Friday, April 10, 2009

The perils of packing

“Have you seen my head-strap torch?”

Er no, not recently.

“While I’m out getting the gas and the hot-cross buns, can you pack all of our clothes so they fit in one bag?”

I’ll try, but please remember that we have a nine year old child who, over three days, is likely to fall down a hill; slip and do the splits in puddles; dribble baked beans, melted marshmallow and curry down her top and sit on a plate of buttered hot cross buns. As for me, I need my ugg boots and tracksuit if I’m to find any kind of warmth in an ancient sleeping bag with nothing but a layer of parachute material between me and the night air and our parkas seem to be about as bulky as Kirstie Alley clad in a King-sized continental quilt. There are hot showers at the site, so I would like to be able to take a towel, wash my bound-to-be-filthy-from-living-in-the-outdoors-body and then have the luxury of stepping into clean underwear afterwards. But sure, I’ll try and dehydrate everything into a silver vaccum pack the size of a cuppa soup sachet and we’ll see how it goes.

“Bloody Bunnings, K-Mart and Rays’ Tent City don’t have any gas cylinders left, said they forgot to order in extras for Easter!”

Oh, you’re back already? Never mind, defrosted bolognese will be a new kind of holiday challenge, and it’ll free a bit of space in the back of the station wagon. Or couldn’t biscuits and cheese be considered a meal? Why are you frowning? Don’t walk away from me – I’m just trying to be helpful – this is meant to be FUN, isn’t it?

“The Sherrin just has to come.”

Fair enough, but we also have to fit in our tent, three sleeping bags, three folding chairs, two card tables, an esky, five shopping bags of food, four plastic tubs filled with our cooking and eating gear, tarpaulins, our clothes, water containers, pillows, blankets, blow-up mattresses, the blow-up mattress blower thingy that connects to the car cigarette lighter, stove-top coffee percolator, beanies, toasting forks, dishwashing bucket, cameras, bathroom bags, torches, gaslight, bottles of wine and this massive bag of choc bunnies that I somehow have to hide from the three other families of kids who are still believers…… oh but can we perhaps lose the bocce balls?

“But we’ve got heaps of space in the back seat.”

Yeah but Sapphire needs to sit somewhere and you know her tendency to projectile vomit if she doesn’t have a view out of both windows and the dashboard air vent blowing directly into her face. The car still pongs of reconstituted chup-a-chup, egg sandwich and apple slices from last time. And remember when the lid of the esky flew off and chipped her tooth?

“Fine, but why are you taking your iPod and laptop when we’re going to an unpowered camping ground?”

Because I spent several dog years downloading our entire CD collection onto my iPod only to earn a premanently painful crick in my neck and don’t want to have to do it all over again if someone sneaks in and nicks it and the same goes for the computer. I’ve saved far too many LOLcat pictures on there to feel exhausted at even contemplating trying to find them all again, plus there's all my book chapters and several important drafts I’m still working on that will just make me shrivel up and cry in a corner if I ever had to write them over again and I know it’s negative to assume that just because we’re living in a gritty inner-city suburb that we’re automatically going to get robbed but I just don’t want to risk---

“Alright, alright, bring 'em. Are we all ready to go?”

Yep. Oh hang on – have to just go and put Milly on my lap until we get to the dog boarding kennel….. please don’t lick, poochy – what the hell have you been EATING? Satan’s arse would smell better than you! (turning head to the back): Sorry Sapphire, I shouldn’t have sworn like that. Have you been to the loo – good. Let’s go then!

“Hey! How come we’re heading towards the West Gate Bridge and not Caroline Springs?”

Er, sorry, I was busy looking at the pretty sights – was I supposed to have the Melways open? Okay okay, keep your hair on – the 1996 version didn’t have the new road for the dog boarding kennel so how is it going to have the new overpass that only opened last week on it?

Four hours of driving and two hours of unpacking and setting up later:
“Kath, isn’t it great to get away from it all?”

Just slosh a bit more port into my cup and rip the wrapper off that Lindt block resting on the esky there. Ta.


Angus said...

I like the cartoon you put up.It is funny.Hope you have a good holiday.xo

squib said...

hahaha and the best bit is all the unpacking and washing when you get home!!

delamare said...

I LOVE family holidays, but I DETEST the packing and unpacking parts with a passion. But the actual being on holiday part is delightful.

River said...'re doing it wrong.
Here's how. Set up the tent in your back yard. Declare the kitchen stove off limits. All food is to be prepared on the BBQ. Now go about your day as you normally would, until nightfall, when you wrap yourselves in your sleeping bags and sleep in the tent. A better idea is to camp out in a 5-6 star hotel. With room service and cable TV, plus superfast internet connection.

Baino said...

So where did you go? Sounds like the chill's set in. I loved camping but haven't done it in ages. Have a great break, hope the vomit is kept to a minimum and there's chocolate a-plenty AND HOT TIP - BACK UP YOUR LAPTOP!

drb said...

WOW! AND you have time to post a blog!!!
Just re-affirmed my dislike of camping....
Did everyone/everything make it?

Good Fri morning, Rob drove the car out of the garage, I opened the front passenger door, he said," Errr, Hun, I don't think there is space for you..."
There was an eskie on the seat and another shopping bag on the floor, the back seats and the boots were all full, with the surf board strapped to the roof!!!!
I have not idea what he packed!
I only have a country road sausage bag and a small bag pack.
Just as well milly didn't come along, I had to sit with my feet on the dashboard or crossed in yoga lotus position for 8.5h to VH... We are not even going camping!!!

ThirdCat said...

And then, when you get home...THE WASHING. But, yes, it's worth it.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Angus, we did!

Squib, Delamere and ThirdCat - *sigh*, yep, still hanging up the loads today...

River, ah if only.

Baino - laptop was left at home, but sneakily set to publish the packing blog just as we were already setting foot in the Grampians. Didn't want to get dust, spilled billy tea or melted marshmallow on my already grotty keyboard.

DrB - maybe a good dose of Phenergan is your strategy - knock yourself out and therefore be blissfully unaware of the squeeze as you snore your way to SA?

The Man at the Pub said...

This post made me think of this...

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks MATP - 'stuff' is what it's all about....all of it....