The Two Gringas Do It Again!
Day 0 -- Wednesday 28 January 2004 -- Vashon Island, Washington
"Packing early is for wooses!"
Before every trip, it's right about at this point -- mid- to late-afternoon the day before departure -- that I no longer want to go. With sorted piles and partially sorted piles of stuff and more stuff occupying every horizontal surface, chair and bed in three rooms, five pages of checklist, and nothing yet in the bags, it all just seems like more trouble than it's worth.
The phone rings. It's Laurie.
"Lena, don't forget that the washer is being delivered this evening between 5 and 7."
Ugh, I'd completely spaced it...
"I need that installed before you leave."
Right, no problem.
I go back to what I was doing -- not actually packing, but making a last-minute fix to a leaky window gasket on the old 1978 Ford F350 Camper Special factory-built 2-ton pick-up which Laurie inherited from her late father, and which will be our ride from Seattle to Belize this trip. Nice truck; well maintained, beefy, only 204,000 original miles...
The window's almost finished, the packing yet to begin, the washer long forgotten. Again.
. . .
I had started out the morning with yet another call to our medical insurance provider (between the insurance restrictions and my pharmacist's apparent inability to calculate out beyond 30 days, getting a 3-month supply of the necessaries turned into a bit of a battle. Fortunately we have a *very* service-oriented administrator at out medical plan, and she fixed everything at the eleventh hour. And no, I'm not saying that just because she is also a reader... ;-)
Then there was a re-check of the weather forecast for Siskiyou Pass in southern Oregon (highest point on I-5) and -- whoops -- the snow level is now predicted to drop below 4000 feet providing 6 to 11 inches of the slippery stuff on the highway. Aaarrghh! It had looked like we would get away without buying truck chains, but now there is the panicked call to the auto parts store: the warehouse was emptied out by the recent snow in Seattle *but* our monster truck tires are such a weird size that they still have a couple sets at the warehouse and I'm 45 minutes ahead of the order deadline so they will arrive this afternoon. <Gasp.>
Then there is the trip to the post office to check our PO box to see if the new truck title (you read me right: the truck title, without which we cannot bring the vehicle into either Mexico or Belize) has arrived, which it has not, just as it has not arrived daily for the past week and more. So now there is the trip to the local licensing bureau, staffed by a nice lady who can't help, but gives me the number of the State Dept. of Licensing, which I rush home to call.
So I wade through the auto-attendant menu until I get to the recording that states very clearly that new vehicle title issues now require SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS instead of the 3 to 4 we were told. My heart stops. The trip's dead. The machine voice says I can stay on the line to talk to a human. I am so stunned I don't know what else to do anyway. Then I'm talking to the *nicest* woman at the DOL (first the HMO, now the DOL... I feel disoriented, confused; Alyson Lala Land...) who taps on her computer and cheerfully informs me that the title has already been processed and went out in *today's* mail.
There is still hope! I jump on the USPS website, the FedEx website, write out instructions for Laurie to get the title to us in Texas: if it arrives Thursday, do this ($12); if Friday, do that ($32), if Saturday, send one of the staff over to the FedEx depot and... ($hundreds). In France they say "if you have no head, you still have feet", meaning that if you're not sufficiently on the ball, you'll get to go back and do/get it again. The American equivalent would have to be "if you don't have brains, you still have a wallet."
So now off to the parts store to get the chains ($heavy$truck$type$) some of this and that (for some reason 25-year-old trucks seem to need a lot of thises and thatses). Back home in the pouring rain and I'm lying down in the mud putting chains on one huge rear wheel to make sure they fit (NOT something you trust to!) and they do, so now I'm ready to pack, right?
Oh, but my feet hurt and I'm soaked and I need to sit and have a coffee, so while I do I check my email and there's an email from Denise who says I should re-check the Siskiyou forecast and I do and now the projected snow level is up to 5500 feet and the 4300 foot pass is going to be bare and wet. Aaarrghh!
It is at this point -- right about at the point when I think that I no longer really want to go on this trip -- that Laurie calls to remind me about the washer delivery this evening. Ugh, I'd completely spaced it...
. . .
OK, so I've pretty much got my piles all sorted and I'm actually beginning to consider the notion of beginning to pack when the bell rings. It's spot-on seven o'clock PM. The washer! Oh no, I still have to get the old one out, and...
Aw, it doesn't really matter anyway -- I don't have to get up till 4:30 AM -- and packing early is for wooses.
MissLena is Galena Alyson Canada
Her email is themisslena
Her blog is at galenaalysoncanada.blogspot.com