Tomorrow I'll be flying into Milwaukee, Wisconsin to meet up with family for my youngest brother's wedding near Madison on Saturday. After the wedding, I'm driving back from Wisconsin to Western Washington with my sister, who is relocating out here.
The upcoming trip is just about all that fits in my head at the given moment, so it's what I talked about in between tunes while playing music with friends this past weekend.
We got to discussing various attitudes and styles of packing: last minute, weeks ahead, things that can go wrong. It brought to mind one of my worst packing moments: an anecdote I didn't get around to sharing, and which is a little hard to imagine in these balmy summer days.
It was January of 2003, and I was prepping to fly to Florida with two of my younger siblings to meet up with friends I mostly knew through an Internet forum connection it would be hard to fully explain without a lot more time: essentially, we started talking about a subject that interested us, and didn't shut up for years. And along the way, we got to know each other really well, and met up in a variety of "real world" ways. Still do, to some extent. Some of those folks remain among my closest friends.
That January, we all rented a house on the beach to just hang out for a week. It was a blast. Yes, it was the off season, and though we northerners were still crazy enough to go swimming, I don't think the temperature got much above the high sixties. But back in Vermont, it was -30 that week.
And that's where the trouble came in.
I am a procrastinator. I've admitted that here before. I will make detailed lists, yes. I will plan like crazy. But then...I will stall until the last possible minute. For this particular trip, I held off on washing some of the clothes I knew I was going to need until the night before we flew out, and then did a quick load late at night and stuck them in the dryer before hitting the hay.
That was my first winter in my little bungalow in St. Johnsbury, VT: A tiny place, but it did have a finished basement, where the washer and dryer lived. The basement was only partially heated: most of the heat from the furnace was set to blow upstairs through vents, but the previous owner had disconnected one of the heat vents and left the conduit hanging to blow a little warmth into the basement. It was never *warm* down there in the winter, but it was something.
The frigid morning of the flight out, I got up at oh-dark-thirty (we had to leave by about three to get to the airport), and made my way down to the basement to grab my things from the dryer. In opening the door, I quickly discovered two things: 1) In my sleepiness the night before, I'd forgotten to switch on the dryer after I put the clothes in, and 2) My still-wet clothes were frozen solid. In one giant lump.
I tried feebly to pick them apart at first, but it was not gonna happen. They were all stiff and intertwined. So I did the only thing I *could* do: I turned the heat setting on the dryer up, and turned it on.
OH MY GOODNESS THAT WAS LOUD. If you think about it, a dryer is essentially a large metal drum turning inside a large metal box. Putting a large, hard object in there and starting it up was startling, especially that early in the morning. Ka-THUNK, ka-THUNK, ka-THUNK! But it did eventually thaw out, though I still had to pack my clothes while they were slightly damp.
I'm sure I will find other ways to procrastinate tonight, but I did my laundry Sunday.
Just in case, you know.
How about you? What travel mishaps have you experienced?