The Trip

Man carrying heavy suitcase

One of the most refreshing two weeks four times a year is when all Cleopatra, Bathsheba and Chipper, my stepchildren, go to Minneapolis to spend time with their father. I don’t know who looks forward these trip more, I know that the kids are excited, but I am ecstatic about the chance to have a little more quiet and little less stress in my life, for two whole weeks!

The only thing that I am dreading about this is handling the bags. I have done this before, but when the kids were little Brunhilda did the packing. It was far more streamlined. When Cleopatra and Bathsheba entered their teen years and streamlined went right out the window.

Now let me tell you, that there is a great deal of difference between young Chipper and his two siblings, Cleopatra and Bathsheba, as to luggage. Chipper is a pretty lean operation when he travels. If he has a baseball cap for every occasion including formal, church, every day and sleep, plus a toothbrush and change in his pocket, he is ready to go to another continent. Cleopatra and Bathsheba require United Van Lines just to go a slumber party.

If I were to take them for a two-day trip and told them that they would need only enough to sustain life for two days, and nothing more, they would take aquarium filters and their leaf collection.

I have had only one set of really good luggage. I got them as a gift and it was quality luggage. Then Cleopatra and Bathsheba started using them once in a while for these trips. Since then I have paper grocery bags that hold there shape better. As far as I know, there are only two ways abuse luggage in that way. One way is to drag them behind your car by log chains the entire trip or you can let the girls pack them once or twice.

I have always been in complete awe of the abilities of these two. I have seen clothes stack so high it would take the pressure of a near nuclear force to get the lid closed. They can churn out overnight cases that would give Arnold Schwartzeneggar a hernia. The baggage handlers curl up in the fetal position in a corner when they see these two coming. It was my job to get them to the airport.

I grabbed one of the bags and gave a tug. I would have bet a month’s pay that it was bolted to the floor. I took deep breaths and put my whole back into it once more and budged the suitcase toward the door. I listened to the various sound of agony, my muscles popping, my joints grinding, and my teething grinding enough to get my dentist a new Mercedes.

I asked if she really needed all this stuff and if she would take a few things out. She looked at me with the disdain as if I handed her a plate of horse turds. She immediately took out a T-shirt and a pair of socks.

I told her that I would erect a plaque to commemorate her sacrifice. With much creaking of my joints, I got the girls loaded in the van and then came Chipper with a backpack and threw it in the back.

I had to add sandbags to the front of the van as a counterweight to keep the front wheel on the ground. But I got them to the airport on time and looked forward to two stress-free weeks and rest for my poor back.

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