Things I’ve learned so far today

By Mir
April 1, 2008

* Going to bed at 9:30 does not, in fact, make it any easier to get up at 6:00. I do not think that African Sleeping Sickness is transmitted by tsetse flies, I think it is transmitted by children. Children under the age of 10. Who never. stop. talking.

* Once you own multiple Macintosh products, the white cords start mating on your desk. Should you wish to pack the appropriate cords to run your computer, charge your iPod, and sync up your iPhone, don’t be surprised if you find a piece of white coax in your briefcase as well. And don’t think too hard about it.

* If you haven’t received a single phone call all week, your last day to get anything done in the office will be the day that the phone will not stop ringing. They’re all important calls, too. Each one will come right when you’re attempting to pack the appropriate amount of underwear.

* I have an irrational fear of being short on underwear whenever I take a trip. It’s been a long, long time since I had any sort of underwear-related emergency, and yet this fear persists. Because being stuck somewhere without clean underwear would be worse than eating bugs.

* I am apparently unaware of the fact that everywhere I’ve traveled actually, you know, HAS STORES. Which sell things. Like underwear.

* Brown bananas left on the counter do not magically transform themselves into banana bread.

* Baking banana bread when I have a to-do list a mile long seems frivolous, even if I do periodically think OMG WHAT WILL MY PRECIOUS BAYBEES HAVE FOR SNACK WHILE I’M GONE?

* I have too many pairs of glasses.

* Despite having too many pairs of glasses, I can’t find any of them.

* Everything I own to wear is currently sitting in laundry baskets or hanging on the backs of chairs, waiting to be put away, but I have no time to put anything away, and that sounds like a very lame excuse because it IS, but it’s also true.

* Murphy’s Law dictates that the day before a trip you will discover that everyone’s prescriptions need to be refilled. Like, right now.

* Common sense dictates that the foundation you got for your wedding last year and never wore again is weird and gunky now. Obviously.

* The day before a trip it is inevitable that you will wake up with a cold. Just accept it. Have some orange juice and whine for a few minutes and then move on.

* “Jersey knit” items can be folded down to fit into a space approximately the size of a standard envelope. I shall wear nothing else from now on, as packing those items into a suitcase leaves me ample room for shoes.

* I will forget to pack band-aids, which I will doubtless need (see: shoes). Even though I’m typing this, I’ll forget. And then I’ll panic, because I also can’t remember the part about the stores.

* Most people like an aisle seat on an airplane so that they can have more leg room. But what people forget is that a window seat makes incredibly uncomfortable napping slightly less uncomfortable, plus you are less likely to drool on your seatmates that way. Just sayin’.

* A boarding pass printed out and left on the desk is not actually all that useful when it comes to getting on a plane.

* My beloved hormones, which come in a pump-gel container, are dispensed in a 5 ounce size, looks like. Is TSA going to take away my estrogen? I actually haven’t learned this, because I am afraid to find out. Am contemplating smuggling (ha! I typed “smuffling,” which seems appropriate, somehow) them in my pocket just to avoid an argument. I NEEDS MY GIRL GOOP, DUDES.

* My time would be better spent this morning primal scream therapy and making peace with the fact that half my to-do list will never be completed.

* It’s possible that I am not exactly what one would term a hearty traveler. We could talk more about that, but I need to go count my panties.


  1. Sophia

    Dude, I’m totally on board with the whole “not enough undies” fear thing. I have it, too. Also, with socks. Except I live in Sunny South Florida where the actual need for socks almost does not exist. (Flip flops are acceptal formal attire here.)
    Everytime I pack anyone in my house to go away for even one day, I pack ridiculous amounts of socks and underwear.

    Just in case, ya know.

  2. Aimee

    I always pack too many pairs of underwear and socks TOO. I’ve heard rumors that there are stores in other places, but I’m not buyin’ it. The next thing you know, they’ll be asking me to believe in unicorns and fairies!

  3. MomCat

    Woolite makes little travel packets. But you could probably fit four pairs of underwear for the same weight. Never mind.

    Did you hear that airlines are contemplating tighter luggage weight restrictions plus fees for each checked bag? What’s a shoe-loving gal to do?

  4. Megan

    There is nothing irrational about underwear fears. Only mine extends to bras as well as panties. Also I confess that I always pack three more pairs of pantyhose than I actually need – that’s three in each color people. One for when the main pair runs, another in case the back up pair has a run that I didn’t see even though I ran my hands through the legs eleventy times and the thirds because YOU MUST HAVE THREE SPARE PAIRS or the flying spaghetti monster will smite you. With runs.

