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We’re going to have to do something different for next year’s District Convention. We’ve been fortunate enough to get the hotel across the street consistently each year, thanks in no small part to my wife’s due diligence in reserving rooms early. But as evidenced by this last weekend’s Convention, location is not enough. Habits need to be changed.

For one thing, while walking from the hotel to the convention center is still the better option to driving such a short distance, we still have to drive all over creation just to find something to eat in the afternoon. I’d much rather walk to one of the eating places by the hotel and grab something real quick, rather than struggle to find parking at the hotel later that night. Plus, any way to limit the number of times the wheelchair has to be lugged in and out of the trunk is a good idea.

Another thing we need to work out is making sure the wife and I can get in touch with each other when the baby has to be changed in an emergency. There’s no Father’s Room at the convention center, so when Miranda was away from her seat, I had to try and change baby in the grass out back behind the building under the blazing sun. Not really the most comfortable, nor private place to change a five year old, not to mention having to deal with curious insects and other curious little children. I don’t like sitting in the grass as it is, much less in my good suit.

We also need to stop unpacking everything we bring just to end up repacking it a day and half later. There’s some things that we can just pull from the suitcase when ready to use and some stuff we can take out. But packing and repacking the entirety of our luggage in such a short period of time just wastes time and energy that could otherwise be conserved.

Add to all that, we need to stop eating so much. I think Miranda subconsciously realized that before we even left for our trip, as she only packed snacks for lunch. It took me a couple of nights with severe heartburn to realize that breakfast at 8:30 and lunch at 12 noon is just to close together for me. I never even used to eat breakfast before I got married, and I still only do so when out with the family such as on trips like these. By the last day I had sense enough to just skip lunch and was fine until ready to eat that afternoon. I was overfilling myself and paying for it come nighttime. Didn’t think to bring any Mylanta.

Overall, I’d say we do better then we used to. I’ll never understand why we used to show up at the hotel with five Wal-Mart bags and ten suitcases. I’m glad we didn’t do that too many times. But baby is only going to get heavier and ganglier the older she gets, and we can’t presume that she will walk during a given year, even if that is our goal for her. We, of course, need to work on our own health and strength in line with that reality just generally speaking, as well as for assemblies and conventions. But aside from that, we also need to consider just how inefficient we’re being in the meantime. While my wife has done a good job learning how to pack fewer bags over the years, I think it’s time we start learning how to pack better bags for our trips. Sometimes two mid-size bags are better then jamming the contents into one giant, cumbersome bag that requires a back brace and winch to get out of the trunk. Conversely, the baby doesn’t need both jumbo plush Nemo dolls, when a couple of compact rattlers will do.

Next year will be different. It always is. We always learn something with each passing year. One day we’ll get it almost perfect. Then maybe, we can have enough energy to stay alert for the session, and have enough strength to keep baby from chewing on the back of the head of the people in front of us.

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