A WEEK IN PARADISE (part one)
Summer, holidays and a future close to hell. At last it was time for us to leave.
Already two days before our departure the wife had packed half our apartment in bags — “well, we must take it with us, what if they don’t have one”, “you never know if we can get use for it” and so on.
“Dad, can I bring my Gameboy?” the youngest asked.
“No you can’t. We don’t have any space for it. You’d better leave it at home.”
The youngest looked at me angrily. Then he turned towards his mother.
“Mom, can I bring my Gameboy?”
“Yes of course. Put it in daddys backpack.”
And so it went on and on. The kids asked “can I bring this and that” and when I said “no” they asked the wife who answerred “yes”. Eventually they did not even bother to go to me first, but just went for the “yes” at once.
“Oh, what a lot of things we have packed”, the wife said surprised when we had put all the packing out into the hallway. Three bags, four backpacks, four plastic bags and one black sack with stuff that we were going to take with us up north “and leave there so that the children have some things at grandmas and grandpas place next time we visit”, as the wife so intelligently had decided. I said nothing, since there was no point what so ever in commenting.
I looked at the sea of bags and backpacks and sighed.
“What? What’s your problem?” the wife asked.
“Well, I can see that there is something bothering you. Tell me!”
I tried to find mental strength.
“Yes, well … how did you think we could manage to take all that stuff with us?”
Of course she had thought of that … aswell.
“The children will have to take one backpack each, I will take one of the suitcases and two of the shoppingbags. You can take the other suitcase, the fourth backpack and two of the shoppingbags.”
“And the plastic sack?”
The wife sighed.
“Why do you always have to find problems? OK, but we will solve that … too!”
With an attempt of positive naivity that would make inspector Clouseau seem practical she smiled widely. For a moment I forgot who I was talking to, and made a remark.
“You know that we are going to WALK to the tube station, don’t you? And then we will have to walk from city tube station to the railroad station. And when we get to Östersund we will have to change to the bus. With an ocean of bags, backpacks and a bloody big plastic sack!”
My wife sighed at my comment.
“Yes, well if it is so very problematic, then maybe we should stay at home instead? I don’t HAVE to meet my parents. The children don’t HAVE to see their grandparents.”
I recognised this. This often happened when the henpecked husband tried to stress something obvoius, like the fact that two grownups and three children could not pack a fiveroom-flat into plastic bags and bring it with them on the train to Lapland.
“Yes, of course,” I answerred with enough shame to make it sound credible, as if I admitted to be the crook in the drama. “But can’t we just have one quick look again and see what we can leave behind, what we maybe could buy when we get there? Like this spread cheese, do we HAVE to bring that?”
“What spreadcheese?” the wife asked.
“I want spreadcheese”, the sixyear old interposed. “I like it, it tastes great. And I don’t think they have that in Lapland. You can only buy spreadcheese here in Stockholm, I am certain of that.”
The wife and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes. Kids! Pffft! As the good parents we are we sighed, threatened the children that they certainly would NOT get any candy if we missed the train — “it does not matter because I have my own, so there” was the answer from the tenyearsold — and started to re-pack.
At last we managed to minimize our luggage to three suitcases and four backpacks — “Well, we could always rent a car NEXT summer and bring it with us THEN” I deperately shouted in order to be able to leave the bag with toys at home — and managed to catch the train to Östersund with ten minutes to go. We found our seats and sat down to begin the first part of our family trip, the five hours by train to the north before changing to the final three hours travel by bus.
(To be continued…)