Posted by: jeanne | December 16, 2014

a month to go: the first pack

there’s only a month to go before we leave for italy for three months.  we get 3 50-lb bags to check, and 3 22-lb carryon bags, plus our personal items, meaning another bag of some sort.  (note to self: check to see if the airline offers wifi, because then i can write a blog post midair, since i can never hear the movies over the noise of the engines.)

so i’m doing the first pack today.  why today?  because yesterday jim brought home the suitcases we’ve borrowed from his son jay, only one of which we can use.  (so i’m back online looking for luggage again, also for a luggage set for allison.  and i notice the dramatic increase of prices over the black friday deals when i bought the set for connor and the carryons for me and jim (which he has begun to decorate; i’ll have to post pictures next time.).)

so i went thru all the drawers and got representative clothes out – 4 pairs of jeans for jim, 8 pairs of leggings for me, 6 long sleeved t-shirts, 4 short t-shirts, 2 dozen socks, etc.  everything from base layers to raincoats and boots, including housecoats, scarves, costumes.  this first bag has most of my and jim’s clothes, but not everything.  this is bad.  but the first bag also weighed 38 pounds.  it’s the connor bag, the one i just bought on sale with a matching carryon.  it’s only 26 inches, i believe, for under 6o union inches.


this second bag has the rest of our clothes, mostly the big bulky sweaters (the right side of the bag), with the boy’s capes in the foreground on the left, my bathrobe behind that, and all that sitting on top of jim’s handmade paper and our sketchbooks and my watercolor paper.  the second bag, borrowed from jay, just 60 inches all around and 47 pounds.  uh oh.


and here’s the third bag.  on the upper right is everything for connor, including a bag of diapers.  in front of that is yet more clothes for me and jim, altho i’d be hard pressed to say what the red stuff is…  on the left is the beginning of our art supplies.  in front are connor’s water boots, then my vegetable (silk) steamer, the gopro case, light bulbs, plastic compression bags (because right now everything is loosely piled in the cases but later everything’s going to have the air squeezed out so i can fit more stuff), and my sleeping bag just in case.  my pillow’s also in there somewhere.  this bag, the full size 28 inch bag (63 union inches) that i hope not to take with me because it’s the one that the wheels rubbed off while i was pulling it in iceland this summer so i don’t want to take it now.  and it weighs 50 pounds on the nose. ow.


and now that all the suitcases are filled, the only thing left for this first pack is to see what fits into the carryons.  my printer to the left, jim’s pastel case in the middle, and my laptop on the right.  they all fit, and we have 3 carryons.  so at least that’s good.


however, there’s a whole lot more that has to go, and that is all toiletries, art supplies, and electronic bits.  and it’s either in active use (jim’s pastels, our jackets) or it hasn’t been bought/assembled/finished yet.

i’m keeping a list, checking it twice.  everything that went into the bag has come out, and down onto a pad of paper.  most things went back into their places, but whatever we’re not using at the moment or might use in the next month went back into the bags, and a check went down on the list.  that’s the start of my inventory.

that’s the start of my packing.  not bad, overall.  i can jettison things in all categories of clothing, except for connor’s stuff (a pitiful small amount it is, too.  he could easily fit in the child’s allowable luggage (22 lb, 20 inch), but since we’re paying full fare (a 3 year old – for shame) we get the full baggage allowance.

i went online and got another 28″ bag this evening (after finishing a painting yay, one of my big obligations to finish before i leave).  the prices were nothing like as good as when i got connor’s bags and our carryons, but it was under $100 with discounts (always look up the coupon code for wherever you’re shopping).

i need to get another round of printer ink (i’ll buy paper at the megamart on the mainland, along with silk steaming kraft paper).  i need to order several dozen scarf blanks (and perfect the technique of steaming with a tiny vegetable steamer before i go).  this is almost the last chance to order anything and have it come after xmas and before we leave, so i have to think fast.

now is the time to finalize those caretaking arrangements before we go.  already our petsitting plans are going awry, and it looks like we’ll need a pet sitter  on call for at least once a day.  that’s going to hurt; some kind friend (whose mother is from venice (what a small coincidental (quantum) world)) is looking for the number of a pet sitter she knows who might cut us a deal.  we have no idea whether any of the people who fill up the house at the moment will be here when we come back.  this is a year of flux, and we’re going ahead bravely on the assumption that the fairies will arrange the stage before our plane lands back in atlanta, and everything will be okay.

we’re contacting doctors about a 3 month supply of our prescriptions.  we’re getting our eyes and teeth dealt with on a proactive basis.  we’re arranging for surrogates to pay bills, and making copies of vital documents, and sending out emails and letters to friends and family with contact information.  we’ve bought insurance, so we won’t have anything unfortunate happen that can’t be fixed (please god), and similar hedges.

i still have to pack pack.  and in between the real pack there’ll be another trial pack, as i assemble those art supplies.  some of which are yet to be shipped to me.  i’ve been feeling like a rolling panic is just under the surface, but i’m seeing allison actually panic as she tries to finish commissions for xmas (she’s making the paper for and binding two 36 page books that need to be ready several days before xmas, so she took off work today and finished one, began another).  yay allison.  i love seeing everybody having something artistic to do, some craft they practice that nobody else is doing.  we cover all the bases in our family, or aspire to.  i love my life.

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