No one can pack a van for a trip like I can.
I live for it.
It is the only time that I can have complete order.
When someone can ask me, "Where is ___?" and I can pull the requested object out before he finishes the question.
No one, including Hubby, is to assist in packing without getting permission.
This trip to St. Louis for the soccer tournament put my packing skills to the test. It was a trip in which we had to take two cars. (The games were going to be at 5 different facilities all around St. Louis throughout the weekend, so we needed two cars.) Hubby was going to arrive at the hotel with the five youngest kids at around 9:30pm Friday night, while I would arrive at 11:00 with Phoenix. The non-stop games were more than likely going to be played in a lot of rain. There was no free breakfast buffet at the restaurant, and no time to go to a restaurant for lunch. There was no fridge at the hotel.
Here is what and how I packed (The kids help pack by retrieving the items I call for):
4 soccer bags, each holding an away uniform, a home uniform, cleats, shin gaurds, two pairs of uniform socks, water bottle, plastic bag for wet clothes/shoes, sandals to wear between games
Healthy snacks/breakfast food to feed everyone two breakfast, lunches, and snacks. Things like peanut butter, cheese sticks, hard-boiled eggs, fruit leather, granola bars, raisins, fruit cups, bagels, yogurt, pretzels.
Clearly marked bag to leave in van holding a complete set of clothes (top, shorts, underwear, socks) for each person in case we get drenched and need to change at the field.
Clearly marked bag to leave in car holding a complete set of clothes, because we won't know who will be with which vehicle when the rain hits.
Bag with change of shoes for little boys, Hubby, and me. Plus newspaper to stuff in wet shoes to speed the dry time.
Bag with PJ's for all kids, crib sheets, and baby blankies since Hubby will be arriving at the hotel way past bedtime without me. He won't have to unload the entire van before he puts the kids to bed.
Overnight bag with toothbrushes and paste, brush, ponytail holder for Buttercup, sunscreen, Band-aids, etc.
Suitcase with two complete sets of clothes for little boys, Hubby, and me. One set for soccer kids. One pair of sweats for each person. Extra PJs and diapers for little boys to sleep in. Bathing suits for all to swim at the hotel.
Rain gear consisting of every umbrella, poncho, raincoat in the house.
Balls, games, etc. for little boys to play with at the fields.
Chairs for the games.
One bag of library books for each child.
Little bag of toys for each little boy to play with in the car, iPods for big kids.
Directions to get to the hotel from home, to get to each of the five fields from the hotel.
Schedule of the games.
Chargers for phones, ipods.
Sandwiches for dinner for the ride to St. Louis.
Blankets to sit on or wrap self in at games.
Everything was packed perfectly in the van and car to maximize efficiency and decrease chaos/digging through the trunks/shifting during driving.
At 4:30 on Friday afternoon, I met Hubby near the interstate. He got the loaded van, I got his car and Phoenix.
The trip began.
Everything went as planned.
Hubby got to the hotel, grabbed the two bags and the bed with no trouble, and got those kids in bed with no trouble.
Phoenix and I arrived on schedule, we finished unloading the vehicles, set the alarm for 5:45 am, and went to bed.
At 6:00, we sent Phoenix off with a teammate to his game 45 minutes away. It had stormed the night before, but was not raining at the time.
At 7:00 Phoenix got to his field, where they were told that because of the storms, their game would be postponed until 10:00.
At 7:40, Hubby took Buttercup and Star to their field.
At 8:10, it started pouring down rain.
Their games were delayed by some lightening, but were going to start 20 minutes late.
I headed to the field to watch Star, with Giant, Turken, and Cuckoo in tow.
At 9:15, Buttercup's and Star's games started, soggy rain and all.
Star's game was on turf, so although it was raining, they could still play without much trouble,
Buttercup's team was not so lucky.
Her field was covered in water. A girl would kick the ball as hard as she could, yet it would only go a couple of feet, landing in a huge splash of water. Drowned rats is the best way to describe those girls. (Unfortunately, Hubby didn't think to take a photo. He was severely scolded for it.)
At 9:45 THE ENTIRE TOURNAMENT WAS CANCELLED!!!!!
The fields all over town were starting to flood, so no soccer was to be played.
Let the chaos begin.
We had until 12:00 to get ourselves checked out of the hotel to avoid being charged for the second night. The entire hotel was filled with soccer families. We ALL had until 12:00 to get out of the hotel.
So much for all of my careful packing.
Both Buttercup's and Star's teams decided to go ahead and finish their games. They were already wet, might as well finish the only game they were to play that weekend. Hubby stayed with them.
I tried racing back to the hotel with the youngest three kids. I was dictating to Giant, so he could text to folks that we needed to alert to the situation. In all of the commotion, I went right by our exit and went 15 minutes out of our way.
We had one hour to get Phoenix back from our friend, let the two players get showers to warm up, and pack up both cars.
It was complete and utter chaos.
The little boys were totally confused with the turn of events, and kept complaining/asking me all sorts of questions.
"I wanted to watch soccer!"
"When will we get to eat all of the food in the van?"
"Can you read a book to me?"
All I could screech was, "We can't, I don't know, and Are you kidding me?"
God bless Turken. He is actually one of the two kids who loves order as much as me. He was checking under beds, in dressers and bathrooms without me even asking him to.
The way we threw everything together made us both a little sad.
Throwing clothes into whatever bag or suitcase was handy.
Tossing clean clothes in with dirty clothes.
Wet clothes with dry clothes.
Then people started asking me where things were.
"Where are my dry shoes?"
"What should I put on after my shower?"
"I want my blankie!"
All we had packed kept getting upturned when people looked for needed items, then thrown back in as a bigger mess.
And all kept being interrupted by phone calls and emails from people from all four teams, trying to figure things out. (Hubby is the manager for two of the teams, so we are always the ones people call.)
Everything got thrown into the car and van all willy-nilly.
Then Hubby and I finally had a moment to look at each other and say, "Now what?"
Out of everything that happened, I was most upset that I had had to spend hour upon hour for days packing so meticulously for this trip.
And it all was washed away with the rain.
Tomorrow, I'll tell you the answer to the "Now what?"