Before we jump back into posts on the progress of painting & other miscellaneous projects chez moi, let’s ponder for a moment what it truly means to embrace the Glamorous Life.  For those of you that are too young to remember (and those of you that are white-knuckling your youth & claiming that you are too young to remember…), Sheila E sang the 80’s anthem to this idea: that leading the Glamorous Life might seem like the most important & exciting thing, but that “without love, it ain’t much…”

Where am I going with this?  What I’m saying is that life is all about balance.  Do I want nice things, a nice home, pretty little objet d’arts that are fawned over? Yes ma’am, I am a Southern Dandy at heart after all.  But, having someone that also loves those things & loves to share them with you is as important.  Making time for each other outside of the confines of work, social life & familial obligations can be challenging.  Last year we took a week off and completely unplugged by glamping on the beach on the gulf of Florida.  It was fantastic–literally falling asleep listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore in campgrounds tucked far enough into a state park that all cellphone signal was lost.  There were no worries, no connections to anything except the beach…Unless you count the few times that we drove into the towns near the park.  During those times, we were so FaceBook-starved that we were glued to our iPhones.  After a week of disconnecting, I felt that I could conquer the world (and kill someone for a long, hot shower in my own bathroom & not in a stall in a public bathhouse).

This year we decided to vacation in Key West.  When I think of Key West, I think of Cuban-inspired charm, Ernest Hemingway & cats with extra toes (that one creeps me out a little bit; I’ll just try to avoid eye contact with them).  We also decided that we would drive instead of fly.  If I had a dollar for every person that cut their eyes to the side when I said that, I’d probably have a real blog by now.  Does it sound a little crazy?  Yes ma’am, it does.  But think of this: airports are a nightmare anymore, jammed full of people that think putting on a pair of elastic-waist track pants is “dressy”.  The days of glamorous flight attendants, exceptional customer service & well-dressed & well-mannered flyers is over.  Welcome, flying Hooters restaurants & screaming children spreading pink eye to every surface they can touch.

Besides, I remember the car trips we took as children very fondly.  I used to love to drive through strange towns, wonder about the people that live there, see their homes, schools & Piggly Wigglys.  And I have always loved packing a suitcase.  I mean I REALLY love it.  To the point where I think I may have been a traveling salesman or a slightly-better-off-than-most-hobo in a former life.  My friends can attest that in my twenties I would show up for a weekend visit with a bag packed to its fullest capacity (in addition to a “Buddy Basket” full of  shower & bath accessories.  I have since pared down to mostly just the essentials.).  Now, decades later (which I know shocks so many of you because of my fantastically youthful skin; it’s all good genes & clean livin’), I get so excited that I start packing days in advance. Yes ma’am, days.

I should mention that my suitcase is technically a weekend bag.  So, there is a fine art to making it work for a whole week.  First, everything gets ironed.  Not just because I don’t want a bunch of wrinkled clothes.  It helps things lay better & therefore makes them easier to pack.  Next, I go through & make sure that everything can be worn with more than one thing.  Then, the real fun begins.  Before you read on, yes, I do realize how anal-retentive what you’re about to experience makes me sound.  I’m alright with it.  After all, I’m the one that feels comfortable in virtually every situation I’m in on vacation.  You’ll never catch me saying, “oh, I didn’t think that I’d need that…”

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Shorts are ironed & then rolled so that they don’t wrinkle & take up less room

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All T shirts have to coordinate; they get rolled too

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Ditto for polos. So, you’re seeing a theme…I roll as much as possible. It takes up a LOT less space.

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Ironed & ready to be folded. Am I so anal about this step that I can freestyle fold them to almost perfect uniformity? Yes ma’am.

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This is my handiwork. And my College Advisor thought my retail experience would never come in handy…

A few other essentials for your Dandy’s vacation suitcase…

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A good pair of sleep pants for coffee on the balcony of the room or running to the ice machine. You guessed it, they get rolled in the bag.

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Multiple swim trucks for a week by the pool & in the water. Damp trunks are cold trucks. Cold trunks are the WORST, am I right guys?

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A lightweight sweater. Yes, I know I’m going to Key West. But, here’s the deal: I’ll get sunburned. I always do. I’m like a mushroom: I thrive in low light, high-moisture environments. So, when I’m beat red even a 70 degree evening feels cool. Roll it up!

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Two pairs of broken-in sneakers. One gets worn on the drive down. The other gets packed. No, smart-ass, I don’t roll them.

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Flip-flops. Before you say anything: yes, I did give myself a very good pedicure before the vacation. During the winter my feet may protect me from predators, but I doubt I’ll need to climb any trees or fight off any wild animals.  Except maybe those cats with the extra toes.Two leather pairs & one for the pool. They’re acceptable footwear on vacation. Deal with it.

You get the point, I obsess over a suitcase.  But, more importantly I obsess over a suitcase because of what it means: a glorious vacation with my better-half.  No worries, no schedule, no obligations.  Just the two of us. The car is packed, the dogs & house have a sitter & we are ready to go!  I even made cookies & playlists for the drive.  After all, a glamorous life has to have a soundtrack.

So, stay tuned for photos.  I probably should apologize in advance for how many will be my well pedicured feet in either sand or water.  Do I feel even a shred of regret? No ma’am.

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