Packing level: #Tetrismaster. (And fuck you, Alzheimer’s.)

I know I’ve been quiet the past couple of weeks. My mother-in-law finally lost her long battle with Alzheimer’s last week (capping off the shittiest of Februaries EVER). I hate that disease with a passion. It spent years slowly robbing a wonderful, loving, talented woman of her mind and her life. The past year has been especially hard on Hubby and his sisters. She finally passed on a Tuesday and the funeral was scheduled for Saturday.

It wasn’t unexpected due to her deteriorating condition, and she’s no longer suffering, but it doesn’t make the loss any easier on them.

I hate Alzheimer’s. I’ve had to deal with it before with family members. It’s a cruel diseases in many ways, because not only does it take the person you love, it has a long-term devastating effect on family and friends who see what’s going on and also have to deal with it in multiple ways.

I haven’t been making the trips up with him because of finances and logistics (and I hate flying), but no way was I going to let him go alone.

Due to finances and logistics, it was easier and less expensive to rent a car and drive. (Yes, I did the math. And yes, I’ve made that drive, from Florida to outside the Columbus area, several times before.)

Thought I was getting a Ford Edge, but it was a 2017 Jeep Renegade. Which made logistics…tricker.

  • Dog crate.
  • Cooler.
  • Son’s wheelchair.
  • Luggage.
  • 3 people.
  • 1 very small dog.

Yes, we took Kiwi with us.

Did I mention there were snow flurries forecasted, and I’m a Florida native who’s never driven in snow before? Much less never seen falling snow before. The plan was to leave Thursday night after picking Son up from his night classes, a little after 8pm, and drive straight through to Ohio.

Hubby: “We’re going to share the driving…RIGHT?”

Me: “Sure.” (Which is code for nope.)

Hubby went to pick up Son and drop him at his night classes, then brought his luggage and stuff home to leave what wasn’t going here. (He was coming for a visit anyway, so came early to go with us to the funeral.)

Hubby was panicking. “I don’t know how we’ll make everything fit!”

Me: *buffs fingernails* “I’ll make it fit.”

So we get everything else going into the car, load Kiwi, and go to pick Son up. I get him into the front passenger seat. Hubby’s relegated to the back because I knew 1) he was in no emotional condition to drive a strange vehicle at night in iffy weather with little sleep, 2) he is not comfortable driving without a rearview mirror and using sideview mirrors only.

Hubby was walking Kiwi and talking to his sister on the phone while I unloaded and reloaded the Jeep. I had to remove the wheels from son’s wheelchair and flip the body of it upside-down and packed around it. Then I closed the hatch, and Hubby turned and said, “Oh my god, she got it all in.”

Inside view.
Outside view. Packing level: #Tetrismaster
Yes, a wheelchair came out of that mess.
Me screwing around seeing falling snow for the first time…while driving in it.

Never tell me I can’t make something fit when I’m packing. That’s guaranteed to make me “challenge accepted” the hell out of that shit.

I should add my son is an expert road-tripper, with all the traveling to meets he’s done with his father, as well as trips to meets we’ve been on. So he was designated Señor Navigator and was in charge of checking Waze and making sure I made all my Interstate exchange transfers and found me cheap gas. (Sleep deprivation usually leads to hilarity in the moment. Like me yelling at the Jeep to stop sassing me when it was smarter than I was.) Kiwi ended up titled Navigation Cadet in Training. (Did I mention I was sleep-deprived?)

On the way up I kept seeing signs for Tudor’s Biscuit World but I needed to get to Ohio because I knew my energy was going to tank sooner rather than later. I made a mental note to investigate that on the way back.

We hit snow flurries in VA and WV, including coming out of one tunnel into SNOW.

It did snow a lot harder than this, this was just the first pic we took of it. (Yes, Son took the picture.)

Fortunately, the Jeep had traction control, and it hadn’t been snowing long enough to make the road nasty. Wasn’t any harder than driving in a Florida downpour, of which I’m an expert doing.

We took snacks and drinks in the cooler so we didn’t have to stop for food, and it saved us money on the way up.

As we headed north, it got colder.

And colder.

And colder.

Remember that I am a native Floridian who has NEVER lived anywhere else. Cold and snow are NOT my native habitat. And yes, I was in a fuckton of pain, but what’s new there? I knew when we arrived and unloaded at the hotel we could collapse and if necessary, Hubby could take over driving up there.

Arrived Friday afternoon after going on 36 hours of no sleep, and I collapsed for 12 hours.

This was NOT Florida weather.

Kiwi proved to be a trooper, and was a great rider.

She was not, however, amused by the weather.

At all.

I couldn’t blame her.

Fortunately, she had her snuggly sweatshirt and a fleece blankie. I’d walk her out under my jacket, and wrapped in her blankie, put her down, BEG her to hurry up and go, and reverse the process to get her back inside.

It was cold.



Inside the Jeep’s fuel filler compartment. You do you, Jeep. You do you.

We left Ohio Sunday morning and got home before 5am Monday morning. It was 32 degrees the morning we left. (We would have made better time on the way home except for an accident on the Interstate near Charlotte that held us up for over an hour.)

Oh, yes, we did stop at Tudor’s Biscuit World in WV on the way home.


I was worried based on it being called “Tudor’s” that maybe it’d be the British word for cookie, and they’d have cookies and not biscuits, and I’d be disappointed. But we got biscuits.

(Damn good biscuits, too.)

Hubby is emotional, understandably. This has been a long, grueling process, watching her decline. He lost his father over 30 years ago, and she passed almost on the anniversary of his death. Now he can finally breathe and process.

And then…time to recover. Except Son and I immediately launched into digging out my food garden area (another blog post). I will probably end up spending next week in bed at this point, but sometimes I have to force myself through my fibro pain and just keep inching forward.

Aaaaaand Hubby just came in and told me the washer isn’t working right. *head/desk*

So next time you think the life of a writer is all glamorous and shit…don’t. Excuse me while I go pound my head into a wall before I start researching how to repair an old washing machine.

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Packing level: #Tetrismaster. (And fuck you, Alzheimer’s.)
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2 thoughts on “Packing level: #Tetrismaster. (And fuck you, Alzheimer’s.)

  • March 11, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    The little spider that says “Caio Baby” is called an Easter egg and are all over the vehicle.

  • March 11, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    You are one helluva woman, you know that? I hope you do know it, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. To think of all you did for hubby and son during that trip and knowing you were probably in a shit ton of pain the entire time… I’m sending you hugs. Cuz we women, we get it done.

    Also, I heartily admire your Tetris packing skills, I am sooo remembering that term. My husband is called on to help everyone we know pack because, he too, is a Tetris level packer. It amazes the mind.
    Praying that your March and the rest of 2017 are much kinder. Also for your washer, cuz that is the last kinda problem anyone needs!

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