    Note. There is one airline who chooses to put hooky-sided velcro (ie pantyhose traps) on their airline seat. A fact which you only learn if you scoot your legs back to make room for the ginormous person who wants to ootch past you from the window seat and you didn’t bring back-up hose because this was just supposed to be a day trip damnit. I’m not scarred at all.

  5. Liza

    I’m with you both on the “pack lots of extra undies” front. I used to pack just 1 extra pair.

    Then I was trapped on the wrong side of the country for almost a week, after September 11. I cannot tell you how over washing my undies — and shirts, and socks — in the hotel sink I was by the time I got home.

    Now, I usually pack about 4 extra pair. More if I’m planning to be gone for more than a long weekend.

  6. the mama bird diaries

    I have so many cords now from the computer, cell phone chargers, long ago discarded cell phone chargers, ipod, etc that I don’t know what to do with them all (except shove them into drawers). I get too panicked to throw any of them out (because what if I NEED it?).

  7. Bob

    so, make a list for Otto (including making banana bread) and forget about everything but jersey-knits, shoes, and estrogen.

    he’s a big boy and can take care of the house and kinder.

  8. Patricia

    On the subject of “Girl Goop” — all prescriptions are exempt from the 3oz limits. You must separate them from the other ziploc bag you may carry and they may be screened, but as long as it is a medicine — it is exempt.
    (your friendly travel professional)

    Now, on to socks and underwear — the official formula (yes, the one I made up, stop looking at me like that) is number of days away PLUS one pair. Seriously, that’s all you need. Shoes probably follow the same formula, but I never get shoes right.

    And yes, some airlines are already charging for checked baggage and have strict weight restrictions. Mostly it is charging for the second checked bag right now. With TSA getting stricter about gels and liquids, making it impossible for me NOT to check at least my hair product bag, and airlines getting picky about what size bags I can carry on — I have no idea how I’m getting to London this September.

  9. Leandra

    I once went to New York with gorgeous shoes and no band aids. By the time I actually needed bandaids there was so little left of my feet that I had to hobble on my little bloody stumps to get some and it was excruciatingly painful. I don’t know where you’re going,and I’m sure they have stores whereever it is, but pack some band aids anyway. Your bloody stumps may thank you later.

  10. donna

    Six in the morning? Yeah, I’m no good at that hour, no matter what time I go to bed it’s just not happening. Ever. I dread the day I have to get up to get the kids ready for school, I just know I’m going to be that mom in a robe, slippers, and curlers. My poor, poor kids.

  11. elswhere

    All this talk of underwear is making your Google ads just go nuts. Girls in panties! Incontinence underwear! Bargain men’s underwear! It’s kind of cracking me up. Because I too am apparently NINE.

  12. Lori

    Your pre-travel to-do list looks scarily familiar – down to the banana bread making. Glad to see I’m not the only crazy person. But then again, you are saner than me – I’ve been known to be up at midnight before a 4am wake up call making banana bread. Do I get a reprieve from the padded room if I blame it on a kid with multiple food allergies that makes it impossible to buy many pre-packaged snacks? No? Oh well, I accept that I am the most un-organized organized person I know.

  13. All Adither

    You need a staff.

  14. Heidi D.

    Your list has me laughing so hard.

    The only time I over-pack by 4 extra days or so, is if we’re going camping. And that’s only because there are NO stores in the forest.
    But for travelling, I pack for an extra day or two.

  15. Sara

    Aaaand the google hits for “count my panties” will stack on up. Have a good trip!

  16. Tammy

    I agree with All Adither…can I be your assistant? I make FAB banana bread.

  17. Burgh Baby's Mom

    Shhhh. . . don’t go telling people about the window seat thing. It’s MINE!

  18. heels

    I hear you with the not enough panties fear. I always pack half again as many as the days I will be away (does that make sense?). Only, I know where my paranoia is coming from…

  19. Sue

    Have a great trip! Have a drink and a nap on the plane (in your window seat) and stop worrying about your underwear. And knock their socks off. (Eh, don’t even have to say that part – of course you will!)

  20. Sheila

    Wow… I once had no idea that they make Travel Underwear, but now, thanks to your Google Ads, I do. Phew!

  21. AmyM

    I always over-pack EVERYTHING. Not just underwear. I play out every possible scenario that could ever happen and pack more than those scenarios allow for. Even for an overnight trip, I will have no less than 4 complete outfits for each of the 4 seasons. (I live in Michigan, it’s possible to go from 0 to 60 and back again… in like an hour.)
    If I leave the house with only one suitcase, it’s because Common Sense beat out OCD in sudden death overtime.

