Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Get Packed and Get Going

I am the proud possessor of a big yellow sticker in my passport that declares I am allowed to live in Papua New Guinea. Our flights are booked. Tomorrow is Moving Day. So why am I writing instead of prepping? Because, dear reader, I am avoiding packing. I know, I know - it should be an easy process. There are no choices to be made; if it is in this apartment and belongs to us, I have to pack it. And we only have four bags, after all. No, I mainly don't want to pack because a) it means a morning of rejigging heavy bags such that all of them kiss but do not exceed the airline's weight limit, and b) I have to do it on my own. Because, once again, Erik has performed his famous I-Suddenly-Need-To-Take-A-Different-Flight-Than-You-Guys-Sorry-Byeee magic trick.

Back when Stylish was a year old, we took her Germany and Switzerland for a few weeks to visit relatives. I shake my head when I look at the photo above. It looks like we toted our entire household with us. (Even though that top bag is just a car seat, I think we could have cut out the duffel entirely and still have been fine.)

About six hours before we flew out of Zurich, Erik got a call.
"Uh huh. Uh huh. Yep. Okay." He turned to me and took a deep breath.
I almost never want to hear what comes after a deep breath. I prepared my eyebrows for battle.
"Sorry, hon. I've got to make a small detour. But I'll be home in a couple of days." Erik tried giving me a winning smile.
I drew my eyebrows together. Erik flinched a little. "So. You're telling me that I am flying home alone."
"With a baby."
"And all of our luggage."
"Well, yes. I'll just take carry-on."
Of course you will.

We made it home, of course. And I fully admit this was a minor irritation rather than a full-blown problem. But it was the first of more Dadless flights than I care to count.

As time went by, things got easier. The kids got bigger, and I packed less. Much less.  Much, much less. I haven't reached the high water mark set by my father, who once spent a weekend in Washington DC armed only with the clothing he could stuff into his video camera bag (around said video camera), but still. When the time came to prep for PNG, we only had six bags between the four of us. Those bags hold our clothes, school books, actual books, toys, games, stuffed animals and snorkelling gear. We even have a small telescope in there. The kids gave me some grief about not bringing all of their stuffies, but that would have meant six more bags

When our visas for PNG finally arrived, we scrambled to book travel. In what could qualify for a post on its own, the best we could do was secure seats six days out. Erik was, by this time, almost out of his mind from being away from site for so long. He put himself on every waitlist he could find, and the two of us tried to remember that waiting a few extra days wouldn't kill us.

On Friday, his phone lit up.
"Uh huh. Uh huh. Yep. Okay." He turned to me and took a deep breath. "The waitlist cleared. I'm flying out on Sunday,"
I couldn't even bring myself to give him the Evil Eye. "So. You're telling me that I am flying to Papua New Guinea alone."
"With two kids."
"And all of our luggage."
"No, I'll take a couple of bags. You can manage the rest, right?"

And I can. When I look at it, it isn't so much.
The kids are ambulatory. No one has rotavirus this time. It'll be a walk in the park.

And, just because writing this post has made me see just how silly my complaint is, I leave you with Weird Al's take on the issue.


Anonymous said...

I see that the hockey bags for travel are the one thing that's a constant in your life Amy. Karen and I have never thought of that! Great idea. John M.

Little Red and the Wolf said...

I love the pics, then and now. Stylish was one cute baby.