If I’ve been around when you needed a Band-Aid, you already know I carry a first-aid kit with Neosporin spray, sting-free boo-boo wipes and bandages of all shapes and sizes (and Disney characters). I also have hand sanitizer, the kind that kills stomach viruses because they don’t all, and wipes for hands, faces and runny noses. I probably have a toilet seat cover or six, Alleve, Lysol wipes and Imodium for emergencies.
That’s just my day-to-day stash. It gets better when I Go Somewhere. You know, when there’s a real reason to pack.
“It would be so much easier if you didn’t try to bring the whole house,” my husband says in his best if-you-would-just-listen-to-me voice, as he steps over suitcases filled with clothes, essentials, options and (Ziploc bags of) just-in-case.
His version of packing: throwing some clothes into a suitcase, and making sure he has his Clinique face scrub, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, daily medications, a swimsuit and shoes. It takes ten minutes. He uses whatever shampoo, conditioner and body wash is in the hotel shower (or he steals mine, even if it smells like cotton candy.) The only reason his bag reaches the 50-pound weight limit is his stash of magazines (because somehow, no matter which kid he’s sitting with, he manages to be able to read on the plane. And to nap, long enough to snore. Loudly. One day, I must watch and learn.)
In spite of his amusement, there is logic to my obsession (except for the part where I match my Alex & Ani bracelets to my outfits and intended mood.) When we leave, we have everything we need to avoid any grief and wasted time locating random things that would have just been easier to bring. The house is clean and as organized as it’s gonna get, the mail is stopped, the bills are paid and I’m not leaving anything behind that’s going to haunt me while I’m Trying to Relax.
H and S are five now. We’re free from diapers, bottles, formula and jars of baby food. But there are new essentials to replace them with: changes of clothes, sweatshirts, S’s “Raffey,” H’s special blanket, their Leap Pads and games, books and crayons and coloring pads. Travel-size crafts and random surprises to whip out when, five minutes into a flight (or a much-anticipated dinner) one of the girls whines, “I’m bored.” In That Voice.
There are snacks and drinks, vitamins and medicines and sensitive skin bath products. Aveeno packets for when (not if) H’s eczema acts up after long days enjoying sandy beaches and swimming pools. Extra sunscreen. Stain remover and laundry detergent for the sink and the washing machine, and I hardly ever come home with leftovers.
Do I overpack? Yes. Maybe. But I’ve traveled enough to know that if our plane sits on a runway for hours waiting out a storm, or flies around in circles awaiting the clearance of air traffic, or hit turbulence the minute one of the girls opens a bottle of cranberry juice, we’re all better off having it covered. I just can’t promise it’ll curb my use of four-letter words under my breath while dealing with said annoyance.
And when we arrive at our destination, right on cue, my husband will ask, “Do you have allergy medicine/aloe/an extra charger?” Of course, I will. But apparently, I don’t think of everything…
On a recent business trip, he called home while settling into his hotel room.
“I have to go shopping,” he said.
“I thought you had a meeting.”
“I do. But I forgot to pack underwear.”
Can’t say I would’ve had an extra stash of that. What? Even I have my limits.