If you live in the U.S., you know that the long Memorial Day weekend is nearly here. This heralds the unofficial start of summer (OK that part depresses me), and in our house it means we get ourselves ready for our (mostly) annual trip to see my sister and her family and about a thousand other friends and relatives for a day of picnic and fun at her house. This year the actual picnic will be on Saturday, since that's the day most people are able to come. It never ever fails to be fun and hilarious, and though some of the cast of characters might change from year to year, that only adds to the "interesting" nature of the whole thing.
So even though we will all be busy on Saturday morning setting things up, organizing food, drinks, dishes, etc., that will be no big deal as far as I'm concerned, because I will have already taken care of the major organizing and set up that I have to do - before we even leave our house!
So today I'm participating in Three on Thursday, and sharing three of the main things that have to be taken care of before we even leave our house on Friday morning.
1. Prep things for the cat sitter. We are taking Hamlet with us, but the kitties will be cared for by a cat sitter who will start on Friday afternoon. This involves making sure there is enough food available, that the litter box has plenty of bags to use, paper towels and cleaning supplies are easily available, and the list of instructions and necessary phone numbers are posted and clear. Even though this is something we do every time we go away, there are always some variations that keep it from being automatic.
2. Pack the extra stuff. Packing our clothes is the easy part. It's the extra stuff that takes time. The Tim has about 50 things related to various gadgets that he just *must* take with us, even if they never get used. I want to be sure I have a knitting project and a book. Hamlet's stuff and toys have to be organized. Then there are things like food and gifts. There are things that we are somewhat particular about (tea comes to mind), so we like to bring our own. And since it's a holiday weekend, that means we each get to take a treat - potato chips for The Tim, Twizzlers for me (Hamlet's favorite treat is ice cubes, so we let him have the ice from our drinks along the way). We usually take some wine to give to my sister and brother-in-law, and small gifts for them and some others. Then of course, bed pillows, bug spray, etc. This all usually ends up being much more than our single suitcase!
3. Tell the neighbors we'll be gone. This is so that a) they won't be worried when they see that someone they don't know has a key to our house, but also so the cat sitter can contact them in case of emergencies; b) so they can water our plants and flowers while we are gone (we do the same for them), and c) so they can contact us if anything major comes up in the neighborhood (this was useful when we were in Ireland during Superstorm Sandy, and they gave us updates so we knew all was well). We are fortunate to have great neighbors on one side of us and right across the street, so it's an extra level of comfort when we are away.
It always seems that there are so many things, large and small, that go in to getting ready for a trip. Whether it's a weekend or a week, a lot of things are the same, but when I have the time to think and prepare, I think it's kinda fun. For me, the anticipation is often just as much fun (sometimes more) than the actual trip!
I am off work today, so I'd better post this, and start getting some things taken care of so there are fewer last-minute crises. :-)