How to go on vacation – Rhodesnam style

Cue the pony dancing now!! The Rhodes family is going on vacation – and it’s going to be glorious! Other names considered for this blog included – There Will be Blood, Apocalypse Now, and Pack, Unpack, Repack, Go To Step 2!

After spending all my childhood as a Navy brat, and moving every three years, I have a very high confidence in my ability to pack – my problem is editing and travel-induced bipolar disorder. I have gone on a two week trip to Europe that included a week of business, and another week of sightseeing, with one carry-on bag – I’m sorry, that’s impressive even to me!! On the flip side I have gone to a 3 day conference with 6 pairs of shoes – so yeah – editing! However, when it comes to the family, I feel the need to pack for blizzards, dust storms, hurricanes, droughts, famines, and since watching the harrowing Impossible – tsunamis!

The process begins a couple of days before the trip when everyone brings all the clothes they want to take with them, out of their closets and onto the landing. Since the closets are nice and empty now, this is an opportunity to find lost items like that second sock that hasn’t been sighted since 2008. At this point Dave comes out and says something really helpful along the lines of – “Are you out of your ever-loving mind?!! We aren’t going for a year!!

So, I should point out that Dave is not included in this packing frenzy because, regardless of the length, purpose, or location of a trip – he packs the same things: two pairs of cargo pants that can be unzipped into shorts (for easy conversion from days of hiking to nights on the town), three Under Armour shirts (if you don’t know what these are then you are probably not as concerned about wicking moisture away from your body as he is), socks, underwear, and toiletries.

For the rest of us – now begins the process of editing – no Maya, you do not need to take all the sparkly peace sign shirts you own, and Adam – I think 12 pairs of shorts may be excessive. Not that I am blameless – I came to America 19 years ago and managed to pack my entire life in two suitcases that contained a small pressure cooker, a frying pan, assorted spices, books, clothes hangers, and Tupperware – packed with some help from my mother (Ok, a LOT of help from my mother – sheesh)! On a vacation that is going to include hiking, white water rafting, and horseback riding however, I’m stumped. Nothing in my wardrobe is geared for all these activities – I need the Swiss Army knife of vacation apparel.

Dave is the self appointed packer of all things electronics and he takes this job VERY seriously. Everything is labeled in its own plastic baggie – rather like a very organized heroin smuggling mule – mercifully that’s where the comparison ends and we don’t have to swallow these baggies! He’s also in charge of outdoor related stuff – insect repellant, band aids, cortisone, hats, and sun block – now this last one I routinely laugh about and flaunt my Indian-ness in his un-melanined face – but, as is most often the case, I usually get sun burned on the first day and then spend the rest of the vacation peeling my skin and enduring the grossed out expressions on everyone’s faces! Fun times!!

So, if I were to create a little recipe for our packing process this is how it would go (all ingredients to be eyeballed unless otherwise noted)

Mix together equal parts:
Aggravation, miscommunication, and frustration.

Add dollops of:
Ninja folding, stealth insertions, and more layering than an onion with mommy issues.

Now, put on a low heat and simmer for 24 hours.

At the end you will either have a delicious family that made all the right decisions, sporting weather and situation appropriate clothing for any circumstance OR (and this is the more likely situation) the kids and I will be wearing fleece in 80 degree, 100 % humidity hiking conditions and Dave is the only one sitting pretty in his cargo shorts – it’s hard to predict which way things will go!

UPDATE: My sister has pointed out that unless I meant to smuggle Aishwarya Rai across the border in a baggie – I meant heroin and NOT heroine!! Thanks A – I bow to your superior knowledge of illegal drugs ;-)!!

My less tangential entry for the Weekly Writing Challenge!

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