Traveling to Mackinac Island in the winter - if there’s snow – is like stepping into a Currier & Ives Painting. When it looked as though the trip north was really going to happen, I got out all the winter apparel I’d purchased three years ago when I made my first winter Mackinac trip. I really – really – had convinced myself that I could get by with just a carry-on bag, but when I laid out everything on the bed I had to have for the trip and then tried to stuff it into my carry-on . . . well, I was left with a good 2/3 of my clothes/gear unpacked. Out came the big suitcase. After putting every single piece of clothing and other “had-to-haves” into the big bag, I had space to spare . . . . so I put in more stuff. Hence the statement by Terry, “Is Ted packed inside this bag?”
But really now (here it comes – my rationalization) – packing a winter suitcase is hard! You have to carry snow boots and big, heavy coats and heavy socks, and scarves, and gloves, and snow cleats, and wool hats – not to mention all the stuff you wear under all that stuff!
All right. I am the world’s lousiest packer.
I am also an airhead and forgetful and unorganized – just ask Terry Conlon.
On Friday morning Sue and I left Terry at home and drove to Chris Ann and Burton’s. Sue would visit a while then go meet Patrick for lunch. We were expecting Jill around noon at Chris Ann’s. She was going to call me for final directions when she was almost to Mackinaw City. About half-way to Chris Ann’s, I realized I’d left my cell phone at the Conlons. Sue called Terry and asked him to answer my cell when it rang and give Jill directions.
“Where’s the phone?” asked Terry.
“I left it on the kitchen countertop – right on the edge,” I said with assurance.
Sue held on while Terry searched. No, it wasn’t on any kitchen counter – edge or otherwise. He looked on every table and surface downstairs. No phone.
“Ok,” I said. “Maybe it’s upstairs on the bed.”
“Would you look upstairs in the guest bedroom, Terry?”
Three minutes later Terry was back. “It’s not in the bedroom or the bathroom.”
Yes, we thought to call the phone - it didn’t ring (we later realized I had no service there).
Here’s what I was thinking. . . . . the phone, which I was positive was on the counter downstairs, was probably behind something – the box of brownies we’d bought in Gaylord, a roll of paper towels . . . whatever. As all us women know, if something is not right in front of our husband’s face, it isn’t there at all.
Now Terry was looking under couches and chairs and the Christmas tree. No phone.
We came up with a different plan. Sue Facebooked Jill and asked her to call Sue’s cellphone – which she would leave with me at Chris Ann’s. In the meantime, Terry said he would continue to search.
Jill arrived at Chris Ann’s without directions. She’d tried to call my phone several times, but no answer. She didn’t get Sue’s message because she didn’t have internet and couldn’t access Facebook. Thank goodness she pretty much knew where she was going.
That afternoon Sue, Jill and I were going back home. Sue called Terry to see if the wayward phone had been found.
“No,” he said, “and I’ve turned the house upside down looking for it.” Oh dear.
We three girls laughed and chatted about how we were going to walk in the house and find the phone within 60 seconds.
And then it hit me. I suddenly remembered where I had left the phone. Not in the kitchen in full view. Not on the bed in full view.
I had left it plugged into the charger on the far side of the bed. I had tucked the phone under the curtain on the window ledge. The phone was hidden. The charger was hidden. The wire running from the phone to the electrical outlet was hidden. Oh dear, oh dear.
I confessed to Sue and Jill, and we hatched a plan.
When we arrived home, we walked in, said cheery hi’s to Terry, and I went upstairs. Two seconds later, I walked down with the phone in my hand, shaking my head in wonder.
“Terry, I can’t believe you didn’t see this phone!”
Terry’s eyes grew wide, and I had to confess – even though I knew I was going to be teased the rest of my stay for being my scatter-brained self. I might have gotten away unscathed though - if that had been the only incident. It wasn’t.
The next morning I pulled off my rings and put them on the bed to put some lotion on my hands. I somehow managed to sweep them off the bed and couldn’t find one of the rings. We were about to leave to run by Chris Ann’s again before catching the ferry, and I didn’t dare tell Terry. I knew it HAD to be on the floor somewhere, so I wasn’t worried. I did tell Jill.
A few minutes later I walked out the front door and Terry said “You lost a ring!?” I shot daggers at Jill . . . but we found the ring later that afternoon half-way under the bed.
Yes, there’s more.
After Terry brought all my luggage downstairs and put it at the front door, ready to pack the car and start the 3-hour trip to the Flint airport, he said, “Brenda, are you ready? Have you got everything?”
“Yep! Let’s go!” I said.
“You don’t need that black purse that’s upstairs on the bed?” Terry asked, trying hard not to laugh out loud.
I ran upstairs and retrieved the purse.
At the airport, Terry stuck with me all the way through checking my big suitcase. Then he escorted me up to Security with my carry-on bag and watched as I safely made it through without setting off any alarms. I turned back to smile, wave and mouth “thank you” to him, then watched him walk away chuckling - looking as though the weight of the world had been lifted off his back.
Terry, if there’s ever a next time, I’ll bring Ted along . . . he’s used to looking after me.
Chris Ann Update
Chris Ann continues to amaze. Since we left four days ago three of their four children have arrived at the cottage. Yesterday she was driven over her beloved Mackinac Bridge and went into Glen’s Market. Today her favorite dock porter, Patrick Conlon, came for a visit, and she decided to do a little sewing.
Love you, Sunshine!