Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Packing Lists

You know it: You're sitting there, reading a book or watching TV, when out of the corner of your eye you catch a small furtive movement. Was that a mouse poking its nose out from under the cabinet? A cockroach in hiding, waiting for it to be dark enough? Those legendary brownies? Or something much more sinister, just waiting to take over your abode once you shut of the lights and imagine you can still get a peaceful night's sleep?

OK, put on the list: set out the sticky traps once the dogs are in the car and before you actually start the engine. When you get back, you'll know. You expected to catch somethings the first season you headed north and the old dog door was still in the workroom disaster that locked but never really closed but still kinda functioned as a door. It broke your heart to find all the baby lizards dessicated on the glue, and amazed you at the plethora and variety of bugs caught similarly. Kinda disappointed by no tarantulas or scorpions. No brownies or creepy monsters, but you never really know....

It's also time to add to the list to throw out all the boxed foods from the pantry. No box or plastic bag keeps out the worms that manage their way in. Save the boxtops for education in the process, however. You still know people with kids in school. There will be a lot of repacking as well. Pasta, rice and beans, flour and pancake mixes, all got placed in glass and plastic containers that looked like they promised to seal bug-tight, mostly screw-top, only some didn't make the grade. So container washing and empty storing while you plan some non-food use for them for next year additionally need to go on the list. Memo to list: sort garbage from recycling, set out recycling in a cardboard box that can be removed since they stop two days after we're gone. Garbage is twice weekly, and the can is underground, so no issues there.

That cleaning that never quite got your attention during the winter now needs to be done. Dog fur did periodically get removed once the "bunnies" got big enough, but Fred has never stopped shedding, now that he no longer has defined seasons to give his coat its cues. Paper bits must go up and out, no longer left to feed silverfish that sneak their way in. Maybe the sticky traps will work, or maybe they'll find the clothing left in drawers or closets, or turn to the library for a summer feast. Floors must be swept, laundry done, furniture covered. Windows? Forget windows!  Oh wait, we can't: they all need the locks put on them, and since they are being used for climate control, that waits for the last morning. But cleaning them? LOL! They are at least as clear as Steve's glasses usually are, so what's to complain about?

With essentials located both south and north, you had foolishly held onto the belief that packing up for the summer would be simple: traveling duds, dogs and supplies, cameras, meds, electronics. And chargers: do NOT forget chargers! That simple list is not exactly working out for you though, is it?

Start with hauling back the borrowed chop saw, brought down to help with creation of and installation of 3 walls of shelves in the library. Add the gift Rich bought for his daughter that was too fragile - and too big!- to take back in the plane. Not to mention the fancy dancy knife - way too modest a word - that no airline would allow on board. Add the bagfuls of late season oranges supplied by neighbors, the lapidary items you spend the last several months grinding and polishing and can spend the summer wire wrapping or whatever. Of course there are maps, but this year you have to add alternative plans for routing in case the abundance of late May snowfalls in the Colorado Rockies clog the chosen pass, plus access to weather reports in case the spring tornadoes work their way up across Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota.

You've been working on eating everything in the fridge that won't last a couple more days in the cooler with ice while traveling, but already bagfuls of stuff in addition to those bug-infested ones have gone to feed the garbage landfill. The gas shut-off has been scheduled, but due to their convenience, it will be off three days before you leave. You're left with the microwave and luke-warm water, yet another parameter for sorting foods and packing. In an emergency there's always daytime access to the community center showers, but not the most optimal, nor private. After adding bottles of water to the crevices in the car, how much room is left for a cooler? It is, after all, merely a hatchback already hauling two adults and two dogs.

We have decided the yard plants will survive without watering, being desert natives and with unusually abundant May rains to help tide them over till Monsoon season. The three late purchases will head north to be babied over the summer, then brought back to plant next fall, giving them a long time to set roots enough for next summer.  So, memo to list: pack plants, roll up hoses and store in shade. We did hit the stores for tent stakes to hold down the chicken wire, but not before rabbits lifted cages to access one of the baby ocotillos, the palo verde and palo blanco trunks, and ate three aloes to below ground levels.  If the remaining plants are a little water-deprived, it should stop them screaming "All Night Buffet Here!" to all the wascally wabbits.

I do so-o-o empathize with Elmer Fudd.

Memo summer project: research poisons that disappear from the body so quickly that dead rabbits won't in turn poison their scavengers.

Other outside chores include a final pooper scooping, water shut-off, and bringing in decoratives, because if our neighbors will steal rocks out of the yard, how much more likely will they be to go for the wicker, the tree man holding the gazing globe, or the glass birdbath? Scooters will come inside as well, staying plugged in and charging, the only spot with electricity still feeding the house now that the new circuit breaker box is easily accessed and well labeled. Note that the patio did get swept clean after most of the wicker got put inside, but Ellie decided that it was too bare and grabbed a pine cone to demolish right in front of the sliding door. You know, right where bare feet trod. Despite abundant rawhide chews.

Medical needs are being attended to, a bit of a trick when our insurance company doesn't cover us up north. We have been negotiating between doctors, pharmacies, and insurance to make sure enough of our medications will be traveling with us to last at least a few days past our return. Appointments for fall are already on the calendar. Emergencies won't be allowed. Period.

OK, what else do we need? Let's see....

Memo to self: this year, actually read the list and check off everything before you drive away!


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