January 27, 2008

Why is Packing Light So Heavy?

One suitcase for the wardrobe. A second for school books, paperwork, etc. And we're done! This should be no challenge for a seasoned streamline packer like me. Because I'm the queen of packing light.

Back in the 80s, I traveled for five months through Asia with only one large tote in tow. The main element in my wardrobe was one thin sarong which served as a skirt, a towel and a bed sheet. More recently, I spent two weeks in Panama that were nothing short of heroic. All my luggage spent the same two weeks in Tortola, and I passed my so-called vacation in a borrowed pair of my son Dylan's cargo pants, the same slip-on wedge shoes I'd shown up with, and one brassiere. Ugh. (No, I couldn't have bought a new one. It seems that the Panamanian bosom does not quite measure up... pun intended.) And all this without complaining -- behavior that is nothing short of medal worthy, coming from a good Greenwich girl.

So. With all this to boast, why is packing light turning out to be so...well... Heavy?

It turns out that deciding what not to take requires examining just about everything you own. Everything. From reviewing each holey sock, to picking through the corners of the medicine chest. Egad. This kind of task can be quite self-revealing. For instance, I learned that I clearly love those who love me, a fact illuminated by the 60+ photos of just about everyone close to me distributed throughout every room. ( Our realtor, Midge, referred to this as the wall of shame. In my case it was more like wallpaper.)

Quick math revealed that if I'd invested every penny I'd thrown away on cheap clothing from discount stores, bad hair dye, and infomercial gimmicks, we could have been living high on the hog in Panama several years ago! Ah, yes. The woulda.... shoulda.... coulda of it all. Dad's advice about this kind of regret was "Baby, don't look up a dead horse's ass. It's dark in there!"

Apparently, I have trouble discarding things. Anything. While I haven't achieved the status of hoarder, it's obvious that I detest waste. The scads of containers, papers, twist ties, bits and pieces of this and bits of that is evidence that, in a previous life, I was a refugee from some war torn and destitute place. (I used to joke ,fondly, about my lovely Lithuanian aunt who keeps everything... so much so that at holiday time I would announce "Keep the Turkey carcass.! My aunt is going to sew us all purses for Christmas from the skins!" The truth is, I admired this quality in her as much as I admired it in the Kalahari Bushmen, when I learned they used everything, right down to the tiny toenails and bladders, from the carcasses of their prey! It seems I may have a little Lithuanian Bushman in my blood.

By now you've gathered that I'm not through packing. Each day I muddle through another corner or my life. The task seems forever ongoing and looms daily before me, over me, weighty and pressing. I hear myself declaring, loud enough to almost convince myself, that when I set up housekeeping anew, I will make a lighter nest. Much lighter. I swear. I will, I will, I Will... Lighten... Up!

Ah... well... check back with me on this one next year!


Mark Ballard said...

A noble effort. I spent 3 1/2 months in Europe in 1973 with one carry-on bag. But I spent more than a month packing the bag; adding, subtracting, winnowing, refining.

It's well worth the effort. It also makes you really think about what's important.

Can't wait to read your next post.

Turpin said...

Lizzie babe, you are hilarious. I can just see you smiling through your exasperation as you pack and thinking that you'll jst show Aldona what you are going to throw out, with the idea that most of it will end up with her.

Hey! If I can find a well-tanned turkey skin I'll make you a ladies sporran out of it.

Seriously, I hope the stress starts to leave as you narrow down your choices. And looking at the pix I am very tempted to plan a Panamanian vacation.

News About The Boys

Mrs. Bliss told us there is a caterpillar here that is pink and fuzzy, and, if you touch it, its fur will stick in your skin and sting you! This happened to her daughter, Aylana. It was very painful and they had to pull the fibers out using tape! There are also scorpions and snakes, but I think there are more poisonous snakes in Florida.

William is busy, busy. In the morning he does his home schooling (Dad is his teacher!). Then, around 9:00 he rushes happily off to the local, Catholic, Spanish-only school where he audits the 4th grade! He's been doing some skim boarding but we are seriously missing the skating. Surfing looms in the near future. For a change we finally have kids on our street to play with, (not to mention dogs and roosters, snakes, toads, etc.) and it is wonderful making new friends. Still, William really misses his friends and family back in Sarasota. It's wonderful to get messages from the folks back home.

We send a special "Hello How Are Ya?" back to Nolen, Max, Connor, Emily W. and Teah!

Larry is Mr. Handy! Between homeschooling and making repairs on the house, he is never without something to do. And we have gone from never seeing him, to having him around all the time. Hmmmmmm.....

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