  22. pam

    What is it about us girls and our undies? I travel Mon-Thu for work. Every Mon-Thu and I stay at an extended stay hotel so I keep most of my clothes (and beloved 15+ pairs of shoes) at the hotel on the weekends. Why oh why do I need to pick up a package of panties (just to be sure) every other weekend???
    Someone should do a study. You Mir. You’re good with the words and all.

  23. Mom24

    Good luck. I too always over pack undies. I have passed this on to my children–we went away for the weekend and they each packed double the amount of undies they needed. I know the TSA is cracking down, I’m sure they do a WONDERFUL job. However, each of the last two times we have gone somewhere, I have dutifully handed over my little baggie of supplies for them to look at–then discovered later the full-sized hand gel or lotion, or whatever, forgotten in my purse. Last time they even opened my luggage to check out the baby powder container and completely overlooked the bottle of perfume I forgot and tucked into a corner. They’re not exactly confidence inspiring. Have a wonderful trip.

  24. Jamie AZ

    Have a great trip, Mir! I used to travel a lot for work, so I got pretty good at packing just 1 extra set of undies-bra-socks-shirt. Don’t worry, I’m sure you can find what you need where you’re going. And, I tried this new product – Band Aid Blister Block stick – with a fairly new pair of shoes and no blisters! It could be a fluke, but I’m going to keep using it. If you stumble into a drug store before tomorrow, you might want to try it. It’s like a small stick deodorant that you rub on the feet where you might get a blister. And from the ingredients list (which is now in the trash), it seems it’s made up of Crisco and alcohol.

    I’ve got “dead” bananas on the counter, too. They’ll be going into the freezer today as I can’t make enough bread to use them all up yet. Frozen bananas make great bread later.

  25. Kemi

    This was such a good read.

    I hate packing for trips. I end up packing at least an extra outfit (head to toe) for everyone, with a few extra pieces in case someone has a change of mind and/or decides an outfit isn’t “working” for them the way it was paired and packed. (My kids are 9, 8, 4 and 2. They would wear pajamas alldaylong if I’d let them.)

    There’s prepared, and then there’s crazy. :D Lucky for you, Mir, it sounds like you are merely prepared.

  26. Shannon

    I usually go with one extra pair of panties, but several extra pairs of socks. The exception is if I think I may start my period. In which case the whole suitcase will just be filled with panties and menstrual products.

  27. Beth

    Yes, there may be stores where you’re going, but who wants to wear panties that haven’t been washed yet? They’ve still got all the fabric sizing and factory dust on them. Yuck!

  28. Stephanie Chance

    Everything I own to wear is in laundry baskets. or hanging over the backs of chairs. or stuffed in the bottom of my closet so my husband won’t see them and nag me about not putting the laundry away properly. Not that his closet is any better. It might as well have a Hazard sign hung up as near as I get to it. If he didn’t have 50 gazillion pairs of pants, leave his drawers open with things hanging out, leave hangers askew, take clothes out and drape them over the rod instead of hanging them back up, and leave dirty clothes lying wherever he happnes to take them off, I might make a better effort at putting his clothes away. But I know that he is much happier blaming my laziness for his closet’s current condition than he would be with actually putting any effort toward helping it stay neat.

  29. Stephanie Chance

    I have yet to catch that laundry fairy who he expects is responsible for tidying up after he gets dressed. Or the laundry gnome who apparently puts his dirty clothes back on the floor after he swears that he picked them up and put them in the hamper.

  30. saucygrrl

    Band Aids need not apply.

    If you buy yourself one more thing, buy Body Glide ( (not to be confused with the *other* *ahem* “-glide” product) and you’ll never get blisters again. Or, if you don’t feel like buying any, you can use stick deodorant on the spots of your feet that rub against your shoe which will minimize friction, again, avoiding blisters altogether.

    Knock ’em dead kiddo.

  31. Amy-Go

    TSA will not take anything away from you if it’s a medical necessity. So the Girl Goop will be safe. But I betcha don’t read this til after you land, so you already know this by now…

  32. Flea

    The meds for the ADD have surprisingly reduced my compulsion about packing. And list making. And getting things done. And having the right stuff at the other end of the trip.

    You’ll be fine, Mir! Are you sure you packed enough underwear?

  33. Lindsay

    Hell ya on the white apple cords mating. We have two ipods and yet THREE sets of earbuds which sit in a tangle on the desk. No idea where the third set came from. Speaking of cords I WISH I was the inventor of the usb port/cord. Everything seems to come with them nowadays, and my tangle of ipod buds has some random USB cords in it too. Have a nice trip!

  34. chris

    I have the same underwear obsession. And clothes too. If it fits in the suitcase I bring it. I draw the line at my 3 yr old though.

