A few posts back I mentioned that our family is headed West this fall, to spend a semester at a Major West Coast University where Mr. Sandyshoes will be on sabbatical. Actually, that was way back in March that I mentioned it, and here it is August and we are leaving soon. Whoa.
In the interim, we found housing (important!) in MWCUville, made arrangements for our own house, figured out where the girls will be attending school for the first half of third and first grade, and bit by bit, got details decided on and buttoned up.
For weeks I've been aiming at using up everything in the pantry, and the shelves are looking pretty bare. I'll have to really get creative to leave things as empty as possible. Quinoa and chocolate sauce, anyone? Canned pineapple and navy beans? Come on over, I've got a decent Chardonnay to go with!
Now it is time to think about packing. I hate packing, so I'm prolonging the list-making phase as long as I can. It's weird, for this long of a trip. On one hand we have to bring, well, everything, so it should be a long list. On the other, "everything" is really just clothes/coats/shoes, and some games, scooters for the kids because they take up less space than bikes, a few important files/documents... what am I forgetting? Something obvious, no doubt.
We're bringing a car out. For a while, we thought of taking all of August to drive out there all together, but the timing didn't work. Mr. Sandyshoes is at sea on a research cruise (less lovely than it sounds, but still exciting) and won't be back in time for us to have made it the trip we wanted it to be. So I will drive the car out myself, and rendezvous with Mr. Sandyshoes and the girls at a friends' place, and we'll do a little west coast sightseeing all together before we settle into the house we're renting.
When I tell people I'm about to drive across the country solo, I generally get one of two responses: "Why? Are you insane?" or "oh wow, I wish I could do that!" The are-you-insane camp doesn't like driving and/or solitude, and is overly concerned for my safety. I love both driving and solitude, and while not unconcerned for my safety, I'm not worried about it, either. Common sense + car in good shape + phone + AAA + GPS = I will be fine.
Actually, I am late to the whole GPS-in-the-car thing, though I had a hand-held model way before it was common. I didn't see the need, because I never had any trouble using good old-fashioned maps (except in Boston, where all direction-giving aids, including actual road signs, are, infuriatingly, useless). I know people who got a GPS device, and suddenly can't navigate their own home towns without it. How does that happen? But it is nifty, and probably useful for locating hotels in unfamiliar places, and the little voice will give me something to talk back to. I hear you can download a Darth Vader voice for it. Heh. Give me Patrick Stewart, though. Or Alan Rickman. Oooh, how about Ian McShane as Al Swearengen from Deadwood: "Turn fucking left, or prepare for eternal fucking traffic lights, and the like." That would be awesome, and I will be going through Deadwood...
Anyway, I'll be fine. I've always been a very independent person. But you know, you get married, you have children, maybe you quit your paid job... before you know it, that proud independence plays a faint second fiddle to the wife-and-mother part of life. I miss it. This road trip gives me a chance to taste that again, for a little while. Also, I do plain love driving. Which is good, because 3400 miles is a hell of a long way to drive.
In related news, I am delighted to report I have found a travel mug I don't hate. There shall be tea on the road, without styrofoam cups!