This week I officially started packing for Brazil. I bought our tickets, started writing endless lists of things to do before I leave, of what to pack for each kid and myself, what I need to buy for them before leaving… we’ve been trying on clothes from last summer to see what still fits, and buying a few things on sale to hold us over the first few days… but of course we still don’t know if we’re actually leaving. Tomorrow I’m going to start spending a couple of hours a day crying in front of the passport office in the hopes of expediting the process, either by appealing to their better nature or annoying them to the point of insanity. I really don’t care which, as long as I get the girl’s passport.
Packing. I hate packing. I wish I could travel with just my carry-on and a change of clothes and just buy what I need when I get wherever I’m going. And now I have to pack for three people. And the husband was all like, what? you mean you’re not packing for me anymore? I have to pack for myself now? And I was like AAAAAAAHHHHHH. That’s it, got it out of my system.
I used to be one of those people who packed a couple of hours before having to leave, I always packed twice as much what I needed and was happy with that cause I am not the backpacking type. But now, with two kids, the sheer amount of stuff that they simply cannot live without combined with my innate inability to streamline anything in my life means I have to start packing a week to ten days before taking a trip longer than a few days. I learned my lesson this summer…
So, just in case you’re interested, or it could be helpful to someone, here is my packing process and travelling system.
Day 1. I take out everything I could possibly want to bring and pile it on the bed. Then I stare in horror at the bed, which now contains three-fourths of my earthly possessions and at the two suitcases I’m bringing. I contemplate briefly the global success that “the miniaturizer” would have, a futuristic beam that reduces items to one, one hundredth of their size for optimal packing, that I’ve been meaning to invent as soon as I grow out of my lifelong aversion to everything scientific. And then I go back to wide eyed staring.
At the end of day one, since I know that I’m going to have to go to sleep on my bed soon, and I can’t see my bed under the mountain of crap piled on it, I start putting back the things I don’t think I’ll be needing after all. Everything else gets dumped on the floor.
Day 2. I take all the crap from the floor, fold it and put it back on the bed. Then I count how many days I’ll be gone, and decide on one outfit for day and one for night, for every day I’m there. And possibly a couple of alternatives. For three people (me and the kids, the husband, whenever he next travels with us, will have to just fend for himself!). At this point I waste another forty-five minutes staring in horror at the bed, cause I would need ten suitcases and three porters to manage all this stuff.
Day 3. I go out and buy all the stuff I’m missing and pile that on the bed too, with all the other stuff. I sit down and quietly cry. Then I wonder briefly how expensive it would really be to just buy what I need when I get there.
Day 4. That’s it, I’m sick of packing. I’m going to finish today and be done with it. I attack the kids’ clothes and get rid of everything I won’t need or use. I pack the kids’ clothes in their suitcase. I separate all the other random stuff I need to bring for them (i.e. toiletries, diapers, changing pad, formula – I don’t want to have to go hunting for this stuff on my vacation – toys, more toys). And I pat myself on the back for a job well done. I then start going through my stuff and weed out most of the superfluous. By then it’s midnight and I want to post on my blog so I stop packing and turn on the computer. This is where I’m at right now.
And this is what I predict will happen in the next few days:
Day 5, tomorrow, Wednesday. I pack all my stuff. And then I realize I forgot shoes, socks and pjs (for three people!) and I have a mild hissy fit in the bathroom so the kids don’t hear me. I recompose myself and add the missing items. At this point the packing process has started to take shape and I start getting really paranoid that I’ll lose one of my bags, but which one can I live without?!?! I repack everything so I have a little bit of everything in each bag. This takes three hours. I now have to stop packing to rush to my mani/pedi (on a side note, that is the worst expression ever, it makes me cringe just to think it, much less type it, I feel like a bubble gum smacking, hair twirling valley girl), and more importantly my wax appointment, which, as y’all know, is pretty much a necessity for me before going to warmer climes, as my de-hairing track record is not exemplary.
Day 6, Thursday. OH MY GOD (I think, as I channel Janice), I’m leaving tomorrow. And this is when I pack my carry-on. I could probably get a job at some big fancy nanotechnology company, based on my carry-on packing skills alone. Because, you see, I’m just a teeny bit into apocalyptic scenarios, so I tend to pack for any and all situations. My carry-on has a change of clothes for me, and both kiddos, essential toiletries, in case ALL our luggage gets lost, toys, food for three people for thirteen hours and some (in case the flight is delayed), this includes bottles, nipples, binkies, and formula, essential drugs in case someone has an allergy attack, a cold, teething pain, stubs a toe or whatever in flight, diapers and all manner of changing paraphernalia for two kids for thirteen hours plus extra in case of, you know, insert apocalyptic scenario here. Plus the kids’ blankies, their luvvies and my pillow, without which I shalt not fly. All this in one carry-on.
Day 7. Friday, D-day. Can it be? Am I really done? OMG, I’m done! (little victory dance here). I am all done packing y’all! So all I have to do is get up run to the questura (passport office!) and wail, scream, tear my hair out, sob on my knees, hanging on to the counter with the last of my strength and hopefully go home with the girl’s passport.
If all this happens, if all goes well, I’m betting we’ll be in the car within a half hour, at most, of our ETD (god, really?! Estimated time of departure, duh!) We’ll be half way to the highway and I’ll realize I forgot to pack something essential, like underwear, and the husband will yell in sheer frustration something along the line of “dammit, woman, you’ll buy it when you get there!”, and we’ll proceed, only to realize, half an hour later that I forgot something vital, like my cell phone, or our passports.
Side note: I realize I promised a post on my packing process and travelling system, but seriously, this is turning into a novella, so the travelling system will be part two of this two part mini-drama.