I am not a good packer for trips.
A few days before I travel, a co-worker will ask, “Are you packed yet?” The answer is always the same: “I haven’t even done laundry yet.”
So there I was in our kitchen a few Wednesday nights ago at 1 a.m. baking cookies. Being short a reporter, I was at work until 12:30 a.m. getting ready to go to press. My Mom and I were flying to Minneapolis the next day for my only nephew’s high school graduation party.
I had already made the cookie dough. Just had to pop them in the oven.
It could have been worse. Before past journeys, I can remember late nights ironing, watering plants, writing notes to the dog sitter and polishing shoes and nails. That is always risky: I have been known to fall asleep with wet fingernails only to wake up and find them stuck to the sheets. It defeats the whole purpose of a manicure, which you do to make your nails look better, not worse.
When I pack late at night, I will forget something. A nightie, jewelry or comb. Never anything as catastrophic as my college roommate Eleanor, who arrived for another roommate’s wedding with two left shoes. She had been on another trip and halfway unpacked her suitcase, then dumped new items in. Fifteen minutes before the wedding, Eleanor was shoe shopping.
Perhaps the worst leaving-for-a-trip experience occurred 24 years ago. Our Hammond., La., house was listed for sale so we could move back to Batesville. My husband, Bill, and 4-year-old Ben already were here. I was putting Tony, 9, on a plane to visit his aunt in Washington, D.C., then I was getting on a different plane to come up here and house hunt.