Starry, Starry Suitcase, Smelly, Smelly Dogs

It’s the night before take-off and all through the house is stuff I still have to do.

Among other things, I’m packing again, and since I’m going to be gone awhile, I needed a bigger suitcase. And since I am a seasoned traveler, I knew that I wanted one with four wheels (two wheels are so five minutes ago) which meant I had a choice of black. If you’ve ever tried to pick up a black suitcase at baggage claim, you know what a hassle it is. Everybody packs a basic black. Sometimes people put tape on them or fancy colored luggage tags–I know somebody who put a florescent green luggage tag on his and thought he was living on the edge–but I’m used to red flowered luggage that’s so bright that the check-in people say, “What great luggage!” I know, I’m a whore for attention.

But now I have this big black suitcase. It has four wheels and it’s really light and it came with all kinds of bags and things inside, and I like it a lot, but it’s plain black. So I got it home and stared at it, and it stared back, and I thought about painting pink hearts on it to match the red luggage but I am so not a pink heart kind of person. Then I thought about painting spirals on it and realized it would look like upholstery. Then I thought about putting Mare’s butterflies all over it and realized that I’d get tired of those real soon. Then I thought about doing a checkerboard pattern, but you know I’d get off plumb somewhere and it’d look like bad op art.

So I went with freehand stars. They’re cheerful and I like them and they don’t have to match each other. I’m pretty sure the check-in people are not going to say, “What great luggage” since I did the stars in silver Sharpie, not the most high-end application, but by damn I can find it at baggage claim. I think it’s brilliant, but I have to tell you, it was really hard doing the first star. I kept thinking, “I’m drawing on a suitcase, that can’t be right.” This from a woman who painted her television blue and orange, but that was an old television and this is a new suitcase. Okay, it’s a new suitcase that cost $99 at T.J.Maxx, we’re not vandalizing designer luggage, but still I hesitated. Once I started, though, it was great. My starry suitcase, the only one like it in the world. So I’m putting that on my to-do list for the future: Paint More Luggage.

And while I was doing the stars, I thought, I’m going to Australia and New Zealand. It hadn’t hit home before, I’ve had so many deadlines and so much stuff happening–three books out this summer so far and a fourth in two weeks–and then there was the trip to NYC and some career convulsions, so it wasn’t until I was sitting there drawing stars that I thought, “I’m really going.” So that’s another thing on the list: Slow Down and Pay More Attention to How Good Your Life Is.

Then I picked up dog food and new dog collars because everybody here is getting a bath so the dogsitter can stand them. Lucy’s collar has daisies on it that will immediately become filthy but it was so cute I don’t care.

And then I finished the handouts that were supposed to be in Australia and New Zealand the second week in July and e-mailed them to Anne Gracie and Joanne Graves, two women with the patience of saints.

After which I looked for my glasses only to discover them fifteen minutes later. On my face.

Now I’m down to:

Sweep the TV room where the dogs mutilated a bag of potato chips Bernie counter surfed for them.

Get the books off the couch and the floor in the living room so the dogsitter can sit down without breaking a leg.

Go upstairs and dust the guest room so Krissie can nap after her ungodly 4:30 AM flight to Cincy before we both get on the plane at 5.

Find my hose. You’re supposed to wear hose on a plane to keep from stroking out, and I know I have some. I just haven’t worn any for so many years that they’re probably defunct by now.

Finish the laundry so I have clean underwear. I understand the people Down Under are very open minded but I think clean underwear is probably a must.

Clean the bedroom. It’s pretty much clean, I just need to move the old dog beds out (new dog beds! new collars! they’re going to be very suspicious) and get all the books off the bed so the dogsitter can get some sleep without anything falling on her.

Pack the cord for my laptop. Yes, I have an adapter for Australia and New Zealand. I’m disorganized but I know where the power for my Mac is at all times.

Clean the kitchen. It’s basically clean, I just have to get all the books off the kitchen table so the dogsitter can eat sitting down.

Bathe all three dogs because it’s time. I’m saving that for last because after that, I’m going to collapse. And I have to leave here at eight AM tomorrow to get Krissie, so no sleeping in.

I know there’s something I’m missing. And since it’s quarter to eleven at night, it was probably not a good idea to take that hour to put the silver stars on my suitcase. Not to mention I didn’t get any of the real work done, like work on AKMG so I can finish it by January (there’s a hope), or refill the dog and cat feeders and water bottles or . . .

Maybe I’ll stay up all night and sleep on the plane. Secure in the knowledge that when I land, I will be able to find my black suitcase. It was a good thing to put those stars on today. See? (No, that’s not a fur rug in the corner, that’s Bernie who refused to move.)


Nothing but good times ahead in Australia and New Zealand. How cool is that?