Need help with packing!


Jul 23rd, 2005, 10:26 AM
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The kindness on this thread continues...
It did my heart good to hear that Jofrommelbourne plans to appreciate her DH even more on this trip because of reading this thread. All of this is worth it if we all take time to cherish the special people we love.
My husband was anything but perfect--even though we tend to turn someone into perfection in retrospect. But I loved him dearly, and he was great fun to travel with. In another thread, I shared the story of how he liked to travel with a small thermometer in his pocket (he was obsessed with thermometers--I just found another one nailed up inside the garage a few days ago!), and he'd pull it out and ask my daughter and I if we wanted to know the temperature in his pocket in Barcelona.
I also wrote about how in Spain he rented a standard shift car, which he had not driven in decades, and we went along like a jack rabbit on the Gran Via, stalling out at every stop (until he got the hang of it again). My daughter and I were sure we were going to die on that trip to Spain!
A lesson I learned from him through travel was to set priorities. At home, he'd get the credit card bill and want to know why I spend $32 at Eckerd's, but on trips, he never skimped on anything. If it cost us $100 a person to do a dinner cruise on the Seine, and I wanted to do it, he would not hesitate, because he said you never know if you'll ever have another opportunity. And, we never did. It was our one and only trip to Paris...
But the point of his keeping tabs on the bills at home was that he believed if you watched the pennies, the dollars would take care of themselves, and those dollars would translate into wonderful travels. His philosophy has put me into a position where I can afford to resume travel again, but, oh, it will never be the same....
My daughter and I are determined to soldier on, and we will take his little thermometer with us, and remember him everywhere we go. All I can say to those of you who are still lucky enough to have a beloved spouse or partner is to try to make every moment count and not worry about the small things that inevitably go wrong on a trip, or the irritations that come naturally. Pretend it is your last trip to Paris together and take the dinner cruise....
MaureenGP is offline  
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 10:54 AM
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Maureen, I don't "know" you, but I am so touched by the beauty in what you just wrote -- it is absolutely the truth. Thank you for sharing.

I wish you and your daughter a peaceful trip together as you travel with your DH in your heart.
seetheworld is offline  
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 11:20 AM
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Maureen, what a funny story about your husband's thermometers. Have a great trip.
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 11:25 AM
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I have nothing to add to the wonderful tips you have received regarding packing but wanted to wish you a lovely holiday with your daughter.

I had tears in my eyes at many of the responses regarding the loss of your dear husband and to others here who mentioned the loss of a spouse or someone else very special in their life.

I believe the loss of my dear sister at age 50 forced and made me look at things differently in life. I remind myself to not sweat the small stuff and people not things are important. As a result we travel more to visit our family who is very spread out. We pay for our adult children to travel home each Christmas and that is the best present to myself and husband.

What a lovely story about your husband travelling with a thermometer. He certainly had his priorities in order and what a good tip to watch the pennies at home and the dollars will take care of themselves.

Maureen GP thank you for posting and thank you to all the wonderful people who have responded. It makes this forum worth while.

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Jul 23rd, 2005, 12:39 PM
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MaureenGP, I hope this trip is the beginning of new travel opportunities for your daughter and you together. You have given a gentle reminder to those of us planning a trip with spouse/partner to savour every moment. Thank you and have a wonderful trip. Deborah
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 02:18 PM
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This is an amazing thread! I, too, have been very touched by the thoughts and feelings expressed. I'm sitting here at the computer, and the tears are just streaming down. I can so appreciate the anxiety of travelling for the first time after the loss of your husband; how wonderful that you and your daughter are going to be sharing this experience together. I can understand, too, how packing becomes the metaphor for things that we can control as well as having things that make you feel secure. I thought that it might be nice to have something particular of your husband's or that reminded you of your husband. Of course, bringing the thermometer is a great idea! That was really a funny story!

Thank all of your for reminding me (us) just how to appreciate the people in our lives, to "don't sweat the small stuff". I will remember that, appreciate my dh that much more.

As far as the practicalities of packing, I can't add too much more than what's already been written. Like others have said, I pull out what I would like to pack, then pack only half of that. I loved the idea of the "fashion show" (with bottle of wine!), though I suspect dh wouldn't care that much what I wore!

Maureen, have a wonderful trip with your daughter! And thank you so much for starting this wonderful thread.
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Jul 24th, 2005, 01:08 AM
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Well! Now I know why insomnia struck this particular evening and I'm sitting here rambling through Fodors postings when I wish I were asleep.

Maureen - All of your posts, and the responses, have been interesting/helpful/encouraging. But the last, with you sharing such a personal glimpse of the man who was your spouse for so long....was a real treasure. And a reminder, fersure. Like perhaps too many wives, I tend to get really pi**ed about some of my DH's peculuarities (? that doesn't look quite right, but hey - it's 3 a.m. and I'm highly sleep deprived!)- even tho I'm a firm believer in letting go of the small stuff. I also remember to be grateful, on a consistent basis, that we are basically such well-suited travel companions.

I applaud your decision to venture forth, solo - well, and with your daughter. I'm sure it will be a healing time for both of you with fond chuckles and a few shared weeps. We attended a Tattoo on our first overseas visit - in 1984 - and it has remained a priceless highlight/memory. I know you'll enjoy it. (We were struck, back then, when the UK was in the midst of "the troubles," by the strict handbag check we went thru and then the many armed soliders patrolling the stands with automatic weapons...."When will they ever learn...." is not a song sung by those who will do ill to us...)

