There is a 4"x6" index card with a list of my lists, so I don't lose one along the way. There is a list for what to pack, what to buy, what we need, what we are supposed to do before we go, what we are supposed to do the day we go. There is a list for each person even though two of them can't read. There is a list of things to take care of that actually says, "Wax eyebrows" underneath "Suspend mail service." It still feels disorganized. Maybe I should color-code something. Then I can colorize it. Can I colorize a black and white list?
"What? Why are you laughing?"
"Because you are writing comfort lists. Look at you." Index cards are strewn across the kitchen table. A stack of printed out lists of things to pack from websites of people who are equally anal. (One site suggested I make a list for myself for when I get home that reads, "Turn on the AC." It's hotter than a two dollar whore on the Fourth of July. I don't think I will forget to do that.) A half empty (nothing is half full right now) can of Diet Coke and I hate Diet Coke. (It burns me throat, but I need the caffeine.) My pen furiously bulleting lists of lists.
"I need to be prepared. How many pairs of shoes are you taking?"
"You are listing and not doing."
I stare at my amused, calm husband. "The sign of intelligence is less doing and more planning. Haven't you ever heard that, Georgia?"
"You know, you spend the majority of your time making a sound plan and only have to DO once. Geesh."
"You are cute when you are nervous."
"Oh, shut up."
We are leaving on vacation. On Saturday. To Alabama. Or an island off the coast of Alabama. For a week. We are meeting all of Sam's siblings and their families and his mother and aunt. Someone sent an email to my husband with directions to the Wa.lMa.rt, you know, so we can go grocery shopping.
Sam inevitably utters the words that make me go bat shit crazy. And those words are, "Relax, honey, it always comes together."
It's not magic. It doesn't just "come together". It isn't the great cosmic zipper of life that "comes together" seamlessly to pack a family of four and prepare for a week away. No. It is me, forcing the weight of the universe into three 22" x 14" x 9" carry-on bags, preparing for every emergency, freak travel nightmare because of brute force and unholy pacts with the Sky Gods.
I love being a stay at home mother, but vacation is not reallllllly a vacation. It should not be called vacation. It is exactly what I do all day except without the stuff that makes my job easy, like toys, high chairs, cribs, noise machines, knowing exactly where everything is and all the little tricks you develop throughout the years, like coloring stations, craft bins. It should be renamed Perhaps Dismaycation. Or Flaycation. Or simply Going Somewhere Else. I remember when I was a kid everyone just said, "I can't play tomorrow. We are going away." Where are you going? Away. What did you do this weekend? We went away. Where? Away.
Away. Away to the land of nothing easy, but much prettier.
I started a poll on Facebook about whether or not I should pack my Omega Juicer. I think it is worth it, the 25 bucks for an extra piece of checked-in luggage if I get to maintain one regular, daily routine. Every morning I juice celery, romaine lettuce, ginger, lemon and apple. Sometimes I juice for lunch too. That might involve beets, apples, perhaps a lemon. I need the vitamins, no? I need the comfort more. It would be my only moment to focus on my joy. My friend who is a constant traveler saw me yesterday and first thing she said, before "Hello", or "What up, Dawg?" was "You can't take your fucking juicer on vacation."
I wear black every day.
I have dusky feet.
You could probably fry an egg on my hair in the summer.
I don't like to be in a swimsuit in polite society.
I read an article that we can't eat the seafood.
My boobs are too big.
There was just a giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, right?
Babies and beaches are like a nightmare. Seriously. Sand gets in places where you just can't get it out. Have you ever seen that? It's terrible.
It is hot in Alabama, like the inside of someone's mouth hot, except that it is hotter than 98.6 most days, so like the inside of a feverish man's mouth.
I don't really have any good shorts.
I am not really designed for a vacation to an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Every day I come up with a list of reasons why this might not be a good idea. Except that I really want my kids to know their aunts and uncles and cousins and MomMom. Two-thirds of which they haven't seen, well, ever (in the case of Thor) and in three point two years (in the case of Beezus.) My husband misses his brothers, sister, mama and aunt very much. And so I am a brown girl, willingly flying to Alabama on my only vacation in two years because that is all that matters. Even though I bitch a lot, I also have a soul. And I love my husband. And actually, I really adore my in-laws, especially psyched that my sisters in law agreed to read a book together. (Ann Patchett's new one, hollah!)
Is it okay to admit that I will be pretending its Iceland?