Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Destination - South America

My mom called me a few weeks ago and asked me if she could borrow one of my suitcases. Because I'm the daughter who lives closest to her, I'm the one she calls first for everything. If I can't help her, then and only then, will she move back onto her daughter list, calling everyone else.

But a suitcase? Sure. Husband and I are virtually leg-shackled to Phoenix since we own a store, so we can never get out of town, leaving our suitcases unused in our closet. 

I said, "Sure, when do you need it?"

She said, "Right away."

"Where are you going?" I knew she was leaving in a month for a cruise to South America, but where was she going right then?

"Linda! We're going on the cruise!"

"Wait a minute. Are you telling me you need the suitcase a month ahead of time for your cruise in February?"

Silence. Busted.

"We need to start packing."

"A month ahead of time?"

"I'm going to wash all my clothes and then fold them and see if they fit in the suitcase. Then I'll decide what I'm taking. If they don't fit, then I'll see what I can fit, wash it, fold it and fit it again. Then I'll try it all on right before the cruise to make sure it fits, wash it, fold it and pack it one final time. Then Bob will take the suitcases down to a place and have them weighed full so we'll know if we have to pay the airline."

What did I ask her again?

But now it's February. Her trip is days away. She sits in her house, strangely immobile. I call her to check on her, to see if she feels okay. She says she does but she's not leaving the house. I hesitate before asking why. Do I really want to know why? Do I really have to ask why? Why do I get hoodwinked into these conversations over and over again? But I can't help myself. We're attached like twins, this mother and me.

And of course, the answer is that she packed all of her clothes and now has nothing to wear. Also, she doesn't want to risk getting sick in the cold January Arizona air by going outside.

I say, "Ma, today it was 72 degrees."

She says, "To you that's nice. To me, it's cold."

I nod my head. What'd I expect? I tell her I'll come by this week to say goodbye. She says, "Hurry already. We're busy!"

And I do it again. I ask her, "Busy with what?"

And she says, "Final packing." 

Are you a last-minute packer or more the girl scout type? Am I the only one who gets sucked into conversational quagmires? Are you attached at the hip to your mother?


  1. um, as an official girl scout troop leader...I give your mom kudos for being prepared.
    As an official girl scout troop leader, I give you kudos for being kind and being a good listener.
    that being said...I pack whatever fits in a backpack...
    That usually means I am sneaking into hallways at motel 6's at two in the morning for vending snacks in oversized t shirts and not much else.
    Being prepared is a good thing.

  2. oh, and i hadn't called my mom in a week...I call her finally (not that she ever calls me) and she says "well, hello stranger...I was starting to get worried...I almost called"
    And there is the story of our relationship in a nutshell.

  3. My mom and I chat via IM almost every weekday morning. She is closer to you than to me in location so we don't see each other but once a year.

    I am the be prepared packer - an outfit for every contingency - but tend to forget the pjs and such. It is worse now as I pack to go to run races - what with the weather be like where I am headed? How many layers will I need? It is a never-ending cycle.

  4. I hate packing so I have a tendency to wait until the last minute to do it.

  5. Oh my gosh!! That is too funny!!!

  6. And I thought MY mom was bad! She starts a week ahead. Hell, it takes her that long to pack all of her medications!

    I smiled, just reading this.

  7. I am an early bird packer, but now, with kids, it seems I'm always throwing in odds, ends, and stuffed animals until the very last minute.

    I am no longer attached to my mom at the hip, but I have two little boys attached to mine!

  8. I'm still on the daily (or more) call schedule with my mom, too. The other day she caught me putting her on speaker phone so I could actually try to get something done. "LISA, am I on speaker phone? I hate speaker phone! Take me off!" Maybe we should get them together so they can go at it all day!

  9. I used to be a prepared packer, but we tend to do lots of spontaneous trips so (after years of practicing with increasingly more children) I can pack in one quick session the night before we leave. I can pack all of us for an overnight trip in about a half hour.

    And your story was very entertaining. There are some conversations I know are coming and I try to avoid AT ALL COSTS. But mostly because I will be too tempted to give my opinion, which I know will hurt feelings.

  10. Chris, I appreciate input from an official girl scout leader, especially because I stopped at the Brownie level. I won't tell your troop how you pack. And I love how your mom tries to guilt you!

  11. Nicki, how cool that your mom is tech savvy! My mom still calls emails "faxes." Of course it also means she's never read my blog! I also exercise on vacation and prefer to only travel where they have Jazzercise...

  12. Jack, thanks for visiting Bar Mitzvahzilla. I checked yours out as well and will return!

  13. TKW - Oh, man, I forgot to mention my mother's meds! That is so funny.

  14. Amber, totally a true story. Today I found her sitting at her house in a nightgown because all her clothes was packed.

  15. Kristen, Isn't it awful with kids where you think they really might need that particular toy or stuffed animal, like you're really going to regret not bringing it, and then it never even gets unpacked?

  16. Lisa, that's a crack up! Of course you know she wants you immobile while you're talking to her, unable to get anything at all done till she's done with you!

  17. Charlotte, Amazing. One hour for 6 kids? My house gets ripped to shreds for the week before every trip.

  18. Oh this is too damn funny. I had a visual of your mom sitting in her house in an old pair of pajamas or something, just waiting for Cruise day to arrive. My mother also obsesses about the packing, but has not gotten this bad yet. I fear it coming, however. I know there is always the packing-to-see-what-can-fit thing and then reassessing and repacking. It's exhausting to hear about it over the phone and must be even more exhausting to have to do it!

  19. Hybrid packer here. I used to travel a fair amount, and could hop overseas with packing done 3 hours before flight time.

    Flash forward 2 decades.

    Domestic travel? The day before. International travel? Two days before. In either case, there is packing and repacking the day of, usually twice, to remove the excess (stunning)footwear (in case of any possible occasion).

    But you could've guessed that, no?

  20. Sarah, I swear, my mom's waiting for everyone to march over to her house to say goodbye before she leave. So, of course (dutiful daughter) I'm going to march over to her house tonight to say goodbye before she leaves!

  21. BLW, I know, footwear is such a problem. To be without the shoes that you know would be perfect and they're at HOME. It's too much. Something a man simply can't understand, especially cloddish Husband who thinks black gym shoes will suffice for dressy occasions...

  22. What a lovely little peek into mother-daughter love. I pack at the very last minute which drives Husband crazy. I have been known to set the alarm at 4am before a morning flight to pack because I don't want to pack the night before. Not good.

    (Oh, and perhaps I am an odd bird, but I love conversational quagmires.)