The Art of Packing in the Rain

By Rose Ann Sinay

The Art of Packing in the Rain

“One bag,” my husband said. “Why can’t two small children share one big bag?” He asked the same question every time he loaded the car trunk for our vacation destinations, repositioning coolers, toys, suitcases and canvas sacks of miscellaneous extras.

“Next time you can do their packing,” I retorted.

“Okay,” he agreed. “Kids don’t need twenty changes of clothing and ten pairs of shoes. I’m sure I can do it more efficiently. Two kids in one bag.”

“I don’t want to be in a bag,” our daughter whined from the back seat.

“Your clothes, Sweetie, not you,” he said, catching her eye in the rear view mirror.

“If you think you can do it better, then by all means, you do the packing for the next trip,” I retorted.

“No interference?”

“The job is yours.” I sat back and smiled. I was already looking forward to our next vacation.

Three months later, we were preparing for our annual trip to the cottage in North Conway, New Hampshire. There were lots of places to go and things to do, from bear watching (as they raided the restaurant dumpsters), to exploring the numerous trails and waterfalls, to blueberry picking right off the front porch.

“Look at this,” my husband bragged as he easily placed the luggage, coolers and excessive amounts of fishing paraphernalia inside the trunk with room to spare.

“Do you have the…,” I started.

“Uh uh,” he stopped me. “I have everything under control.”

I stared at the empty spaces between “our stuff.” I could actually see the gray carpet that covered the floor of the trunk. How could that be?

I couldn’t restrain myself; I had to say it: “Just remember, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.” I got into the car and slammed the door. I realized I sounded just like my mother.

After three hours of driving and playing “I Spy” games, we stopped at a rest area to stretch our legs and use the facilities. The kids immediately ran for the vending machines. Fifteen minutes later, as we were getting ready to get back on the road, I heard an angry scream.

My son strolled to the car with a smirk on his face. “She stepped in dog poop.”

“It’s okay,” I said to my daughter as she dangled the offending foot in front of her and held her nose. “Daddy will wash your sneaker, and I’ll go get your flip flops.”

“Uh…I didn’t bring her flip flops,” my husband said. “I figured all they needed were their sneakers.”

With that, our daughter let out another wail.

“No problem,” I said calming her down. “Daddy will wash the sneakers, and we’ll get you a new pair of flip flops in town.”

I handed him the offending shoe with a meaningful look.

“It’s only day one…just saying.”

It started sprinkling when we hit New Hampshire. By the time we arrived in North Conway, it was a torrential downpour, and the temperature had turned uncharacteristically cold. We were drenched from head to toe just running the few feet from the car to the house.

“Go straight into the bathroom and take off the wet clothes, I’ll get your pajamas and sweatshirts.”

My husband shook his head. “No sweatshirts. They would have taken up too much room in the suitcase. Besides, who’d think we’d need them in August?” he asked with a sheepish grin on his face.

“Their mother would have,” I said as I went to find blankets in the closet.

As luck would have it, it rained for two days straight, and the dryer in the cottage was out of order. With the promise of blue skies to come, we went into town, shopping for flip flops and sneakers while our wet ones bounced around in the local Laundromat dryer. We bought a basket and filled it with the forgotten baby shampoo, conditioner and chewable vitamins. A couple hundred dollars later, we all wore new shoes and warm, North Conway embroidered hoodies.

Back at the cottage, we played tic tac toe and hangman with our newly purchased sketch pad and crayons (the old ones were left at home in one of those unnecessary canvas bags) and opened a brand new game of “Sorry.”

We visited the Laundromat and local department store several more times after playing in mud slides and ripping one of the three outfits packed for each child (why would you need more than that with a washer and dryer supposedly at your disposal?) Despite the unexpected shopping and expense, our vacation was one of the best and certainly one of the most memorable.

As we reluctantly loaded the car at the end of our week, I noticed my husband shifting and repositioning its contents.

“One last bag,” I said handing him a stuffed tote of odds and ends. He groaned, and I laughed as I looked into the filled trunk. There was no gray carpeting peeking through this time. The sketch pad stuck upright in the corner with its stick figures and bright, crayon scribbles said it all: CHILDREN ON BOARD.

About this writer

  • Rose Ann Sinay Rose Ann Sinay is a freelance writer typing away in sunny North Carolina. Her articles/stories have been published in The Carolinas Today, The Oddville Press and The Brunswick Beacon.

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13 Responses to “The Art of Packing in the Rain”

  1. Laura Hall says:

    Wonderful story! So true to our family as well. Life would be so much easier if everyone just listened to mom! Even the husbands!

  2. Colleen Wenthen says:

    Great story which struck a familiar cord with me and pretty sure many others! Bravo!

  3. Diane Quackenbush says:

    Well you did it again, you had me going back in time when things were so much simpler. Awesome job!!

  4. Kailey Konow says:

    Aw! I loved those trips to North Conway. Though I’m not sure I would’ve given Dad the opportunity to pack for me! :) Fun memories in another great story.

  5. Tammy Rohlf says:

    How many times have I heard the same words “really you need that”. Just goes to show you that moms know best! Great story.

  6. Rose Ann–This story made me laugh. The fact that you didn’t paste “I told you so” on a billboard indicates you have a vast amount of self control. Way to go!

  7. Rings true-even today! Can’t tell you how many times I could have played this same scenario. Loved it!!

  8. Jody Keisner says:

    My husband and I recently took our two-year-old daughter on her first flight. We were both surprised when we used up all of the toddler “distractions” and activities I had packed just in day 1 of traveling.

    • Rose Ann says:

      There’s a story in those words. Keeping a two year old occupied is a job in itself! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  9. kathy strunk says:

    Had a good laugh Rose Ann… I remember packing for our summer trips and barely having room for the dog, but we were prepared!

  10. Jacqueline Stowe-Davis says:

    I love it. My husband decide before heading to camp that my daughter was old enough to pack her own clothes. Much to my dismayI was right mom need to check and add to the kids packing. It too rained and was very cold out. Needless to say he returned several time for turtle necks long pants rain gear and sneakers.

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