Saturday, July 31, 2010

D Day Minus 181 (Sep 9, 2009): Keeping up with the Joneses (Part 1): We Gotta a Plane to Catch

“Katie is on her way.” You said, dropping the black duffle bag, the one with the yellow stripe you commandeered from Dad on one of our trips to Bassett. Dad was outside, playing with the Garmin GPS. Okay, he wasn’t really playing, he was telling the Garmin chick where to go: Baltimore Washington International (BWI).

I was teetering on the brink of ‘Rainman.’ Had I printed out the boarding passes? Was Dad mad about having to leave work? How long is it really going to take to get to BWI? Did I pack the power cord for the zebra netbook? What about the chargers for my phone, iPOd and Kindle? Was Dad keeping the GPS with him to navigate back from BWI? Do I rent a GPS with the car in Houston or go old school commando with maps? How much is renting a GPS going to cost? Do we have enough time go buy a new GPS? Should I bring a camera? Should I get some cash? Did you print out your appointments so we knew where to go? Did I pack enough Dentyne? The sugar free sucralose gum makes my stomach hurt. I don’t want stomach issues especially on the plane and especially when I was supposed to be there for you. Do I have a plastic bag for my makeup and lotion for airport security? Do I have my neti pot for my sinuses? What about the salt and baking soda solution for my neti pot? Where’s my calcium and Zyrtec? What about Motrin? Was Dad mad? Where’s my license? Should I take a big Diet Mountain Dew to drink on the way or will I have to pee before we get to the airport? Where’s the printouts for the car and room reservations? What if we have to change our flights for some other treatment? Where’s my sweater? I don’t want to freeze on the plane. Did I pack enough clothes?

Rainman won. I opened my new hard-cased zebra rollaround carryon– with the extra special wheel technology – that didn’t get jammed like my old rollaround. And double and triple checked my mental list while you were outside waiting for Katie and talking to Dad.

Last night, we talked about what to pack and if we were checking our luggage. You wanted to know because we needed to buy a small tube of toothpaste if we were doing carry on. I told you we weren’t checking our bags, because it was easier and quicker not to. Besides Continental does (or may) charge to check bags and I didn’t feel like getting online to check. I said, “Just risk bringing your ‘half-squozen’ regular sized tube of Toms Toothpaste and throw it away if we got any grief at security.” That prompted you and to call Katie and invite her to go with you on a toothpaste run to our favorite French store Tar-sjay (Target).

Before Katie picked you up for the toothpaste run, you bragged that you already packed. “Whatever.” I teased “You packed already because you have to work in the morning.” Then you went on and on about your packing prowess. Three days worth – one outfit for Thursday – one for Friday– and a spare just in case. All with their sock buddies, which made me laugh because you were so anal about making sure socks matched. You even had a battle cry for your socks –stay in pairs and leave no buddy behind. You got the sock gene from Dad. I didn’t even have the chromosome for the gene to map to. Close enough was good enough for me. Why do you think I wore boots and sandals so much? Maybe I have a problem, but I’m a river in Egypt – De-Nile.

Have you noticed any of my refuges for all the sock refugees spanning Sterling and Bassett? There’s one in:
  • my bedroom stuffed in a trash bag in the deacons bench,
  • a bankers box stuffed away in my closet,
  • a clothes basket stuffed in the spare room in Bassett, and
  • in the middle drawer of my nightstand and Dad’s nightstand.  
Come to think of it, I know why you, Dad, and Morgan were afraid of losing your socks when I washed clothes and why you stopped having me wash your clothes when you were fifteen.

Oh well, life’s too short to worry about socks. I’ve got better things to do. On the other hand it would have made Navy boot camp easier if I had an inkling of the gene. It wasn’t the early morning physical training that made me break a sweat, it was the attention to detail – lining up dress edges in my locker, make sure my gig line was straight and threading my belt through all my belt loops. To this day I know how many belt loops are on a pair of dungarees (seven) and it drives me crazy when someone’s gig line is adrift. I have to fight the urge not to straighten up their shirt so it is aligned with their pant fly. Come to think of it, maybe there is hope for me. I just don’t do socks. Don’t you think it is ironic, that I was the one in the Navy, but you were the one with the military precision?

“It's time to go.” You said, picking up your duffle bag. Katie stood next to you, wishing she could come with. Believe me, I knew how she felt. It was harder to stay behind than to go. But, I also wondered if she had a breaking point.  Dealing with cancer in the real world is hard and you and I didn't have the option to leave ourselves behind.  We both knew this was for real. This ain’t no scripted reality TV. This is real life unscripted – It’s "Keeping up with the Joneses."

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