In the midst of this heat wave, we have been packing. A big part of me thinks, "Really? I'm packing again? Already?" I (Susan) am the packer of the family. It's not that Brian doesn't want to help, or that he doesn't help. It's that I'm pretty controlling of the whole process. I have my system and spreadsheets and timeline of how things should go, and if someone gets in the way, I can get a little cranky.
I have moments when I feel like I am on top of the whole situation, (after all, I am beginning to think that I pack and unpack for a living!). I feel liberated when I look at the huge pile of possessions that I will be taking to a donation center tomorrow. I feel proud when I pack an improbable amount of things into a small box, leaving no unused pockets of space (our shipment to PNG is priced by volume, not weight). I love my beautiful spreadsheets that list what is in all of these boxes in all of these different places, so that I can find what I need a few months (or years) from now when I next see those boxes.
And of course there are moments when it's not so good. When my boys get clingy and anxious because they see all their familiar things disappearing. When I find that Greg has slipped a few items of his own into one of the boxes that I've been packing, or has taken some things out and hidden them who-knows-where. When he discovers the toy that he hasn't played with in four months is in the donation box and has a meltdown. When I realize how little time I have left with my family here in Colorado and I feel guilty that my kids haven't spent enough time with their grandparents or cousins while we were here.
Friday we were up in Ft. Collins to drop off some boxes for storage and to see my grandparents and parents. We also had an appointment at the Health Department to get some travel immunizations. Typhoid vaccine all around. Greg had to get a shot (for which he was amply compensated by at least 7 stickers), but Brian and I got to take the pills. If you've never taken oral typhoid vaccine, it's four pills that you take every other day. We took our first pills, then stuck the rest in my mom's fridge. Of course, when we drove home a few hours later, we realized that we had left them in mom's fridge. Aaargh! (We live about 50 minutes drive from my parents, but we knew that one or the other of us would have to make the trek before Sunday, when our next pill was due). Mom and dad offered to bring them and brought them up last night and then stayed for dinner.
We celebrated with grapes and ice cream. With only a little more than a month to go before we leave the States, I am trying to get as much of things like grapes and cantaloupe as possible - foods that we can't get in Papua New Guinea (or which are exorbitantly priced and pretty yucky-looking by the time they get there). I don't get at all nostalgic about fast food restaurants. I haven't set foot in a McDonald's or Burger King the whole year we've been home. But I am going to miss my grapes, and peaches, and cherries, and blueberries, and red bell peppers that are sweet and crispy. Sigh. And then there is ice cream. PNG ice cream is a poor substitute. However, I am trying to exert some control over my intake of good ice cream this summer. I am, after all, very close to being back to my pre-baby weight, so I don't want to go crazy... but ice cream in the U.S. is so good! Seriously people! You should be grateful to have a whole half an aisle of supermarket freezer space stocked with umpteen delicious flavors that aren't neon-colored, and which actually melt if you leave them out on the counter! You really should go and have yourself a bowl of ice cream right now. Really. I am giving you permission - go!