“As a writer one of your jobs is to bring news of the world to the world.”
Grace Paley

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

the tail end of the vacation is not safe from pre-travel freak-outs
Mon 2014-12-29 20:15:13 (in context)

Hello! I am posting this from Memphis. I am on the train, and the train is arriving in Memphis. And I have almost completely recovered from my latest bout of pre-travel freak-outs!

Because pre-travel freak-out mode happens at the end of a vacation, too. I've got a train to catch, I've got to be ready to leave by 12:30, I've got stuff needs doing before then. Thus: Panic!

But it's inevitably going to be less freaky than the freak-out at the start of a vacation. It's the return journey, so the potential for freak-out is limited. I'm no longer planning what to pack; I mostly just have to make sure that everything I brought, plus the few things I've acquired, all make it into my luggage. And I don't have to clean the fridge or make sure all the leftovers are eaten or frozen, since the house we're leaving is inhabited. It's inhabited by people who might end up throwing out those leftovers in a week's time (sorry, Dad), but there is at least a non-zero chance that they will eat them.

So aside from packing, here's what was on my to-do list:

  • A last load of laundry, while I had access to free laundry facilities. Well, free in terms of quarters, anyway. Using it adds a few cents to my parents' water and energy bills, of course. And then there's the user cost of babysitting the washing process so that the laundry room doesn't flood. I let the laundry room flood, once, and I may never live it down. But I did learn how to operate a Shop Vac on that occasion, so something useful came out of it.
  • A trip to the grocery to fill my snack bag against a two-day coach-class journey. You go sleeper, you get free meals, so you only have to worry about developing an appetite on schedule. You go coach, you bring your own unless you want to be entirely dependent on the inevitably overpriced snack car.
  • A visit to Phil's Grill of Metairie, next door to the grocery, to bring us back lunch. A friend tipped me off that they did veggie burgers. John proclaimed it delicious, even more so than the veggie patty at Cowbell. (He preferred Cowbell's fries, however). Meanwhile, I had a medium-well Lagniappe patty (a mixture of angus steak and andouille sausage) with havarti cheese, red onions, sauteed mushrooms, and dijon mustard. Which I proclaimed delicious. (The sweet potato fries were only so-so, alas. But who cares about fries when the burger's this good?)
  • Transforming a jar of hot pickled quail's eggs into egg salad sandwiches for the train. The pickled eggs were one of a number of wares produced by a local canning outfit (whose name I have shamefully already forgot, though a quick Google suggests it may have been Joseph's Fine Foods) and sold at Rouses. I bought them on a whim. They are indeed hot, and vinegary like woah. I chopped them coarsely and mixed them together with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, Cajun Land seasoning, dried dill weed, and--here's where I'm a genius--muffuletta olive spread. Which is tasty but I must admit doesn't mitigate the vinegar any. So maybe I'm only sort of a genius.

All of which I got done between the time I got up at 9:30 AM and the time my brother picked us up at 12:45 PM. So you can see it wasn't nearly as much to freak out over as the pre-vacation pre-travel freak-out list was. And after an afternoon of riding the rails and playing on my computer, I've recovered quite well.

Tomorrow we shall be in Chicago for a bit before catching the train to Denver. And that is all for now.

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