Friday, August 23, 2013

Road Trips

I managed to check a couple more items off the epic to-do list yesterday -- and added several more. I was a little irked that one of the key items on my shopping list was missing from the store. There was a little shelf tag label where it was supposed to be, but the shelf was completely empty. That's why I do my pre-trip shopping a little ahead of time. That way, if a key item is missing, I don't have a last-minute panic of running from store to store that final day. Instead, I can look for it in other places as I go about my business for the next few days.

I'm taking advantage of the fact that I'm driving instead of flying this year to not only bring a broader variety of shoes instead of just rotating among a few pairs that go with everything and bring dresses instead of a couple of skirts and a mix of tops, but also to bring my own snacks and in-room dining options, like shelf-stable bottles of orange juice.

This isn't just a being cheap thing. I like to be ready to have breakfast in my hotel room -- or at least a pre-breakfast snack -- because I'm generally not good for dealing with people until I've had at least a cup of tea and some bread of some kind (roll, toast, muffin). Orange juice is also good (plus, bonus vitamin C for helping fend off Con Crud). Plus, it means I can sleep a little later if I don't have to go in search of breakfast before any morning activities. Then there are the times when I just need a little quiet time, and often the only quiet time I can carve out is lunchtime, so if I've got some cup of soup and crackers in my room, I can kill two birds with one stone. And then there are the times when I find out I've just missed the lunch or dinner outing with friends and am not up to scaring up any other dining companions, and I'm not crazy about eating in public by myself. There are a lot of things I do on my own with no qualms, like going to movies or even traveling abroad, but there are only certain settings where I'm not uncomfortable in a restaurant by myself (I'm okay in New York and Europe, where it's not at all uncommon for people to dine alone, but in this part of the world, you get some really funny looks and the waiters often treat you like they're irked that there are non tip-paying seats at your table).

Plus, there's just something about a road trip and snacks. I think that stems from childhood, when the snacks were the best part of a road trip. There were things that we seldom got to have at home that we got when we were traveling. I still do that. I just bought a box of Cheez-Its, and I never have those at home. I'll also get some healthy stuff to eat as I drive, like some nuts, carrot sticks and apple slices.

Speaking of road trips, that reminds me that I need to make my road trip CD for this trip. I still don't have an MP3 player and haven't figured out how to do playlists on my phone, but for a trip like this, an MP3 CD is just as good, and I don't have to remember to take it out and carry it with me when I stop. I can get about 11 hours of music on a disc, which should cover the whole trip, possibly cycling back to the beginning for the last twenty minutes or so, and that actually makes my trip something of a heroic journey, if it returns to the way it started, but seeing it from a different perspective. Now to winnow down my collection to the 11 hours of music I want most, perhaps starting with some enthusiasm, then a little more mellow until I get out of the city, more lively during the country driving, back to mellow when I hit San Antonio, and then reverse the order for the second half. The most favorite songs may be repeated so that I get them once on each leg of the trip (Terrence Mann has to sing "Where's the Girl" from The Scarlet Pimpernel to me at least once per long-distance driving session). I also have to fit in some of my more obnoxious soprano stuff to sing along with, because in a car in the middle of nowhere is the perfect place to go for the really high notes.

Now to make a quick Home Depot run. I need to make another Target trip, but that may wait for next week when I have a better sense of everything else that needs to go on the list. Then the rest of the day will be devoted to getting stuff done and checking items off the list.

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