Well, to be honest, the first problem was sort of predictable—I am a notoriously bad packer. Well, not exactly bad per se, but I do tend to over-pack, obsessively cramming every combination of clothing that I could possibly need into my tiny suitcase. My philosophy has always been that we never know what might happen—we might get caught in a hurricane, the roads could get flooded with ice-cold water, and I might just need that full-body wetsuit after all.
I admit that my tendency to over-pack has caused problems in the past; however, the worst situation by far occurred several years ago when my husband and I decided to take a "pre-kids" trip to Hawaii. I had always dreamed of going to Hawaii, and I wanted the trip to be perfect, so I had planned on packing enough outfits that I would have a full week's worth of clothing that would account for any possible climate, situation, or opportunity we might encounter.
To prepare for the momentous trip, I had selected a couple of my finest dresses and heels, two pairs of sneakers, some flip flops, other casual shoes, jeans, tee shirts, a sweater or two, and of course, all manner of swimwear. I was also bringing my professional digital camera, two other digital cameras, and three (yes, three) tripods.
I was happily stuffing my second suitcase past its limits of tolerance and merrily "condensing" the suitcase's contents by bouncing my rump up and down on top of the luggage, when my husband came in and promptly berated me for my packing methods. He gave me a considerable lecture and repeatedly emphasized that I was over-packing, but he soon realized that despite his best efforts I was simply not going to just abandon an entire suitcase's worth of carefully selected shoes, dresses, and coordinating Aloha-wear.
He then came up with an idea.
He was a Boy Scout, and dammit, Boy Scouts were nothing if not efficient packers. He boasted that he could fit all of my stuff into only one suitcase, and when I protested, he smugly said, "Just watch the expert and learn."
So he dumped everything out of the second suitcase that I had been bouncing on, furrowed his brow in concentration, and began folding up my garments like he was engaged in some demented form of origami.
I watched in annoyance as he completely unpacked and repacked the contents of my two suitcases—defying the laws of physics to cram everything into the one larger suitcase—and when I protested that my clothing was going to be completely wrinkled and useless by the time we arrived at our destination, he merely responded, "Well I'll be damned if I'm going to lug two of your suitcases through various airports when everything will clearly fit into one."
I decided it would be a poor time to point out that the zipper on the suitcase appeared ready to split at any given moment, and given its condition, it would most likely not survive the trips between airports anyway. I kept my mouth shut, and we headed off.
We arrived at the airport, waited through the security line and went to the counter to check our baggage. My husband hefted my overstuffed bag onto the scale, and—surprise, surprise—it was way over the weight limit... by, say, twenty pounds or so.
Not being experienced travelers, we didn't realize that we could just pay a fee for the overweight luggage and be on our merry way. Instead, my husband thought that we had to redistribute the weight through the rest of the bags before we would be allowed to get on the plane.
"Hold on... I'll take care of this!" he shouted, and he stepped to the side and frantically began unzipping the overstuffed piece of luggage. When the zipper was halfway open, the bag simply gave way, and my clothing literally exploded out of the bag and rained down onto the airport floor like confetti at an underwear parade.
I believe I turned some horrible shade of purple at this point; I wasn't sure what to be more embarrassed about—the fact that my bras and underwear were strewn about the airport—or the fact that it was my husband that was frantically shoving those bras and panties into his laptop bag, my purse, his pockets, my camera bag, and any other possible place he could think of to keep the weight out of the suitcase.
Needless to say, twenty pounds of clothing is not that easy to redistribute.
We shifted clothing and accessories around repeatedly, stuffed panties into our pockets and bras in our carry-ons, and did quite a bit of silent praying, but each time the luggage was weighed we were told that they were sorry, but the bags were still overweight.
The baggage-check attendant then informed us that we would need to purchase an additional piece of luggage when we got to our destination so that we would be able to island-hop without having the same problem at every airport.
I just about lost it at this point. I won't bore you with the details of exactly what I screamed at my husband in front of the other bemused travelers, but I believe it had something to do with the fact that because of his damn pride, now the whole freaking Philadelphia airport knew that I preferred bikini-cut undies, often with cute little designs on them like polka-dots or the occasional Hello Kitty moniker.
My husband is nothing if not thrifty, so he absolutely refused to buy an additional piece of luggage. Instead, he called his sister, who broke all manner of speed limits to race to the airport with an extra backpack she owned so that we could move enough clothing around to make the weight limit.
And so, instead of island-hopping with two coordinating suitcases that neatly strapped together as I had originally planned, we were now forced to carry a hodge-podge collection of bags that seemed intent on fighting amongst themselves over which bag got the honor of tumbling underfoot to trip us.
We still had a wonderful time, but to this day we debate over who was in the wrong. My husband still insists that there would have been no problem in the first place if I hadn't over-packed. I claim that if he had let me bring my second bag along, we would have breezed through the airports with nary a glitch. I suppose we both have our points.
But back to the present—this still doesn't help me with my situation of getting out the door on time. My daughter is now refusing to eat her lunch. I have offered her pretty much every food she likes, and she is rejecting them all, throwing them on the floor and sullenly turning her back on me. Sigh.
And, although I'm now completely packed and ready to go, I still have to deal with this before I can actually get on the road:
|Notice how she's deliberately IGNORING all the food in front of her, and how much of it is on the floor.|
But regardless... the lake awaits! And I think my first order of business upon arrival will be to have a good, stiff drink. Ahhhhhh! My daughter will be staying with my mother-in-law tonight, and I will have freedom!!! (Oh yes it's ladies' night... and the feelin's right... oh yes it's ladies' night....) Um, excuse me.... I don't know what came over me just then.
But anyway, happy early weekend everyone!