When you have to pack light.
I’ve been quiet for a whole week, did you notice? No…probably not. *deflates ego*
We were on holiday for a week, with the outlaws. A week in Menorca, sun, sea, sand and booze, I could see the outlaws (includes Mr Aimee’s Mum & Dad and his brother and partner), thinking how relaxing and lovely it was going to be. They obviously hadn’t read this. That was nearly a year ago, a WHOLE year, and so much has changed, so I was interested to see how much of it had changed.
Not much. Especially when it comes to the whole packing and airport run.
You see . I can’t pack light, I just can’t. I think I must have a gene missing or something because I go about it with the best of intentions. I plan days, I plan outfits, I produce excel spreadsheets, tabbed by person and event, I genuinly really want to fit everything into that one suitcase, but I just can’t do it. For example, not only are there the obvious things (fat outfits, emergency manicure kit, matching headscarves with outfits), but there’s the other bits that some people deem necessary (nappies, wipes, suncream). HOW ARE WE MEANT TO FIT ALL THAT IN?!
The pattern is the same every time, I start a list, and at the same time I open the cases up and add clothes as they come out of the washing machine, then I go through the wardrobes and add stuff. Then I go shopping, because after all, stuff wears out fast, you know, what with the long hot summers we have each year. Just to top up on stuff, you know, keep trendy. When it gets to the day before I start to roll up the clothes, placing them into the cases, this year we were lucky, not only did we have an extra 5kg in the main case, (a WHOLE 20kg for a family of four, at ONLY £40 how generous are the airline?), but for the first time we had the hand luggage allowance of four (5kg each – not even Ryanair are that stingy). That’s right, FINALLY The Chunky Monkey is becoming useful (if you ignore the fact that you had to actually pay for a seat for him this time, that’s beside the point anyway). This meant that in theory we could keep two carry on bags locked and closed with additional clothes – which to be fair, is a bit of a dream for me as I live in FEAR of my suitcase going missing (before we started flying budget airlines we used to go on package holidays which meant we got A CASE EACH, I used to divide outfits equally between them, ensuring that each case had at least one of my favourites in just incase the other got lost…OCD…me?), the only thing that I would have lost out on was my skincare products, but I’m sure I could demand they raid the duty free for me if they lost my case, right?
Anyway, the routine usually ends up in a frantic evening of me pulling out clothes, and asking Mr Aimee if he really needs two pairs of pants for the ENTIRE holiday. We weigh the cases and pull out stuff (not sure how I survived my 7 day holiday with only three pairs of shoes this time – including the ones I travelled in I’ll have you know!). By the end of the session we’ve decided that they would never pull us up on being half a kilo over, and if push came to shove I’d wear a beach towel as a pashmina, we collapse and stuff our faces preparing to get up early for the airport.
Once we’re in the airport, with our MASSIVE cases, we queue up, I start to see people frantically emptying their suitcases, removing dozens of books…I feel a mixture of relief and increasing dismay. My brother-in-law suggested I look at it as a game show experience. I’d like to take this moment to point out he lost on The Weakest Link and four years later we’re still not allowed to use the word avocado in his presence.
ANYWAY, we go first…you know, just incase we need to offload to other members of the group, hand luggage first – mine comes in 1.5kg under – SCORE. Then The Beasts pull along case…1kg under SCORE….then the two “shut” cases go through. Both a kilo over. We take it back and attempt to redistribute. By redistribute, I balance a few things on top of my handbag, and discreetly dump a couple of beach towels and pair of armbands in the compartment under the buggy. SORTED. Labels stuck on, now to the big cases. We weighed it at home, it was 20.1KG. SURELY BALAMORY they’d let that through. They didn’t. We pretended to shove a something else (I think it was a ball of bra’s and Mr Aimee’s shoes into the Mother-in-Law’s suitcase (it went back in to the pushchair later to be re-distributed to the already over weight hand luggage- what the Duck am I going to do without that?), and we’re set.
Suitcases gone, hand luggage back to normal, and we head for security.
This in itself is an experience. Me beeping when I walk through the “magic gate” because I left my phone in my back pocket whilst attempting to collapse the pushchair, and remove a cup and cookie monster from a tired (it’s 7am and he’s been up since 3.45am – the sleeping in the car plan backfired) two year old, who melts down and just wants “MYYY MUMMMAYYYY”, nobody can hold him, and so the lovely lady has to security check me with him clinging to my leg until another member of our party manages to prise him off, she suggests that Tixy-lix is a good sedative, I bought a bottle from Boots on the other side. We taste the milk (I hate milk it makes me bork, which can at times look suspicious), and pull back on nearly an entire outfit (shoes, belts, cardigans, coats, jewellery), before finally getting to have breakfast.
Again, due to extra hands, lugging the four bags about isn’t as bad as it could be, but once we make it to the gate we discover that it’s the worst it can possibly be. It’s not the best option – a tunnel. It’s not us trotting across the runway in the howling wind, nor is it a million steps (Birmingham Airport Ryanair…looking at me dumbly when I ask for help with that doesn’t do you any favours), it’s THE BUS. The bus that they pack too full, the bus that has hardly any seats, and the people who occupy them look at you smugly as you are standing there, pushchair and two bags propped up against your leg, writhing NEARLY THREE STONE toddler in your arms. You have nothing to hold on to, nothing to support you, so you just have to stand firm, nearly falling over, getting glared at by the man with the smallest carry on bag in the world as you topple into him. You apologise profusely only to hear him tut – just FYI if you’re reading this, deodorant doesn’t take that long to apply. You arrive at the plane, fall out, and drag children, cases, and buggy towards the steps, abandon pushchair before climbing the shaking steps. You walk down the aisle of the plane with the child, before finding your seats. You hear the collective sigh of disapointment from those surrounding you, only to hear it again when one child goes “FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE BLASSTTTTT OFFFFF” twenty million times while we’re waiting for the plane to even start begin to taxi across the runway, and the other one saying “we won’t crash will we daddy?” followed by (when prompted) “Uncle John…there’s something wrong with the left falange”.
Finally we’re in the air, one child falls asleep, the other gets absorbed with his ipod.
That wasn’t that bad this time.