Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Traveling with Mr. "Hurry Up"

News flash: Charlotte had a record low of 28 degrees at the airport today and on the way to work I saw 33 degrees on my car thermometer. Ughh. This is a prelude of a cold winter that Charlotte experiences very seldom, I think. I can already feel it in my bones. Tomorrow, a heavy frost is predicted so I'll need to say a sad good-bye to the annuals I cared for since May and watch my Koi sink and lay still.

Work at the office gave me a headache today before 11:30 a.m. I'm actually ready for bed right now but this evening I was busy preparing for our drive to Maryland on Friday. It's time to visit my Dad, who I haven't seen since Mom's funeral on June 1st. He's slipping fast and I don't even think it's because of Mom being gone since he didn't remember her when we told her she had passed away. The major stroke he suffered in October 1995 has slowly taken tiny bites away from his quality of life and now he is completely bedridden and needs more care than the visiting nurse and my brother can give him. A nursing home is available to him when the paperwork is complete. So, I am hoping that when I arrive I'll see a little sign of recognition or a spark in his eyes when I say, "Hi, Dad!" Last June he was alert enough to know me at times, but I don't think he'll know me now.

During this whirlwind visit, I'll see Dad, who is now living in my brother's house in Pasadena, MD, my brother and his family, the vacant in-law apartment attached to my brother's house where Mom and Dad spent the last nine years of their lives and where I cared for them at times when they needed me, Michael's twin sister Michele in Forest Hill, MD, and our good friends in Severna Park who will open their home to us for a good night's sleep and laughs. If I had more time, I would take more days to drive around Maryland and Delaware to see more family and wonderful friends that I miss. But I can't do it now. I regret it, but the time will come for me to gallivant and visit these familiar places and great people one of these days.

On my way home from work tonight, I realized that I need to get ready for a trip with Michael, the "trip agenda enforcer"! Ordinary people just pack their bags, get in the car and go. Not the Ferracci's! Whether we leave for ten nights or two, the routine is always the same:

1. Line up the pet-sitter.
2. Leave the pet-sitter a list of telephone numbers and instructions on the kitchen table. And don't forget to leave a check.
3. Top the pond and clean the skimmer.
4. Fill the bird feeder.
5. Get the laundry caught up.
6. Vacuum the entire house.
7. Clean all bathrooms.
8. Put all trash out so the house is trash-free.
9. Empty dishwasher on the day of departure.
10. Fill the gas tank in the Envoy.
11. Set sprinklers.
12. Dust. I never dust often enough and I won't do it this week, either. Adding "Dust" to the list of things to do is only a mere formality.
13. Poop patrol the yard.

All of the above is done before the trip because after fourteen hours or more of driving over three days is tiring enough and warrants a homecoming into a clean house. We will arrive home again, kiss the dogs, drop our bags, and be done with it.

So, tonight was bathroom cleaning. Two and a half of them.

Chloe: "Cleaning the bathroom at night? Next you'll be packing bags. I know the routine."

Tomorrow will be the vacuuming evening. I have a friend in Maryland, Allison, who used to vacuum her way out of her house when leaving on vacation and threatened her family not to walk on the freshly vacuumed carpet. I always think of her when I'm pushing the vacuum before leaving and laugh about her...she's one of a kind!

Thursday evening will be full of laundering and packing way too many pieces of clothing and shoes on my part, in addition to my hair and face necessities, and far less for Michael who is satisfied with one pair of shoes and not enough Fruit of the Looms.

Friday morning will arrive and Michael will be pacing, doing a trash can check, and carefully hanging that wet dishcloth on the sink and quizzing me, "Is the dishwasher empty?". He'll take out the last bit of trash and place it into the appropriate bins. He'll take one used paper cup from the bathroom or even a gum wrapper and dispose it and I'm not exaggerating. This is the man I married, who, many years ago, would load newly purchased eggs into the refrigerator and take a permanent marker to the older ones so I would know to use the older eggs first (FIFO).

On Friday at 7:00 a.m., he'll say "Are you ready to go?" Let it be known right now that I am never late for anything. I am prompt to a fault. But with Michael waiting, I'll be breaking a sweat with last minute things, such as finding a mood relaxing radio station to play for Chloe and Bella, giving them a biscuit, making sure they have plenty of water, squeaky toys and rawhides to keep them busy, and kissing them and telling them, "I'll be back later". And, he'll say, "Did you adjust the thermostat and are the doors all locked?" I'll think, "No, we'll let the dogs freeze and leave the doors unlocked this time just for the fun of it." Ooops. It'll be 7:05 a.m. My handbag will be on my shoulder the bags are in the car and he'll say, "I'll be in the car." But I have to pee. And I'll do it quickly.

We usually split the driving. I start first. And he needs to listen to his static-filled talk radio while I'd much rather be listening to one of my CD's, blaring loudly, or my morning radio show with Ace and TJ. He usually fidgets in my Envoy...touching this and that and pushing buttons and annoying the heck of of me, but I stay quiet because I don't speak in the morning. After about an hour, I am cruising at a good pace on 85 North and I'll see his head bend to the left and check my speedometer. I get a warning from him about traveling 80 miles an hour while people are passing me like I'm standing still. I think, "Oh, just shut up." That's not enough. he'll comment, "Do you know you're driving in that van's blind spot? Why are you doing that?" Now I think (while gritting teeth), "Oh, just shut up or get out of the car, will ya?"

By the time we finish I-95 and are on the Virginia side, I'm getting sleepy (from nicotene withdrawal and...yes, I-need-to-quit-and-made-a-promise-to-do-it-soon-and-that's-another-whole-post-or-more) and Michael takes the wheel after we stop for gas, which, by the way, will need to be on the RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD because making a left hand turn or U-turn is against the "Rules of Driving, by Michael". We call him "right lane Mike". If your bladder is ready to burst, you just need to endure the pain while looking left and seeing Hardees, Wendy's, McDonald's, and Taco Bell whizzing by. There is always bound to be something ahead on the right...maybe we'll see something within 20 miles or so...
It's great to look forward to a trip on the weekend, but...not...really. HA!

Bella: "Are you done cleaning, Mom? Is it time to........play........BALL?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Loved the pictures Mary, Bella is just too cute even if she is clueless! I wrote a comment last night as you are already aware but Blogger went down for maintanence just as I was finishing and 86'ed it so unless they keep a file 13 somewhere and I can extract what I wrote yesterday this will have to do. Keep up the good work...I love being a blog troll!