So here's a little-known factoid about me - long ago in a former universe, I was a tester on the game of Tetris. This was back when I worked on the first Microsoft Games pack, yes the very same one that also brought you Freecell (you know who you are, all you Freecell addicts out there!) The approximately 80,000 games of Tetris I have played in my lifetime (getting paid to do so, mind you) are coming in handy as I attempt to pack four people's clothing into two carry-on backpack/suitcases.
Hubby in all of his wisdom bought us these handy packing cubes, so it's just a matter of getting everything to fit in the appropriate cube, and then getting all the cubes into the suitcase. Now with Mackenzie's clothes, this is a no-brainer. Being your basic twelve-year-old boy, the kid can exist for approximately eight weeks on one pair of shorts and one t-shirt (he does change his underwear, I'll hand him that much). With Asa's clothes, it's another question. It takes her at least three outfits just to get through the day. That's not counting the several pairs of pajamas that she might wear in the course of an evening (one pair for lounging, one pair for hearing stories read, another pair that's just the right temperature and texture for sleeping in). Hubby and I both tend more toward Mackenzie's end of the spectrum, I have no idea how this clothes-hound daughter of mine came along. Remember, this is the girl who loved her first set of shoes SO MUCH (she was 11 months old) that if she woke up in the middle of the night and she wasn't wearing them, she screamed and wailed. Clothing for her, for three and a half weeks? Bring on the U-Haul truck! Hubby's job of disassembling and packing our bicycles into suitcases along with tools, first-aid kit, spare tires, tubes, patches, chain links, grease, etc. simply pales in comparison.
Other than that, the news from here is that we're almost ready to roll. I've got all of our nights' stays booked through the first two weeks. It's very eclectic, I think we're hitting every sort of accomodation available:
We'll be in Rome for a week, then we're training it to Perugia where we unpack the bikes, and pedal our way through the Tuscan countryside through Cortona and Arezzo and up to Florence. At that point the bikes get packed away again and we have a few days in the Cinque Terra to recuperate before we head back to Rome to celebrate Asa's birthday and then fly home.
We have taken several good rides with the kids, the bikes, and the rolling suitcase contraptions, including one good one through the rolling hills of the wine country just outside of town. I think it was a suitable fascimile for the type of terrain we're likely to encounter. One weekend we did 65 miles with the kids over three days, so I think we're ready on that front.
I have spoken Italian to several people over the phone by now, and have been understood and had people reply back to me in Italian and understood them! I have emailed in Italian. So I have some little confidence that I will do okay in the places where there are few English speakers. I only know the present tense of verbs, so my Italian will be sounding something like "I am being in Rome next week and am to be needing a room", but I figure that will have to do, I have no time to memorize perfect and pluperfect and past participles.
We're not taking a laptop along (I can hear your collective gasp of disbelief from here) so I may or may not be updating my blog while we're gone. It will depend on the availability of cyber cafes along our route, and my desire to spend any time in front of a screen while the duomos, the wineries, the Roman ruins, and the gelatterias call my name.