It's not that we pack so many clothes really; it's the toiletries. When embarking on a trip, even for one night, I feel I must prepare for every possible medical scenario. Therefore, I pack everything from Neosporin to Preparation H, Band-Aids, cough syrup, insect repellant, Tylenol in all strengths, Tums, Q-Tips, sunscreen and dental floss. Then there are all the teenagers' needs: ProActiv acne products, hair spray, gel, mousse, make-up remover, cotton balls and Crest White Strips. Ridiculous.
My desire to be prepared for anything has turned me into Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. In fact, I could probably perform heart surgery with all the instruments I pack: tweezers, manicure scissors, nail files. OK, maybe not heart surgery, but a nice manicure! Half the time the items I pack are never used, but on occasion I have become the hero of the day by simply producing allergy relief eye drops from my magic bag. More than once I've helped out a total stranger in the midst of a diaper-changing crisis. Voila! Wet Wipes!
While packing the car, my husband awaits the appearance of the ominous black duffel bag with dread. There it sits, bulging with shampoo bottles and blow dryers waiting to be loaded. He ceremoniously straps on the lower back brace with a look of sheer determination. He pauses, focusing on the task ahead. He draws in a deep breath, steady now. Like Mel Gibson in "Braveheart," he lets out a primal scream. With all his might he hurls the oversized bag into the trunk. He nails it and scores a 9.9!
OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but I fondly reminisce about the days when I didn't need to prepare for every mishap like sudden stomach problems, nasty scrapes or West-Nile-Virus-infected mosquitoes. Gone are the days when all I threw into my suitcase was reliable birth control and a pack of Tic Tacs.
When our 24-hour trip was nearly over, I scoured my sister-in-law's house for all of our belongings, making sure my prized piece of luggage, the large black duffel bag, made it safely back into the car. Too bad I didn't notice my house keys sitting there on her coffee table.
Thus proving that you simply can't be prepared for everything.
Note to self: Pack spare keys in black duffel bag …