I’m out in California now. I got in yesterday around noon. I wrote the stuff below over the course of yesterday, but didn’t have a chance to post any of it. (Warning: this post is rambly and largely unedited.)
I’m on my way to see my family in California. My flight’s about to board. It’s a full flight, and they announced that there usually isn’t room for carryon bags of passengers boarding in groups 3 & 4. I find this really irritating. (My boarding group is 3.) More people are avoiding bringing checked bags, since most airlines charge for checked bags. So more people carry on bigger bags. (I also find it annoying that I could have paid an upgrade fee to get “priority boarding,” which I guess effectively guarantees room for a carryon.) Anyhow, I just checked my bag at the gate. Here I was feeling so pleased with myself for having packed light enough to not need to check a bag. It’s a pretty small bag, too. At least I didn’t need to pay to get it checked.
I was up really late packing, which is a pre-trip tradition for me. I always overthink things when I pack. (I pretty much always overthink things in general.) Being determined to pack light, I wanted to maximize the coordinatability of my clothing. (I realize that is not a word, but I am taking advantage of the productive morphology of English, and packing on those derivational affixes.) I spent a fair amount of time tracking down and laundering items, some of which I ended up not selecting anyhow. (It was good to get caught up on the laundry, in any case. John doesn’t need to add hunting for tiny socks to his daily wrangling activities.) In the end, I probably both over- and under-packed. I will probably end up doing the same thing I do at home, which is mostly wearing the same stuff over and over again.
I’m on board now, and glad I checked the bag, seeing as the overheads were completely packed. For that matter, I’m not sorry to have passed on the boarding upgrade. It looked like at least 60% of the flight was boarded before group 3 anyhow. (I guess really the upgrade just bought space in the overheads…and I just saw someone’s bag bumped out to be checked, anyhow.)
I’m traveling alone again. John, Phoebe and Theo are staying home. I hope we can all get out to see my family together soon, as I can’t wait to get the 4 cousins together. The last time we were all out was when Theo was only 7 months old, and my little nephew Mateo was only 7 weeks old. Now Mateo is almost 2. But it makes more sense to wait till things get more stable.
It’s never easy for John when I’m away. (Not that it would be easy for me if I were the one home, but we’ve been lucky–I’ve been lucky–in that John hasn’t needed to go away in ages.) Even though the kids are in childcare full-time, the actual windows of working hours are pretty small. Even when we work from home, the drop-offs and pick-ups take close to an hour, and when you add in a commute for work the day shrinks even more. With two of us, we split the kid-wrangling routines such that I get the kids up and out in the morning, and John gets the kids bathed and to bed at night. We vary who picks up the kids depending on our work and commute schedules. Phoebe has karate classes 3 evenings a week, and we try to coordinate things such that one of us can get dinner going while the other is either at karate or picking up the kids. Otherwise, dinner is invariably late, which sets back bedtime, which takes away from kid-free evening time, and then leads to tired and harder-to-wrangle kids in the morning.
John usually also works (from home) after the kids go to bed, often staying up till the wee hours of the morning. This is trickier when I’m away, as he’ll need to get up with the kids.
In all, John’s schedule will be packed.
It was hard to pick the dates for my trip. On the one hand, I’m going 3000 miles and really want to maximize my time with my family. On the other hand, I want to minimize the impact on John’s schedule. These two hands are not compatible. I decided to go for a week, which with the two travel days will feel too short on the far end–only 5 full days. (I considered taking a red-eye, but I can’t recover from those as quickly as I used to…)
I have no doubt that my own trip will feel packed.