  35. julie

    I’m a compulsive underpacker…known for traveling on 4-5 day trips with just a roll-on bag and my laptop case. Growing up we’d put 6 kids and 2 adults in a station wagon for a week, and each of us got to pack 1 and only 1 bookbag for the week…you learn to roll things tightly and pick wisely. I do still stick in 1 extra pair of undies though. The size-to-sanity ratio is just too good to skip it.

    For the cream, you’ve probably had to figure it out by now, but one option would be to dispense just enough into a 3oz or less travel container that will be approved, just in case.

    Safe travels and good luck!

  36. Loth

    YOu should meet my ex-boss (who now works for me, it’s a weird set up). I was due to get married a month or so after I started working for her. On my last day before I went off for the wedding, I had just got home and she appeared at the door bearing presents for the wedding/honeymoon: a bottle of (very good) champagne and a six-pack of disposable paper knickers. She doesn’t believe in doing laundry on holiday. Or afterwards. Wear them, throw them away. I knew then we were going to get on.

  37. sumo

    Ditto on the unerwear. I always pack extra socks and underwear because 1) a couple extra pairs don’t take much space, and 2) I’m willing to re-wear shirts and pants if necessary… undies? Not so much. And yes, there will be stores where you travel, but time is typically in short supply on a trip. Plus, you may not have a car, the store may be too far away or, more likely, you’ll realize you need them at 3 am or right before you get dressed for your big meeting.

  38. Kate

    I’m with you on the undies thing. I once took a cruise to Alaska while my panties were all nice & cozy in the suitcase I’d decided to dump at the last minute in favor of a larger one. They had one type and one size of underwear for sale on the ship. Surprise! Not. My. Size. Cruises to Alaska, for future reference, do not go places with Wal-Marts or any other store with anything but tiny, polyester bikinis.

  39. Little Bird

    Ordinarily I would agree with the whole must-pack-extra-undies thing. But I have found two products that will change your life. Quick Dry undies (they make t-shirts and tank tops too), they dry super-fast. And yes, you can get teeny woollite packets. And second there is a company that makes super compactly packaged undies. Think about the size of a cap to a 20 ounce soda. I don’t remember what they’re called but I think it’s something like “emergency undies” or “panties in a pinch”.
    I travel a lot. Usually by train. I hate planes.

  40. Heather

    My bananas haven’t magically transformed into banana bread either! What’s up with that? :P

  41. carson

    If you put the bananas in the freezer, the banana bread can wait until you return.

  42. Lady M

    Thong underwear takes a lot less space if you’re trying to pack a few extra pairs. ;)

  43. smarty

    I only make banana bread to use up the dead bananas rather than just throw them away. Only problem is, my family doesn’t really like banana bread, so I usually end up throwing it away. Why I’m called smarty, ???????

  44. buncha blue-eyed monkeys

    Do you SEE your google ads for this post??!? You can get a 5-pack of disposable travel underwear for $3.50. BARGAIN!!

  45. Cele

    I have to pack next week. I haven’t been anywhere in so long I’m wondering how to do it. Have a good trip Mir.

  46. Pave.Gurl

    My most recent packing extravaganza was last week; I LOATHE checking a bag, so I have it down to a science (I am usually gone for about a week a month).

    3 pr shoes (1 pr flip-flops, 1 pr dressy flats, 1 pr heeled booties)
    4 t-shirts (daytime wear, corporate branding)
    2 dressy tops (with matching bra-camis)
    1 pr jeans
    1 skirt
    1 pr shorts
    1 pr capris
    1 bikini (Hey, it was 85 in Arizona)
    1 bra
    1 set jammies
    1 teddy bear (always goes with)
    3 pr socks
    7 pr underwear

    … Yeh. I dunno. I’m completely reasonable about everything else. Why I have to have 7 pairs of underpants, I will never know, but I always do.

  47. alala

    You know, it never occurred to me that you can buy underwear while traveling. That doesn’t sound safe. I’d rather just bring enough. Like, ALL I OWN, even if I’ll only be gone for a weekend.

    Except for one exception: in Spain, you can buy thong undies for a euro from coin-operated machines at truck stops. Wow. They turned out to be exactly what you’d expect, cheap itchy polyester yucko, and and you don’t even get to pick the color!

    Yes, I did buy them. But I didn’t wear them. Honest.

  48. The Over-Thinker

    Girl goop and counting panties. Have fun with your google searches!

    Safe travels, Mir.

  49. Tink

    Aimee: You said: ” I always pack too many pairs of underwear and socks TOO. I’ve heard rumors that there are stores in other places, but I’m not buyin’ it. The next thing you know, they’ll be asking me to believe in unicorns and fairies!”

    Whaddya mean the _next_ thing ya know…?


  50. Victoria

    I am all over the window seat thing! High fives on that one

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