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As I recall, the Girl Guide motto is ‘Be Prepared’. Come to think of it, that may also be the Scouting movement’s motto as well. No matter. It sounds like something women might have come up with since we are the ones always multi-tasking and carrying around huge bags filled with everything from bandages, safety pins, aspirin,emergency shoes, snacks (the tastier and unhealthier the better), a change of underwear (just as our mothers warned us to do), random small gifts in case we (or more probably one of our kids)are unexpectedly invited to a party. (Who am I kidding? A kid’s gift may or may not be in the bag–the emergency bottle of wine is always there, just for us in case things take a turn.)

And so, I AM prepared, especially when it comes to traveling to far off places. When Gill was home for the holidays, I had closed the door to Crazy D’s room. Gill found that suspicious.

“Ma, what’s with the closed door to Crazy D’s room? You never close doors unless to keep  a marauding dog from the birds’ room. What are you hiding? He hasn’t moved in again, has he?”

Trying to look nonchalant, I answered,”Of course he hasn’t moved in. Not that it’s any of your business, but I am using his room as a planning and staging area for my trip to Mexico in a few weeks. I figured you’d scoff and give me action about my over-thinking the trip and what I’m packing in the suitcase.”

“You were correct. I AM giving you action. My god, woman, you have weeks to pack! Shouldn’t we maybe let Christmas fade and the leftovers rot in the fridge before you move on to your next adventure? I mean, have some respect for the Lord’s birthday!”

“YOU are telling me to respect Jesus?!! That’s a hard sell in this, the house of no religion. Although, as I recall, we do all scream “Jesus, Mary and Joseph” often in times of meltdown. Or is that my hairdresser’s favorite phrase? Hard to remember…doesn’t matter. It takes time to organize a long trip and my luggage isn’t getting any roomier as we stand here arguing. I must take my small bag and I have to squeeze the maximum  number of outfits in while still being able to zip it up. That’s no mean feat, let me tell you.”

“I do bow to your superior skills in the packing department, Ma, but all anyone needs is a pair of pants, pajamas, a couple of pairs of underwear, Birkenstocks, two tops and a sweater…oh, and if you’re going to England, a brolly, wellies, and a scarf.”

“What planet are you on?” I ask, incredulous.”I am going to a very posh resort where I will be lounging by the pools (yes, plural)…thus requiring at least two, perhaps three bathing suits and accompanying cover-ups, sturdy running shoes for walking, beach shoes, casual lifestyle-type sneakers for spur-of-the-moment dinners, fancy shoes for more upscale events, several pairs of white shorts (since you can wear a variety of colored tops with white), beige shorts for those times when you might accidentally sit on something nasty on the beach or spill your 3rd Margarita of the day on yourself. And let’s not forget pretty, flappy tops with long pants for dinners — the acceptable option for ‘dress-up’ when you don’t own a suitable dress(by that I mean nothing that shows your aging arms, wrinkled neck region, or is the common mid-calf length sundress featured by women of a certain age that makes me look like a midget standing in a hole)…well, you see where I’m going with this. A suitable wardrobe takes time!”

“Ma, I hate to say it, but Kate Moss or Sarah Jessica Parker don’t spend half as much time and effort as you do on wardrobe planning!”

“Harrumph…probably not. They have ‘people’ to do that. Besides, I’m betting they don’t have critical family members heckling them when they are trying to sort and pack.”

“Probably true. I was just trying to offer some constructive criticism. But I take your point. Now, where are you hiding the gin these days?”

“The good stuff or the schlock? Never mind…forget I asked. I believe we both need the good stuff about now. After all, it has been a stressful morning. And…I forgot to mention, next we have to tackle my iPad for the trip. I have been having a few issues that I feel certain you’ll be able to sort out quickly.”

Gill groaned. “On second thought, Ma, I think I will be needing ALL of the gin myself…schlock or not.It’s gonna be a rough afternoon…”