Packing for a trip & other musings…

This morning, theBean & I are headed out for a week… going to Atlanta for the ‘Foursquare Connection’, our church family’s annual convention. It’s a great opportunity to reconnect with friends (like how I incorporated the “connection” theme seamlessly into my post?), be a part of some training workshops led by a couple of people that really challenge me, stimulating simultaneously my thinking & my spirit.

It’s also a momentous & crucial opportunity for Foursquare as on Tuesday, the next president will be selected. I’ve got a million thoughts on this, & have been a part of the selection process since January… but I’m not writing about that now. Perhaps later for the 3 other people that are interested in that sort of thing.

So theBean & I prepare to leave – we had great news earlier in the week: our 6 a.m. flight departure had to be changed to 11:47 a.m… meaning no 4:30 a.m. mad dash to the airport on too little sleep. TheBean must have told me “thank you” 20 times. Funny thing is, I felt like the change in schedule was a ‘let down.’ It occurred to me that the two of us were functioning off a different set of expectations & hopes when it comes to traveling.

I’m thinking, “The earlier we leave, the earlier we get there & can relax, hang out, do whatever we want to. So what if we have to get up before the chickens do, all bleary eyed, not seeing straight. The goal is to GET there; if the journey is a LITTLE unpleasant, that’s ok.” Meanwhile, theBean is thinking, “Starting the day off in a hectic rush is painful, difficult, & stressful. Getting to sleep in until a normal (6:45) time, then leisurely put the finishing touches on our bags… kiss the kids, jollywag* our way to the airport. Enjoy the time. And if/when we don’t get to our hotel until midnight, that’s ok, because we had a great travel day…”
*Jollywag – to take one’s time, going along at a slow & enjoyable pace; to strol; meander. From the Dictionary of Words According to theBean, ©2010.

Might seem like a no-brainer, but to me it was bordering on epiphany… considering my wife & her different definition of what makes a great travel day matters. Taking the time to enjoy the process, the just-the-2-of-us-lost-in-a-crowd, & being together instead of rushing to get there & missing the opportunity of the day.

Sigh. I have a lot to learn about marriage.

On to packing… earlier this week, the Miser in me took a look at the $23/checked bag fees & thought it might be worth considering to see if we could fit our stuff for the week in 1 bag. So I asked theBean… & to my surprise, she said, “Sure. Let’s do it.”

What? Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” erupted, the Hallelujah chorus followed, & my own special version of Michael Flatley spilled into the room.

So, in preparation of our packing, on Wednesday I made a list of everything I would be taking – & encouraged theBean (1 time, & 1 time only…) that it MIGHT be prudent to do the same. Early Friday morning, I pulled the last freshly washed clothes from the dryer, carefully folding them & placing them next to the 1 (one) suitcase Chosen to be the Vessel that contained both of our clothes for the week.

I got the bright idea that I’d let theBean put all of her clothes etc… in the suitcase 1st, then find a way to fit my stuff in the nooks & crannies of the Chosen Vessel. Which seemed like a good plan. So good it was a Good Plan.

One problem. TheBean seemed to be…procrastinating. Doing stuff around the house. Tinkering with things in the closet. Cleaning up the bathroom. It seemed like she was looking to do ANY-thing except pack. I sat on the couch & watched her bounce from place to place, task to task, all the while keeping my eyes on the Chosen Vessel & the carefully folded clothes I’d placed next to it. Waiting. Patiently. Sighing. Louder sighing.

11 p.m. came & went. Still no clothes in the Chosen Vessel… Feeling a leeetle frustrated. The Good Plan wasn’t coming together. Had an idea that what I NEEDED to do was to get grumpy & tell theBean just what she needed to do & why. Because I was inconVENienced. I had been WAITING to pack together, & now she was proCRAStinating.

Fortunately, at this point, before the meltdown, I realized that for $23, I could avoid all the marital strife & antagonism that a grumpy episode would bring about. So I let theBean know that she could have her own Chosen Vessel, & I would take the other one. It took me 30 seconds to put my stuff in the suitcase, arrange everything to my liking, & then, BOOM. I’m done. No more stress. Just sitting on the couch, catching up on the evenings sports highlights, letting theBean go at her own pace & in her own way… which is SO different that mine. That I don’t quite understand. Ok, don’t understand at all. But that is uniquely hers. And rather than SQUISH her, even try to antagonize her into compliance, I could just LET HER BE.

Who’d a thunk it?

Now its 9:09 a.m. Saturday. Departure for the airport happens in 45 minutes. We’re both packed. No pre-trip fights. No regrets. Just a renewed sense that stuff can & will be accomplished without me riding herd on it to make it happen like I would want it to, like I would do it. Perhaps I’m growing?

2 thoughts on “Packing for a trip & other musings…

  1. Awww this is why Andy and I don’t share s suitcase anymore. 2 different styles, minimalist backpackers style complete with Excel spreadsheet and relive Europe in a backpack for 2 weeks. Me would like a choice in my clothing and if possible weather change clothes. No worries no more= 2 suitcases :)

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