Steve at the beach in Ontario as a kid.
We are going to the beach next week - yes, friends - all week at the beach! A beach house, miles of sand, that rhythmic ocean sound, meals cooked on the BB with good drinks, a balcony for sunrise coffee, and most of all, my girls .... and of course, Curtis and Steve. No offence :-) ... not taken I am sure.
So to get to the beach, I am first driving to Pittsburgh to participate in a series of twelve lectures on human formation, along with my cohort of fellow students under the mentoring of Susan Muto. That finished, I will drive five hours to Virginia Beach to pick up Steve from the airport and then together we will drive south into the night to arrive at the beach house sometime in the wee morning hours. We will bicker about choice of music, we will laugh and talk about the kids, we will probably talk about our future. If the travel gods are with us we will find a little restaurant with fresh seafood somewhere along the coast. If the travel gods are not with us we will eat at a Cracker Barrel and regret it.
I remember what it used to take to prepare to leave the kids for a trip, commonly to South America. After at least a month of writing lists, setting up child care, arranging for the cat, the house, school, emergencies, food, lessons, and incoming grandparents, we would spend a whole frantic week working the plan until we found ourselves on the way to the airport, exhausted, sad kids left behind, and often a very bad headache. I would lament, "I wonder if it is worth it to do all this to get away." And it always was.
Packing is still a problem for me because I don't know how I will feel on a particular day and thus I don't know what I will want to wear. I never take the right clothes. The weather is not what I think it will be. I eat too much and the pants I brought don't fit. When I manage to pack like a veteran traveler and take minimum clothes I hate everything by the end of the trip. I would almost rather go nude. If I take a lot, I don't use most of it and have been known to just give stuff away so I don't have to haul it around.
Last year in Oxford England Steve and I took, accidentally, four suitcases. Such a load is slightly defensible because we had three separate events/ locations, each requiring different wear. The problem came when we decided to take the train/ coach to our major stops, and the luggage became like a visible curse. (Picture two people pushing and dragging large luggage down the metro...) So North American to haul our material belongings around with us. I was vaguely ashamed of us. Still it was worth it.
Today I am almost ready except for Walter, our cat. She had been missing for three days and I held out a forlorn hope that she might actually have left us. Alas, she is back, looking pretty pleased with herself, and not at all hungry. This however means I have a new detail to attend to. Who will take care of Walter?
Is it worth it to go to all this fuss? Absolutely. In five days I will be reclining while The Girls make me laugh, Steve and Curtis will be fishing in the ocean, steaks sizzling on the BB, and all will be well with the world.