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Saturday, August 30

gearing up

The men in my family tolerate with amusement my inability to go on vacation without lists, reservations and zip lock bags of necessities. Russell invariably announces that we travel differently. That if he "was alone" he would just go where the wind took him and he would be fine.

Then somebody needs neosporin and I pull it triumphantly from a zip lock bag and that ends the debate.

So, while Russell and Max float unburdened through these last few days before our road trip, I am checking off things to do on my mental list, tossing and turning at night, remembering and forgetting, worrying and calculating. It is a trade off for the fact that Russell will do 90% of the driving and 100% of anything that requires a strong hand, back, knees.

I feel guilty about the cats. They are so attached and they will be alone for weeks. Yes, they have each other and "Auntie Jo" will come in every couple of days to refill their dishes and scratch their heads and talk baby talk to them. I still feel like they are staring accusingly at me. "How come the dog gets to go?" says the cartoon balloon above their heads.

I have the laundry done, stacks of tshirts and jeans wait to be packed. I've washed up an old soft comforter for Jake to sleep on in the car and then again at the cottage. His shot records are packed in with his food, kong and bobo. There is a bottle of water and dishes for him to eat and drink from.

My personal bag is stuffed with library books, camera, iPod, chargers and volume 6 of the NYTimes Sunday crossword puzzles.

It won't be all fun. I have boxes of half done books and frames for the Portland Market.

That means I have work to do when we get to Oregon. But trying out the market will be fun. Another trade off.

The mail has been stopped, the refrigerator cleaned out. It is almost time to go. Whatever has been forgotten will remain that way and we will survive.

One last day to wrap it up. This time tomorrow we will be heading west. West to the other coast, to our kids, old friends, a landscape as foreign to New York as the moon, yet familiar and comfortable from years of visits. I'm looking forward to morning coffee at the Beanery,

sitting outside with the paper, Jake at my feet, old friends welcoming Russell home, happy to see me, too. The air in Oregon smells like Christmas, I always say, and I find that I miss the mountains covered in Douglas fir,

the tiny espresso shops that bloom in parking lots and vacant fields,

Nearly Normals.

Yep. the road calls. Now, where did I put those ziplock bags?

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