I’m sure I will have far more to say on this topic by the end of this trip than I do right now, but writing this blog post here and now is a marriage saving device. Thirty-two years of marriage have taught me that on days like today, I need to shut up and do the two things that men do best: lift stuff and get things that are up high. So, I’m writing this post between bouts of lifting and reaching so that I can stay out of Kath’s way while she tries to contain a year’s worth of clothes, pots, contact lenses, etc into a space smaller than our kitchen.
With the major boat works done, we are currently doing the work of making the boat our home for the next year. That involves a great deal of moving stuff about, organizing, reorganizing, taking stuff off the boat, etc. Over the years, I have learned that Kath and I have very different approaches to packing and that packing is a bit of a “trigger” item for me. I tend to want to pack as little as possible and as quickly as possible. A sweater, for example, can easily double as a pasta strainer. Let’s go! Kath, on the other hand, gets more satisfaction from a comprehensive list than she does from the world’s best butter tart. Her planning starts with the most detailed list possible.
Having raised two kids together, camped together and owned a cottage together, there were many a time when our very different approaches led to, umm, spirited debates, let’s say. We had one neighbour in particular who loved to watch the show. He’d sit grinning on his porch rocker, while Kath and I reviewed the merits of packing this or that item. The sidewalk would be lined with bags that were packed so tight, they looked like the spandex pants of airport security guards who had clearly started the job three sizes ago.
Over the years, we’ve learned to stretch ourselves towards the other’s packing style. We now consider packing more of an iterative process. And Kath’s girl scout skill of always being prepared has saved me in a zillion ways. I have often found myself saying, “you know what I really need now is [some obscure item or another]” only to have Kath disappear and return moments later with said item in hand.
But even though I’ve learned to appreciate Kath’s thoroughness in abstract, I still wrestle with my baser instincts. I can feel my blood pressure rise with each muffin tin or bag of extra toothpaste tubes that come aboard. My impulse is to make it all to disappear immediately, damn the consequences. So, years of painful training have taught me that, at times like these, the best thing I can do is find something else to do for a while.