I'm packed and ready to fly to New Jersey tomorrow. And I have the aching back to prove all the laundry and cleaning and packing I did today. The house won't be quite as clean as I'd hoped, but I did wash, dry (at the laundromat) and fold all the dirty sheets and towels, as well as washing all the clothes for the three of us, AND taking a bag of Georges' shirts to the cleaners. The man simply will NOT do laundry. He CAN do it (so he claims, though I have yet to witness this)... he just chooses NOT to. But, you know, in every couple you have your division of labor; I'm in charge of laundry and Georges does more of the cooking.
I think I have everything and if I forgot something, I will just have to buy it when I get there. Since I'm staying with my mom, I keep a little set of my favorite toiletries there so I don't even have to take up precious space in my luggage.
Most importantly, I have my TWO passports and will get to break in the French one on this trip -- and hey, it gets me through the super-speedy line at passport control now, instead of the extra-long, extra-slow one the furriners have to stand in. Woo-hoo!
So of course, since the last time I flew back to the U.S., every single damn airline has cut out the free second checked bag, and this KILLS me and everyone I know who is living abroad because when we go back home we like to STOCK UP on our favorite goodies, right? Plus, I only do my clothes and shoe shopping back home because the sizes are right and the prices are better. I suppose I could pay the $100 for the 2nd suitcase. On second thought, NO, I COULD NOT. Because these airlines are just freaking GREEDY BASTARDS and I won't give them the satisfaction. And that $100 I didn't fork over to the airline will go to a much better cause: the Monty Python tickets I scored for the reunion shows in London next July.
(Oh, you didn't know I've been a Python fanatic for more than 30 years? Don't tell me you're surprised by this? I DON'T LIKE SPAM!!!)
No, I decided to beat the airlines at their own game. And I figured out that if I packed light with regard to clothing (since I know I will buy some new items anyway, AND I can wash clothes at my mother's), I could actually fit my wheeled carry-on bag INSIDE my larger suitcase which I will check! I put my clothes, one pair of boots, and some Christmas gifts inside the smaller case and then fit other clothing items all around that. Worked like a charm! It weighs in at 45 lbs so I've even got 5 lbs to spare. I could even stuff my winter coat in there once I get to the airport. I'll bring one oversized "purse" with me on the plane as my carryon with my laptop and essentials, plus a lightweight day-pack with my travel pillow, a book and some snacks for the flight. Because I'm still permitted to have two carryons for free. For now (and DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT CHARGING EXTRA FOR THAT 2ND CARRYON, AIRLINE GUYS.)
When I come back? I'll have the same oversized "purse" as one carryon, and the wheeled 2nd carryon PLUS all that extra space in the checked bag, and that means I totally WIN!
Take that, you Scrooge-y airlines. Happy Elfing Holidays to ya.
Next time you hear from me, I'll be bloggin' from Jersey. With an accent and everything.