Friday, November 18, 2011

Pack Rat

It's time to pack for my Thanksgiving trip. I try to pack all carry-on because I don't like to lose my stuff. Interestingly, I just read a friend's blog on packing light and it's not surprising that we're friends - we have similar priorities on what's important to pack, after all! Still, my stuff winds up taking about twice the space hers does, I think.

A few months ago, the family decided to plan a gettogether at thanksgiving. As of a couple weeks ago, this plan hit the skids, but I'd already decided on something else for Christmas, so we're going to make it work, sort of. The plan is a little crazy.

Step 1: Getting There
We all fly into STL sunday afternoon, get 2 rental cars and head to grandma's in southern IL. The 'rents fly standby, so this may or may not go smoothly. I couldn't get a direct flight at all, so mine may or may not go smoothly.

Step 2: Grandma's House
We spend a couple days with grandma and pop. Mom has some notion that we'll cook an early Thanksgiving dinner. I hope we do because my mom is great at that particular meal. I'd say you have no idea, but you probably do if you've met my parents. They like feeding people, and mom can whip up a turkey dinner for 12 on a moment's notice. It's her superpower.

Step 3: Traveling
Dad takes rental car one back to STL, the flies back home to go to work, the thing that lets my parents fly without planning in advance.
The following day, my mom and I head out for Kansas City. If all goes well, we'll stop to see friends of mine in STL, then we'll roadtrip across the state. I'm wondering if we'll be snacking on turkey drumsticks.

These plans aren't set in stone. The options for mom are
  1. fly back early with dad
  2. ride with me to STL and fly back
  3. ride with me to Kansas City and fly back that night
  4. ride with me to Kansas City and fly back the next morning
  5. something unknown to science.
It took rather more planning skills than we usually muster because dad flies standby and cannot miss work on wednesday, I'm flying into STL and out of MCI, mom doesn't want to get stranded somewhere, and we don't want to spend a fortune on rental cars. We don't want my dad to miss out because it's his birthday as well as Thanksgiving. (Do I have a card yet? No.) Fortunately, we figured out that a 2nd rental car would be a trivial cost (1/10th my one-way cost...) so mom and I get more time with grandma. Who sounded more disappointed than I expected that I wouldn't be there on Thanksgiving. Step 4: Thanksgiving! My good friend from high school - she of the children named for Norse gods, as opposed to my good friend from high school whose child is named for a Norse god - invited me for thanksgiving. Her other friend that I stayed with when I went to her wedding will also be there, and we got on well, so I'm looking forward to this. The bonus will be seeing her youngest boy in an awake state, and meeting the 4th boy, who they adopted last year. Mostly I know her oldest boy, who visits grandparents in SoCal. And since I'm more mobile than a family of 6, it feels like the right thing to do. Apparently her husband is good at the Thanksgiving meal too, so that will be nice. Step 5: Return Hopefully this goes smoothly. I turn in the car and get another 2-segment flight back, but get back at a reasonable hour and have a day to decompress before headed back to work. Which brings me back to Step 0: Pack I'm mostly good with the toiletries from my CO trip last month, but am halfway through the laundry (quick pause to rescue delicates from dryer...). Thankfully I just read my friend's packing list for a reminder, and have a good handle on what to take. I even baked cookies using the last of my oats, so I have room for new oats at the cookie party.

The only real trick is that my brain somehow still thinks I have a week before I need to go, but really, I'm headed to LAX at 3am on sunday. In between now and then, the handyman is coming over for 8 hours of project finishing - I will finally put the range hood up! - I'm just not sure how my focus and energy will hold out. I try to remember that if all goes badly, I should keep my charged phone and credit card close to hand and they sell toothpaste where I'm going.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving*, all. Got any good plans?

*(A much belated Canadian Thx.)

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