I know I’m not alone when I say that the most stressful part of traveling is the packing. And if I’m alone, please don’t tell me. Denial loves company.
I lose more sleep over whether or not I’ve packed the toothpaste than I do over (1) potential terrorist activity, (2) getting through TSA checks with my dignity intact, or (3) an accidental re-route to San Quentin when my desired destination was San Diego.
My husband simply does not get this. His philosophy is “Everything will be fine. And if you forget something you can just pick one up where at our destination.”
Our recent trip to Arizona was nothing new. As we woke up at 3 a.m. in order to catch our 5:20 a.m. flight out of Eugene, I had already been awake for an hour, wide-eyed with worry over whether or not I had actually packed my flat iron for my hair, contact solution, conditioner and dental floss.
Craig on the other hand had thrown a few things in his suitcase, zipped it up and called it good.
But once I had ticked off every last-minute item on my “Check these off before you leave” list, I was ready to go. And after a must-go-to-my-happy-place “scan” through the full-body scanner with the friendly TSA agent (don’t ask … entire article altogether) we were on our way to Phoenix.
But of course I can’t stop with one travel idiosyncrasy when there are so many more to choose from. No, the other lovely habit I have is to unpack everything once I reach the hotel before I can officially relax. By so doing, I can assure myself that all of the items I had checked off my list did indeed make it to the destination instead of being spirited away by a baggage handler. (It could happen … I have very fancy designer conditioner.)
But bully for me I had everything I started with, and nothing was missing. With that, I grabbed a book and parked myself poolside for the duration.
That night, I went to take my contact out and realized I had forgotten to bring the contact holder in which I keep my contact soaking in solution overnight. (Yes, I only wear one contact. Think of me as the Colonel Klink of the contact world.)
Before panic set in I breathed deeply and said, “Okay, Eileen. Improvise. Everything will be fine.” I grabbed a hotel cup, filled the bottom with solution and plopped the contact in there. I then took a ponytail holder and wrapped it around the cup as a way of setting it apart.
Next morning, Craig was already up and out the door before I woke up. As I started to get ready for the day I realized in horror that my contact cup was missing and there was a carton of orange juice suspiciously close to the missing cup. Which meant one of two things: Either (1) Craig had drank my contact with his O.J. (serves him right), or (2) he had seen the cup, tossed the contents down the drain, and poured himself a cup of O.J.
Never mind that there were three other perfectly clean and usable cups nearby. And I believe I already mentioned that my cup had a ponytail holder around it, which is the universal sign for “This is a special cup – stay out!”
So there I was, unable to see, and unable to “…just pick one up at our destination.” Somehow “Make sure Craig doesn’t drink my contact” never made it onto any of my checklists, but you can bet your sweet bippy it is now.
While I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend five glorious days in the sunshine after suffering through the deluge we call “spring” here in Roseburg, I am not quite clear on what happened on the trip past day 1.
I do know that we toured Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin House in Scottsdale on day 2. At least I think it was his house.
Then again it could have been a Waffle House.
Either way it was warm, and that was all that mattered to this blind bat.
Eileen Burmeister lives, works and makes lists in Roseburg. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.