Preparing for the trip
When the subject of going away for Christmas first came up, I was torn. Torn between wanting to see my family and what I should do about my cat. The plan was to visit my sister and her family. They live on a farm with five dogs, three cats, and various winged animals. My sister insisted that her pets are used to other creatures, but that is not what concerned me. My cat is a loner – she does not have four-legged companions, so she never learned to play nice with others. Apart from that, did I really want to make her suffer through a seven hour drive, in summer, in a car without working air conditioning?
The thought of leaving her at a cattery didn’t appeal to me either. I didn’t even want to think about what it would be like for her with strange smells, sounds and people around. I’m probably more sensitive about the issue than she is, but I’m supposed to look out for her, right? Lucky for us (my parents and myself) my oldest sister, who had to work and couldn’t join us on the trip, offered to cat-sit. I was still going to miss my kitty something fierce, but at least she would stay in familiar surroundings, with only a small disruption in her routine.
With that sorted out it was time to focus on the next thing on the list. How exactly did we plan on getting to our destination? My brother had the idea that we should all drive down in one car, with him. I was convinced that we wouldn’t fit. You see, he drives a VW Polo. We would have to fit four people, big-boned and long-legged, in it. Excuse me?! Did you know that guys can’t sit and drive? It’s true. At least, it’s true in my experience. Getting in behind the wheel of a car, which was just driven by a man, is like getting comfortable on a recliner – the seat is pushed way back from the pedals, and the backrest is tilted to an angle well on its way to 180 degrees. That leaves an unfriendly bit of space as leg room in the back. I also had my doubts about there being enough room in the boot for presents and luggage. One of the presents was a computer, a tower case, meant for my niece and nephew.
Every time Bro mentioned something about us all driving in his car, my imagination went wild and a headache threatened. I had visions of being crammed into the back seat with some pieces of luggage stacked on and around me. I could just imagine myself when we finally reached the end of our journey, trying to unfold my body, like a tight wad of crinkle paper, from the back seat! Sure, we’d all fit. Ha!
Well, I’m nothing if not pro-active! About a week before our departure date I booked my car in at its doctor for a thorough once-over. It’s an annual thing that leaves me feeling like I’m missing a part of myself. The next day I spent two hours at a fitment centre to get the car fitted with a pair of tekkies (a.k.a. tyres). The day after that I was left feeling stranded again when my car went to the pamper-centre for a valet treatment. You do know about the unwritten rule which states a person should wait until the last minute to stress about these things?
The most fun things about long road trips, that I remember from my childhood, were the snacks and food that Mom packed for us to eat. There was no stopping at cafes or fast food places for us! Nah-uh! We’d eat at a picnic area under a big tree, somewhere at the side of the road. Packing our travel meals is something we still do. We usually end up packing more than we can eat, though. For this trip I made a conscious effort to cut out most of the junk food. Instead of cookies, I planned on carrots. Instead of chocolates, I planned on sliced apple, with and without peanut butter. Breakfast would be buns, with cold meat, baked sausage and boiled eggs, courtesy of Mom. Don’t ask me why, but boiled eggs, apparently, are a must on road trips. Drinks would be of a flask of coffee and bottled water.
Between work and getting organised for the trip, a few other items on my to-do list, like wishing all my blogging friends and WordPress neighbours a Merry Christmas, didn’t get crossed off before we left. Oh, well.
… to be continued . . .