time to shop for underwear.”
“I can do both. I’m a multi-tasker.”
“You’re the master of the excuse. Just take a few minutes and plan what you need, Herb. I’ll pack it for you, you just lay it out.” Herb’s idea of careful packing means standing closer than ten feet from his open luggage while he tosses things in. I say, “Don’t even try to pack your luggage Herb. Your suitcase always looks like its been rifled by drug dogs. You’ve got to learn to fold and tuck, not wad and toss.”
“They’ve got ironing boards in our room, Freida.”
“When was the last time you held an iron, Herb?”
“Last week when I handed it to you.”
I follow all the rules… I stick my dainties inside my shoes, I use every available inch of Samsonite. Herb tosses in peanut butter and old magazines while forgetting things like shirts and pants. “I’d like to see you try taking a trip without me, Herb. You can be a packing slob because you know I’ll make up for your mistakes.”
“I’m a man of the world, Freida. . . . a hobo on life’s great path of time. I travel with my home on my back and the wind in my face. I give no thought for tomorrow for tomorrow shall take care of itself! The world is my living room as I traverse the great expanses of time and eternity! What care I for what may come my way? Give me a jug of wine, a loaf of bread…”
“Did you pack your extra dentures?”
“I didn’t know I had extra dentures.”
“On our Hawaiian cruise you leaned over the rail to gape at a school of dolphins and you had to spend the rest of the trip gumming your luau.”
“Oh. Did you pack them for me?”
“Of course. Now get out of the way and let me pack your suitcase.”
You ever in Coonridge, stop by. We may not answer the door but you'll enjoy the trip.