It’s time to pack it in

I thumped another suitcase down the stairs. “This is it. That’s all of them.”

Terry surveyed the stash of things to be packed against the clutter of cases. “Maybe we can find a couple cardboard boxes in the garage.”

“Nope. We filled the last of those last night. There might be room to stuff some clothes in a cooler.”

“A cooler? Are you crazy? You’re not packing my socks and sweaters in an ice chest.”

“Why not?”

“I already packed the chicken and frozen vegetables in there. I’m not wearing cold socks and sweaters.”


I looked around. Bags, boxes, books, clothes, food, shoes, gifts, baking pans and recyclables everywhere. I don’t mind taking trips. It’s the getting ready to go that nearly stops me every time.

I know people who toss a few things into a small bag and have everything they need for at least three months. I never learned the art of packing light. Then I married the only person in the world who is worse at it than I am. We take vacations just to pack for vacations.

I picked up the baking pan. “We’re visiting relatives. I think they have their own pots and pans.”

“It’s not polite to go into someone’s house and dirty up their stuff.”

I tripped over a box of glass jars and empty cans. “Ow! Do we really have to take our own recycling?”

“That’s to drop off on the way there.”

“The recycling drop-off isn’t on the way.”

“We’ll pass it on our way to pick up the bedspreads.”

“Oh, OK. Wait, what bedspreads?”

Terry tossed a wad of towels at me. “Pack those in the yellow bag. They’ll protect the eggs. And remember, I told you last night, June wants us to stop over and pick up the bedspreads to take with us. They’d be perfect for our hosts’ spare bedroom.”

“June lives two towns the wrong direction.”

“Right. So it’s hardly out of our way. Besides, we might want to borrow their trailer. You don’t mind holding the fishbowl on your lap do you?”


“Just kidding. We’re leaving that at home.”

I looked around the house. “Apparently, it’s the only thing we’re leaving.”

Terry started running dishwater. I yelped, “What are you doing? We needed to leave three hours ago.”

“I am not coming back to a sink full of dirty dishes. And I need to clean the pantry first. I wouldn’t want the onions to go bad. Maybe I should take them with us.”

“No, no, no, NO! They have onions. If they don’t, we’ll buy them when we get there. Can we just go?”

“Did you pack your clothes?”

I looked at my feet. “Well, yeah. I started with short-sleeved shirts ’cause it’s warmer there. Then I looked at the weather forecast and added long-sleeved just in case. Then my sweaters. And a sweatshirt. Or two.” I sighed. “It was easier to empty my drawers into garbage bags. Um, we’re out of bags.”

“We might need a bigger trailer. You better go call Dan.”

“OK, fine. Just let me get the CD player loaded first. You never know when the car radio will quit.” I paused. “Maybe we should take the fish bowl.”

It’s a good thing we weren’t staying overnight, otherwise we would have had to rent a semi.

—- Give Burt packing lessons at or at the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.