Remember the old scapegoat phrase “The devil made me do it”? Well, it wasn’t really the devil that gave me the nudge to turn into a man possessed or a man obsessed. All it took was the reality that I am going to the US. The last time I was there was January 2003, so there was shopping to be done.
Ron generally returns annually with the exception of last year when we went to his niece’s wedding in Florence. Try as I might to get all of my ordering in when Ron is stateside, it is never really fulfilling. He has this aversion to carrying things. Around Budapest, it is an argument getting him to take his smartphone with him when he goes out. “It is extra weight” that I hear him moan. Hence getting him to cart a large suitcase to and from the USA has been out of the question.
Well, my year has come and I am making up for lost time. After getting the A-Ok from friends in Des Moines to have packages sent to their house, I hit the Internet highway and drove from store to store shopping until my fingertips were calloused over. I ordered so much merchandise, I needed an Excel worksheet to keep track of it all. I also need an accountant to monitor the bills, but damn it was fun.
I keep monitoring our friends’ threshold of tolerance with onslaught of packages arriving. They have admitted that they meet the delivery in person. They assured me that they are enjoying these opportunities for getting to know the UPS driver and the mail-person on such an intimate level. By the time our packages stop arriving they will all be exchanging holiday gifts and getting invited to each others’ birthday bashes.
The last time we had to dig out our large suitcases from storage downstairs, um, well never. They have been stored away since 2001. We will be flying KLM and then Delta. In keeping with Delta’s stricter regulations, one suitcase is 3 cm more than they allow. Normally, we would chance it, but empty it weighs 15.1 pounds. Our luggage limit is 50 pounds each, so we cannot risk a 15 lb. suitcase limiting us to 34.9 lbs to stuff it with. I ordered 6 pairs of jeans (Lee jeans for $29 I couldn’t beat it), but not before I took an old pair and weighed them. One old pair is 2 lbs. exactly. There are still 2 sweaters, 2 pairs of slacks, 5 shirts, business cards, sandals, photos of our mural, and yes about 22 books, but all paperbacks.
We will have to borrow someone’s lighter, but large suitcase. This will probably be the only time we need two large suitcases, so why buy one? We spent 7 weeks in Central America with only 2 carry-on bags and a backpack.