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Posted by on May 17, 2016 in Retirement Humour, Retirement Living |




This is a Living Retired ‘teachable moment.’

At this time of year Canadians are cutting back on travel.

We’ve returned from wintering in Florida– serving ourselves at all-you-can buffets. But we aren’t ready to serve ourselves up to the black flies in cottage country in May.

Travel agents call this time of year the ‘shoulder season’; AKA: armpit in Newfoundland.

The good news about a vacation is that it’s an opportunity for couples to get away, to reconnect… and spend money they don’t have.

The bad news about a vacation is you have to pack a suitcase.

Jan and I have developed a system over the years for packing which includes very specific roles for each of us.

Jan says, “I’ll pack the suitcases.” That’s code for ‘stay away.’

She then proceeds to toss every stitch of designer clothing and jewelry she owns on our bed. Colour-coordinated outfits with matching shoes, makeup, sun coverups, and sun hats… okay that’s the wardrobe for the first day!

Eventually Jan will tell me to go get the luggage. That’s code for ‘zippers.’

You see nobody has luggage these days. Instead, they have a collection of various sizes of suitcases– from full size to carry on, and hardside to expandable. Each suitcase has at least 14 industrial strength zippers that when stretched out equal the length of Disney’s monorail.

Each piece of luggage also has either two or four wheels– it doesn’t matter though because they don’t work.

As well suitcases have a long telescopic handle which expands to the length of a javelin. This allows you to walk through the airport terminal dragging your luggage behind you– back on the 7th floor of the parking garage in the adjacent County!

Luggage is stored in the basement alongside valuable exercise equipment including a thigh master– in its original package– and a portable treadmill that according to the skinny lady on the television commercial you’re supposed to store underneath the bed. Don’t ask!

Here comes the ‘teachable moment’ part of this column…

Believe me when I say that Jan and I know what we are doing when the time comes to pack the luggage to return home. The main objective is to be able to pull the 14 zippers shut. This is our ‘8-Step Perfect Packing Procedure’…

1.    Hoist your luggage on top of the hotel bed. BE CAREFUL! You don’t want to suffer a hernia.
2.    Spend the next few hours at the hotel bar while your spouse packs.
3.    When she can’t possibly fit any more of those itty-bitty hotel toiletries– French milled bath soap, grapefruit bergamot shampoo, and essential repairing body lotion with soothing ginger extract– into the sides of the luggage it is time to close the zippers.
4.    I position myself at the entrance to the room– where you’re supposed to insert high-tech room key that doesn’t work.
5.    I assume an Olympic sprinters position on my knees, breathe deep and wait…
6.    Jan lets out a bloodcurdling scream at the top of her lungs: “GO!!!”
7.    I break towards the bed. Pumping my arms like a maniac at approximately 5-feet from the bed I lunge like a Japanese sumo wrestler and belly flop on top of the suitcase!
8.    Immediately, Jan pounces on top of me and flailing her arms she tugs as many zippers as she can. Fingernails be damned! This isn’t a time to look pretty.

We have found that with practice, we can usually close all the zippers by our fifth attempt.

Tip: allow sufficient time to explain to hotel security what all the commotion is about.

Bon voyage!