A few years ago, an Air Canada check-in agent asked me (out of pure curiosity) just what kinds of things were in my suitcases. He wanted to know what were the important, just-cannot-live without-them kinds of things that would prompt someone to pay $200 in extra baggage charges. On that particular trip, I had......
- a Costco size box of Milk Bones
- 24 velvet coated clothes hangers
- 4 bottles of green pickle relish
- 3 squeeze bottles of Miracle Whip
- 2 boxes of L'Oreal Excellence Cream hair color
- a large roll of heavy duty Reynolds Foil Wrap (also from Costco)
- Ziploc freezer bags in 2 sizes
- 2 extra large bottles of Tums and Zantac (L.S.' favorite snack)
- 4 tubes of Crest toothpaste
- 8 trade paperback novels
- 6 boxes of Kraft dinner
- 244 Red Rose teabags
- 3 Black and 1 of each color of Canon #6 printer ink
- 6 Packs of Swiss Chalet Gravy Mix
- 1 Costco pack of Shake & Bake
- 2 Costco size boxes of Quaker Granola Bars
I probably forgot a few things....then...and now. In preparing for the move to Stavanger, I had a good idea of what wasn't going to be available because we recently spent 2 years in Denmark (and all Scandinavian countries are the same, right?). I knew I would need Miracle Whip and green pickle relish. The dog died 2 years ago, so I don't need the Milk Bones. I've learned to like Colgate toothpaste, I now have an e-reader, Ikea sells good quality ziploc bags, and I can get the L'Oreal here if I am willing to pay $36 bucks for it. Since the price of extra baggage has skyrocketed lately, I was determined to be more discerning with my choices. I also told myself, I'll come back in May and reload.
In our family, packing is my job. Me, and me alone, is responsible for what comes and goes, and how it gets there....mostly because nobody does it better, and I haven't been shy about gently letting John know his attempts at it are monumental disasters.
For this move, the heavy lifting was already done. A moving company had come to our apartment in Baku, packed everything up and took it off for storage until we knew where we were heading. Right now that's where everything still is....sitting in Baku. We've told them it's to be shipped to Stavanger, but now it's waiting for John's former employer to cough up the money to pay for it. Until he does that, nothing's going anywhere. Can I interject that I have a bad feeling about this....and have since the day it was crated up and carried off? I asked John at the time if there was any chance we could become permanently parted from our stuff, and he assured me everything would be fine. I trusted him, but I hope I'm not sorry I didn't pull from the shipment those things I really didn't want to lose. The shipping cost from Baku to Stavanger including the packing, storage, and local delivery charges comes to $14,000! John is going to choke on that bill if he has to eat it...and I'll probably never let him live it down.
But, for now, back to the packing at hand. Our main base of operations has been the in-laws' house. We've been bunking in John's baby sister's old room for the past few months. She ran off and got married at 45, so that freed up some space. It's pretty tight space considering she didn't take all of her junk when she left (by God! I could teach her about packing!) and we traded out her twin bed for a queen; so we kind of squeeze in and around as best we can. It's not the ideal room to work in when you have a colossal number of bags to pack, but I've done it so many times now, I can manage to side-step past the end of the bed to get from one end of the room to the other without stubbing any toes.
I have 6 suitcases to fill. We brought 5 with us, but I was in Orlando alone for 2 weeks; I went shopping. Some things are going to have to be put in storage at the daughter-princess's apartment. I checked the average monthly temperatures for Stavanger and discovered the average high for July and August is only 19 degrees Celsius. There didn't seem to be a need for summer clothes and a dozen pairs of flip flops. All of the winter clothes we had in previous years ended up being packed by the movers, and are warming their cartons in a Baku warehouse. We had to buy all new stuff, including boots, in order to survive the cold Canadian winter we hadn't expected to experience when we first arrived in Canada. Those things had to come, along with a few summer clothes...in case the opportunity (or necessity) arose to escape the dreary, rainy winter weather in Stavanger...as in go somewhere sunny. I got most of the clothes in, abandoning one fall jacket, 3 pair of shoes....and accidentally forgetting John's suit, and all of his sport coats. Something I just realized the other day....man really should take responsibility for his things! I wonder how long until he realizes they're missing.
In the process of packing, I discovered that I had actually brought the Apple TV with us. That was a relief. I really thought I had left it with our shipment. This will get me through some long days faced with foreign language television. I didn't buy any food this time...choosing to live on the culinary wild side, and get used to mayo over Miracle Whip (it's a Canadian thing). I really wanted to get my extra winter coat in there, so I made the sacrifice. There will be no Miracle Whip in Norway....
As usual all of the bags were stuffed to airline capacity. Being a pro, I can usually get within half a pound without going overweight. I asked John to book us a minivan cab for the trip to the airport. What have got with me this time??
- the last 3 seasons of Breaking Bad on DVD
- 2 Paderno saucepans with lids
- 2 extra large bottles of Tums and Zantac
- 1 box of L'Oreal Excellence hair color (because I'll pay $36 once but not twice)
I did not pack the giant sized Toblerone chocolate bar I got for Christmas, though; thinking who carries chocolate to Europe? I regret that decision now.