Packing's done... I think. I hope. There's room in the car if I've forgotten something, but it's a matter of time, now. I'm ready to get going, and don't want to spend the morning loading "one more thing" a dozen times.
Turns out everything I need to wear for four months takes up about three cubic feet. Remarkable. I don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed. I'm a simple dresser and I didn't pack anything fancy. Talking about this trip over dinner with some friends earlier this summer, they asked if I'd started figuring out what to pack yet, and if I was anxious about it. Nah, I said. What do I have to pack? Clothes for fall, right? And how complicated can that be, when all I wear is jeans, turtlenecks and fleece vests?
The girls are a little upset. I haven't taken this long of a trip without them before. I do get away for the occasional long weekend -- Mr. Sandyshoes is very good about accommodating visits to friends on my own -- but not for ten days. This time, when the girls see me again it will be on the other side of the country, after a long flight to a completely unfamiliar place, at the home of people they've never met. It's all feeling pretty momentous to them. Plus, their backyard is wrecked and the driveway's all torn up, and the deck is pulled apart. It must seem like a lot of upheaval. It seems that way to me, and I'm not 6 or 8 years old.
I've told them they can call me as often as they'd like, and say "where are you now?" and Daddy will show them on a map. The Peanut thinks it will be hilarious to call me before I've even turned the corner and ask me where I am. She is planning this and giggling. The Bean isn't finding any of it funny yet, but that will come in due time.
I drove around a bit today, saying a mental farewell to my favorite parts of town -- library, beach, pretty town center. When I return, it will be wintertime, and I'll have missed a Town Meeting (I know, the horror! but I almost never miss one, and this will be a biggie) and two elections (got my absentee ballots though), and many school committee meetings. It is probably for the best that I miss those latter, as I'm starting to feel more frustrated than is useful with all the goings-on of late. I love this town, but I fear the school district is being taken over by Bears of Very Little Brain, and this in a critical budget year. It'll be refreshing to spend time in a place where I know none of the ins and outs of how it's being run, and I won't be there long enough for it to matter anyway. I can stay in the loop online, of course, but it might not hurt to disconnect a bit, either. We'll see if I can manage it.
Right now though, the important thing to manage is not to stay up all night wondering what I've forgotten to pack.