Trip 3, Day 6: The Travel Essentials

It is February, and I have already decided on Keith’s Father’s Day gifts. I typically don’t plan gifts 4 months in advance, and usually there is no planning for Father’s Day. That one can be the kids’ responsibility. Two items he needs if we are to travel by plane ever again. Just as I am positive he will adamantly rebel against them upon receipt and initial use, I am positive he will use and love them. Don’t be surprised if these become the essentials…the backbone…of his travel. When it happens, You Know Who will be right here to document it.

Although I’ve seen it coming for years, I realized his need for the first gift while we were in the Atlanta airport as he dumped everything in his hands or pockets into my purse. Wallet, sunglasses, keys. Yes, he’ll entrust his wallet to me yet not my own plane ticket. The problem has nothing to do with whether or not there being enough room in my purse. There is always enough room. I am the Bag Lady. The Very Big Bag Lady. The issue is the principle. I carry a bag large enough to hold my crap. (For the record, we don’t use the “C” word at home, so don’t panic over my profanity.) The more crap the bigger the bag. Not so much crap means I can downsize. If he wants to haul around crap, he needs to get his own bag, right? He actually carries a pretty good sized back pack when traveling, but it’s apparently not as easily accessible as my purse. It’s not just that he expects me to carry his crap, but he also wants me to dig it out on demand. “Tell him to dig for it himself,” you say? I’ve tried. But he gets overwhelmed by the amount of crap in there and dumps the entire thing out looking for the one tiny thing he needs, leaving me to replace and reposition the items. Yes, it would be easier for me to just reach in to get it. And, it’s really not that big of a deal. But I have spent years hauling around other people’s (i.e. my kids) crap and would like the chance to just carry my own crap for a change. Is that too much to ask? Enter the fanny pack. Right there at his waist and in the front so he can see what it is he’s digging for. Perfect! Gift #1…check.

His need…no, his desire… for the second gift came as a big surprise to me. As you already know, I am The Most Prepared Traveler. A few situation-saving, if not life-saving, unconventional travel items with me: my own coffee sweetener, coffee creamer, spill-proof coffee mug, 6 pounds of assorted nuts in addition to several boxes of protein bars, Emergen-C pouches, eye mask and ear plugs, 8 highlighters with matching post-it flags, 4 books plus my Kindle, house shoes and full-length robe, an entire medicine cabinet including antibiotics, rubber gloves and those butterfly strips. Oh, and, most importantly, Avery’s new unicorn pillow pet. Besides the butterfly Band Aids, which were medically necessary, can you guess the other item Keith has needed and attempted to steal on this trip?

Let me give you a hint: It’s covered in pink and purple fur with a soft finger-like forehead protrusion, and when I returned from the bathroom on the first flight Keith was snuggled up against the window on it and unwilling to let go. However, I demanded it back not because I wanted to take a nap as well but because he had ridiculed and shamed me since I first mentioned the possibility of this snuggly animal making the trip with me days prior to departure. Plus, he refused my offers to find a travel pillow for him. Why the pet and not merely a normal C-shaped travel pillow? Well, we had 2 of them, both to which Keith adamantly rejected. I looked to the unicorn as my only (free) option when I realized I left one in Texas at Christmas and that Simon chewed a hole in the other.

So, the unicorn it is! Although I was possibly the laughing stock of security, especially in Germany, I did see other adult travelers with pillow pets. Okay, I saw one other lady traveling with her daughter, but my flight attendant friend Sierra told me she once saw an entire family traveling with his or her own pillow pet. Assuming there were 2 adults in that family, that’s 4 adults. I think that makes it a little less abnormal.

I would like to make a formal recommendation to all travelers, by plane, train or automobile, to get your hands on a pillow pet. Not just any though. For instance, the ladybug is out of the question as a gift for Keith for obvious reasons but also because it has no neck. The unicorn was perfect because I secured the head behind my neck leaving the pillow to one side for sleeping. Need a bigger cushion? Fold it up and Velcro. It also doubled when I was awake as a lap table for reading or note taking. I’m not sure why I’d be taking notes on the plane, but I could do it with ease on the unicorn. I’m still shopping around for the perfect pillow animal to wrap up my shopping, but I’m thinking zebra. Gift #2…check.

Keith eventually gave up his thieving efforts and made his own pillow using his hoodie and 2 airline travel pillows. Who is the winner?

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