And most especially, I appreciate the opportunity to review, again, what I need to know/practice for our upcoming trip! I intend to do the lay out/pack for practice thing before our departure in about a month. And I know that I already have too much in mind....It's a real hurdle for some of us. Just yesterday, I acquired four wonderful, packable, scrunchable, go-together pieces (coordinating swirly skirt, top, cardigan and pants) that I could practically get by with alone....but of course, don't really want to. But I think I'll come back here 2x a day as the countdown keep my wits about me..and the load, a reasonable one.

Bravo to you...and best wishes for a wonderful journey!
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Jul 24th, 2005, 02:32 AM
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I strongly believe in packing light. I once wore the same outfit (trousers and jumper but different Tshirt) every day for 8 days in a row in Ireland and it was a fun experiment. When I pack, I take one trouser, one short (if warm enough), several Tshirts, 1 jumper(sweatshirt), umbrella and poncho. I won't take "nice" slacks because that would require nice shoes and my size 13s take up too much space.
I live outside of London in Windsor and we have had a few spats of hot weather intermixed with longer spats of cool weather. You definitely need a sweater/sweatshirt and /or a jacket especially for up north in Scotland. Have a wonderful trip and remember that you will have to lug your suitcase around with you so keep it light!
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Jul 24th, 2005, 09:17 AM
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This has nothing (and yet everything) to do with travel, so I thought I'd share a story, since all of you readers have been so sensitive and compassionate about this thread.
Many years ago, when I was first married, I complained to my boss that my husband kept hanging his suitcoat and neckties on the dining room chairs after work, and they never found their way back to the closet unless I took them.
She had recently lost her husband of many years, and she said to me: "I used to nag Harold every day about hanging his coat and tie on the back of the dining room chair. Now, I would give anything to see them there again."
I won't pretend I never nagged my husband again (he would have said I did it numerous times each day!), but I never once, in all the rest of our marriage, said a word about his coat and tie on the chair. It was a daily reminder to me that you should not sweat the small stuff, and that life is very short. And my boss was so right--I'd give anything to see the coat and tie draped there again.
The moral of this story is the same one I stated before: It is so very easy to take the people we love for granted. We all do it. But, especially when you travel, do try to enjoy the moment and not let the small inconveniences or annoyances that arise spoil what should be a time of making precious memories.
If it helps you at all when you have both gotten cranky on your next trip, and you are ready to start bickering over the map or the menu, please remember the story about the coat and tie, and know that I would love to be able to make this trip to London with my husband, even if (especially if)he pulled out his thermometer a dozen times, or left it to me to decide what he should pack or wear, or got weary of looking at one more cathedral. My husband could be impatient, with a volatile Latin temperament, and was not a perfect man by any means, lest you think I am making him into a saint. But he was also romantic and generous and sensitive, and we shared a good life together.
Please, on your next trip with your own spouse or partner, take a moment one afternoon or evening to raise a toast to your good fortune to travel to faraway places...and to your togetherness...
MaureenGP is offline  
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Jul 24th, 2005, 11:30 AM
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...(and keeping a worthwhile thought topped)
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Jul 24th, 2005, 12:32 PM
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Oh Maureen, what a sweet and special posting. Travel well, he is with you.
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Jul 24th, 2005, 01:30 PM
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Oh Maureen, this thread of yours has touched so many hearts and especially mine. And I am sure that you know I agree with you a 100% It is strange, your husband sounds a lot like my husband. Only mine had about four thermometors around the house (on the exterior walls) but never one in his pocket.

It is so true about missing the little things that could be irritating at the time. My DH always asked me to look up phone numbers for him, even if I was in the middle of cooking or cleaning up the kitchen. I always felt so irritated. How I would love to hear that request again.

And he was always losing important papers because although he was extremely neat his desk in his den was a mess. How I wish I could hear his voice asking me "what happened to such and such that I had here on my desk yesterday?". I would go in a look under the new stack of papers he had just piled on his desk and there of course would be the "missing" paper.

And the one time in Rome when he got very irritated and rude (so unlike him) in the Gucci store on a very hot and humid day I was ready to drown him in the Trevi fountain. Now that memory gives me a smile anytime I see the Gucci name.

Alright, now I am in tears.

Everyone, hold your loved ones close and overlook all their annoying little habits. I have a neighbor who has a bumper sticker on her car that reads "If you think you are perfect try walking on water". How true!!

Maureen, I hope you know how my heart and thoughts will be with you on this very special visit to Great Britain.

Dress well, smile often and enjoy every special moment. Do this in honor of your dear husband. That is his wish for you, of that I am certain.

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Jul 24th, 2005, 03:13 PM
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Okay, LoveItaly, you have really brought me to tears. Thank you for your best wishes on our trip, and those from everybody else. You have all been so kind...
I'm 4 days and counting, and have discovered that the temperatures, especially in Edinburgh, are much cooler than I anticipated, so I'm re-thinking things yet again. I had already ditched my sleeveless tops and added the rain jacket, so I imagine I'm not too far off. And obviously, the loafers are back in the suitcase for sure.
As for the thermometers--my husband has them outside various windows of the house, on a hemlock tree in the driveway, outside the garage (and as I discovered this week, inside the garage, as well), on the shed by the pool, and on our sunporch. We also have decorative ones in the TV room. I had to buy a new car the same week of his funeral (both of our cars decided to die at the same time), and I couldn't have cared less about such a thing. My daughter and her fiance were trying to help me, and then they decided we had a sign that told us it was the car to buy, since it shows the temperature both inside and outside. My husband would have loved it!
To get back to the travel part, I do know he will be with us each and every step of the way. I think that is part of the reason I am not nervous about traveling to London at this time.
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