Brian Matuszak column: A quick weekend getaway is not quick to get ready forSo Sue and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary a couple weeks back (thanks for the card, by the way) and, as is our family custom, we enjoyed a quick weekend getaway to celebrate.
So Sue and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary a couple weeks back (thanks for the card, by the way) and, as is our family custom, we enjoyed a quick weekend getaway to celebrate.
Well, I’m assuming all three of us enjoyed it. You see, any family activity we attempt has to pass the iEye Test to be considered fun by the 15-year-old: If she can rip her eyes off her iDevice for more than 36 percent of the time, she had a good time. I did get a clear
look at her face at least three times every day,
not counting meals, so I’m pretty sure she had fun, too.
But it didn’t start out all gumdrops and giggles. A big excursion never does around our house because we’re not keen on traveling. When we contemplate taking our act on the road, many questions have to be considered: What’s the weather forecast for where we’re going? Is there a hotel cheap enough to fit in the tightwad budget? What’s going on locally that we would be sad to miss or, conversely, want to avoid like a Don Ness dancing YouTube video? If all those queries are cleared to our satisfaction, then we can begin the second step in preparing for the voyage: Packing.
We’re not a family that can just toss some pants in a sack and roll on down the highway. We’re particular about what accompanies us on a trip. We each have our own very, VERY long list of Required Travel Stuff and by the time we flop it down all over our hotel room, it looks like we never left home. We pack pillows, we haul hand lotion, we overstuff suitcases with even more stuff: clothes, books, jackets, flip-flops, medicine, snacks, water and on and on and on. What an ordinary trio of grizzled explorers might portage in for a six-month trek through the Congo, we take for an overnighter anywhere. But I’m not complaining. It’s hard enough to leave the comfort of your home and sleep in a strange bed that’s been occupied by who knows who, doing who knows what. The Matuszaks are going to be as comfortable as possible if we’re putting ourselves through that kind of mental anguish.
Because we require so many accompanying accoutrements, it can be a bit stressful when the time comes to actually leave. There’s rarely been a trip where we’ve remembered every single item. One time I forgot to pack socks (absolutely true), another time Sue left her reading glasses behind (also true), and there was one memorable trip when we both forgot Kaylee (absolutely false … as far as the local authorities know). In fact, we have an imaginary anxiety bubble set up around the Duluth area where we will still allow ourselves to turn around and go back home to grab something we’ve left behind. Heading up north, it’s Pike Lake. Down towards the Cities, it’s Cloquet. And when we’re crazy and plan on plunging deep into Wisconsin, our perimeter is the outskirts of Superior, right around Gronk’s.
But if we drive past our anxiety bubble and THEN discover we’ve forgotten something, we have to run a quick cost-benefit analysis to see if the return retrieval trip makes sense. Would we spend more time and gas going back to get my special cinnamon-flavored lip balm now that we’re in Cotton, or would it be cheaper to just buy a regular chapstick at the SuperAmerica and be done with it? Sometimes, it doesn’t even matter how far past the perimeter you’ve traveled, whatever it was you left behind is so vital to a successful trip that you MUST turn around and regain possession of it. For example, as bad as some of our overlooked items have been, none match the horrible experience of Sue’s dad who, when they were on a family trip years ago, discovered he had left his wallet in his other pants hanging on a hook next to the shower back home. This fact popped into his head just as they had passed through Pine City.
On the way to Rochester.
Apparently, that return trip was quite memorable, not to mention noisy.
But the good news is that Sue, Kaylee, and I did remember everything we needed and the only setback from a weekend of Wisconsin Dells waterparking was when I twinged my back in the wave pool. So I now have two new items I have to add my list of Required Travel Stuff:
A girdle and the chiropractor’s phone number.
Brian Matuszak is the founder of Rubber Chicken Theater, and invites you to follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/rchickentheater or like him on Facebook at Rubber Chicken Theater. Although he isn’t crazy about physically traveling someplace, he’s not averse to going away in his mind. Nothing to pack and there’s always lots of room in there.