I’m Baaack! It’s been a while since my last post because, well, I’ve been trippin’. That’s right. My husband, our daughter, Megan, and I made a 3-1/2-day trip to northern Idaho to attend my nephew’s wedding. We left on Friday morning, July 24, and returned Monday evening, July 27. Of course, all told, ‘the trip’ involved pre-trip preparations, the road trip to the destination, executing the events at the destination, the road trip home and, last but not least, the post-trip process of unpacking and decompressing back into our pre-trip life, tackling anew an ever burgeoning to-do list.

I like road trips and love weddings, but I hate the pre-trip planning and packing. This adds three days to the time you spend taking the trip. Well, it’s good to start on it a few days ahead, so you aren’t in a panic like I was last Thursday, out, first of all, shopping for a new pair of shoes to wear to the wedding – because I already knew without opening my closet that my shoes were dorky. Having arrived home with new shoes, I affixed myself in front of my closet to start packing.

I have my own special technique on how to pack: Postpone even thinking about it till you absolutely have to, which, for me, fell mid-afternoon of the last pre-trip day. Then … quick! Pretend you are hypnotized so your thoughts about how much you hate to pack are disconnected from your body. Because one lousy “Geez I freakin’ hate this” thought worming its way into your consciousness is enough to derail you. Open your closet. Quickly grab and fling everything you could possibly wear onto the bed. Oh wait, most of everything you could possibly wear is in the dirty clothes! Throw a wash in! But first! Strip down! Because you also want to take the clothes you are now wearing.

So, yeah, packing sucks. I hate it when my husband arrives home from work expecting everything to be ready to go and there is no sign of my suitcase. That’s because it is still in the basement storage room. “What have you been doing all day?” he asks.

“I needed new shoes!” Well, I had packed our daughter’s suitcase, watered the gardens and house plants, delivered the dog to the sitter’s, tied up about 30 other domestic loose ends, and crammed everything we could possibly want for the car ride, motel, weekend festivities, and leisure into backpacks and tote bags, which were now sitting on the dining room table, ready to go.

So now it’s Friday, 9 AM, road trip day. The car is loaded up and we are all piled in, ready for take-off. You can always tell how well things went in the pre-trip phase by how long you have to endure dead-air silence in the car after finally pulling out of the driveway and heading down the road. For us on this trip the silence lasted uh, about the usual: 25 minutes. Not bad! Pretty much up to par. l was gloating to myself during that silence about what a good job I did overall, packing for this trip – I didn’t forget a thing! I even packed 2 bathing suits, and I don’t even swim.

We drove straight north from Idaho Falls, 460 miles to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. With cruise control set at 80, charging up I-90, it was a 6 1/2-hour drive. Geez! And when we pulled up to our motel we were still in Idaho.

Our two sons, Aaron and Ben, flew into Spokane from Atlanta and Denver, respectively, and met us at the motel. We were all staying at the Coeur D’Alene Resort – a costly but very nice five-star accommodation. My husband, David, daughter Megan, and I had a room on the third floor of the main building while our two boys settled into a room on the second floor in an adjoining 15-story tower. Nice. We could do our thing and they do theirs and if we find each other it’s beautiful. Hey, they are in their mid-twenties and we are, well, their parents. My husband was sporting a beard and our younger son Ben greeted him with, “Hey, Father Time!” (The beard came off post-trip, uh, yesterday actually.)

To be honest, my husband and both sons did well with the wedding festivities through Saturday afternoon, but it became clear that getting them to participate in (my) family reunion walks, sojourns on the beach, and anything organized was like herding cats. Our last name is Caraher … or is it … Cat-aher?

But I had fun. The 11 AM Saturday wedding was great and I was glad out on the dance floor that I didn’t look down at my feet at dorky shoes. About 15 of my extended family members enjoyed a fabulous dinner Saturday evening at the Bardenay restaurant (sans my sons, not sure where they were). Sunday a large group of us walked down Sherman street and stopped for lunch (sans our younger son). Sunday evening about 15 of us ate a nice dinner at a Marina, while basking in a summer sunset (sans my husband and both sons, I hope they are reading this and realize how much I NOTICED their absences. What WERE they doing, anyway?).

