Friday, 19 July 2013

Suitcase Thrashing

"I see C, but I haven't found D yet," I grunted.

"Maybe over there," John pointed above my head.

"BINGO!" I yelled.

A couple days ago we thought it prudent to begin what my friends know as Suitcase Thrashing.  Suitcase Thrashing refers to the segment of time wherein John and I (and any unlucky nearby compadres/family members/vagrants) begin to sort through our stack of suitcases in preparation for a trip/relocation/move.

In 2008 when we made the first initial BIG move from Missouri to Africa, we were a well-oiled machine.  Each member of the family was given a determined number of totes (airline approved with 4 locking handles and a place for 3 padlocks).  Then we proceeded to fill the totes with a computer nearby to document and inventory every item.  The filled tote was then given a number written on the exterior with a paint pen along with our name and U.S. address.

Upon completion of the first pack, we had 24 totes numbered, inventoried and perfectly stacked (complete with printout).  That was then.  

This particular day in Nairobi, John and I are in a metal storage container trying to make sense out of the numerous packing systems we have adopted since "The Beautiful Pack." 

From 2008, we have moved (Try and keep up with this) from:

1) Missouri, USA to Cairo, Egypt
2) Cairo, Egypt to Khartoum, Sudan (House #1)
3) Khartoum, Sudan (House #1) to Khartoum, Sudan (House #2)
4) Khartoum, Sudan to Missouri, USA
5) Missouri, USA to Khartoum, Sudan (Allowed to stay only 11 days upon return)
6) Khartoum, Sudan to Nairobi, Kenya (House #1)
7) Nairobi, Kenya House #1 to House #2
8) Nairobi, Kenya House #2 to House #3
9) Nairobi, Kenya House #3 to House #4
10) Nairobi, Kenya to Michigan, USA
11) Michigan, USA to Missouri USA
12) Missouri USA to Nairobi, Kenya (House #5)
13) Nairobi, Kenya to Aswan, Egypt

To those friends who live a similar life to us, they will say, "Is that all?! What a bunch of whiners!"  To others who haven't had the privilege of honing their packing and weighing skills, they might find this borderline insane.  I would agree to both views.

As organized as I like to be, I simply haven't been able to keep the level of detail that I would want.  Now instead of looking at a handy printout for a blender (Page 6, Tote #16, left side), I am playing a cruel game of Concentration.  It goes something like this…

John asks, "Have you seen my tool kit?"

"Which one?" I ask as though I know where each one is and can only determine the location based on the TYPE of tools he's referencing.

"The one with my drill."

"Ooooooh, that one.  Yeah, I saw it."

"Do you remember where?"

"Um….let me think.  Oh, yeah.  It's in a black tote."

"They are all black, Pam.  Any other thoughts?"

"I definitely saw it in Khartoum."

"Did it make it out of Khartoum?"

THAT'S the million dollar question.

So we stand in the metal container staring at the wall of totes and I choose Tote F.

Tote F contains a KitchenAid mixer (I don't care HOW much it weighs, it goes with me everywhere), linens, 2 knives, a bottle of vitamins, a shower curtain and a vase.  No tool kit.

He heaves Tote F back to the shelf (each weigh right at 50 pounds).

This time I choose Tote J.  No tool kit.  And so it goes.

Little by little, we see an item, remember it and try to match it with something we're actually looking for…

But wait! you say.  Didn't you say you numbered the totes?  Why do these totes have letters on them?

Ahhhhhhhh, now you understand my pain.  


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