so today . . . i bought my first backpack.
well, technically rollie bought it, but i picked it out. well, TECHNICALLY, i am the one who handed over the visa, but rollie will be paying the bill...
ok. the truth is, rollie drove me to the outlet mall, and then sat in the car figuring out how to use the sirius radio while i chose a gift for myself. because yesterday was our anniversary, and anniversaries mean gifts...
at least, they mean gifts if you are me. sadly for rollie, we got married at the end of august, and since i don't get paid during the summer, by the end of august my purchasing power is pretty much maxed out at 7-11. rollie, on the other hand, saves most of his expendable cash, so i am always the lucky recipient of something wonderful. yes, life just isn't fair :-)
so this morning off we went to the outlet mall.
i could spend all day at the outlet mall, but i didn't want to do that today. we don't have a doggie door installed yet, so our pups were going to be "imprisoned" in the house while we were gone, and i didn't really want to test their limits! this meant i needed a plan, a goal, a purpose. i didn't have time to scour the racks in all my favorite stores looking for the best deals--today, i needed to shop like a man! today i needed tunnel vision! today i needed to decide what i was going to buy, find it, pay for it, and take it home.
when we recently flew to new york, it became clear that i needed a new carry-on bag. i almost killed myself more than once, schlepping my suitcase, carry-on, and handbag through airports, onto shuttles, and into motels--especially since two of my toes were broken! (and before you say why wasn't rollie handling my bags, he helped me as much as he could, but his hands were full too! i wish i had video of trying to go up the escalator ahead of rollie, tipping all my bags over, and nearly taking him out! i'm lucky he stayed within ten feet of me after that!!)
my current carry-on bag is the result of lots of research and thought--of course. until the last few years, i rarely flew. but when it looked like diandra and i would maybe be making a trip to portland every summer, i quickly decided i needed a better carry-on bag. because i didn't own a handbag big enough for everything i wanted to take on the plane with me.
needless to say, i don't travel light...
i need a lot on an airplane. it doesn't matter if i am flying for two hours or twenty hours, i take a lot of stuff with me. first of all, there are just some things that i don't trust in my checked baggage. you hear stories about valuables disappearing out of people's luggage all the time... cameras, computers, jewelry. and so when i travel, if my bags are going to be out of my sight, i feel compelled to carry my "valuables" with me.
and that includes the cords to all my electronics. yes, that's right, i don't even put the cords to my electronics in my checked bags. my luggage does not end up at the same place as i do an inordinately high percentage of the time. i'm pretty sure i can live for 24 hours without clean clothes or a comb, but if my electronics go dead and i can't recharge them? let's just say, it won't be pretty...
(rollie does not get this at all. he travels with a tiny little bag that pretty much holds his ipad, a set of earbuds, and maybe a few snacks.)
in addition to my "valuables," i also have to take hard candy (if i don't vigorously suck on hard candy when we start our descent, i am pretty sure my eardrums will explode,) magazines (because they won't let you turn on your electronics while the plane is taking off and landing. which, btw is totally ridiculous! one time when we flew, i thought my phone was off, but it wasn't, and everything proceeded according to schedule--the airplane's instruments did NOT go crazy!!) snacks (that tiny pack of snack mix is just not enough. if you are sitting next to me on an airplane, you might not want to go to sleep until you have your snack in your hand. otherwise, your snack might end up in my hand. and then my mouth,) and my inflatable travel pillow.
oh, and my polar fleece blanket--even in the summer.
i don't travel anywhere without my polar fleece blanket. but when i fly, my blanket serves two purposes, the obvious one being to keep me from freezing when they crank up the a/c on the plane. the not so obvious purpose is to hide my handbag from the flight attendants. for some reason, the last few times i have flown, they say EVERYTHING has to be stowed either in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you. but there is never enough room for my carry-on bag AND my handbag under that seat! but if i put my bag in the overhead bin, then i can't get to my snacks and magazines and electronics and inflatable travel pillow. so my solution is to put the carry-on under the seat in front of me, and then hide my handbag behind my back or in my lap and cover up with my blanket. then when the flight attendants walk through the cabin, checking for take-off infractions, they just think i am cold and they move on... so far, rollie hasn't turned me in, but i fear that one day he is going to feel compelled, for the safety of the rest of the passengers, to point out my deception to the flight attendants. of course, that will be the last time we ever fly together...
which is just another reason that i need a better carry-on.
i really thought that if i could find a carry-on with wheels, my problems would be solved! so a few years ago i went to the orange county swap meet with my list of requirements--wheels, cheap, big enough to hold all my necessities, yet small enough to fit under an airplane seat, and cute. because if i have to carry something around with me all day, it had better be cute! so i was ecstatic when i found this bag!it was perfect! i bought it and prepared to fly to portland...
but as it turned out, it was not the perfect bag. the wheels were better than having to carry it, but i had trouble maneuvering it and my larger bag. i could get a lot in it, but it fit so tightly under the seat that i couldn't get anything out of it. and yet i kept telling myself, through gritted teeth, that it was perfect.
and then a couple of weeks ago, we traveled to new york.
i couldn't balance my bags. they kept tipping over. they would get stuck every time i had to roll them over a gap to get onto an elevator or a tram. and then they fell down the escalator, smacking into rollie, almost taking me with them, and holding up everyone behind us.
it was not my finest moment.
it was suddenly clear to me that i needed a different type of carry-on bag. and i needed it before i took another trip. which is happening in about a week!
so i did what i always do when i need to buy something--i got on the internet. i searched. i googled. my requirements had changed a bit (i decided instead of wheels, i needed a really good cross-body bag or backpack,) but i still couldn't find anything! i haunted discount stores (because it's the end of august and my bank account is dwindling!!) with no success. and our next trip was getting closer and closer. so when rollie said, "let's go shopping for your anniversary present. what do you want to look for?" i immediately thought about a new carry-on bag.
rollie has a backpack. it's a nice medium-sized black leather backpack. it is very nice, but i really didn't want a backpack. rollie really wanted me to get a backpack. he thought it would be the easiest way for my to carry my stuff and still be able to drive my larger suitcase. but i didn't want a backpack. i wasn't going to get a backpack. all the backpacks i saw either looked like they should be carried by a 12 year old girl or a man. or the fabric was awful! so even though i considered backpacks, i ended up rejecting them all...
instead i looked at tote bags. i looked at large handbags. i looked at messenger bags. i looked at cross-body bags. i even looked at laptop bags. but none of them were perfect. they were too big to fit under the seat, or too small to hold all my stuff, or there was no outside pocket for my phone, or the fabric was too floppy to hold it's shape. or they were just too ugly!
i finally bought a backpack.
the one i decided on is pretty cute. the fabric is a nice heavier weight. the size seems just right (i think.) i didn't have to pay for it, because it was my anniversary gift. i think carrying it on my back will make it easier for me to get my larger bag where it needs to go without knocking anyone down or hurting anyone who might be behind me on an escalator. i think it is going to be the perfect travel bag......if all my stuff will fit into it...