I had been having so much fun romping around the resort that I didn’t even think about where our room was in relation to the stairs, you know, like you’re supposed to do when you check in, in case of fire. This detail has never mattered before, which is probably why I wasn’t paying any attention to where the stairs were now. Sunday night the three of us in our room all fell into a deep sleep soon after our heavy heads hit the pillows – about 11PM. The next thing, there is this horrendous screeching siren blaring through the halls of the motel. “What the …?” I tripped out of bed. Our daughter was up. I realized I was stark naked at precisely the same time I realized it was a fire alarm going off. Evacuate! Naked? Crap! I hadn’t packed a single nightie or jammies or anything! I stumbled to the dressing area in complete darkness. I don’t know why. Maybe I thought in my sleepy stupor that I would be able to spot the fire better in the dark. The fire alarm was still wildly blaring in the hallway, people were evacuating the building and I there I was buck naked still groping in my daughter’s suitcase. My husband was up and gazing at the shadow of my bare ass as I hollered in a panic, “Where’s my suitcase?”

“Try turning on the light.” he called out to me flatly.

A good ten minutes had expired by the time I made it into the hallway dressed in my daughter’s shorts and shirt. I would likely have burnt to death buck naked if it had been a real fire. My husband had somehow concluded from the get-go that it was a false alarm. But maybe it wasn’t! This was a huge motel! But in which direction were the stairs? I was still thinking these thoughts when I met security at the end of our hallway fiddling with the alarm system, which had now been turned off. “Sometimes mists from the showers can set the hallway alarm off,” was their explanation. At 12:45 AM? At a humongous, tremendously expensive, five-star resort motel?

So we all went back to bed. I was just dropping off to sleep again when my cell phone rang. “What the … ?” I tripped out of bed and stumbled in the dark to get to my phone. It was our younger son, Ben: “Mom! Where are you?”

“In Bed … Why? Where are you?”

Well at least I knew at this juncture where both our sons were. They were sitting outside on the pavement in front of the entrance to our motel, having evacuated their high rise along with scores of other folks. The alarm had gone off in their 15-story tower. They, and a large number of other motel guests, were still waiting for permission from motel security to safely re-enter the building.

Is anyone out there buck naked? I wanted to ask. If I had packed my jammies or nightie then maybe I would have evacuated too. Would I have truly burnt to death in my birthday suit had there been a fire?

So we are back home now. Have spent the past three days unpacking, doing laundry, dealing with the fungus and weeds in the gardens that proliferated with Godspeed while we were gone. In post-trip mode I have been practically tripping over myself trying to catch up to where I left off in my life pre-‘pre-trip’ mode.

Next time we plan a trip, my nightie will be the first thing to go into my suitcase. Otherwise, I probably won’t do anything differently.

I do find it difficult to pack my suitcase.

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4 Responses to “Trippin’”

  1. Rene Says:

    Too funny. It was perfect thing to read while I am procrastinate packing for my Boise trip. I have thought about which bags to get out of the basement and have gathered my swimsuit, but that is it so far.

  2. joddy123 Says:

    Well, do you own a nightie decent enough to wear in public?

  3. thebest2207 Says:

    “Sunday evening about 15 of us ate a nice dinner at a Marina, while basking in a summer sunset (sans my husband and both sons, I hope they are reading this and realize how much I NOTICED their absences. What WERE they doing, anyway?).”

    Since you apparently seem unconvinced, I promise we (or at least me) weren’t doing anything fun. Personally, I ordered a beer from room service, ate my lunch and then slept until you called me.

    • Joddy123 Says:

      Oh so you did read my blog! I was at that Marina dinner imagining (not happily) that you, Ben and your dad had hooked up for dinner and good times on Sherman street, indulging in great Caraher family fun sans ME and Megan. Turns out, all three of you were being ‘Cat’-ahers, each doing your own thing independently of each other. Who would have thought? Sleeping, eh? Purrrrrrrrr…..

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