I compartmentalize things, like I never start a new book until I’ve finished the old one (unless it’s absolutely unreadable – I’m looking at you, Tree of Codes). And sometimes I do it in a bad way. Like when I don’t think about vacation until I’ve finished my last day of work before we hit the road.
Memorial Day Weekend, we planned to leave first thing Friday morning for the Jersey Shore. I got home from work Thursday night around 5:30, right in time to pick up the dog and the kids and go to George’s t-ball game.
Matty had to work late, so I had to man the dog walk, t-ball game and dinner, and then I figured we’d combine bedtime and packing the kids’ clothes, because those are two easy, stress-free activities that pair up nicely, right?
If you’re also a last minute packer, here are a few tips for you:
- Start packing right at bedtime. That way, everyone’s already on edge so it adds a level of excitement. Think of how refreshing it is to interject a, “WHERE ARE ALL YOUR SWIM SUITS?” in between your standard, “YOU SHOULD ALREADY BE FLOSSING!”s.
- The best time to unpack the bags from your last vacation, a month and a half ago? The night before your vacation! George found a bunch of dirty clothes, including my missing “guns and rosé” tank top, plus several previously damp swimsuits in his suitcase. Not to be outdone, Hazel found a handful of loose Choco Krispis (Mexican Cocoa Krispies) in her carryon bag. Touché, Hazel! Don’t tell TSA we brought those in the country. God knows we’re already probably already on some list from that time I told Cancun airport security, “mi hombre es in the baño!” as the reason we couldn’t go through the security line.
- Take time to cry a little bit in the kitchen. You may not have a clean guns and rosé tank top, but you do have half a bottle of rosé in the fridge.
- Speaking of the fridge, now’s the perfect time to figure out why it, as your husband has helpfully pointed out, “smells like something’s rotting in there.” Because it’s only going to smell better after you’ve been out of town for five days.
- Let your kids take the first pass at packing on their own. A pair of dress pants, two too-small swim trunks, three pairs of winter pants and your “fart machine” t-shirt? Good start, George. Can’t think of what else we could possibly need. Hazy, I see you packed three formalwear dresses, a make-your-own slime kit, and your JonBenet Ramsay swimsuit. Fantastic. Zip that bag right up.
- Let your dog participate in the packing fun. And by “participate,” I mean follow you around like she’s Pepé Le Pew and you’re Penelope Pussycat (yep, that was her name). And by “fun,” I mean have a full on anxiety attack while you reassure that after you’re done sobbing into this rosé, everything is fine and you’re not leaving her, as much as you want to. How can I miss you if you never leave, Rosie?
- Reassure your husband via text that everything is fine. Because the more living things you have to reassure, the better, am I right? Try to text, “hey, where is the sunscreen I just bought?” instead of “WHERE IS THE DUCKING SUNSCREEN?! *DUCKING jesus forget it.”
- Try to get a good night’s sleep. No one likes a crankypants on the car ride.
Bonus tip: if you’d like to research ways to pack a suitcase in a really anal manner, do not, especially at work, google “anal packing tips.” I learned that the hard way.