Pack Rat does it again!

Since Sara and I are continuing to box up our lives here in Haiti (all in an effort to move back to the US next week),  I couldn’t help but share a post I wrote some months back about the pack-rat affliction I suffer from, as well as two quick photos of our dog Lucy’s participation in the packing process:

I tend to over-pack. 

I admit it.  It’s a sickness.

It might even be a curse—who knows?

However, when you travel as much as I do, it becomes a problem—

A big problem.

This issue arises every time I go almost anywhere—the grocery store, the gym, even a restaurant or my mother’s house.  Heck, I even carry too much to the bathroom, if I think my stay there may be extended—a book, a notebook, a pen, a drink, a phone, sometimes 2 phones—maybe a magazine.  It all adds up.

Sara insists this calls for an intervention.  She thinks she’ll fix me.  That she can help me “edit”—her word.  And admittedly, she has a reasonable investment in my reform, as often she ends up carrying my stuff, lugging it all over the planet—quite literally.

This is why she bought me a Kindle—afraid when last  year we moved to Vietnam, where there’s not an abundance of reading material in English—that I would bring the inventory of a small university library along for the ride—that she would have to carry it.

Wise woman!

However, this week’s trip from Port-au-Prince home to Kentucky, has challenged even my advanced luggaging skills.  Even more so, since I was bringing Lucy back with me—a dog as carry-on baggage—a canine complication on top of my already dogged determination to carry too much stuff. 

When will I ever learn?

This complicating of already complicated carrying manifested itself most clearly yesterday morning in Miami.

I was running late—unusual for the chronically early like me.  I had to take Lucy outside the airport to use her version of public toilet.  She took too long. 

She wouldn’t pee!

Never did!

I was pissed!

So I loaded Lucy back into her black back-pack carrier, hurried back into the hotel to collect my 3 remaining bags—a yellow and brown messenger bag, a standard carry-on-sized suitcase, and another 55 pound monster—at least 100 kilos, if I’m doing the math right. (I’m not good at math.)

The woman at the hotel’s front desk mistakenly directed me to the American Airlines check-in in Concourse E, where the hotel is, rather than Concourse D—where I needed to be.  I stood in line for a good 15 minutes before an airport official indicated what no signage did, that this counter only handled check-in for passengers headed to Haiti—which two weeks from now will indeed be my destination.

For now—I was headed in the opposite direction—which meant trying to transport my abundant belongings outside for a 15 minute lumber to what could only be considered an outpost of the same airport.

It was far.

I was carrying a lot.

When I finally arrived at Concourse D, I tried to check in by swiping my passport.  

Didn’t work.

When I did succeed by typing in my name and destination city, the machine recognized but rejected me because of the pet, at which point an actual human being intervened, only to send me to yet another, though in the same terminal, distant location. 

Again I “luggaged.”

The clock was ticking.

Unbelievably, the third counter didn’t like me either, returned me, cursing the entire way, to location number 3.

There the slowest pet-check-in-specialist in aviation history had nearly completed the process, when I was reduced to begging, “Please hurry.  I’m going to miss my flight.”

“OOOOOOOOOOOh, you have plentyyyyyyyyyyy of tiiiiiiiiiime.”

“Not if you have anything to do with it.” I think.

However, her sloooooooowly articulated, cloooooooooosing words, were less than comforting, “Gate number 50.  Youuuuuuuuu have a longgggggg way to gooooooooo!”

No kidding!

Only after being rejected yet once more during the security check for, you guessed it, tooooooooooo many carry-on bags, did I finally persuade the less-than-friendly luggage Nazi, that I had paid 100 extra US dollars for the privilege of bringing my dog along.  I had to show the receipt.

You get the picture.

There’s ALWAYS a complication because of the bags, especially when Sara isn’t along to help carry!

Maybe she’s right.

Maybe there should be an intervention.

In the meantime, I’ll have to further sharpen my Sherpa skills—

Do they offer advanced degrees in “bag-lady?”

