Between Crab and Longlining: Spring Break!

“Make room in your family’s life for the dad’s viewpoint and way of doing things.”

(Adapting to Change–Fishing Families, Businesses, Communities, and Regions

1997 by Oregon Sea Grant)


A few days from now, we’ll be embarking on our “Spring Break.” George has about six weeks off in between the crab and halibut/blackcod seasons, so we’re taking one of those weeks and heading to our favorite retreat. The original plan was to stay longer than one week, but I’m scheduled to teach a Jazzercise class not too long from now, and the permits for our basement project were finally approved by the City, so a week is about all we can do before life starts up again. 

You may not be surprised to learn that George and I have different ways of looking at packing up for a vacation. I aim to pack as minimally as possible, while George likes to pack as much as possible. 

He all but hops down the flight of hardwood stairs to the garage to fetch his big blue ice chest. Upon returning to the kitchen, he promptly fills it with…everything out of the refrigerator. And the cupboards. He pulls out the organic milk, non-fat and 2%. Tillamook butter and Colby Jack cheese.  Cheetos, goldfish crackers, popcorn–microwave and stove top.  Coffee, espresso beans, diet pepsi and rootbeer. Beer.

He moves through the house. Two duffle bags of books and toys for the little ones. The pack-n-play, diapers, baby food. Pacifiers, portable high chair. Dog beds, dog food. The dogs.

It takes half the day just to gather our stuff. After it’s packed and piled by the front door, George hauls it out and loads it into the bed of the Ford. Luggage and supplies tied off to to Port. Dog beds situated Starboard.

“We’re wasting time,” I say. “We don’t need to pack all this up! Let’s just go. We should each pack just one bag. One bag only. We can buy bread there! We don’t need that old half-gallon of milk!”

Another hour of sidelong glances and comments muttered just loud enough for each other to hear will pass.

But then, I’ll  glance out the dining room window and notice how excited George does actually look to be packing up the truck. When he runs up the stairs for another load, I’ll roll my eyes just once more for good measure.

“Don’t you see?” He’ll say. “This is what’s fun for me. I like doing this.”

“Make room in your family’s life for the dad’s…way of doing things.”

I’ll shake my head and stifle a smile as I finally go downstairs and buckle in the kids, climb into the front of the truck and load the brand new Alan Jackson c.d., “Good Time.” We’ll head down the road then, with any luck, on the way to our own good time.






  1. George has been an inspiration for us on our trips to the coast. We now take everything from the kitchen, except the kitchen sink.

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