CONTRIBUTED BY MEREDITH NOVARIO
On Sunday I went to the commissary without my kids, a list or food in my belly. It was as close to a hot date as it gets these days. I even treated myself to a Febreze refill despite the fact that we’re leaving in 25 days. If nothing else, these last days will smell good. Actually they will alternately smell like Calypso Breeze and Hawaiian Paradise. Like chilled orange juice on a tropical beach one moment and then suddenly, without warning, like a casual walk through a tropical orchard. This is evidence that happiness can be bought. Case closed.
The commissary was packed with people new to the island. Well-ironed couples with mouths agape over the limp vegetables and the cost of blueberries. Others sharing hopeful hellos and flashing teethy smiles to everyone that could potentially be their next best friend. An earnest young fellow asking about the origins of the fish used in the sushi bar. East China Sea? Atlantic Ocean? While he received an indifferent shrug, I scooted in front of him for one of the last mediocre spicy tuna sets. Quiet, rookie or they’ll take our sushi bar away! I averted my eyes through most of the aisles to avoid the high-pitched screech of people trying to acclimate to Okinawa. I’m not bothered by it. I’m just not there anymore. Like Poison or Cyndi Lauper, a thing of the past for me. Instead I scurry through the aisles and shamefully toss six Kid Cuisine meals in my cart and hide them with frozen pizzas.
On Sunday I also found out that Joe may not be home for our pack-out dates on the 19th and 20th. I know many of you handle this alone with grace and a sweat-less brow. I applaud you but I am not that girl. I threw a tantrum at the mere suggestion of having to do it alone. I feel entitled to my deployment-induced exhaustion. I do not want to do this alone while Joe sits on a boat playing video games and watching Curb Your Enthusiasm. That is not what he wants to be doing and if he were allowed to help the folks in Myanmar then I wouldn’t be frustrated at how instead he passes time writing haikus and growing a mustache.
Deployments are just easier when we are both busy. Otherwise it doesn’t feel fair. And even though I’m a bonafide grown-up I still want the world to be a fair place. If this were a fair world then Joe would be in Myanmar getting people the food, water and medical care they deserve and no one would be listening to me carry on about my minor league complaints. But you’re right, Dad, no one ever said the world was fair.
I’m probably upset because I stink at packing. I’d almost prefer to put our stuff in the garbage and start over when we get to Virginia. Except that costs money and is wasteful and I should have a conscience about that sort of jazz. I can do this as long as I’m on record for not wanting to. Here’s what I know. There are three versions of our stuff to organize.
- The stuff that goes on the plane.
- The stuff that goes into our express shipment AKA Unaccompanied Baggage.
- The stuff that goes into our slow boat shipment AKA Household Goods.
Here’s what I have in each respective category thus far.
- DVD’s. Melatonin. Leapster. Dinosaur blanket. Diapers. Wipes. Sippy cups. 5 changes of clothing for each kiddo. 2 for myself. Colored pencils. Maracas. Foghorn. Lollipops. Brain matter.
- Beds. Clothing. Pans.
- Books and everything else that didn’t get packed in the express shipment the day before.
You have all done this much more than I have. What goes where? Can you jump-start me with some of your collective packing wisdom?
For posterity’s sake we have left this universally euphoric, terrified, confused, “what am I doing?!” series on Okinawa Hai. However, we have closed comments for future readers. If there is relevant information for all readers to benefit from, we have taken elements from this series and created new posts, which we’ve linked to from the original text. Thank you for joining us on this ride.