24 thoughts on “Pack Rat does it again!

  1. Travel with or without animals can be trying, indeed. Because of the metal in my body, I trigger Party Time for the TSA Folks everytime I come through. Wouldn’t life be swell if you could just bring a suitcase with Lucy? After all, she’s a lot cuter than anything else you are going to throw in there. Then all the other stuff would just materialize wherever you were going.


  2. 🙂 Lucy is adorable, and she’s just trying to make sure she doesn’t get left behind. Last year, when we packed up our house to move to destinations unknown the dogs climbed into well before departure time and refused to get out.


    • How funny. Our dog Ralph gets nervous when he sees suitcases coming out, as he thinks that may been he’ll be left with a dog-sitter. Lucy, on the other hand, assumes it will mean she’s going somewhere fun–a new adventure!


    • He never does as well! He get anxious when he sees the suitcases come out of hiding, at least until he sees his crate and realizes that he too may be going. I do notice though that I have not seen the degree of anxiety in him this time that I have in the past, even before I dragged out the crate.


  3. Hope you are completely done with your packing now and headed someplace fun for the day, like the beach!
    Don’t forget the celery.


  4. Thanks for my morning giggle, Kathy!

    I have the biggest purse on the planet, because I always end up carrying everybody else’s stuff: Jim’s insulin, diabetic test kit, water bottles…you name it…it goes in my purse!

    The six of us have done a few car trips…I can’t imagine what a nightmare flying with all of us would be! Our luggage fills the back of our Dodge Caravan, and is packed around the feet of the children sitting in the back too!

    I hope you have a smoother trip home this time!



    • Thanks, I too hope it’s smoother. We’ll see how it goes. Bu this time we’ll be traveling with both dogs at the same time, so I know it could get pretty crazy. I’m trying to prepare myself. Take care, Wendy—————


  5. I sympathize! Ask Sara about sharing a room in Costa Rica for a board meeting. I had one huge suitcase just full of “facilitation tools/toys” along with my suitcase, carry one, shoulder bag, briefcase etc. She of course had a small carry on bag! I learned from her and from my several tours with Rick Steves, and from Milana (black clothes expert), that I only need 2 black pants, 3 tops, dressing belt/scarf, swim suit, nitewear, daily wash undergarments, pair of sandles. I’m pretty much getting down to that as I continue to down size in my small condominum. Or it could be that I’m just too lazy to worry about wearing anything besides black pants with an organge, red or white top!
    PS: You should have seen me traveling with Teddy – my 40 lb goldendoodle! Longest (balsam) legs you ever saw. And medicated to boot!
    Ah, aren’t the joys of traveling fun!
    I would say, getting through the scenario above, that you did a fantastic job. I would have started cussing/screaming and probably have been admitted! 🙂


    • Oh, yes. And believe me, I will be blogging about it–as soon as I get the move over with–though this time we took the dogs to the “nice” vet, so that has helped so far. We’ll have to see what tomorrow brings!


  6. Every couple seems to have a minimalist and a pack-rat that end up squabbling over packing. In my house, I am the minimalist, while my wife would pack the kitchen sink on any overnight trip if she had her way… 🙂


  7. lol! During our travels to Florida a couple who thought they had packed heavily remarked, “Wow! You have a lot of luggage!” I was too embarrassed to remark that with Southwest Airlines we can check two bags each for no charge (FREE!) so I packed for every possible thing I could think of. lol!

    I remember this post as being the one where I was pretty sure we are kindred souls. 😀


  8. As you know from my Calgary food prep post, I am a heavy packer as well. I will bring ANYTHING I think I might need, even if there’s about a 0.00001% chance I might actually find an occasion to use it. I’m getting better as the years go on, but there’s something about having all of your personal comfort items around *just in case*.

    PS: We came back to Victoria with only 6 of the energy balls and a few rye crackers left over from all that food I packed. I felt SO SMART! I WIN PACKING!!! 🙂


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