There has been a lot of packing going on at our house of late.
A few weeks ago I watched as our son Russell simultaneously packed for both camp and college since he was scheduled to go straight from one to the other. Seeing how neatly he lay everything out on his bed, along with how well-labeled his boxes were, it looked like he had everything he would need to start school with. He’d even registered for classes and ordered his textbooks before we took him up to camp. This past Saturday we dropped him off at Simon’s Rock. Turns out he’d done a great job of packing since the only things he needed were a longer internet cable (the connection was on his roommate’s side of the room) and some coffee. Not bad for a seventeen-year-old.
This week his sister has been scrambling to get packed for her return to UNH. The good news is she’s a sophomore and has a better sense of what she does and doesn’t need at college. Still, when I peek in her room this morning there seems to be a good many piles which have yet to make it into boxes or bags. It’s not that she hasn’t packed anything – her ROTC uniform has been picked up from the dry cleaners and is ready to go, there are bags of bedding, as well as several games for those necessary study breaks organized in a corner of the living room. I also caught a glimpse of a lengthy to-do list she is clearly working her way through. By the time we pack the car on Saturday I am sure everything will be sorted out.
Unlike my two offspring I am not packing to go off to college, but I have been thinking about what to pack in when I go to visit them this fall. The other day I got out my collection of picnic baskets in anticipation of some upcoming Mommy Road Trips. One of the delights of having both kids go to school so close to home is that it’s easy to pop over (or down) for a day. While there are dozens of great restaurants in both New Haven and Great Barrington, sometimes the best thing to do is bring a little slice of home in a picnic basket and go off exploring.
I have a small metal briefcase style picnic basket just big enough to hold a pair of plates, cutlery, glasses, napkins, and cups – the food clearly has to come in it’s own basket.
There are also mends on a few of the baskets. Ones which haven’t held up as well as one might hope, or which have been nibbled on by a very naughty mouse.
Most of my picnic baskets are either hand-me-downs or from estate sales. In a pinch I have been known to throw together a picnic into a market basket or beach bag. Cold stuff usually ends up in a cooler, since most of our destinations are arrived at by car. Truth be told almost anything can suffice as a picnic basket – even a bag from the grocery store – as long as you don’t forget the essential tools. Here’s my list:
- Small knife and cutting board
- Corkscrew/bottle opener
- Blanket or plastic table cover
- Rubber stoppered bottle
- Plastic or enameled tin plates/bowls & utensils
- Two gallon plastic bag (for bringing home dirty dishes)
- Paper towels or cloth napkins
So four days until our eldest returns to college, then I can start planning some picnics.