After my Mexico trip in January I decided it was time to retire the beast. The beast is my big, red suitcase. I bought it five years ago when we did our vow renewal and I wanted a large bag for my dress so there would be minimal folding. I immediately was seduced by its enormous capacity for all my stuff. It has served me well, but as in many long-term relationships, it’s size had become an issue. It was constantly a worry about whether it would make weight. It was so large that it is easy to over-pack. It was getting to be that every time we weighed it, right before we left for the airport, I had to take things out. It was time for some ultralight luggage.
As soon as I returned home from Mexico in January, I started looking. It had to be ultralight and it had to have spinners. I bought a bag online from High Sierra. I measured the beast, because I wanted the same dimensions, just made of ultralight materials. When the bag arrived I saw right away that it was not as large. When I was determining the measurements I was looking for I measured the beast’s suitcase dimensions. When they give measurements for luggage, they measure everything, even the wheels and handle. I had known about this and thought I had it covered, but I apparently did not. And size does matter when you are packing for vacation.
I decided to just suck it up and see if I could make do with the space that it had. It was a full 5 pounds lighter than the beast. The fabric seemed sturdy. It had a trial run when we went to Napa in March (an unblogged trip). It did well, but that trip was only for five nights, and this trip was for eight. Or, an additional 3 pairs of high heels and 3 more dresses trip.
Zung suggested we take a carry-on bag as well as our two checked bags. I was not sure it was necessary, but once he gets an idea about luggage in his mind, he will not be deterred. I also bought a new travel bag for the airplane. Since I don’t carry a purse when I’m on vacation, I prefer to take a large bag that can handle everything I need on the plane and at the airport. This includes not just my usual purse stuff, but my iPad, a few magazines, a bottle of water…you get the idea. I found this one on sale at a luggage store at the Cherry Creek Mall. I have used it a couple of times now and it is perfect.
The weather forecast has been pretty awful. It shows rain and thunderstorms every day. In the past when I stress out about the weather, it turns out fine. I stared Hurricane Paula down when I went for my 50th birthday, and she blinked.
The times I didn’t think about weather, it has been bad. I decide I should pre-emptively stress out about the weather and start checking Weather Underground and Accuweather obsessively. There is even a thread about it on the Iberostar Grand board on Facebook (which I am now the administrator for – go check it out). The forecast continues to suck.
I am meeting up with lots of people this trip. As previously mentioned, Tami and Tom, and Steph and Dan are going to be at Now Jade, as well as some other people I don’t really know yet. We plan to go over there on Tami’s birthday, the 25th anniversary of her 25th birthday, which is June 8th. Heidi and Ricky, my buds from Trip Advisor and Facebook are going to be around. Heidi is staying at the Grand with her husband and sister-in-law and SIL’s friend. Ricky is staying at Catalonia Maroma, which is just down the beach from the Grand. He is on a solo trip and is going to come hang with us at the Grand on Wednesday. There are also lots of other people from Trip Advisor and Facebook that I’m looking forward to meeting.
In the days preceding I get manicured and pedicured and a new hair cut.
I wake up early on Monday morning. My alarm is set for 5:30. I wake at 5 and am too excited to fall back to sleep. I pick up my iPad to check the weather. The forecast is still not great, but Heidi has posted on Facebook that it rained yesterday, but is better today. I check my email and have received a really nice private message on Trip Advisor from someone thanking me for my blog. No question, just a thank-you. How nice is that?
My suitcase can handle everything I need, and it is 5# under the weight limit of 50#. Zung declares that is too close and we must take the carry-on. Like I said, once he gets an idea in his head about luggage, there is no talking him out of it. I throw my work-out gear in. I figure I might as well. I might need it if it rains as much as the forecast is predicting.
We are ready to go, and it is a full 15 minute before our targeted time of departure. The blue suitcase is the new one. The red bag is my new, perfect, travel bag. Did I mention that I love it?
Someone on Facebook has requested I bring Havana, the starfish, in the hopes she will bring good weather luck. I agree, even though she is pretty high maintenance. After the pictures I put her inside my travel bag. As expected she complains she is squished.
We leave at 7:45, which is 15 minutes before we really need to. This turns out to be a good thing because 15 minutes into our drive I realize I have forgotten my Trigeminal Neuralgia meds, which I have just had to start taking again after having a year’s remission. Having Trigeminal Neuralgia can be difficult to describe in terms of how it feels. I think the best descriptions are that it feels like someone is sticking a hot, electrified poker into my jaw or when it affects me when I eat, it is like chewing glass. Not having these meds was not an option. We drive back and traffic going towards Boulder is heavy and slow.
We finally get back home, I get my meds and tell Zung to turn on his radar detector and put the pedal to the metal. He is a speed demon and happily agrees.
It works. We make good time.And it is now time to get my vacation on.