Last night, after the fateful outdoor OCD group meeting, I climbed into my car and drove back to the apartment, where I went on a mad packing frenzy. The time had come to gather my essentials and head to Lockhart, where I would be spending the next week.
As any college student will tell you, going home requires a significant amount of gear. And when, by the way, does home cease to be where your parents live and start being where you live? This puzzles me. Because I always say I’m going home when I’m in Austin. And when I’m in Lockhart, I also talk about going home.
It’s a conundrum.
I’m what you would call a meticulous packer. Blame the OCD fear that I’m going to leave something important behind, or the years of training by my equally meticulous mother. And this? Nothing. When I went to Australia several years ago, I packed each outfit in an individual ziplog baggie, labeled it, and created a spreadsheet with pictures. Clearly, I’m still taking pictures. But really, it’s for your benefit. Not mine.
So what does one need for a week with the parental units in a town of 11,000 people?
1. Camera Gear. Two lenses, plus the one on the camera, two batteries, two battery chargers (including the missing battery charger that I found almost immediately after breaking down and purchasing a new one), two compaq flash cards, a card reader, and a remote shutter release. Why? Because it’s important to document the carnage of Christmas Eve here. And because I feel naked if I’m separated from my camera for too long.
2. No fewer than 9 books for a 7 day period. It is important to be overprepared here. My Dad is a HUGE fan of Jerry Springer, Maury, and Judge InsertNameHere. I don’t have anything against people who enjoy these shows. I just… don’t. I feel like my brain cells are being sucked out when I watch them. And, of course, they’re like trainwrecks. You don’t want to see… but you can’t stop looking. I find that my best course of action is to immerse myself in some chunky reading material. My choices for this trip? Four books on language and linguistics, two books on Russian culture and history, one book on sensory integration dysfunction, a fictional book about a Russian ballerina, and Dracula – annotated.
Just think of them as a kind of intellectual scotchguard.
3. Piles of presents. Because Christmas here has always been a pretty big deal. And because I really do love gift-giving. More on this AFTER the presents have been unwrapped. I don’t think the parental units read my blog… but just in case…
4. A bag of clothes. Because I find it inappropriate to walk around completely naked when the parental units are in the house. I will admit, however, to occasionally going out to the car sans pants.
It’s been in the 80s here. And the house in Lockhart is situated on ten acres of wooded land. Who, exactly, is going to care whether or not they see my polka-dotted underwear?
5. Dog food, of course. The Super Duper Cooper Pooper Puppy eats his weight in food every week. Between him, Hawkie Puppy, and Tucker Puppy, it only seems right to pack a little food. After all, I will be spending the next week mooching. This is less noticeable if the dog doesn’t eat them out of house and home.
6. Pillow, Charlie Bear, Texas sweatshirt. Comfort items. Never know when you might need them.
7. Laptop and enough cords to hang myself. Not that I anticipate needing to hang myself. It’s all really just to make sure that I can continue blogging. I know that you’d all be terribly disappointed if I wasn’t here. At least, this is what I tell myself. And if I’m wrong? Well, I do have all those cords.
8. Slip-on tennis shoes and $12 Wal-Mart boots. I LIVE in these boots. Seriously. I’m tempted to go buy another pair before Wal-Mart runs out of them.
9. Cooper. The ASPCA frowns on my living him at home alone without his dog food for a week. And I’d miss him.
Now, short of the kitchen sink, I think I’m prepared for all Lockhartian contingencies. I’ve been here a day, eaten a steak, and am now settling in. I just hope I have enough books…
I’ve already survived one episode of Dr. Oz, and three episodes of Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Someone say a prayer to the gods of intellectual scotchguard for me?