Oops, I did it again.
(to quote B.S.)
Today we left Sweden to head back to Istanbul. This is not a short nor painless process. Not because of emotions tied to our leaving. Rather, it is due to all the luggage and logistics tied to it.
First of all, because we are flying within the European continent (Turkey has a tiny toe in Europe), we are only allowed 1 50-pound suitcase per person. International luggage allowance is more generous. Which means the boys and I – who traveled to Sweden via the US – brought to Sweden our allotted 6 suitcases (all tagged with heavy signs to forewarn the lifter), as well as our 3 carry-ons, 2 tennis rackets, and 1 large purse.
(My First Commandment of Travel: Thou shall never pack lighter than what airlines allow.)
All of which somehow needs to be transported to Istanbul.
Along with 1 equally large suitcase of my husband’s, his carry-on suitcase and backpack.
Total # of Suitcases we are allowed: 4
Total # of Suitcases we have: 7
(My Husband’s First Commandment of Travel: Never pay excess baggage fees.)
Luckily, my husband’s crazy travel schedule means he has some special plastic cards that allow him certain privileges, including an extra suitcase.
Revised Total # of Suitcases we are allowed: 5
Revised Total # of Suitcases my husband will allow me to drag to Istanbul: 5
Which means that I had to allocate one suitcase’s worth of items across 4 bags (luckily those handy dandy plastic cards also confer more weight allowance per bag). The other bag? İt’s sitting in Sweden waiting to be picked up by my husband when he returns in September (unfortunately, it is the heaviest of all the suitcases, but, fortunately for me, I won’t be around when my hubby realizes that).
So, to recap, we have:
5 large suitcases (250+ pounds)
5 carry-ons (125 pounds)
2 tennis rackets (3 pounds)
1 large purse (15 pounds)
Oh, and 4 adult-sized people (approximately 575 pounds).
And a small Hyundai rental car.
If I had more time, I would include cubic capacity. Suffice it to say, the following equation does not work:
Luggage + People = WAY MORE than Hyundai’s Capacity
Which means we had to divide and conquer. My husband, along with 1 suitcase and 3 carry-ons, took the bus from our neighborhood to the center of town, then crossed to the train terminal to catch the fast train to the airport. The boys and I stuffed the car with the remains of our load and drove to the airport. There, my husband met the boys and baggage while I returned the rental car and caught the shuttle back to the airport.
A neat plan that would have worked perfectly.
Had all of us had our passports with us.
Let me just say that the person without the passport was not me.
Or the boys.
But I may have had a tiny small teensy weensy role to play in why my husband didn’t have his passport when he went to check-in with all of our baggage.
Rewind to yesterday:
“Honey,” my husband asks, “can you please print out this document for me?”
“Sure,” honey replies.
“Oh,” he adds, “can you also make a copy of my passport?”
And there wasn’t.
Initially at least. I went upstairs to where our printer is located. Plugged it into my laptop. I printed. I copied. I gave my husband the printout and copy.
The problem was that I did not give him his passport.
So, when my husband took our sons and our 393-pounds worth of luggage to the check-in counter and he was asked to show his passport to the airline rep…well, there was no passport to show.
The printer had it.
In my defense, ahem, I was not feeling the best when I made the printout and copy AND I was also wrestling over desk space with my son who was on his computer right next to me AND the ink was low in the printer, so I was trying to locate extra cartridges.
And I forgot.
Yes, my Swiss cheese memory strikes again.
HOWEVER, a bit to my defense, when, on the eve of our departure, my husband – familiar with my ways – asked me three times if I had the boys’ and my passport AND resident visas, on the third time I rolled my eyes at him and parroted back “Do you have YOUR passport?”
But he didn’t.
And, he has not blamed his passportlessness on me once…
…not when, at the check-in counter, he realized that his passport was sitting on a printer 80 kilometers away and across the city of Stockholm
…not when he had to jump in a taxi and rush back to our house 80 kilometers away and across the city of Stockholm (or, at least, try to rush…the driver, of Turkish origin, was very empathetic but not willing to risk driving more than 10 km/hour over the speed limit)
…not when he had to race into our house, de-arm the house, sprint upstairs to the printer and retrieve passport, sprint back down, re-arm the house and ride another 80 kilometers back to the airport, not exactly a stress-free, joyride
…not when it looked like it was 99.9% sure he would miss the flight
…and not when he actually made it back in time to catch the flight – thanks to a 15-minute delayed departure – sweating like he had been in a marathon.
Even though I actually was a tiny small teensy weensy to blame for his passportlessness.
Again, I thank my minions of guardian angels for their diligence and willingness to work overtime.
And my husband’s tolerance for my travel follies.
Stay tuned for next travel trauma: Hubby and I are due to leave 7AM Friday morning for a long romantic weekend in southern Turkey. It’s now 6PM on Thursday, as in the night before we are to leave. In other words, we leave in 13 hours. Our babysitter? Not here. Also not answering her phone. Or her texts. In other words, we have no idea if or when she will show. So now, that 13 hours of time which had previously included 7-8 hours of sleep…is probably not going to include much sleep depending on if and when our babysitter shows up.
As they say, never a dull moment.